This class was a total burst….everyday ended with a throbbing pain right in the middle of my skull. I am tired. Listening to my supervisor talk about indwelling catheters, condom catheters and why the old man needs an enema… (tear drops are falling) is totally brutal.
It’s Monday and my ears are ringing terribly. I walked into the little blue room and sat in a chair, I wasn’t in the mood. My palms were itching terribly…”bad sign”. I looked around to see if anything was about to fall on my head, then he walked in.
Talk about a really bad start for an already terrible day. My head began to throb menacingly, who would have thought?
“Hey Adah” his shrilly voice was grating on my nerves. I was going to be nice like always. I smiled at him and looked away.
“You look pretty today…you wanna go with me to get something from the store. I would like to have a beautiful girl by my side”
I looked at him from the corner of my eye and mumbled something about being tired, didn’t want to go, and wasn’t in the mood.
If he didn’t walk away I was going to get really nasty. I constructed biting sentences in my head that would get my point across and keep him away forever. Nothing came to me, I was stumped.
How’s about being mean to people who clearly have mental problems. Should we protect ourselves or their feelings. I always try to be nice, I smile at them, listen to their stories, I protect their feelings and try to curb mine. I’ve heard this approach always takes a wrong turn, trust me not to listen, I want to save the world. I want to be that one person who is nice to everyone and anyone, and believe me I do try.
I met Duane on the 6th floor, right off the elevator. He had every kind of piercing on his body the world had to offer. I am a big fan of rock music, you can call me a “rocka chick”, but not a fan of piercings. Apparently we were going to take the same course together. He came off as really timid, and totally harmless the first few seconds of our meeting. He told me a whole lot about himself, I told him nothing. I know about his parents, his ex girlfriend, her new boyfriend, his relationship issues, and all this information was fed into my ears as I tried to concentrate on flipping through my journal.
I remember pretending to be interested and staring intently at the long scar lines running along his wrists. When I asked him about the scars on his arm, he gave the whole sordid detail. It became really intriguing, and I was on full attention mode. I mean burn victims, broken bones and emergency room drama are totally awesome events but talking with a guy who I didn’t have to refer to psych was a different story. He told me about the breakup, it left him depressed, he cut himself, he over dosed on pills. Apparently his ex girlfriend had a serious case of dependency and she sounded disturbed to me. I didn’t understand why the breakup had affected him so much. His inability to walk away from it all and focus on himself baffled me. I tried imagining subjecting myself to self mutilation at every bad turn in my life, and I just couldn’t.
I felt really bad…. I wanted to help him, I wanted to say something that would make sense. I gave my speech.
“Duane, I am sorry to hear that. You have been through a lot and you need to look out for yourself, and not depend so much on other people’s opinions about u. You are a special person and you can work with what you’ve got and achieve personal growth…”, and blah, blah, blah, blah.
I was reaching out to someone. It felt fulfilling, but it all changed, he turned on me, he became obsessed with me. In his head I was his girlfriend, we had started this new relationship.
Day three: I looked him in the eye and said, “Duane you have to stop this. I am not your girlfriend, I can’t go out with you, and I am not even sure we are friends”. He looked like he was going to cry, I was so sure it was going to stop. I was so sure he would stop doing whatever it was he was doing.
After a few days it only got worse. Each time I ignored him or cut him off politely, he sat in the corner like an abused child. I wasn’t going be an enabler, quite frankly I hated him at this point. Right now I wanted to hurt him on purpose, my conscience told me to be nice to him, my mind raged on.
Today he was at it again…It’s like he wakes up each morning with fresh and precise determination. Did he suffer a TBI (TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY) in the past, was he crazy?….I don’t know. Am I some kind of magnet?
Right after I told him I wouldn’t go anywhere with him he became all wimpy, then really moody, then it was blood chilling anger. He screamed, yelled and stomped around. I was terrified, they called security……everyone on the whole floor was out of sorts . He was escorted out of the building, I made a mental note to watch my back….I’m in a bad way.
The rest of my orientation was Duane free, my colleagues were happy about that. I was bothered constantly with questions about the whole sordid affair. I listened to their opinions about the situation. How they could have handled it, what I did wrong, how I allowed it happen. Their opinions made me laugh, they wondered why.
I haven’t seen Duane since that day, and quite frankly I don’t want to. Most times I wonder if I could have handled things differently. I deal with patients with mental issues in the work place, I ignore their discrepancies, I hold their hand, and I sympathize with them. I couldn’t do the same with Duane. It bothers me now, should I have been nicer? I think not! He was different, he wanted to be with me, and the idea was sick and twisted. What would you have done in this situation? What would you have done in this situation?