I had the mental health centre admission interview today. We arrived a little late – had the appointment at 9:00 AM and arrived at about 9:05 or so cause of major traffic jam -, but, as everywhere in healthcare, med folks are late themselves, so I still had to wait for ten minutes in the waiting room, wondering where Napoleon’s reincarnation was, deciding all other patients were depressed cause that’s a nice fashion disease and eventually asking myself how I’d come across to my waiting room mates. As someone came in and called my name, I initially didn’t hear it correctly so didn’t respond. She called again: “Ms. Van Woerkom?” I got up. The woman who introduced herself to me, turned out to be the folk – she shouldn’t know I’d thought she was a receptionist. Man, I’d expected an old, grumpy man with grey hairs and ugly glasses who was about to retire, but this was a woman and she didn’t sound like she would be old enough to retire anytime soon. We got onto the elevator to the first floor and walked to her office, where Renee, the folk and I all sat down.
The discussion started with an explanation of the admission procedure and the remark that we should actually have had a referral from my family doctor cause they couldn’t officially open my case without one. I guess no-one remembered that most mental healthcare usually requires a referral cause it’s “second-line care”. I should’ve known this from the recent job field orientation assignment, but we’ve only just begun with it and I wasn’t even involved in the whole process at all. So maybe we can get my doc to write a ref – we should.
The first question was the wrong one, namely the one I’d dreaded I’d get: “What’s your problem?” Open-ended questions suck, and this one in particular. I wish that I could’ve answered like I did last September when I applied for a tandem biking tour at rehab: “Nothing, I just want to ride a bicycle.” My problem is that my situation is utterly unclear, but how in the world am I going to clarify that? Is that called a paradox or an antithesis or what? To clarify that your situation is utterly unclear? Hmmm, weird. So Renee wanted me to talk about training home and how that was going, so I explained its aims and purpose and that I’d been here since January and had been at rehab before. I also tried to describe my average day, but wasn’t all that successful at that except for mentioning my current education and describing the programme. Folk (who didn’t seem like a grey old man at all, haha) asked me what I liked and disliked about training home, and I tried to explain. That’s how we got to discuss my behavioural and communicative difficulties I think. The folk asked whether these’d been going on for a long time and I said they had. She asked me to describe the problems and I tried to and was reasonably successful by my own standards at least where it came to the behavioural stuff. In fact, it was about the clearest statement I made throughout the discussion.
We got into some discussion about what we hoped to get help with from the mental health centre. There, I couldn’t do much but to agree with what Renee said, cause they’d been the ones contacting the place and Renee highlighted several times that this wasn’t done on my initiative (even if I agreed with it). Nothing overly paradigmatic – nothing paradigmatic at all, in fact. Don’t know what Renee thinks of that, but for me, it was deliberate, even though the associated major “locked up inside” stuff was not. Renee got to explain how the staff had come to have difficulty further helping me and they actually didn’t know how to work with my situation and wondered what might be wrong with me cause they didn’t know what to expect from me (or something along those lines) and my having spoken with this psychologist (who works for the main organization that includes training home) several times (in September) and how that’d eventually led to the decision to contact the mental health place and what whoever had had phone contact with the mental health folks had said about me. In between, the folk asked me lots of questions, but mostly didn’t get answers and when she did get something that should’ve come to be a response, I usually got majorly “locked up inside” and had huge word-finding problems. The discussion probably ended after I got so “locked up inside” that no-one really got anything sensible out of me anymore. We (well, Renee and the folk, but I agree) decided on a follow-up admission interview, planned for Tuesday, January 16, 2007 at 1:00 PM. Renee gave the folk the papers she’d been asked to bring along – my “care plan” from training home, the report from rehab and some notes from the psychologist – and we left. As we arrived at the bank to open a new check account – cause I’m changing banks cause of accessibility problems -, Renee informed me that it was only 10:00 AM, so we’d spent at most 45 minutes on the discussion. Hell, it felt like it had been hours! Hmmm, I thought I could handle these discussions, cause the last discussion I’d had with the psychologist, took two hours and I was still reasonably right-minded afterwards, but apparently, this isn’t always the case.