What do you say to people sometimes, I don't know

  1. While I was sitting in my hairdresses chair today she said something that caught me off guard. She said, "I hate my stepmother because she let my half sister bleed to death after tonsillectomy". I just listened sympathetically. Only thing I said was that it was normal to be angry at someone or something after a tragedy and that she should give herself time. I wanted to say that maybe the rush to get people out of the hospital before it was safe had a lot more to do with these sort of events than she realized. That her stepmother was not a medical person and could hardly be blamed for failure to judge the situation correctly, but I did not. What would you have said?
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    About oramar

    Joined: Nov '98; Posts: 7,097; Likes: 5,234
    returned nurse


  3. by   CATHYW
    Gosh, I hate to hear that? What happened? How old was your half sister? Did your stepmother do anything to try help her, or call an ambulance? Sometimes, in spite of all the love that one person has for another, they don't have the training to deal with something truamatic like that. Things like that are often difficult for medical folks to get a good grip on, in a hurry. Years back, folks were kept in the hospital at least overnight, and sometimes longer for tonsillectomy, for just that reason. I imagine your family, especially your stepmother, is having a really hard time with this...
  4. by   fedupnurse
    Must be something about hair people. The woman who does my hair is in the same boat as me, her mother also has dementia. The difference is I moved back in with my parents to help out and her mom lives in Florida with her step father. She has said somethings to me like "sometimes I think he is trying to keep her away from me and my sister" or sometimes he won't put her on the phone. She also said "he never brings her here,we always have to go there." I had a sudden realization that maybe my 4 sisters feel this way. I explained to her and then to my sisters, that people with dementia really can't tolerate any change in routine. I also told Shelly (my hair person) that my mother hates talking on the phone because she doesn't have a clue who she is talking to. Sometimes it is me or my father making the excuse as to why she can't come to the phone. She was grateful for my perspective because she said she had never thought of it that way and, actually, I was grateful to her for bringing it up. 3 of my sisters live out of state so now we are all on the same page thanks to that conversation.
    I don't know what I would have said to your hairdresser Oramar! I guess it would depend on the relationship between the 2 people. Maybe the hairdresser hates her step mom anyway and this is a convenient way to continue to hate her. I wouldn't pi$$ someone off while they have scissors at my head though!!!! You were wise to keep quiet.
  5. by   P_RN
    I think I would have told her how sorry I was to hear that, then see where the conversation went. There is probably a lot more to the story.
    I don't like to give any committed answers in a conversation like this. When people find out you're a nurse, they've got all kinds of scenarios they want to run by you, to see if everything was done right.

    I feel sometimes like I'm being drilled in a malpractice case.

    All you can do for people like this is listen and offer support, but I always comment that I can't properly assess the situation or lay blame with one party when I wasn't there.

  7. by   oramar
    Little voice in my head said "caution, tread softly here". A lot of things popped into my mind but I said as little as possible.
  8. by   jefccu
    Recently spoke with a lawyer (somebody elses problem, not mine) and she reminded me that as an RN if you give advice in or out of work you may be liable. This could be dangerous, so use caution.
  9. by   hoolahan
    I think you said exactly the right thing oramar. You expressed your sympathy, and also validated her anger. I would not have gotten into any of the details either.
  10. by   live4today
    I would have just given a listening sympathetic ear, too. Sometimes allowing a person to vent what is disturbing or painful to them helps them to come to their own conclusion as to how to deal with what is bothersome to them. Offer her/him therapeutic communication only unless they ask you for specifics to their problem, then you can possibly direct them to the right resource of where they can be helped.
  11. by   Rustyhammer
    You know, I hate to even tell people (some people) that I'm a nurse. Then you have to diagnose and recommend tx for your barbers 2nd cousins wife. Sometimes it's just easier to clam up.
  12. by   shay
    I hate it when stuff like that happens. I just listen and say 'hmm' sympathetically and tell 'em I'm sorry for what happened to them. Then try to CHANGE THE SUBJECT.