The hidden support system
I don’t feel like I bring much to the table as a friend. I mean a co-worker, sure. I feel pretty confident in my ability to do my job. It’s like the one thing I feel confident about, but human interaction has always been a struggle. I just assume generally speaking my relationship with people ends where our collaboration ends. But sometimes we get shocked into remembering that isn’t always the case. In this case, it was because I had an emergency this morning.
I say I had an emergency and that’s true, but it wasn’t me with the emergency, although it felt like it at the time. Needless to say, it’s been an exhausting day and a good reminder that no matter how much training you have for an emergency, it’s different when the person having the problem is someone you know and care about. First, let me say that everyone involved is fine, we don’t know what happened or what caused the emergency, which is somewhat concerning, but the worst of it is over, so for the regulars around here, please don’t worry.
I’m being purposefully vague here to protect the privacy of the other person involved, so if it feels like I’m avoiding talking about the specifics of what happened, it’s because I am. I mean it was pure luck that I was there to even offer assistance and help the person, so yeah, right place at the right time I guess.
While the emergency was surprising, the real surprise was the reaction I got from colleagues, or really work friends (is that a thing? I feel like that’s a thing as an adult) who reached out to me offering support and help. People on the school side and the hospital side offered anything they could do to make things easier for me and for the person who was having the issue.
The funny thing was that I had people texting and even calling me offering me support and what not. I explained the emergency to the hospital lab and they told me to take the day to make sure the person was fine, so I did. Experiments got rescheduled and they offered to reschedule them again if things aren’t resolved by Monday, which was somewhat surprising. We take care of each other in our lab, so it was a nice reminder that I can have an emergency from time to time.
I’m not the type of person to miss something I’ve committed to, so when something happens, like when I almost got into a car accident because the other person thought a red light was more of a suggestion, my first thought was about how it would make me late for work. My brain is odd, I know.
The show of support was a nice surprise though. Surgeon-PI once again proved to be a far better human than I deserve to know when he literally called me and said I meant the world to him and by extension so does anyone I care about (his words verbatim), so I wish there was some way to show my gratitude for him saying that. I had one person from the school lab offer to bring stuff to help the person having the emergency if I needed help, even if it was over the weekend. That person happens to live like an hour away, so that was both surprising and far kinder than I would’ve imagined.
It’s been an eventful day. It’s also a crappy way to start the weekend, especially after I had a minor freakout about one of my cats yesterday evening, which is a whole story on its own, but one of them is older, well old, like need to think about making her comfortable at the end of life old. Again, another story for another time, but she’s fine for now, so that’s enough for me. But today was also a good reminder of why my mental health has been, well not stable, but stable enough. Now I have a support system and people who genuinely care, which makes all the difference on days like today.
I’m glad everybody is okay! And that you found out you have more of a support network than you thought you did. Co-workers showed a similar willingness to look after me last year – I had my manager offering to bring me groceries if I ever got too decrepit to go out – and I was a little shocked too.
Work connections are a funny thing. I’ve cared more about some co-workers than they probably ever knew or will know. But asking to build a friendship that extends outside work always feels too forward, somehow – even saying “hey let’s go get lunch together” seems to be beyond me, it only happens when other people initiate it. It’s not that I think I’m unworthy or unlikable, it’s more that … we’re all there because we have to be there, people’s lives might already be socially full, and it’s hard to know whether I’m forcing myself on anyone. Maybe that’s weird, but I never claimed to be great at human interaction either.
And speaking of that – whatever you might think about your qualities as a friend, I value you highly. You are not difficult to connect with at all. Once understanding of some things made it through my thick skull, and I realized I should try offering to be your friend … not only did I feel rather dense for not doing it sooner, I was surprised a dozen people hadn’t beaten me to it. I wasn’t sure how you could be so endearing and so lonely at the same time. For real.
So it makes more sense that you do matter to the people you work with.
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July 30, 2022 at 1:19 am
Thank you, I’m glad everyone is okay too. I’m glad you got the same experience! I guess we can just be blind to the people that care sometimes.
I have problems with making connections outside of work as well. As a researcher our hours are so fluid, we see each other a lot, so I always feel like trying to suggest that we do something outside of work is overboard to me I guess? I don’t even know, but on the brightside it sounds like it’s not just me!
I’m glad we’re friends too! I’m thankful you reached out and that we got to connect.
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July 30, 2022 at 4:34 pm
What a wonderful story! I love the feeling that restores faith in humankind. I wish I had that experience with co-workers. I was blaming the fact that northerners are just unfriendly. They all seem to function in their own world. Not one person has invited me to have lunch with them and I feel like I would be to forward asking them. They don’t ask anything personal and I don’t ask, another thing I thought that’s just a trait of northerners. My supervisor doesn’t even know where I moved from to take this job she commented I was from Kentucky. Thanks for sharing your story.
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July 30, 2022 at 11:59 am
Aw, I’m sorry you haven’t had the same experience! You’re always so kind and thoughtful, I’m surprised others don’t open up!
July 30, 2022 at 4:40 pm