Thursday, February 16, 2006

I Am An Asshole

My colleague who announced her pregnancy last month had an ultrasound that revealed no heartbeat. She's scheduled for a D&E next week.

Now I feel really rotten about feeling jealous. And when she told me about it, she said, "People are asking if I'm going to try again, but I don't think so ... this got me thinking about how shaky my marriage is, and how much easier it's gotten for me since my son is getting a little older. It would be so hard to go through the early part again." She has a chronic and painful medical condition, but she does basically everything around the house. She asked her husband to put their son to bed the night after the ultrasound, since she was feeling pretty low, and he refused. To top it off, he wanted to have sex. (She declined.)

Then one of my other colleagues, Z, who's done several unsuccessful IVF cycles, overheard a medical student receive news that her father died. Z didn't really know the student, but she was worried about her driving the hour and a half to get to her family's, so Z cancelled her Valentine's plans with her husband so that she could drive the student home.

Now our wonderful friend E is going to spend part of her precious free day tomorrow babysitting for HellBoy, who is febrile and coughing and can't go to daycare. (E discovered this blog and was worried that I might feel like I can't complain about her here. AS IF.)

Basically, this is making it clear to me that I'm a selfish asshole.

I resolve to turn over a new leaf. No more Schadenfreude for me. I'm on call this weekend and rounding in the hospital and will do my best to be as positive, helpful, and ungrumpy as I can be to everyone I see.

Maybe I'll even bring donuts.

8 comments:

MFA Mama said...

I give the new, improved DM about...hmmm (carry the two and multiply by the degree of likelihood you'll be coming down with HB's bug while on call)...about eight hours. Twelve, tops.

Did you know that lack of sex turns you into an asshole? The inverse is also true (behold my saintliness and constant state of grace as evidence).

Orange said...

Second opinion confirms the prognosis proffered by mfa mama: The Schadenfreude will return—it's in your nature. (You are not alone.) But do bring donuts.

And your colleague's husband? He's an asshole beyond reason. If you should run into him, could you smack him upside the head for me? Thanks.

Erin said...

Donuts are always welcome! Actually, a little too welcome in my house (and hips).

I agree with orange: smack your co-worker's husband. Or better yet, inject him with some weird medication that will ensure that he feels as horrendous as humanly possible for as long as possible. With a large, dull needle.

E. said...

Good luck with your resolution. I am an optimist. But don't beat up on yourself too much for your ugly feelings - I think that's part of being human, for most of us. (As long as they don't affect your actions toward your friends and colleagues, and I'd guess they don't.)

That's one reason I love Anne Lamott (author of Operating Instructions: A Journal of my Son's First Year, among other great books). Even though she's clearly a wonderful, loving person (who is funny as hell and a great writer), she freely admits to having very nasty, reptillian thoughts and impulses.

But it never hurts to try to be a kinder and more generous person.

Not toward jerks like your colleague's husband though. He sounds like a lost cause, but a smack against the head is still in order.

Midwestern Deadbeat said...

E reminds me of one of the anecdotes that impressed me the most in Operating Instructions. Anne Lamott had a book due to be released just as the 1989 Bay Area earthquake occurred. The Bay Bridge was down and there was chaos and destruction everywhere, and while AL's friend sobbed by the television, wondering if her husband had been killed, AL worried about how the downed bridge would affect her book sales. I LOVE that someone can not only admit that to herself, but publish it for millions to see.

I agree with E that you shouldn't get too down on yourself about "your ugly feelings." (And at least you're aware you have them and feel a pang of conscience--that's more than I can say for some people!) Certainly we all have them; certainly we're all selfish assholes.

Right now I'm experiencing a very ugly feeling myself. It's directed squarely at your friend's husband. Yes, please smack that asswipe.

Menita said...

Oh your poor friend - her husband is simply beyond belief.
About ugly feelings - many times, they are what keeps us sane. I don't know if I could handle a Pollyanna-ish DoctorMama, but I can try...
And yes, definitely to the donuts.

bihari said...

Wait, people have ugly feelings sometimes? How can this be? I myself am nothing but sweetness and light from morning til night, nary a nasty thought for anyone.

Plus, I have this great bridge in Brooklyn I'm selling cheap...

B.E.C.K. said...

Everyone has feelings they're not proud of. The trick is to let them come up without judging them or acting on them. Easier said than done sometimes, but worth practicing. (But sometimes not very fun, as in the case of your friend's husband. Heh.) When I was a kid in Catholic school, the nuns taught us that even thinking about "sinful behavior" was a sin. Try undoing years of that sort of training. ;^) Let the feelings go in and out. Your behavior says much more about you than your feeings do.