by Bella Rum

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
— Charles Dickens

Mr. Dickens got it exactly right. It was in the seventies and sunny and beautiful on Monday and Tuesday. Neighbors were out and about, picking up sticks, messing in their flowerbeds. Kids were outside and doing kid things and playing kid games. We even talked about pulling the grill out from under its cover and firing it up. Everyone was shaking off the winter. Last winter. That winter that was over and gone.

But not so fast.

Yesterday, I woke to  a freezing room. I could not get warm all day long. The temperatures had fallen into the thirties (which would not have been so bad if it hadn’t been in the seventies – almost eighties – on Mon. and Tues.). It’s dark, raining and in the thirties this morning, but we are hopeful. March is all about hope. No mater how few or how sporadic, we always get those first beautiful, warm days, and I love March for that. March keeps me coming back because I know April is on the way.

I had lab work yesterday. Later this morning, I’ll know if my INR is back where it should be. There are two labs that I can use. They are both affiliated with the hospital where my doctor practices. One is in the hospital and one is across the street. I used the one across the street for awhile. The nurses were just north of downright rude. Not rude, but almost: cold, barely spoke, no eye contact. I started going to the lab in the hospital about a year ago, and the atmosphere was completely different. The difference is really nothing more than courtesy. They say good morning, make a little small talk about the weather or whatever, and at the end they usually say, “Have a nice day.” Not high-level skills, just common courtesy. I leave feeling much better. How could there be such a difference?

But this curtesy thing goes both ways.

Yesterday, there were only two of us waiting for lab work. The other lady had been on her cell phone most of the time we were there, but had just said goodbye. A nurse came out and asked for our paper work. Never saying a single word, paperwork in her hand, the other woman raised her arm straight up, waved the papers at the nurse, gave her a look of attitude, and remained seated. I told the nurse that I didn’t have paperwork, that my doctor keeps a standing order in the computer. The other lady remained seated, arm straight as an arrow, and made it clear that she thought the nurse should walk over to her. I turned and looked at at her and got eye contact. I don’t know what I looked like, but she took her arm down and got out of her seat. I think I probably looked shocked. Look at me getting all up in someone else’s business.

When my son was little, I used to tell him that a little courtesy takes almost no effort, and reaps big rewards. Everyone feels better. It’s a cold world out there. A little warmth is appreciated.

Nurse Debbie just called and my INR is perfect.