“I Don’t Listen Well,” He Said, Part I of III
By Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.
When the medical specialist stood over my mother’s ICU bed and said, “I don’t listen well,” I was sure he was joking.
My mother was admitted into the hospital via ER. We thought it was a virus or food poisoning.
Soon, she was in intensive care.
Mom spent nine days, including Christmas Eve and Christmas day, in ICU.
The seven doctors I met had fill-ins for Christmas holidays.
Some physicians had fill-ins for the fill-ins.
Yes, then we shifted back to fill-ins, and then back to the original doctors, Monday, December 27th, 2010, as each read the chart.
Many physicians and professionals shared details with me about specific windows of time each had to visit their family – or two families (their words).
I believe the holiday season, and watching me sit alone, shifted people as they “blew through” (their term) to ‘round’ my very sick mother.
A few whispered to me, “There but for the grace of God go I at my parent’s bedside.”
I nodded each time, listened, honored with their sharings.
Individuals privately discussed that they were driving distances to open gifts with loved ones with whom they no longer live.
As I listened, their eyes filled with tears.
Then each regained composure and continued ‘rounding’ of patients.
The physician I am writing about is a distinguished specialist with multiple letters after his name.
We liked this man immediately when he entered our small room (a unit) with a large smile.
Squeezed into an ICU spot, Dad had just described a CD series as “fascinating” and handed it to me with a simple, “Here you go.”
The physician’s interest was piqued; he asked about the CDs.
“The Buried Book, The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh” by David Damrosch (unabridged) details “Gilgamesh himself at the dawn of recorded history,” from tablets lost in Mesopotamia.
The physician knew (a lot) about Gilgamesh.
He and my father began a spirited, factual, historical discussion ripe with proper nouns and dates.
Mom beamed in her bed.
Mom, Dad and the doctor had just discussed facts surrounding her grandfather’s, Adolphus Floyd, Civil War capture and two-time imprisonment (P.O.W.) for the south.
(I was pleasantly surprised that Mom was able to formulate the accurate facts and words – as she sick as she was.)
I stood at the foot of the bed and smiled.
It was so good to see bright spirits shine.
The nurse working one of many machines at bedside stopped to tip her head and listen, her back turned to us. I watched her, too.
Court reporters notice that, yes?
I had the Gilgamesh CD collection in my right hand.
Due to the doctor’s fascination and complete unabashed enthusiasm I asked softly, “Would you like to see the epic?”
The doctor quickly tucked his equipment around his neck and reached to my hand saying, “Yes! I don’t listen well.”
I paused before I softly teased about his work and why he was in the room – working in realtime.
Sincerely, he said, “Really. I score in the top percentile of the country for skills. Yet I don’t listen well. I need to see it.”
Dad said, “She’s a court reporter. You may want to watch your words. She remembers everything and can repeat your words back to you.”
The doctor said, “No, really. It’s true.”
I shared that he might be a profile for my next article saying, “I’m always trolling. Your ‘listening’ would be great for my court reporting column.”
Dad and Mom looked the best I had seen in a while. Everyone laughed, and all was right for a moment in our world.
The next day, the physician strolled into ICU and said, “I shouldn’t have said that to you, but it’s true.”
He re-introduced and expanded the conversation.
That’s when I said, “Now you are so the topic for my next column.”
Court reporters listen. We listen precisely.
We listen while thinking about our lists, working and tasking – all in realtime.
Others I’m learning? Not as much.
Christmas and then New Year’s became my quest to “listen” to their listening. People have (seriously explained to me) territories.
One could not simply step on another’s toes. (Excuse me?)
Many medical moments required instant decisions from family members with professionals, and then another specialist would enter and have a different request, set of facts, or “they can’t do that!” (Oh, yes, they did.)
One physician said, “I want to put them all in the same room and have them duke it out together.”
Dad reminded that doctor that I remember words.
The doctor said, “Good! I’m trying to help your mother! And save her life!” with two fists in the air.
I sat at the edge of the hard, uncomfortable chair, eyes and ears open.
I worked to avoid looking stunned (the court reporter look we know well).
Individuals wearing white coats and specialists wearing polo shirts appeared surprised that I listened at Mom’s bedside, then asked a brief question following a four-minute explanation.
This is what we do. We listen. We listen. Then we listen.
Part II of III is posted April 19, 2011, on Monette’s Musings at www.monettebenoit.com and www.CRRbooks.com
Part III of III is posted April 26, 2011, on Monette’s Musings at www.monettebenoit.com and www.CRRbooks.com
Monette, Court Reporting Whisperer, may be reached: Monette@ARTCS.com and Monette@CRRbooks.com
Monette Benoit, B. B.A., CCR, CRI, CPE, Paralegal
Tutor, Motivational Management & Empowerment Coach,
Multiple Title Author of Books & Test Prep for the Court Reporting, CART, & Captioning Industry
Realtime Court Reporter, Instructor, Consultant, Columnist
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As a 25+ year court reporter, CART provider, author of NCRA test prep material, and an instructor, public speaker, Monette Benoit has taught multiple theories, academics, all speed classes, and the 225 homeroom within NCRA-approved schools and a community college. She understands the challenges many adults now face in our industry and schooling.
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