I had an instructor who once said that you can learn something from everyone that you come in contact, no matter for how long. I kinda took that to heart and now try to apply it to my work as well. I tell my students the same thing. Every patient that you come into contact with, you can learn a little something if you want to.
Even if it's just a routine doctor's office visit or a dialysis run, you can learn. If not from the person, due to being in a comatose state, then their chart and medical information. I always try to keep this in mind as I go about my job. I think it helps.
The other night we got dispatched for a psych transfer. The address was all too familiar. It was Joe again. Joe is a mentally and physically handicapped, 25 year old who is also deaf. He lives with his mother and grandparents. We go out to their house at least once a month when Joe decides to get angry and either hit one of his caretakers or throw stuff around. Tonight was no different.
You really can't blame the guy. He has the mental capacity of a 6-8 year old. Like any kid with that mentality, he pitches a fit once in a while. The problem is that he is exceptionally strong. I've seen him toss around 2 deputies from his wheelchair when he really gets going.
When we got there the cops had him handcuffed and everyone was sweating. After a while Joe calmed down and stated that he wanted to go to the hospital, so they took the cuffs off. His case worker was there and she basically told him that he was going away for a while, it wasn't going to be just an overnight thing. He seemed to understand and was OK with it. He went about packing his things.
We got him into the truck and I climbed in after him. Knowing how he is, I tried to keep him calm and in a good mood. It seemed to work. For some reason, even though I didn't know how to use sign language, he kinda took to me. He showed me his comic collection that he had brought along and through simple gestures and writing, he told me about the video games he liked. He even taught me a little sign language. I really enjoyed the ride with him.
We got him to the hospital without a problem and got him into his room. He promised to be good to the staff and we left. My partner was just kinda looking at me on the way back. I asked her why. She said that she had never seen anyone be that way with him before. Most people just stay away from him and leave him alone for fear of provoking an attack. I told her that wasn't the way I do things. After all, he is just a big kid.