If You Don't Mean It...
A large black cloud seemed to follow me and another nurse that worked on our obstetric/ labor and delivery/ nursery units. When I supervised and we were on the same shift, bad things just seemed to happen. If she was working post partum, after the delivery, we had a problem with a patient there. If she worked the labor and delivery area, the black cloud descended. Even when she was in the nursery and we were on together, we had problems with a newborn.
In short, no matter what area of the hospital she worked, there was some kind of difficulty. She was a nurse on duty when the woman who called me the elephant who sat on her chest arrested.
When things began to settle after a particularly harrowing night in labor & delivery, I jokingly said, “Why don’t you just take that black cloud home with you.” We laughed and I immediately forgot that I had said it.
The very next day, she came to the emergency room with her husband. He was seen and admitted with a small bowel obstruction. I felt so guilty and embarrassed about what I had said to her. I know it was a coincidence, but I couldn’t shrug off the feeling of being responsible. I felt as though she might blame me. I went to his room and apologized to both of them, not knowing what else to do. They were gracious and laughed about it.
He managed to improve without surgery and was released after several days, but anytime that nurse and I worked together and we had a bad night, I would tell her to “take that black cloud halfway home and toss it on the porch of someone you don’t like.” We laughed when I said that and afterwards the shifts we shared didn’t seem quite so bad.