J has survived his first couple of weeks on his Psychiatry rotation. Psych is a less intense rotation as far as hours go but is still pretty intense on the type of patient you see. His official diagnosis - there are a lot of crazy people in this world. This is perhaps the most evident in the ER where psych patients are brought in by the police and held in a private, enclosed room. Personally, I would find that way more scary than jail, but that is just me.
When J started his rotations he had to undergo a self-defense lesson and was told not to wear a tie as it could present a safety risk for him. I had never really thought about these scenarios before. As an official member of the Nervous Nelly club, I was more than just a little nervous. This was especially true on the night he took his first overnight shift at the ER. The shift lasted from midnight until 8 am the next morning. The hospital is in a very dangerous neighborhood and the clientele fits the area. I didn't sign up for this "pseudo-policeman's wife" bit. Fortunately, on this night J did not have to practice any extreme martial arts.
I can't reveal too much about individual patients but I have heard some snippets of what many would consider the standard psychiatric patient - stuffed animal companions thought to be real, extreme cat lovers, prosthetic limbs being literally thrown in anger, and of course the usual person who believes they are being contacted by "aliens" in the form of code. Just your boring day in the psych ward. In fact, his duties are much like mine at home. After his all-nighter, J informed me that his night mostly consisted of him making sure his patients were still alive, breathing and not causing any harm to others. Hmmm......sounds a lot like what I do around here.
I think the most surprising thing about this gig is that J is becoming more sympathetic towards people with these afflictions. He is realizing that for the people who are truly ill, they do not choose being the way they are and just want help. He has taken an special liking to a couple of patients and wants to help them so much, but is very limited in what he can do. I think the hardest part is becoming so involved in these patients' lives. J has to talk to family members who beg for their relative to get better, but there are no guaranteed solutions. Of course that is medicine in general. Doctors can try everything possible but at the end of the day it is really up to a higher power what happens.
On a lighter note, J wanted me to be sure and make a notation of today's date. Apparently while I took little A to see the American Girl movie today, an important event took place. J informed me that today, July 13th, 2008 marks the official beginning of Landen's sports training. Last night while we had some of our favorite, close friends over, the men decided to film their golf swings. They were on the side of the house but little man caught a glimpse of them and ran over to me, "Mommy, where is my golf club?" I pointed it out to him and he ran over to join the rest of the golf nerds to swing away. J has never been more proud, hence the official training period has begun. So, take note ESPN and Sports Illustrated, our future pro is now in the game.