Thursday, June 16, 2005


We've been having a spot of bother at the surgery over the past couple of weeks.

One of our mental health patients (chap around the age of 22 or so) has been visiting us on a regular basis. Like, every morning. The first couple of times he was ok. He's actually a little scary in some ways...he has long messy hair and a beard to match...he speaks very slowly, talking at the floor much of the time...not alot of eye contact to be had with this lad.

Last Tuesday morning he came in and caused a commotion....he insisted on seeing the doctor immediately and refused to wait. He paced back and forth in the waiting room...occasionally he would take a seat beside another patient....then proceed to tell them about blowing out peoples brains. He starting yelling and threatening and eventually the police were called in. By the time the cops arrived he'd finally stormed out, but left quite an impression.

The next morning when he arrived the doctor took him in straight away. One of the patients came up to reception to say she wasn't happy being there while he was around....he'd broken into her neighbour's house the night before. The police have rung several times to speak to his doctor, trying to put the pieces together. He's been arrested and then admitted over the weekend to the forensic unit at the mental health hospital...later to be released.

He's also been seen standing at the local bus stop wielding a couple of knives. I served him last Thursday...he seemed calm and 'together'...I had a polite conversation with him and booked him to see his doctor later in the day. During this time, Annette was rushing around out the back, dragging one of the male doctors out of consultation, "just in case". The problem with someone like this, is they can 'snap' very easily...without the least just don't know when it's going to happen. Nobody in our surgery really knows what to do with a situation like this. One of our doctors (who deals with a lot of mental health patients) has suggested we push the panic button and get out. I'm wondering what that means we do with the rest of the waiting patients?....we can hardly leave them there to fend for themselves. He turns up when the waiting room is usually full. Today there were several pre-schoolers present, not to mention at least half a dozen elderly patients. We've also been told, if we see him pacing back and forth in the carpark to lock the door and call the police.

Mid morning one of our staff rang to say she'd just seen him walk past her house. He was walking down the street, yelling out something unintelligible with his hands clamped over his ears. Anyway, while I was sitting at the front desk alone, he showed up. He was yelling before he walked in the door. Apparently he'd fallen off his skateboard and hurt his shoulder and couldn't open the door. By the time I'd put my head down the corridor and yelled out to Annette, one of our elderly patients had kindly opened the door for him. He came in, insisted on seeing his doctor and saying he needed painkillers (it's always about painkillers). Annette spoke to him, she told him his doctor wasn't there and that he would have to come back tomorrow for his scheduled appointment....the rest of us stood watching, wound up like tight springs. After a bit more yelling and demanding but finally realising he wasn't going to get what he wanted, he left. Everybody exhaled.

An hour later I hear Annette say under her breath "oh shit, he's back" and looked up to see that he had indeed returned. He'd bought a small toy helicopter for "Dr Michael". This is not actually his doctor's name, but I doubt that's of any consequence to him...I believe that all doctors are "Dr Michael" to him. He insisted on leaving the helicopter in Dr Michael's office for when he arrived at work this afternoon. Annette said the office door was locked. (This door was not locked, in fact one of the receptionists was using the office to do some paperwork. Taking into consideration that we're to do our best and not show him any nervousness or fear, I hate to think how she would've reacted, had he turned the doorknob and entered unexpectedly.) Fortunately he placed the helicopter at the foot of the door, mumbling to himself and left.

I don't know what he needs to do before they'll keep him in the hospital for longer than an overnight stay. What are the authorities waiting for? This boy obviously needs help. How often do we read in the newspaper these days that someone's been hurt or, god forbid, murdered, because they've discharged a mental health patient too soon? I could be over-reacting about this, but if I'm being completely honest with you, the possibilities of what could've happened today have unhinged me a little. Annette said she was close to vomitting after she'd spoken to him, purely due to the 'nerve factor'. We both had the shakes after he left. The staff are practically freezing the second he appears.

Anyway, that's enough of my rambling for the day...all this pent up emotion is draining. Thanks for listening, I just needed to get that out of my system. I don't know how much longer I'll bother putting the little video/music thing on my site, but this song in particular makes me think of the guy I wrote about today, so it feels appropriate to me.
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