Sunday, February 05, 2006

Colorful Names and Useful Relatives

School is now in session, peoples. They say doctors can learn as much from patients as patients can from doctors. Yeah, I suppose this applies more to things like compassion and other touchy-feely values, but it's much more interesting when it involves practical and concrete skills that can help one on a day-to-day basis.

Case in point: today a black woman was brought in to the Psych ER while intoxicated and was very agitated. Extremely agitated. So agitated that despite her hands handcuffed behind her back, she was still thrashing enough to cause tons of mayhem and frighten half the staff. She also had a coarse, loud voice that barked out endless nonsense whenever someone looked at her.

But talk about a silver lining. Unbeknown to most, as destructive and annoying (but still entertaining) as this patient was, she shared some valuable insight on various subjects ... such the ethnicity of names, one in particular, as evidenced by this brief conversation:

Patient: Hey, Scott!

Axis: My name's not Scott.

Pt: I know, I was just calling yous a typical white name.

Axis: White name? So, are there white names and black names?

Pt: Yuh, of course!

Axis: Alright so what are some black names?

Pt: Uh, we got Lawanda, Theresa, Montisha, Shantella, ...

Axis: Cool ... so what about [patient's first name]

Pt: Ooooh! That be one unique nigga name!

Wow! She was so excited that for a second she didn't realize that that was her name. But once she did:

Pt: Ahhh, you got me, you got me!


Not to cut the lessons short, she also taught me about the role of a new kind of father.

Axis: Why haven't you taken your meds?

Pt: The little daddy didn't give them to me.

Axis: Why not?

Pt: I told you, little daddy didn't wanna give me none.

Axis: Wait, who's this little daddy?

Pt: Do I gotta explain everything? [SIGH] It's the nigga I brought home to fuck.


Now don't tell me those aren't useful nuggets of information. Anyway, Axis 101 is now adjourned. Thanks for stopping by.

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