Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Funny Running Into You Here

I'm coming up for air and a quick blog post. For the last couple weeks I've been codestorming, lost in a flurry of flow-control statements, if-then and for loops, switch blocks, dropped semicolons and variant datatypes (cursed be he who invented the variant datatype for to such belongs the world of sloppy programming). After 18 months waiting for the bureacracy to give me a regional information system I can use I finally gave up and built one myself. It took two weeks. Meanwhile no one in my department has ever been able to use the system we're supposed to be using. It's enough to make a taxpayer cry. Anyway, my personal system is pretty much done except for minor cosmetic tweaking.

But that's not what I was going to blog about.

Today I wanted to talk about what happens when you run into your patients outside of professional hours. In my case, it can be interesting.

I went to the post office to mail off my taxes and I noticed someone standing toward the front of the line who looked awfully familiar. Thanks to my recent accident I've been meeting a lot of car salesmen lately, so I was thinking it was maybe some business person or a public defender type. Then it hit me---a former inmate. He either didn't recognize me or was reluctant to acknowledge me, which was understandable. In a public place you just don't strike up conversations about your former incarceration, much less about your mental health care even if you haven't been locked up.

Generally meetings with former inmates are fine if I run into them on the street. Usually they recognize me first since I get thrown once you take someone out of a prison uniform and put them in street clothes. I usually hear about how things are going "on the outside", whether or not they've been able to get mental health care, how long they've stayed clean and how much time they have left on parole. They seem happy to see me and I like hearing about how they're doing. Even when they're not doing so well they seem happy to see me. The most awkward meeting was coming across a former patient a the time of arrest, handcuffed and prone on the street in front of my parked car. "Hey doc! I'm going to need your help!" he said. I reassured him I'd be there when he got to the institution and reminded him how to get in touch. He said he would.

Overall I'm grateful I only work in men's facilities. It kind of spares me from thinking about running into former patients in the locker room at the gym.


MT said...

It kind of spares me from thinking about running into former patients in the locker room at the gym.

Only kind of? I suppose it's natural to assume some rate of recidivism.

Dinah said...

You know, I've never really thought about the locker room at the gym issue before, which is interesting, because several of my patients have mentioned that they go to the same gym as I do. I've never seen them there.
Something new to consider as the locker rooms are being renovated and the private changing/showering areas are all under construction.

You know, I don't think you used the term "Free Society" and I love it when you do.

I posted about something like this before in Out Of Office, though I suppose that was about planned events out of the office.

I'm still not getting comments.


flow-control statement... that's when I command my period not to start until I get home, right?

Patient Anonymous said...

I saw this "stalker-esque" guy from my ex-workplace who, when I wasn't interested in him, tried to out me at work (while I was still in the closet) on public transit a couple of years ago. He just stared at me and I ignored him.


Unknown said...

I was walking along Younge Street in Toronto on my way to price a new tent at a very nice sporting goods store when I literally ran into a friend I had when I was in the Caribbean sailing! bump "Oh sorry!" "Hey! You're ...." We stopped and had a good chat.