This blog could easily be named the “hunt and peck” blog. I’m typing this, while I’m all gimpy. At times, I’m even typing with an ice pack resting on my wrist. Yeah, I have to use my creativity for more than just blogging. You may be wondering how I got here. Let me tell you a little story. Hi, my name is Dr. Ericka, and I’m a psychiatrist. I was having an uneventful day at work until I heard screaming. By the time I was able to intervene, the situation had already escalated. I had a very mentally ill, confused, distraught person on my hands. The patient was so out of it that while I tried to calm them down, they ended up grabbing my wrist and slapping my face. The wrist injury would have been minor if my patient hadn’t dug her fingers into a sweet spot where there are a bunch of tendons and nerves. The crazy thing is that this was the first time I’ve ever been hit by a patient. I had been pushed once, and a lady that was high on cocaine grabbed my behind once. Yeah, I said it. That was in the lovely Psych ER in the good old Grady hospital in Atlanta (affectionately known as “The Gradies”).
The weird thing is that I haven’t once been angry towards my patient. People ask about whether I fought back, but it wasn’t a fight. Plus, as a physician, you can’t start boxing with your folks. Yeah, there’s no place for Dr. Billy Blanks in psychiatry. I was lucky enough to be able to get out of the way fast, but obviously not fast enough. I underestimated her speed and reach. I do think self defense is a good skill for all physicians, not just psychiatry. Violent, irrational, or psychotic behavior is not limited to only our doors. What I was most angry about was realizing that a lot of places have limited safety policies. I’ve been frustrated, exhausted, and anxious. I’m more acutely aware of the limitations of my environment, and I am wise enough to know that I just need some space. As God looks out for babies and fools…and good people, I had vacation already scheduled. I’ve been working all week, since the incident, so this time off is crucial for my spirit and body to heal (my wrist and hand hurt constantly).
Is there a lesson in this other than to “bob and weave,” as one of my friends suggested? I believe there is. Wait for it…wait for it…safety is important. You have to be aware of your environment, at all times, whether your are at work, home, or out and about. You just never know what is about to happen or what is going on with someone. At the end of the day, each one of us is ultimately responsible for insuring that we are in safe places. For physicians, patients that are seriously mentally ill or violent from just being malicious are everywhere…not just in psychiatric facilities. Feeling safe is an integral key to feeling peaceful and peace definitely helps us sustain happiness.
Ok, let me wrap this up, so this blog doesn’t turn into a verbal marathon. Thanks for spending some time with me, and thanks for all the support that I have received. Despite this incident, I do not doubt my desire to practice psychiatry. Please take care, all of you! Let me get back to my ice pack that is helping me bring sexy back. LOL.
Much nub and health,