Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tough Days

What a day! Not the worst day possible, but one of those days that are super uncomfortable. My job is to treat psychiatric illness and prevent suicide. When a patient tells me they plan to kill themselves, I am obliged to make an assessment of whether they are dangerous or not and whether hospitalization is necessary. Ordinarily I put alot of energy into urging the patient to go to hospital voluntarily, and most often they do. Sometimes it is challenging to know if hospitalization is the best course of action. I never know for sure, and I am often worried.

It is unusual for me to write up an 'emergency petition' or call the police. The police do a good job, but it is not always 'warm and fuzzy' or particularly sensitive. I guess calling the police implies a measure of violence. This all happened when Eric was driving Maya to my office. The plan was to pick up Maya's new eyeglasses at the mall, but when Eric and Maya drove up with Rita's ice-cream, the police were doing their job, and I did not want Maya to see any of the ugliness, so I sent them away while I dealt with the police and the patient.

My heart was pounding in my chest and I was shaking throughout the process. I felt lucky to have a colleague with me for support. I also felt rather silly watching my ice-cream melt in my hands while the patient was handcuffed and marched/dragged to the backseat of the police car. I felt horrible. Later in the emergency room, the patient denied being suicidal and the psychiatrist on call felt uncertain that the emergency petition would hold. Such a waste of effort.

I did not want Maya to know about what was going on. She was so excited to get her new eyeglasses and actually see what was going on around her. I did not know she could not see, or at least she had said nothing until these past few weeks. I did not want her to have glasses, but now that she does, I must admit she looks adorable! The phone kept ringing this evening, from the hospital, from the patient, from my mother, from my daughter's therapist, from Eric. I felt paralyzed and did not attend to much. Warmed up pasta and tomatoes for dinner, limited violin, lost of talk, a bubble bath and planning our trip to Canada. We will drive up Saturday to surprise Lorna (she knows!) and meet my parents and sisters in Ottawa. Lorna graduates from Queen's University with a degree in Political science. It will be a celebration! The event is actually in Kingston, some miles from Ottawa, and after the family events, Eric, Maya and Karen and I will spend some days in Montreal.

And so the house demands are sidelined for all sorts of reasons. Perfectly reasonable. We will plan more tomorrow

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