My own job is that of advocate and grievance investigator at a psychiatric facility. The latter part allows, as I've occasionally said, "for everybody to hate me at one time or another" Staff for questioning their accuracy or authority; patients who mistakenly assume that my findings will always side with them, but that doesn't always happen.Thanks, John, for your blog entries. As you can see, I've now linked to them from here.
Your exaspiration turned to empathetic response rings true. On more occasions than I care to recall, I've been summoned back into one of the buildings to interview witnesses to some troubling even that just occurred; or to just hear out someone who the nursing staff prays will calm down before the end of the shift.
Thankfully, I come home to someone else who ~usually~ is understanding about the unpredictability of my work schedule. That source of solace at home helps make the difficult moments bearable.
I will share one story, of a man who grieved after another man punched him in the face. he said it happened without any forwarning, and further noted that he was punished by being sent to his room for an hour or so while nothing occured to his assailant.
As I usually do, I asked if there were any other details he might want to tell me that I did not yet know. he replied negative.
What turned out was that the grievant, on a take-out dinner night, stole a pizza the other man had ordered and paid for, ran off into some secluded area on the grounds, and had almost eaten the entire pizza before he was found and brought back to his ward.
Once back on the ward, the man who's pizza was stone rapidly came up to him and, in a quick one-two action. punched my grievant in the face | Not surprisingly, an uproar ensued |
He got sent to his room to cool down while staff addressed the matter of the other man assaulting him. That man, incidentally, was placed in restraints, only to be released after he'd calmed down. The ostensible victim remained in his room because he stayed by his room door yelling down the hall about how staff was so unfair to him and that he'd make them pay him back for this infringement on his right to roam about freely.
He never did pay for the pizza, except, perhaps, for the receipt of a knuckle sandwich. Not the appropriate form of recompense but... I trust you get the picture.
That said, people constantly ask when I'm going to write a book about what I hear. And that's where a whole 'nother set of values come into play. Namely, protecting people from having to hear their embarassing moments relived again and again. Confidentiality strictures, one might surmise, but it's more than that. It's the act of helping troubled souls have a bit of dignity to their lives.