You were waiting for part deux of "De-Termination", the firing of the most wonderful nurse alive by the biggest donkey dong on the planet. The story shall continue after these messages:
First, let me whore myself out by telling to to click to keep my fat, lame duck ass on 25peeps.com. Someone thought it would be amusing to put my broke ass knee picture up there. So, I am doing a service to phat assed women everywhere by keeping it up despite all the cooch and cleavage I am competing against. Consider it a blow to supermodels everywhere. I'm actually having fun with it being there. You should too. Because. I said so. Don't contradict. I'm the Princess. Now go. You'll recognize my picture. I'm the only one there with her leg in a cast. I could mention that I am in my underwear too, but hell, ALL of the girls on that page are in their underwear. It is the cast and the cane that truly set me apart. Recognize.
Okay, got your coffee? Booze? Chips? Back to the story.
If you didn't read the first part, you are gonna be soooooooo lost. Go to "De-Termination" and catch the hell up.
I am in my car, heading down to our main office after the conversation with Ed. I am pretty well certain what I am being called in for. In my deluded, narcissistic mind, there is a nagging voice saying "No, CP! You are being called in to get the Most Amazing Nurse on the Planet Award!" Isn't my conceit positively adorable? Logicall me knows better and tells conceited me to put a sock in it. I dial up my friend and co-worker Candace.
"I'm getting fired," I said to her matter of factly.
"Um, here? Now?" I can't help laughing. The situation is so ridiculous.
"Laura was really pissed that you left two hours early yesterday."
"Yes, so I heard," I say sarcastically. "Screw her already. Stinkin' power trippin' bitch. I am so over it already."
"You know the real reason why she is letting you go, right?"
"Because I haven't fed her the good hay lately?"
"No," she continues, without paying attention to my humor, "it's because she is a control freak and she knows she can't control you."
"Kinda figured that."
"Call me the SECOND you get out of her office."
"You got it."
We hang up. I swing into the parking lot, taking note of whose cars are in the lot. Hm. Full house. Everyone but the doctors. Go figure. I walk in. The usual entourage is all standing around, some of the nurses, a few of the receptionists, people in the billing office and then, Ed. He comes from down the hall and is looking right at me. He looks sad. Probably sadder than I have ever seen him.
"Should I bother punching in," I say with a laugh.
He takes my hand and leads me down the hallway.
"CP," he begins.
"Don't," I reply. "Let me hear it all at once."
I see my friend Jeanette as I am going down the hall like Dead Man Walking. I give her a hug. She has no idea why. I'm pretty certain I won't be seeing her again. I latch on to my BFF at work, Cheryl. I mess with her hair like I do every single day.
"Laura is pissed at you," she said, followed by, "wait, what are you doing in this office today?"
"Getting fired," I reply and continue down the hall.
I don't turn around. I don't want to talk to her about it right now. I am in a state of absolute rage and I am ready to give it to Laura both barrels. I don't want anyone taking away my stamina right now.
We get into Laura's office. I call this room "The Stable". Sometimes I call it "The Lions Den". Right now, I am thinking "Bottomless Pit of Hell" would be best.
The door closes behind me. I take a seat. Ed sits at Laura's desk. Laura takes a seat at another chair across the room. This makes me laugh inwardly. From the positioning, I can tell that Laura has arranged us so that if I make a sudden lunge for her jugular, there would be a desk and a rather strapping Phillipino man between the two of us. Heh.
Ed begins talking. All I can hear is that teacher from Charlie Brown going "wow wow, wow wow wow. Wow wow? Wow wow wow wow wow." My ears are burning hot, a trait my son and I share when we are pissed. Thank goodness for my long hair. Then Laura starts speaking and I manage to focus. I try to picture Mr. Ed (not the PA, but rather, the horse) speaking to me and I am now able to concentrate.
"What makes you think you could ask Margaret for time off, CP?"
"It was two hours, Laura. You are making it sound like I took a week off."
"Answer the question, CP."
"Are we in a courtroom? I already went over this with everyone. She is the second administrator when you are not around. I asked her for two hours. She said it was fine. If it WASN'T fine, Laura, then she shouldn't have said it was fine on your behalf."
"Why didn't you ask Ed for the time off then? You are the one who campaigned to get Ed to be the nursing SUPERVISOR, remember?"
"And YOU were the one that shot that idea right down because you are too much of a control freak to recognize a good idea. You said Ed was our nursing ADVISOR for medical issues and that everyone should come to you for ADMINISTRATIVE issues. My leaving was not a medical issue. We were done with patients, Laura. The doctors were gone for the day. I wanted to leave two hours early to help my husband with the moving. That, to me, is administrative."
"Be that as it may, you still never called me."
"I told Margaret to have you CALL ME if there was an issue with my leaving and that if I didn't hear from you, then I assume everything was fine."
"Well, that was YOUR mistake then, wasn't it," she said maliciously.
"Guess so," I countered, flippantly.
"Margaret said that that conversation never happened."
"Then Margaret," I began, "is a fucking liar. Tell her to bring in that bible of hers and make her swear on it."
She calls Margaret into the room.
Laura reiterates the conversation we just had to Margaret. Margaret looks at me with her wide eyes and nappy hair. I can see she is utterly terrified of Laura and is going to do whatever it takes to make sure her job is safe. Poor fucker. Must suck to be you. Why is it that I am about to be fired, but I am feeling bad for everyone else.
"You said you were going to call Laura," she stammers.
"That's not true, Margaret. You know that isn't true."
"You said that you were going to call her and ask her."
"No, I didn't. I asked YOU if it would be okay. You said it would be fine. You also said that Laura would be back in an hour and that you would let her know. You also said that you would tell her what I said, which was, if there was any issue, you should have her call my cell."
"I didn't say that, CP."
"Whatever helps you sleep at night, Margaret."
I blew it off at this point. Why argue? The die was already cast, the decision was already made WELL in advance of my getting into work this morning. Why bother?
"Well," Ed said, "Due to a lack of following protocol, it was decided that we have to let you go."
I started to laugh.
"Really," I said with feigned surprise. "I'm shocked."
I winked at Ed, with a sincere smile. I wanted to let him know that I still had my sense of humor and that I wasn't mad at him. I know he was put up to this. I understood that.
He looked down. I felt bad for him, worse for him than I did for myself at that moment. I was about to be free of all of this political bullshit and pettiness. He was going to have to compromise his morals and values for the sake of a six figure paycheck. I don't blame him. He has a family to support just as I do. He hands me a piece of paper from across the table.
"Here is the reason you are being let go."
I glance at it briefly. It says, inability to follow protocol. I don't look at it further. Nearly two years at this place and never have I been accused of anything of the sort. Ever. Actually, quite the opposite was always true. I am a stickler for protocol, when it comes to nursing. I was always pointing out to Laura when she was doing something that wasn't quite right with the nurses. She has no medical background at all.
A delve into my archives will reveal how many mistakes she has made when it comes to handling patients and the way the nurses should respond. A quick for instance? Telling me the defibrilator needs to be checked once a month. Um, no sister. A defib machine needs to be checked DAILY to make sure the batteries are working. If I checked it three weeks ago and someone has a heart attack today, the fact that the batteries were working three weeks ago isn't really gone help this guy today, if those same batteries are now dead. Fucking Duh. Do you NOT watch ER?
Next, she hands Ed an envelope to give me. He leans over the desk to give it to me. I open it. It contains the check that I wrote out for the fundraiser we did for the doctors. The same fundraiser that was going towards caring for those homeless families I mentioned a few weeks back.
My check said "VOID" right across it.
"Don't you DARE insult me like that," I said, raising my voice for the first time. "you know DAMN well that my heart is charitable. I gave money for those kids and my money is STAYING with those kids. I am writing a new check and you ARE going to take it and use it for those kids."
Now, I was infuriated. How dare they add insult to injury.
They hand me another envelope.
"What is this already," I say, "Deal or No Deal?"
I'm obviously getting annoyed.
"It's the cash you laid out for the November office birthdays," Ed says.
I turn to Laura, she isn't even looking in my direction.
"How can you do something like this, right before Christmas," I ask. "Don't you have a soul?"
"You brought this upon yourself, CP. Do you think this was easy for me? Do you think I am enjoying this?"
"Honestly? Yes, I do. That's exactly what I think. I have worked my ASS off around this place for nearly two years."
"I don't see the need for vulgarities, CP," she says, trying to be aloof and proper with her ridiculously put on southern drawl.
"ASS is not a vulgarity, Laura. What's vulgar is wearing open toed shoes with pantihose. Now THAT'S vulgar. But, if it makes you feel better, I will say BUTT. I worked my BUTT off around here for 2 years. There, is that better?"
"If you would have asked me..."
"That's horseshit, Laura. Ooops, I mean, horsepoop. You were looking for a reason to let me go. You always hated the fact that I was more competant than you were. That all the girls responded to and respected me more than they did you. You gave everyone else in this office time off to move. Everyone! Cheryl, Theresa, Dawn, Michelle...everyone. They all got time off."
"That was their vacation time."
"That's crap, Laura. I know for a fact that some people did not utilize their vacation time. Don't even give me that."
"Be that as it may..."
"No, no 'be that as it may'. The point is, you have different rules for different people. I didn't ask for a week or a few days. I needed TWO HOURS for a furniture delivery. Two fucking hours."
"No, don't CP me. If you had a clue what was going on under your own roof, you would know you have a thief in the building. You would know that you have someone who is making deadly patient mistakes in the building. You would know that other people punch in and then sit around all morning long not working. You would know that there are people utilizing overtime who are milking the clock. I would be the last of your friggin' concerns if you knew any of that."
"This isn't easy for me," she continues.
"Sell it elsewhere, sister. I'm not buying. All I know is that you already have your karma coming to you. And when you are sick and all alone...you will remember this moment and my name. I hope you all have a lovely holiday. I mean that sincerely."
"I need the keys and your nametag," she said.
"I lost my nametag about seven months ago. The keys are out in my car."
"I'll go with her," said Ed.
We walked out to my car in silence. I gave him the keys to both offices.
"I'm sorry, CP. I didn't want this for you."
"It's not your fault, Ed. She was gunning for me for months. If anything, I handed her a reason on a silver platter. Not a very good reason, mind you...but enough for her to make a mountain out of a molehill."
"I will give you a reference any time you want. I'm always here for you. We still gonna have dinner in New York when you come in?"
"Wouldn't miss it, Friend," I said to him.
He gave me a warm hug. I know this was harder for him than it was for me.
I drove home without the radio. I opened the windows of my car on both sides and pulled the ponytail holder from my hair. I shook my hair out and let the wind whip my hair around. I stuck my arm out the window and let my hand twirl around in the wind as I drove. I felt lighter. I felt like an enormous burdern was lifted from my back.
Yes, I lost my health insurance. Yes, I lost my thousand dollar Christmas bonus. Yes, I lost my bi-weekly paycheck.
What I gained was my freedom. What I gained was the ability to say...it is time for me to move on. It is time for me to work without eggshells under my feet and the feeling of consummate dread every single morning. It is time to breathe and to be a nurse again. To go back to the basics and remember why I became a nurse in the first place. I cried for five minutes, more from relief than anything else. Suddenly it started to rain, the first rain Florida has seen in weeks. The windows of my car were down. I let the raindrops soak me as I drove.
And, I couldn't help laughing all the way home.