Tag Archives: respect

I Have The Right To Be Treated With Dignity

I must intellectualize this to cut my emotion.

The side walls are gray. Flat paint on the rough surface. The drop ceiling must be 10 feet high, at least. I feel small, but I might be able to touch both walls with my fingertips, from where I’m sitting.

Health Center Office

The far walls make this a five-sided office. They are at weird angles. That might be what sent my discomfort over the top. They are light beige. The one on my right is longer than the one on my left. The air is still, odorless. This place resembles the concrete box that a coffin is placed in.

On my left, slightly behind me, is a picture. Art work, sort of. A mass-produced copy of a watercolor portrait of a couple of kids. On hardboard. Hanging crooked. Below it is a sliding glass window, with a desk on the other side of the wall, with chairs facing the window, and another window like it on the other side of the small, unoccupied office. My neck hurts when I turn toward it.

On the cabinet that was placed against the far wall – the longer one – is two photos. One of a young boy, framed. Probably a school picture. Beside it is one of a young girl, slightly older, propped up in front of something framed (maybe an older photo of her?).

“ID and insurance card?” she asks. I take them out, and slide them across the desk to woman on the other side. I make my breath go as deeply as I can. It won’t go past the top buttoned-up-button on my shirt. I try to push a breath down into my belly. It won’t go.

I uncross my legs to plant my feet firmly on the floor to help me feel grounded. No carpet to settle my feet into. Hard vinyl flooring. It is a dark pattern. Abstract. Angular shapes of grays and tans. These colors might be known for subduing people, but I’m not feeling it. These sedating colors are making me impatient to get out of here. To anywhere. To outside. To sunshine and green and lively colors and traffic.

My breath is deeper now.

“Sign here.” She untangles its cord as she slides an electronic signature pad toward me.

“What am I signing?”

“Forms.”

“I think I should read the forms before I sign them?” I try to look at her quizzically, but I can’t see her face over the top of her computer monitor, even though I’m tall. I have to lean way over to the side to see around it. Leaning sideways makes me feel dizzy in this room.

One of the papers says that I will behave myself, do what I’m told, not carry firearms in this building… I never had to sign paperwork like this before. I tell the woman, “Do you know that studies show that people with mental illness diagnoses are less likely to be criminals, break laws, or attack other people than the general public?” She sputters a response of doubt.

Decision For Dignity

This is not where I want to seek help with my recovery from my mental illness, even though this is the only place, within a two hours’ drive from my home, where I have found psychiatrists who accept Medicare health insurance and new patients. I wish that my insurance covered the psychiatrist who has been advising me brilliantly.

I am following one of the options that I discussed with the psychologist: I am asking my physician (who accepts Medicare) to manage my prescriptions for psychiatric medications, as long as I continue to feel well.

Dignity For All

I am using Medicare this year for a few reasons: I save thousands of dollars on health insurance premiums, I want to know what poorer people experience, and I want to support a program that is supposed to provide affordable health care to everyone who qualifies. I also don’t want to support businesses that make large profits on providing essential services to those who can afford to pay the premiums.

When I talked with the intake psychologist who assessed me, and who assigned me to a counselor and a psychiatrist, he said that the paperwork, and a similar sign in the waiting room, were there to help me feel safe.

I would feel safer if the Center would tell us what we can expect, rather than what we can’t do. I feel safer in other professionals’ offices where I see positive affirmations, rather than signing “I shall not” promises that conjure fear.

My thought is, “why do they think that they need me to sign this?” rather than, “I’m glad that all of the patients here had to make these promises.”

The psychologist finally stated that the paperwork and signs were the result of “overpaid lawyers protecting the Center”. As I suspected, it has nothing to do with my feeling safe; it has everything to do with reducing the Center’s liability exposure. Even when they don’t expect people to read the forms that they’re signing.

As far as I recall, when I previously signed in for services at hospital-affiliated health centers, I have received a Patient’s Bill of Rights. I did not receive anything like that from this hospital-affiliated Health Center.

I share my story with the hope of enlightening you who have never been to such a Health Center, and you who go to such places and see nothing wrong. I want everyone to expect to be treated with dignity. Before my intake for outpatient services this week, I heard from health care professionals, and others, that people were really happy with the services that the Center provided. I wasn’t prepared for the psychologist to be derogatory. I want employees at the Center to sign a form that says:

I will behave myself
I will not carry fire arms
I will not raise my voice
I will be patient with you
I will not call you names
I will treat you with dignity

 

Image Credit:
Claustrophobia by Timothy Allen. Used under Creative Commons License BY-SA 2.0. Modified by Grace Buchanan.

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Binocular Perception

Binocular PerceptionBinocular Perception

I looked out the window
at the apple tree

One eye on each side of the mullion
Each saw a different picture
though so close to each other

Then I thought:
If my 2 eyes are so close to each other
and see so differently
then how can any 2 people
who are much farther apart
look at anything
especially God
and see the same thing?

As I stand on one side of the apple tree
and tell you about where the apples and branches are
and what shapes and colors they are
And as you stand on another side of the tree
and tell me where the apples and branches are
and what shapes and colors they are

Let’s remember that we have 2 different views of the same thing
And we are both correct.


dedicated to Judith Henry
who inspired me to poeticize this revelation from decades ago
I hope you enjoy your celebrations today.

 

Image credits:
Binocular Perception, composed by Grace Buchanan.
Apfelbaum in Alberschwende, by Böhringer Friedrich (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons. Used under Creative Commons License  BY-SA 2.5.
New Windows 017, by Roger Mommaerts. Used under Creative Commons License BY-SA 2.0.

What’s Shocking?

When I was a kid
We shocked adults
By talking about the weather
Saying, “It’s colder than a witch’s tit.”

Now, as adults
We can’t shock our kids
By talking about the weather
Even when we say, “The glaciers are melting.”

Media Credit:
This video shows a time series of five-year global temperature averages, mapped from 1884 to 2014, as estimated by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

Published on Jan 16, 2015 by NASA Goddard.
The year 2014 now ranks as the warmest on record since 1880, according to an analysis by NASA scientists.
This video is public domain.

Unique Comments and My Policy

Your comment might not have shown up in one of my posts, even though I continued my commitment to you:

I am extremely conservative about deleting comments. I only delete those that are not contributing to the conversation, AND that conspicuously lure people to unrelated sites, OR that I am certain are unintelligible gibberish. I never delete a comment merely because I disagree with it, or find it disturbing.

Until this month, cleaning up the WordPress Akismet spam filter was easy. The “real” commenters were conspicuous amongst the ads for clothes, medications, and travel. Usually the “real” ones merely included links, or wrote  lengthy paragraphs that Akismet incorrectly interpreted as spam. They were usually from familiar friends.

Spam Cairn, by Laurel F, used under Creative Commons License by-sa 2.0

Today, I gave the filter the benefit of the doubt for a few seconds, and deleted several comments before examining them carefully. Akismet had identified hundreds of comments as being spam this month, mostly from people who gave Facebook URLs. I was reading through the comments and found that many were beautifully written and insightful. I didn’t want to delete any sincere comments, so here is what I did:

  1. Sorted spam by name of commenter
  2. Deleted irrelevant comments that were obviously advertising, OR unintelligible gibberish
  3. Deleted ones that were written to someone who was not mentioned in the post or comments (e.g., “Joanne, thanks for that incredibly helpful summary…”).
  4. Sorted comments by name of post

Here, I got stuck for a while. The first comment was from someone who gave their URL, which linked to a Facebook account (with the same name as the commenter) that was opened in 2012, and only had a portrait. No friends, no posts.  The next commenter gave the URL to a Facebook account that hasn’t been used since 2012.

Next issue, each of the comments had one scrambled word (e.g., “cnoeidsr” is probably “consider”). The misspelled word was always in the first line of the comment, and the rest of the entry was usually spelled correctly.

Next, I noticed that ALL of these suspect comments gave different Facebook URLs, and none of them had Gravatars.

Have you seen this? Before I approve/delete the dozens that passed my previous tests, what do you recommend? Why?

  • Trust Akismet and delete them all?
  • Approve and edit the ones that are intelligent, insightful, or offer some value to the discussion, according to my policy?
  • Approve just the ones that I consider valuable – for a limited time only – and then revise my policy?
  • Approve each comment, and delete the commenter’s URL if the Facebook profile looks dead?
  • Approve them all?

I continued analyzing:

5. Several comments began with datelines and time signatures from years ago.

6. Several of the posts that were attributed to several different commenters ended with, “Was this answer helpful”?

So, I copied and pasted parts of some comments, and quickly found a few that were duplicated from other sites (no typos in the originals), submitted by people with different identities! I’m sweeping out the lot of them (even though many of them were LOVELY!). I don’t want plagiarism in my blog. BUT, I might want to let those other websites know that I exist, so some of those commenters might stop by Smile

So, now you know: Akismet is a damn good spam filter! Mystery solved?

Reminder: if you submit a comment on my blog, and the message comes up stating that your comment is “awaiting moderation”, please let me know by using my Contact Form so I can retrieve it. I value all comments that come from my readers!

Image Credit:
Spam Cairn, by Laurel F, used under Creative Commons License by-sa 2.0