the psych ward

Today I’m interviewing psych patients in one of the worst inner cities in New Jersey.

When I arrived I walked to the front desk just beyond the front door, hoping to get some directions. White coat on and clip-board in hand I politely asked, “Can you tell me how to get to the elevator?” The large black woman answered my question with a blank faced stare. Ohhhkay so I guess I’ll keep moving. Maybe she’s a patient? I then took literally one step beyond the desk and walked straight into the elevators. Good start.

There were about seven of us waiting for the elevators, including a sweaty, nervous looking, overweight man who couldn’t stand still. When the door dinged open he froze and stared at me. He looked in at the crowded elevator and with the most pained look on his asked me, “uhhh, ummm, is the other elevator working?” It seems that once again my white coat morphed me into an undeserving figure of authority. “Sorry Sir, I have no idea.”

The door shut in his face and I’m on my way to the fifth floor. I was looking at the papers on my clipboard to determine that this is indeed where I was suppose to be headed when half of my papers fall to the floor. A smiling woman looked at me sort of maniacally (is that a word?) and with completely inappropriate affect said, “YOU DROPPED YOUR PAPERS!! YOU DON’T WANT TO LOSE THE PAPERS!!” I bent down to get them and when I looked up again she was still staring (glaring?) and smiling at me. I politely returned her smile and got the hell out of dodge.

Finally I find the room where I’m supposed to meet the doctor only to discover I’m an hour early. The good news? I downloaded wordpress onto my iPhone and am able to share this story. The bad news? I have 30 minutes left of hanging out in the waiting room with all the crazies.

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Filed under med school, medical school, medical student, Medicine, off-site visit

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