What’s the worst that could happen?
I thought of this frequently before I handed my resignation letter. We were in a particularly stressful streak at the hospital. We had patients that needed help to do even the simple things. Their food and medication must be crushed and fed through tubes, they must be manually turned in the bed by their nurses, they need help to even breathe, and their body had so many contraptions, that sometimes I have to stare at an open chest, rising and dropping, as I dress it for drainage with a black foam.
Obviously, as the work stacked, but the staff limited, the quality suffered. There was just so much we could do even after we have sacrificed basic human needs for 13 hours like being able to sit down on a chair or going to the bathroom.
In the end, if the work wasn’t done, it didn’t matter how much we tried— it was undone.
Every morning, our manager would call us and make us stand right next to each other. A group of professionals from 20 years old to their 50s. We had to be 30 minutes earlier for the shift so they could throw a pop quiz about the new rules and regulations or on science and medicine. After that, another manager would come in to tell us either about another rule the management has decided to implement and/or the best part, what work we did wrong again.
The worst that could happen in my job is that I accidentally kill somebody. That was it. It sounds unbelievable for the civilians or what I fondly called back then, the soft office types. But on my first 3 months of nursing, a batchmate got fired because he almost injected a baby with a syrup that the infant was supposed to drink. It happens. It can happen.
Out of all the worst things that can happen, it was that. I could kill somebody’s mom, dad, child, or bestfriend.
A close second is I contract an infectious disease from my patients. There were anxious nights of refreshing lab result pages at the infranet wondering if the man at room 8 really did have tuberculosis.
Thinking about my crazy fulltime trading plan and realizing that going broke was the worst thing that could ever happen if I chose that path, I took a deep breath, straightened the paper, and knocked on my manager’s door to hand in my resignation.
I thought it was just being broke that could break me but there are many things that can happen. I plunged into the corporate world with no background other than shadowing a unit’s charge nurse, and got into business with my only experience in complicated math is computing how much epinephrine per microgram per ml must be given per hour to a patient whose BP has reached 80/60.
I couldn’t stand hospital bureaucracy but I jumped right in the middle of squabbles between ambitious people. But the game is different, no one shouts, no one confronts, but they conspire.
In the hospital, people can shout at one another during high-pressure situations and then come back as professional buddies the next night. It can be easily fixed with food and apologies. A sympathetic smile that says we’re all just doing our best here, we march on together to save lives and get through our day.
In business, it seems to be the other way around so far.
I am beginning to understand why the successful kept their circles small.
A random man who lived a fantabulous life messaged me one night. He was a stranger. I do not even know his face.
He figured it was safe to tell me his story.
2 years ago, he was 50 million pesos in debt on a business that thrived but ultimately failed because of betrayal. He has a wife and 2 toddlers.
He recovered, and became overwhelming victorious, earning over 7 digits a month easy.
“I learned that trust is nice.”, he wrote. “But control is better.”
Money can be recovered but the innocence I once had could not. Now I know what was the worst thing that could happen.
But since it did, and no one died, I have come to a hopeful realization.
The moment of betrayal feels like the beginning of hell, but no. It is rather the crescendo. The final drum roll.
The feverish high of the virus that has slowly crept in the crevices of my body has finally revealed itself. Wondering where it started and how I have let such things in, I realize that all is fair.
Viruses do not think about such. They just do what virus do. As they have done before, they will do now.
After the initial blow has taken full impact. On the way to recovery, just like any victim, a full immunity to the same virus will be acquired. Never to be victimized again.
Every person who climbed out of that deathbed shows the scars, and we find each other.
Friendship and trust is forged to those who survived the same trial.
I did not necessarily like it, but I now understand why it was necessary to go through.
Life is creative. Obstacles will happen no matter where you place yourself. Life can find a way to move you, disturb you, push you, so you can grow. Very rarely will it be comfortable.
It’s hard to listen to this the moment disaster strikes, but keep the faith. One day, you’ll understand why it had to happen.
(c) art ba annamachtan — hope I got this right.
Smooth and suave. I can’t stop listening to this, makes me want to drive all night with the person I love.