Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Crazy, fat, and dumb (yet also something neat)

Yesterday was maybe not so great. It overall was fine, but I managed to get holes gouged in my heart. Usually I'm not particularly sensitive to patients, but they hit on things that I am sensitive about right now. They also hit when I've got PMS with my normal issues. And for male readers, PMS plus bipolar is bad.

It started when patient A started talking about working at a local psychiatric facility. Generally I enjoy that kind of conversation as some of my psych facility patients would have been their patients, and most psych employees truly love what they do. This person, however, apparently had a very "us" versus "them" approach to mental illness. In about 4 seconds I was totally infuriated and struggling not to say something I'd regret as the patient went on and on and on about how crazy people shouldn't have rights and should be locked up and on and on. Then they called me fat, to my face. I've gained weight and I'm well overweight, (and truth be told scrubs add to the perception of overweightness because they are baggy and layered) but I'm not THAT big. Sure, size 10 would be better than 18, but there's a lot of sizes beyond 18.

Then patient B said something about not seeing me a long time. I explained I was sick. Patient B's daughter asked if he remembered me. Patient B said "yes, you're dumb".

Thanks? I know not to take these things seriously. I know better and really rarely care. But I think it was just a little much at once since it all happened in 10 minutes. Also the patient calling me dumb was, and to my knowledge still is, a very sweet man. So I'm not sure why he did that.

On the other hand, back in the summer I started a project where I was working with a few women (women tend to like these things more) and making them memory books. I interviewed them about things they liked and had done, searched their charts for facts about their lives, and made little one sentences pages in one of those small plastic photo albums. Each page said something like "you're birthday is August 4, 1920." "You live in room 18." "You played softball as a girl. You say you were a very good fielder". Etc. The books were calming and helped distract the women.

One of those women always carries a minimum of a handful, usually a bagful of stuff with her and wanders for most of the day. Part of her stash is a notebook that her kids enter information about their visits for her to remember. She carries all sorts of things in that notebook, napkins and a washcloth and sometimes things like spoons, and candy. She also is carrying that book I made her around everywhere. I did something good...I know if she didn't like that book it would be long gone.

That pretty much made up for the crappiness of hurtful words. As did a LOT of sleep. I can do this. I think I can, I think I can....

At least this time I'm not leaving with the paper crisis of last time. For those who don't know that story, in 2006 my assistant was fired. At that time I was doing evals and supervision for 2 buildings totalling 300 patients and treatments for any patients receiving therapy in 150 beds. I generally had 10 patients and then maybe 5-6 evals. I was busy enough they were going to hire a part-time to full-time assistant to float between the buildings. It is very hard to find OTs and the manager I had at that time was lazy and a liar. She kept telling me she had help coming when she simply didn't. I was working 60+ hours/week and my doctor is very firm about 40 or less. I didn't have time to do paperwork. I'm talking I didn't even have the bare minimum evals done and that's a major legal issue. The manager told me not to worry about it, they would let me do it when I had help. So this HUGE amount of paperwork piled up since I went weeks with not help. Then I got really sick and was on disability for 4 months. The last few days before disability I got the evals written out and some notes. But I still came back to something like 6 inches of paperwork. Mixed in was stuff I had to deal with from as far back as 2 years ago, when I didn't work in that building. I arranged to come back about 2 weeks earlier than my doctor would have let me go back to my physically strenuous job because she said I could do paperwork until caught up. That was another lie, I quit, eventually she got fired, and I wound up doing paperwork right up to the day after my last day, on my free time. Never again.

1 comment:

sara said...

Hi, just found your site via Purple Dog. I also work in a similar field and I SOOOOOOOOOO hate that attitude toward mental illness. And a lot of the worst offenders are psychiatrists!

Looking forward to reading more. I have been looking for blogs about people who share this disorder but keep mostly normal lives...to inspire me.