I think therefore I am? – Collegial Jealousy

Photo by Obie Fernandez on Unsplash

One of our most trusted employees doesn’t mind doing night shifts. He is happy to do casual shifts with little prior notice. He is adept at looking after all sorts of different people. He can be counted on to be there, although he can be fickle at times. He picks and chooses who he will spend time with. One day it might be in the older lady’s room, another night he might wander off and into the young man’s room. He doesn’t even knock, and somehow can sneak into the rooms without anyone noticing.

One of our patients thought that our staff member was channelling the essence of their late mother. Every time our staff mate visited the patient in their moments of need, it felt like his mother coming in to check on him, from the next plane of existence. This provided comfort to both patient and family.

Our valued employee had a new assignment the other week. Our patient was the mother who was not long for the world. Our staff member took especially good care of her, and also her daughter as well. Having him in the room provided them good continuity of care, as otherwise there was a new set of nurses every shift, and the doctors would change around every few days. They enjoyed his visits and his words of wisdom lightened the mood and their hearts.

He’s not the friendliest of our team members and it can take him a while to warm up to people in general. Once the bond has been established he will be almost constant companion. Maybe it’s to do with how he looks. He likes to present himself well, nicely groomed with not a hair out of place. He is often generous with his time and makes a meaningful connection to those that he pays attention to.

What does he like? Roses, he will stop in his tracks and turn around to partake of his favourite aromas. Unusual for a male to be so captivated by roses but again this male member of staff is unusual in many ways. It’s all part of his boyish charms, no matter how many years he’s been around, he always looks fresh. Though at times he has been worse for wear, like the other year when he required surgery. It took him a long time to recover, and he was slowed down, but still he would visit his favourite patients.

He is subtle in the way he works, sometimes I wonder how he knows whom to visit. How does he decide who has the greatest need? Is it the patient that is closest to death, or the one who is the most distressed.? Our friend’s intuition or instincts are strong, and often correct. How does he discern the most subtle of needs, and who should take priority? Is it science he uses or art? Maybe it’s a mixture of both?

Sometimes I am unsure who to see and I ask our colleague his opinion on whom would benefit from my visit first. If you see him entering or leaving one of the rooms, it is often the case that the occupant may not be around for much longer. He has an uncanny ability to perceive things that most people cannot see. It’s almost like he can sniff out the solution to the mystery of death and dying. I wish I could learn how he does it. Maybe he’s a natural, as I know that he did not receive any handover or training from his predecessor, and somehow he was able to take over the job right away.

No-one is perfect, and it would be inaccurate to say that all of his qualities are good. He doesn’t say much at times, and when he does you might want to be physically distanced. His breath is bad, and he is not fond of toothbrushes. He likes to eat fish, a bit too much, and some of the things he supplements his diet with are a bit too fresh. Due to his own belief systems he refuses to wear a mask, no matter how many times we have asked him to do so. I have never seen him use hand-sanitiser as he prefers to use his own methods of cleaning. He never picks up after himself, and sometimes leaves the dining area in a mess. That being said he is generous in spirit and has even brought presents to our multi-disciplinary meetings as nice surprises.

We are different; I am clean-shaven, he wears facial hair well, I use a lot of gel for my black hair, he will only use organic products for his ginger locks, I have put on weight, he remains slim no matter how much he eats. We barely speak to each other these days, and don’t even make eye-contact any more, which is sad.

Maybe I’m just jealous that I wasn’t nominated for employee of the month, and he was. Hmm, and he has always gotten along much better with the nurses.

And he has a nice tail.

Meow.

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