Monday, December 25, 2006

Do You Hear What I Hear? Probably not...

I have a theory that some people who have a severe and chronic psychiatric illness or addiction cease to mature emotionally at the onset of the illness. It's true that people with severe psychiatric illnesses tend to be very concrete in their thinking, unable to grasp even the simple metaphors we use in proverbs; often have trouble making decisions using good judgement; often tend to have magical thinking; and often revert to childhood behaviors when they are frightened or stressed. While some of these behaviors may be true for all of us at times, for people who are severely emotionally ill, these can be a way of life.

That's one reason why I like to work Christmas Eve night on the psych ward. Those who have trouble sleeping all the rest of the year will often go to bed willingly, as though this is their last chance to be good before Christmas. Not only that, but it's rare to get admissions then.

This year, though, when I arrived at the unit, I was afraid it was going to be much different than I expected.

On entering the unit, I was accosted by a diminutive white haired lady, who walked right up to me, pointed her finger at me and (in a broad twang) said accusingly, "I know who YOU are!"

"Oh?" I said.

"You're the one who's been ropin' cattle with Big Hoss down at the ranch. That's who YOU are!"

She glared at me for a moment, then turned and stalked down the hall to her room.

The next patient to talk to me, a distinguished looking man, glared at me and then proclaimed (in the best booming TV preacher voice I've ever heard), "I SEE it! I see SIN written all over you! SIN! In BIG RED LETTERS!" And then HE turned around and stomped down the hall to his room.

And it was STILL the quietest night I've had on the adult unit in months. We didn't have to give a single medication, no one got out of bed, and the only incident was the woman who faked a seizure (trust me that a person who is jiggling her legs under the blanket and calmly telling you she's having a seizure, is NOT having a seizure). Even she wouldn't have been awake, though if it wasn't for the order to wake her up and give her a snack.

I think the "preacher", though, must have had some inside information, because it was painfully obvious that once again, Santa had not shown up to shower me with expensive presents (Gavin made out like a bandit, though). At least I got to eat the cookies and drink the milk. Take that, Santa!


Leann said...

I too must not have met Santa's expectations this year, as I did not get any gifts.

The psych evening sounds interesting tho.... :-)

Pompomluvr said...

Bad girl here, no visit from Santa either...LOL Oh well, there's always next year!

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Take Care,

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Tracy said...


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Nurse Overcomes Cancer—Twice—to Provide Care to Others

By Nancy Deutsch, RN, contributor

Many people yearn to make nursing their career, but few have to battle the odds like Valerie Bush.

The Independence, Kentucky, woman, who was a medical technician for six years and a nurse’s aide “on and off forever,” waited until her children were raised to return to nursing school. When she finally entered the Gateway Community and Technical College, it was unbelievably stressful. Not only was the single mother dealing with her course work, but her father died, and her youngest daughter was dealing with medical problems, including bipolar disease.

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Tracy (