Dear Nurse Marge
I’m hoping against hope that you can help me, Nurse Marge, because I absolutely DO NOT know what to do. I’ve been a ER nurse for 12 years, so it’s not like I’m inexperienced here, but this situation has me banging my head against the wall.
Here’s the situation. It’s very late Saturday night — very early Sunday morning — and then we get a patient who’s had a very bizarre gardening accident. It was the type of accident that left the patient with a large cucumber lodged within her backside. This is why you shouldn’t weed the garden at night, apparently.
But here’s the thing: the patient just happens to be married to my husband’s business partner. She actually didn’t SEE me, as far as I know. (She had her face buried in the pillow — and who could blame her?) I handed her chart off to a buddy, and moved on to another patient, who thankfully had steered clear of the produce aisle.
But here’s the problem. While the patient didn’t see me, I know for an absolute fact that her husband DID. He instantly recognized me (we socialize with this couple regularly!) and his face went so red he could have doubled as a sharps container!
I haven’t said anything to my husband…but you know we’re going to wind up hanging out with this couple SOON. How in the world do I handle this?
In a Pretty Pickle!
Dear Pretty Pickle,
For once, HIPAA is your friend! There’s really nothing you can do in this situation EXCEPT pretend like it never happened. You saw nothing, you know nothing… you certainly SAY nothing!
Of course, this only works so well. You know what happened, and THEY know you know what happened. They’re likely far more mortified by the incident than you’ll ever be. Make it easy to move past this incident by avoiding conversations or situations that could make them remember what happened. That’s what a good friend would do.
Under no circumstances host a garden party this year.
If you’re having dinner with this couple, it’s okay to decline seconds — but don’t do so by saying, “No thanks, I’m stuffed!”
Avoid the farmer’s market, at least while you know they’ll be shopping.
It’ll take a little while for this situation to fade from memory — yours, at least — I don’t think SHE’LL be forgetting this incident, ever — but if your friendship is strong enough, and you keep silent and professional at all times, eventually you’ll be able to put the whole incident behind you.
As long as you don’t give in to temptation and buy them a Salad Shooter for Christmas.