267) The Entitlement Syndrome

August 9, 2008

El Milagro: Rosie the Tech called Friday night to offer me either a 5:30 am chair or an 11:30 am chair and I responded that since it's gonna be so hot, how about noon, so I can do yard work in the morning... she says "No... 11:30, not 12... 11:30". I brought up how they were late last week and she assured me the chair will be ready at 11:30! Okay.

So, I arrive at 11:30 and find from Gladys the Tech that they're not ready yet. A scan of the room indicates that Rosie isn't even there to kid with. I am waiting in the weighting room... which no longer ha
s the weigher, so I guess it is now simply a waiting room. The influence of Jay the New Boss is, I analyze, to make El Milagro look like other treatment centers I've visited around the state... with the weigh station inside the treatment room and the door closed to the waiting room. I wonder what the rationale is for those changes...

Several waiters are here: a couple and a guy waiting for their rides home and a woman waiting for her son, who is on dialysis. They TV is showing the Olympic games and they are all discussing how beautiful the opening ceremony last night was. I begin these notes. The waiters and I agree that with the closed door policy, we worry that we will be forgotten out here, even though we know that they have a chair in there with our name on it.

I notice, sittin
g here, how much I hate waiting. I am trying to decide if I want to go do something and then return. What could I do? Go down the street to the plant store... but if I bought a plant it'd sit in the truck for four hours and that wouldn't be good. I guess that not liking waiting is part of my leanings toward "the entitlement syndrome"; thinking that it's all about me, when, in fact, none of it is about 'me'. I expect things to always operate on my schedule! When I'm ready, they should be ready! (Remember Albert Ellis' "'Should'ism is shitism'")

If 'I' don't like something and I sit back and accept it without comment or any outward sign of distress, anxiety, or complaint, then I can define myself as having a taoist attitude (or Zen, if you wish). If, however, I complain and publicize my thoughts and feelings about the things I don't like an
d especially if I criticize and deride the hallucinated progenitor of my contempt, then I am acting like I am 'entitled'... they owe it to me to put me in a chair immediately! "I" am the most important king of the world and I deserve to be seated NOW!

I do notice a number of patients in El Milagro griping whenever things don't go exactly like they want it to be, and my assessment has usually been that their distress is a result of their disease. I think that many patients have an underlying and unresolved anger about their medical situation and the facility and staff unconsciously become the target of these negative emotions. Rather than accept a medical situation, it is easier for some to attack the people and programs that remind one of their terrible situation, I think. And I also think, as I said earlier, the folk
s aren't conscious of their behavior; they probably just feel some relief and maybe a little bit of guilt after they make their demands and complaints. In my estimation this is an area where the social work staff could provide much more support than is apparent on a daily basis. I can imagine a center where social workers would provide ongoing 'counseling' related to grief and anger work with the patients, which might impact their "entitlement" issues.

In fact, when I self-assess my own behavior and blush at the finding that it might be an "entitlement" situation, it helps me to step back, assess my attachment to my frustration and anger, and then reframe those 'parts' as protective devices that don't have to jump up to defend me right now. The subject of my distress, I tell myself, is simply a glitch in the system that is there to get me to step inside and remember my tai chi... the
way of the warrior is to not be where they swing. And then I can breathe in calmness and then breathe out any distress and anxiety and return to a stance of acceptance. Also I can consider how I fit into the system and how much my "questioning authority" is done for the benefit of the whole group of patients, versus for myself.

When I don't
remember to follow this strategy, or when my entitled part overwhelms my accepting part, I can become a person with the 'entitlement syndrome". Both Bill Wren and Dusty Humes, in my past, have had a lot to say about entitlement and narcissism... so, if they are reading this, I hope they offer their perspectives as well.

Both Carrie the Tech and Amanda the Tech come through the waiting room, on their way to work, with their little lunch sacks, and they inquire, "Do they know you're here?"
and I nod. Finally Amanda comes back out and reports that my chair is ready. I walk in, go to my chair and pull out my supplies for the day; radio, blanket, pillow, earphone, book... and she takes my standing BP. "How much did you weigh?" she inquires. I realize I didn't weigh in... missed it because it wasn't part of my normal pattern, since they moved the weigher inside the room. So, we unhook my BP monitor and I return to weigh in... 76.4. Amanda continues to hook me up and I listen to Tom Russell's "Hills of old Juarez"* on KUT Folkways as I tune the TV to the olympic games... women's beach volleyball. Amanda is 5'9 and we discuss how tall Shayna will be, since she has sprouted almost three inches this summer. Amanda reports that she doesn't wear heels. I settle in to watching the games.

I watch the games for the whole time, and it passes quickly. I probably dozed for awhile too cause I lost part of the time, it seems. Of note, today is the death anniversary of Jerry Garcia**, 13 years ago now...

¡Perdemos su espíritu y música Jerry!

In at 76.4 and out at 74.5 kgs.
* Tom Russell's thoughts: http://russelltom.blogspot.com/ (desert views ala EP)
**Jerry Garcia online at http://jerrygarcia.com/intro.html
*** Jerry in the clouds retrieved online from http://jeromeprophet.blogspot.com/2007_04_15_


Anonymous said...


been keeping up with your blog over last few months since first discovered it via another blogger...

your comments in this post regarding waiting and 'entitlement' issues struck a chord. i think personally it is more an issue of control and being out of it. having a chronic/life threatening illness one likes routine and the ability to know what they got to do and when so that can live life the rest of the time...when things don't go according to that or someone else changes a part of that routine i think it is actually the loss/lack of control that gets thrown in your face that makes one then get frustrated and angry not necessarily the illness itself....

just my thoughts didn't mean it to be such a long response

tc hugs

Anonymous said...

Just thought I'd add a reason for the scale being in the clinic and the door being shut or locked. Dialysis clinics are required to be a secure facility for HIPPA and other safety reasons, all doors leading from waiting room to treatment floor should be locked so as unwelcomed people cannot enter.

If the State (as in public health) were to walk in and see an open door from waiting room to treatment floor it would be a violation. Sorry, we get many a complaints where I work also. And we won't forget you.

-Kim the tech

Jack Nowicki said...

Scampy & Kim ~ Thanks so much for your comments... I agree with both of them for the most part.

Yes I think the sense of loss of control does inform ones sense of "entitlement". The entitled generation grew into a world where "control" was an illusion to many... part of the reason, I think, for the turn to hippidom, the search for the etherial, and the nature movement.

And Kim... I love your blog and will refer folks to it... for your sharing your techie perspective.

Thank you both for visiting my blog. JN