Well, a friend went with me to assist with the presentation for the Mississippi Department of Correction's training. I'm glad she did as she had never seen an IOOV and she was a huge help to me as several things required "fixin'" (the TV/VCR and the flipchart and the improvised easel). Also, she served to help me check my reality of the situation afterwards (for example, was that man as hostile to me as I thought he was? Why yes, Debra, he was. In fact, I think I would expect him to do his level best to rip you to shreds in his evaluation. Thanks, that's what I thought.)
As I assumed, most of these folks resented having to attend YET another
annual week of training for field officers. I discovered when I
got there that I was scheduled for 4 hours (?!?!). No
problem. So I asked the coordinator of training for MDOC, when I
met her right before the presentation, if they would be heart-broken if
I let them out early. She said of course they would. So I
did my damndest to keep them there til six.
No. All kidding aside, I was scheduled to begin at 1. But
because the guys didn't really want to be there, we started at 1:30
when most of them straggled in from an extended lunch. I told
them I was going to give them a modified presentation because after the
IOOV, we would take a short break, then I was going to cover some other
information in brief.
Shortly after I began the IOOV, there was a gent who interrupted me to
tell me that the problem with my suggestion that they should take
someone who might be off their meds, self-medicating, etc. to the ER is
that, well, who is gonna pay? So I repeated his question so we
ALL could hear it. and said, let's focus on that. First
off, if the person needs meds, they aren't going to receive them in the
jail cell. Second, it has been FEDERAL law for about 15 years now
that the ER cannot refuse treatment based on the ability to pay,
especially if it is truly an emergency. Third, ability to pay
should not even compete with matters of health and life or death.
Tho it does and we are often the worse for the wear for waiting too
long to seek treatment. Fourth, most of our counselors, mds, etc.
tell us to call 911 in the event that we are feeling suicidal. We
are told that we will be taken to the ER where they are equipped to
deal with crises. It's a good thing for me to know that if ever I
need to call 911, I can expect you to lock me in a cell instead, thus
triggering deeper panic and perhaps bringing on a psychotic break.
The gent glared at me and he crossed his arms like a petulant
child. I don't expect he'll send me a christmas card this
year. So, there might be a really nasty volitile evaluation,
penned by him. If so, I decided to take it with a grain of salt,
cuz you win some and lose a few for whatever reasons.
Shortly after that, another crusty ol fella whipped out his cell, sent
a text message, then followed that up with a cell call. I stopped
in midsentence and waited til he noticed, and asked him to take it
outside, thereby extending common courtesy to myself and the other
attendents. He stopped out with not a lot of grace.
I am thinking that won't be a glowing review either. Damn, and I
was so counting on a perfect-pleasing score of having nothing but super
positive evaluations and feedback. But alas, I think the general
overall mood was one of, I'm here, cuz I gotta be, alright? YOU
the speaker should be glad...
I did do the IOOV and asked them to complete the eval forms before they
stepped out for a break. I think there were a couple folks who
did not complete them. I think there were 15 or 16 people there,
excluding my friend and myself.
The state coordinator for education and training of these fine folk,
approached me afterwards and asked if I would be willing to come to the
state convention next year and speak. I said, of course, I'd be
delighted. And I would be.
Cuz, afterwards, there were a few folks that made their way up to me
and thanked me for coming out. They said that it was good
to put a face to MI/BD (mental illness and Brain Disorders--not
bipolar, cuz i know in med field they use bd to designate bipolar, but
i used mi/bd to stress the chemical/biological nature of the condition
in today's presentation). The folks who approached me afterwards
were very encouraging in their words and feedback.
One gentleman said that I have inspired him to finally do what he has
been thinking of and that is to offer a support group for divorced
fathers so that they can better understand how to effectively stay in
touch with their children in reality, instead of in body only.
That was a real boost to my day. I wish him lots of luck. I
told him that that sort of thing is needed in our society.
so, that was a quick overview. when they came back from break, i
told them about the education classes, and the three most common mi/bd,
and our support groups here in the Golden Triangle. They had that
info on a sheet in front of them adn I said that I am certain that each
one of them knows at least one person that could use this information,
so please pass it on.
So, there might be a few less than glowing evaluation sheets. I'm
chalking that up in part to the general hostility that those persons
might have had regardless of who gave what presentation. Course
now, I could be wrong. They might have been mature enough to set
aside their obvious contempt for attending such things, and actually
paid attention and learned some amazing (shocking, but oh so true)
things about MI/BD and those who have the conditions.
Anyway, there it is. I hope that I did not encourage hostility
with any of my own preconceived notions or assumptions that I drew
early in the game. But I think I most likely did.