Friday, May 5, 2006


This man came into work today. He was tall and thin, about 65, no teeth. He was very frustrated and agitated and just rude. He had crazy written all over him.
He was signing up for a Medicare part D program, and was wanting medication today. He is not currently our member enrollment doesn't go into effect until the first of the month. There is nothing I can do to change that.
He wanted me to put the enrollment in the computer today because he needed some medication that would help him quit smoking. "I've been smoking for 50 years," he said. "I need that medication today!" He got very angry that I couldn't help him, and ordered me to call his case worker. She happens to be a friend of mine (who I will hug next time I see her, just for putting up with this guy), but she didn't answer. He is muttering and complaining. It is really hard to understand him with no teeth. He talks a mile a minute.
He told me to call her back, let it ring 3 times, hang up and try again. She still didn't answer. Then he wanted me to try to call someone else. I called to the county office for another case worker who helps him. She, of course, wasn't there either.
Ok, I really want this guy to back away from my desk.
I explain to the county office what the situation is: "This is Skye. I'm trying to help Mr. Blank. He is trying to get some medication."
Their answer: "Good luck with him." They obviously have dealt with him before.
They put me on hold to try to find someone to help.
"What are you doing on that phone?!" he asks.
"I'm on hold, sir."
"You and your goddamn hold..." He sits down in a chair and starts eating about 15 mini candy bars. This is candy I just bought for my co-workers.
At this point I really want to ask him to leave. But what good would that do? He would probably get more mad, and then who knows what.
He can't find his medical assistance card. The case worker must have taken it, he insists.
"Now I have to ride back there." He rode his bike to our office."I'm supposed to rest every 2 hours. I can't ride back there! What time is it?"
"Oh. I guess I have time. Put my information into the computer so I can get my medicine today!"
"I can't do that, sir. It won't go into effect until June 1st." Stay calm, I tell myself.
"Why not?!"
"The Medicare part of the government won't let me." It was as simple and clear as I could make it.
He grabs the form and starts to tear it.
"Sir, you want me to keep that form. Otherwise you will have to fill it out again."
He tossed it back at me, like it was trash.
I listened to him rant some more. I realized all he wanted was someone to listen.
Then he leaned in really close. "I'm gonna give you a tip."
I'm expecting him to tell me something crazy. Instead he reaches in his pocket and pulls out 2 quarters. 50 cents. My tip.
"Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?"
"Yes, sir, of course." A semi-lie, I don't know if I really do, but that's for another post.
He goes on and on about how the Holy Spirit is in him and he has been tempted by Satan. He was killed before. But the Spirit helped him heal another guy's leg, but when the leg was longer and the other, and he is going to hell for that.
He starts to explain atoms and particles to me and about how we have enough energy in our bodies to blow up and destroy the city, all the while quoting the bible... He obviously is an intelligent guy, just crazy.
One of my co-workers comes over and says she needs me, to try to help. I understand. So does he. He knows what she is doing-trying to get him to leave. He shakes my hand and tells me to watch out for her, she is the devil's worker. He mumbles some more and heads out the door.
I'm really, really proud of myself for handling that. I don't know if anyone else in the office would have handle him as well. I know some couldn't for sure. There were a few people who flew into their offices when the whole thing started. They didn't come out until he was gone.
But what if I'm him someday? Wouldn't I want some understanding and compassion? I suprised myself. Intersting experience, but I'm feeling good.


Isabel's Mommy said...

Sounds like your Friday was as crazy as mine......Hmmmm....and the full moon isn't until the 13th....which worries me a little bit.

If things are crazy right now, what will they be like on that day.

I got my fingers crossed the baby comes before then. I'm ready for maternitgy leave.

laura said...

just scrolling thru blogger and thought this was a really nice story and figured i would say so. it can be so hard to listen, but it can be what someone needs most.