Monday, December 1, 2014

Love Hate Relationship

I try and share a little bit about each class as it comes and each experience as I have it. But, given that I rarely have enough time to even sleep these days I often have to skip over certain events. So beginning with this post every now and then I will share a story about a certain scenario or details about my schooling over here.

Today we're going to talk about psychiatry. I think I shared a little bit about my experience with psychiatry in another post. But, I don't think I shared this particular story.

Please be aware that there is some obscene language in the below post. 

Nearly half way through our time in the psychiatry hospital we were buzzed into a ward we had never been to before. Patients of all types male and female sat in the hallways and gazed out at us from their rooms. A nurses station was visible from the end of the corridor so myself and my 3 classmates made our way down to it in hopes of finding the days assigned doctor- we rarely know who our doctor is going to be until we get to the wards. One nurse sat at the station, she was about as helpful as a rock.
Photo by: Ewa Furtak,

Knowing that once again our doctor must be late (which is not uncommon) we continued to stand in front of the desk waiting. We had only been there for a few minutes when an older, well dressed woman approached us and said in English, "Hello!"

We smiled and greeted her in return. She began to shake our hands and asked us our names. Assuming  she was our doctor we reciprocated and each shook her hand and told her our names. The final person to shake her hand was a very dark skinned Nigerian man. When she reached him she shook his hand a bit longer, smiled sweetly and asked, "Where are you from." He told her.

She continued smiling. And then without warning pursed her lips and planted a huge wet kiss on his cheek.

My entire group looked shocked- particularly my Nigerian friend. Why would our doctor KISS a student. There was only one explanation. This was NOT our doctor, this was a patient!!!

Around this time our real doctor arrived and seeing that we had already met this patient asked her if she would like to be interviewed by us. She graciously accepted and seated in a small gathering room with glass windows and large sofas we learned her story.

15 minutes later when we had finished the doctor had to make a phone call and dismissed the patient who said very nicely and calmly. "Thank you, it was nice to meet you," and then walked away.

We returned to the room after a 5 minute coffee break to find her in the room waiting for us, our doctor was nowhere in sight.

"F*** you. Go to H***" she shouted at us in English before beginning in Polish.

My friend who speaks fluent Polish was unfortunately absent that day, but I didn't need her to know what she was saying. We sat down and let her continue yelling obscenities until she got into the face of my Nigerian classmate and said in Polish, "You deserve to die, I'm going to kill you."

At this point I turned to a classmate closest to the door, who besides sensing her rage had no idea what she had just said. "Go find the doctor," I told her. "Quick."

A minute later our doctor and two other companions were there to order her out of the room. But they didn't take her anywhere, or give her anything to calm her down, they simply escorted her to the hallway. A new patient was brought in for us to interview and as we spoke to him she continued shouting obscenities through the class, making faces at us, flipping us off, and banging on the thick shatterproof window.

Our doctor sat there calmly throughout as though nothing was going on.
I suppose after a while, nothing phases the experienced psychiatrist. But, as students we were certainly taken back.

That was the first time I ever saw a rapidly cycling bipolar patient.

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