Friday, September 08, 2006

Roy: CMHC Dream


It's 4:30 AM now, and I just awoke suddenly, heart pounding, frightened, unable to go back to sleep.

I just had a dream.

Kinda weird dream, but ending in one of those sit-bolt-upright-awake kind of deals. Might as well tell the story, since I can't go back to sleep.

So I'm sitting at my desk, leaning back in my chair, talking with a social worker about the "client" she just evaluated. We are sitting in a small front office room, big enough for two desks and a small waiting area. I mean small waiting area. There are 3 of those cheap, plastic-with-metal-legs type of chairs. The only light comes from two fluorescent, overhead fixtures, one missing it's lens, both with only half the bulbs working, in addition to that coming from the frosted, display-type, storefront windows on either side of our front door, which has a 2-inch, metal bell on it. The walls are old, cheap paneling, some with faded bits of yellow tape where signs used to hang. Two of the dropped ceiling tiles in a corner are stained with old water damage, the top of the paneling there buckling slightly. There's a few signs on the wall and a calendar... The kind that that comes from the local car dealer... turned to September, with a red 1965 convertible Impala on it.

It's the same calendar page I saw yesterday morning when I picked up the rental car at my car dealer while my 1999 Chevy Malibu was getting serviced (the sunroof won't close). I remember it because it looked a lot like my old 1964 convertible Chevy Malibu that I drove throughout college and medical school. My first car. That was a good car. It was never in the shop, and I had no trouble closing the roof.

Interesting. The paneling in the dream office was the same as in the car rental office, as were the waiting room chairs. Well, that's how dreams go. And I'm sure it's Dinah's mention of her writing class that has got me in this writing mood.

The door bell jingles and in walks a little girl. "Can I help you?" I ask.

"Do you make home visits?", she asks, in a surprisingly mature and succinct way.

"We can. What do you need help with?" I'm working in a small, community mental health clinic (CMHC), set up just off Main Street in a storefront office that probably used to be a bakery or something.

"My mom's needs help with her depression. I just live two blocks away." She turns and goes out the door, standing there, waiting patiently. This is just odd. She doesn't sound frightened or upset. I tell the social worker that since there are no scheduled patients for me, I'll go check it out. I grab my jacket and my ID badge and go outside, in the cool, fall air. The girl starts walking, and I follow her.

I see that the office is in a past-its-prime, small town. In fact, it is very much like the CMHC that Dinah and I used to work in, some 10 years ago. So I follow the little girl, blond hair, probably 6 or 7, dressed in a just-started-first-grade kinda dress. It's like 3 in the afternoon and sunny. She stays ahead of me, very determined and sure of herself. We walk silently. She's clearly on a mission.

We walk up to this block of small, one-floor houses, all with front porches and mature trees in the front. There's a metal, chain-link gate, but it's open. We walk up the three concrete steps, which are off-kilter from tree roots pushing them up. We go up the steps to the front porch and she takes out a key from her pocket and opens the door.

Now I'm expecting this place to be a mess. I have this image of a mother, laying in bed all day, with little Susie six-year-old taking care of the house. The little girl excuses herself while I stand awkwardly in the foyer. It's a nice, little home, not at all a mess. I hear some murmuring, then the little girl comes back and motions me to follow her. I take a deep breath and enter the small living room, where mother is sitting, dressed nicely, on a sofa chair. I'm thinking, "She doesn't look depressed. What is all this about?"

I introduce myself as a psychiatrist who works with the County Mental Health Department, and that her daughter came to us and asked for some help. As I'm talking, I notice that the woman makes no eye contact with me, instead staring at her daughter the whole time, with this odd fake smile and a look that seems to silently be saying to her daughter "what the hell did you do this for but I can't look upset about it or else something bad will happen."

As I'm talking, I become aware of a man dressed in a checkered, polyester suit, standing about three feet to my left, leaning against the wall, listening to me talk. I'm also vaguely aware of two other, younger children.

"So she told you I'm 53, did she?" he blurts out, more to himself than to me. I'm talking for another minute or two and I'm getting the vibe that father is getting upset, from the looks on the mother's face. The little girl just sits there, staring straight ahead, attentive but silent, as if she's waiting for things to fall into place.

All of a sudden, the father starts talking to me in a very calm, disarming voice, then suddenly changes his demeanor to intense anger and rage, precedes his action with a "Why, you little...", then leans in towards me and violently spits in my face.

Bold upright. Heart pounding. I'm awake in my living room, where I'd fallen asleep.

And I'm still trying to decide if it was a dream or do I need to do something. I quickly realize that it was a dream, but just can't get back to sleep. I think that I would have rushed out of the house, then called 911, charging the father with assault, followed by a call to Child Protective Services. The whole thing was just weird.

Might as well get up and make some coffee.

9 comments:

Roy said...

After reading this in today's paper, it hit me that this dream has bits of Fenton's murder in it... 53 yrs old... a surprise visit... an assault.

Dinah said...

What a rich dream...wow! So much of my class last night, the instructor was talking about writing from the subconscious, from a dream state, at least to start the flow....we must be linked (and I thought it was FooFoo who had all that Karma stuff or impulses or whatever it was going on with us). Also, I believe I was told that the CMHC where we worked together had been a cookie factory (close to a bakery) before it was a clinic. Quite the dream--yes I think it's linked to Dr. Fenton's death, and all the comments we've gotten here (as well as on SHP's F-Off post) about patient violence toward's psychiatrists, safety issues (and what were you doing going to a patient's house ALONE, you should have dragged that social worker). I know they made me a bit anxious and had me thinking about every incident of patient violence from way back (none towards me, but there was the guy who held the ER hostage with a gun during my internship, the guy who completely shattered the sally-port around the elevator, the list marches on...). I'm sorry you couldn't sleep.

So the doc quoted in your link who advises against being alone with dangerous patients was the doc I consulted with over my patient who wanted to kill his psychiatrists....

So, I've been thinking about your sorry life. Do you realize, we talked about a co-bloggers dinner months ago? And I've offered to make you a cosmo so you could see if it's a "girl drink" and you cancelled at the last minute, never rescheduled: I've decided that someone who never has time to catch a meal with friends or a drink on the way home from work (we're talking what, 45 minutes here?) has a life not worth living.

Dinah said...

I put your name on the title, hope that's okay. Otherwise, I think everyone would have read it thinking that was me rambling about my fanciful dreams, only to be surprised at the end that is was....'posted by roy'

ClinkShrink said...

Give the poor man a break---he just clawed his way out from under the floorboards. Not that I know anything about that.

foofoo5 said...

I was up about the same time, though it was, by then, 8:00 am your time, so I can't blame channelling. I suspect that after reading the details of Dr. Fenton, it may bode something later.

I'm working on a draft about safety for myself, but it is disturbing to me to read that this otherwise experienced physician made himself so shockingly vulnerable by ignoring basics. And the quoted commentators, what exactly were they thinking? Some patients "probably shouldn't be seen alone?" Probably? You're not sure who those patients might be? A panic button? I don't know how quickly the cops respond in your town, Doctor, but I'm thinking it invariably will be the longest wait of your life.

So, I'm thinking my options are 1) move to Texas and strap a Glock on next to the phone, or 2) go and reread, again, the first half of Dr. Yalom and process my fear of death.

Roy said...

"life not worth living"??

I'm glad I'm not easily suggestible, otherwise I'd think you were encouraging me to clamber back down under the floorboards.

There is now light at the end of the tunnel... new doc should be starting in couple-three weeks. And, *I found someone to do some weekends* ...

I AM OFF THIS WEEKEND!!

(note my first ever use of all caps... so reserved)

So, I'm ready for the girlie drink... but no little girl, please.

* * *

Back to the dream, here are some other elements of my life that I think added to the dream...

* last week, our unit social worker raised safety concerns about the lack of a panic alarm in her office, which is in a more secluded part of the unit

* I now have 3 quite psychotic women on the unit, two of whom have recently had some unexpected and sudden episodes of "agitation" (though I hesitate to label these 'violent')

* I have recently been thinking about what it might be like to change jobs (that other me in the CMHC office seemed awfully unencumbered)

Sarebear said...

It's strange the kinds of things that come up in dreams.

Not that I'm an expert lol, I just have a ton of vivid ones due to the Effexor . . . nothing like extremely violent, graphic, rip your head off intimacy w/superheroes to getcha goin in the middle of the night. That was literally rip . . .

Anyway. THAT was horrid.

Something that I think is kind of funny, but also curious, but probably another sign of I suspect I'm kind of triangling my husband and Dr. Mower . . . well, I practically never have dreams w/my husband in it. One time, my ologist mentioned that as curious. A couple weeks later, I had one, where towards the end of the dream my hubby rescues me from people who are posessed by Satan, although one of them "gets" to him and he is also posessed/turned against me briefly, but somehow eventually he rescues me but then we're in a tunnel and the end is blocked by a fiery crash.

So, next appt., Dr. Mower says, in reaction to hearing that I had a dream with dh in it, something like, "Good - that bodes well for your relationship." And ever since then, I had wondered, wait, does my subconscious not give a crap about my hubby or what?

Anyway, about two weeks after THAT, just this last week, I had a dream, where near the end hubby comes with a helicopter to rescue me from a situation with family and they won't let me get medical help, as I'm injured. So, hubby shows up, but a minute or two into it, it's like I'm all of a sudden aware that I'm in a dream, and there's an overlay on the dream of, "I'm not supposed to dream about my hubby; Dr. Mower said it bodes well for us if I do; I'm not supposed to dream hubby rescuing me; there's something bad about that." That part about my ologist wasn't really in words so much as a vague remembered impression.

Anyway, so I woke up and was like, WTH? Lol . . . but it confirmed a suspicion for me that it's kind of a triangle, although not a romantic one, but it's got I suppose conflicting loyalties and the problems of, well, I tell the ologist everything, but the dh, well, he's not so understanding . . . lol!

Anyway, fodder for next week's appt.

Like you wanted to hear all that, but I thought you guys n gals might find what my mind did in that last dream funny. I do tend to have contrary, pushing back reactions sometimes, too . . .

Ugh. I am NOT trying to get analyzed, here, was really just trying to relate something funny. Altho the superhero one was vastly disturbing. Sometimes Effexor sucks . . .

jw said...

I saw CMHC and read "Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation" which made for a bit of a sureal experience when mixed with the dream sequence.

It is quite the dream too!

Anonymous said...

You're thinking of changing jobs AGAIN?