I learned a difficult lesson today, and one I definitely had coming.
Let me begin by admitting that I’ve never been a particularly patient person. I’ve gotten much better than I used to be, but I am definitely my father’s son when it comes to this issue. I’ve been prone to sharp remarks, short snap, and sarcasm for most of my life, even violence on a handful of occasions (though never against a woman, of course), which is unacceptable under any circumstances.
As I said, though, I have gotten better. But still, I can very quickly stick my foot in my mouth. That generally wouldn’t be worthy of much more than a few moments embarrassment and an apology, but given our current situation, a careless, caustic slip can have rough consequences.
It was a simple slip, too, but one that I could and should have handled more intelligently. Just a little sensitivity would have spared a lot of tears and confusion and fifteen minutes trying to figure out where it went wrong. I finally figured exactly where we derailed, though, and it was 100% my fault. After a while, she understood that I hadn’t meant what I said the way it came out, and I promised to choose my words more carefully going forward. We benefited from the situation in the long run, but just a little tiny bit of my vaunted empathy could have prevented the entire thing.
Bottom line, don’t tell someone in this situation that they “can’t” have or do something. There’s no way that comes off as anything other than sharp and authoritative. They’ll feel, justifiably, as if you’re treating them like a child. It’s so simple to choose a different word path, too. How about “That choice isn’t available to us because…”, or “We have to wait for that since…”? Gentility with reason. I like to think of myself as embodying that ideal, but obviously I have a very long way to go before that is ever likely to be true.
She deserves SO much better.
But, we learned from the experience. I learned a huge lesson, and she in turn promised to try to look beyond the words and into the intent behind them. She does know me well enough to know I don’t intend to be mean, but that in no way excuses it.
Tomorrow morning we finally have our teleconference with Dr. Ross. It was supposed to be Tuesday afternoon, but she was late with other patients and it never happened, so she called me from the airport this afternoon, and we’re going to do it at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow. We’re extremely anxious to get the results of all the labs and to focus her treatment down to specific causative factors rather than the umbrella approach we’ve been using. As we have seen some progress like that, I’m hopeful of even greater and faster progress as we hone in on those factors unique to her case.
Stay tuned to this space for updates, hopefully as soon as tomorrow evening!
We WILL endure, and we will TRIUMPH.