Using up our reserves


As a society, I mean.  We see more and more psych patients every month, it seems.  The only good news is that recently they’ve been moving out within 24 hours of coming in.  The bad news is that these are mainly newcomers to the system; they are simply people who are used to everything being handed to them, and they simply can’t deal with the reality that it is becoming more obvious as time goes on, that there’s no real safety net.  There’s no one who will carry them when they choose to sit down, or when they fall down.

I took care of a patient recently who was brought in by EMS because she attempted suicide by overdosing on prescription sleep and anxiety pills.  She didn’t succeed, and so she took more.  She still didn’t succeed, so she called 911.  When they brought her in they also brought a multipage suicide letter she had written to her parents and family with her.  Oy.

I just, try as I might, can’t have anything more than civility to people like that.  Poor me.  Life isn’t fair.  You didn’t love me enough.  I’m not getting enough sympathy.  She actually told me she wanted sympathy from me.  I was truly incredulous and responded “for what?” before the filter switched on.  Really, being sympathetic isn’t part of my job.  Compassion, yes, when warranted.  Civility and politeness, yes, always.  Sympathy, no.   This isn’t anything new for me, when I was working full time as a paramedic I was the same way.  Full grown adults who are essentially throwing temper tantrums in an attempt to get attention and their own way really piss me off.

My patient was crying (again, or still) because we wouldn’t let her go to the bathroom alone.  Well, we’re not supposed to, until you have been deemed stable enough to go alone.  She told me she ‘just had a bad couple of days’ and she wanted sympathy.  I felt like telling her:   And this makes you different from everyone else in this emergency room, including multiple staff members, HOW???

Another recent psych patient was a young adult male.  He also thought he was going to get sympathy and threw a temper tantrum (as did my patient, I won’t go into detail, but we ended up with multiple security guards at the bedside and leathers outside the door in reserve) on several occasions.  Why do adults think they’ll get their way if they throw a temper tantrum?  Didn’t their parents teach them it doesn’ t work?

I really attribute this to our failing society.  We have had an entitlement culture for nearly 50 years.  People simply assume the govt will bail them out if they get into trouble.  And unfortunately, we have done that for a generation or more.

Don’t get me wrong.  I AM for health care for all — at least for basic preventative care, including dental.  But come on — bucking for a disability check at 20 something years old, AND GETTING IT, because you don’t want to work — is just wrong.  Unless you’re truly one of the very small percentage of people who are, genuinely and permanently, mentally ill, you don’t belong on disability.

The doctor caring for my patient thinks we should send all these patients to Africa — where people have real problems and are too worried about feeding themselves to whine about how their parents were too hard on them and didn’t love them enough.  I tend to agree.  We have the highest living standard in the world yet we have more psych patients than anyone in the world as well.  We have the highest use of oxycontin and antidepressants.  We have the highest ratings of self scored unhappiness.  I could be wrong but I also think we have the highest amount of stupid reality TV shows as well.  Do people really watch those?  Is that why they’re so pissed off that they can’t have everything?

We’re spending dollars we can’t afford on patients like this, while we can’t afford to help people just get ahead or even break even.  We can’t afford preventative care that would keep people out of the hospital.  We can’t afford to give children an actual education that would give them the critical thinking skills they’ll need, nor the actual physical skills of caring for themselves by gardening, cooking, or whatever but we can pay for people who just want to have temper tantrums.

We’re reliving the last days of the Roman Empire.

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4 responses

  1. I totally agree. They are dumbing do the schools so more kids pass and then wondering why are these kids so, well, stupid. A lot of parents buy their kids things they want (not need) just because they feel guilty not being there for them all the time. My husband and I have no sympathy for people who buy season tickets to sports teams or go to games when they are behind on their taxes. Priorities are really screwed up now a days also. We have 2 20 year old sons. Their friends were shocked to find out we made them buy their own cars, pay their own insurance and pay for their own cell phone when they wanted them. We did lend one some money for the car which he is slowly paying back interest free, but we have tried to teach them to live within their means. Oldest of the 2 just figured out that life without a car is not always better. He lives with his GF and his car died, so they were using hers. Friday it had problems and her dad couldn’t fix it until today. My other son got a discount on the part because he is in the trade, but oldest wanted to go shopping yesterday after he was done work for a new car. First off we explained to him, new meant he needed collision and payments, second, it is a holiday weekend, no guarantee he would get a decent car. Third, don’t let them see you NEED a car or you will not get a great deal. He finally decided that he would wait and ship around more and be glad between her family and ours they were able to get her car running again so they will have it for school and work. But he now understands that his bike is not enough when it comes to getting to school and work that are 5 miles apart and you have 20 minutes to get there. We provided transportation for him, but he knows it will not be a regular thing because we have a life also. We are proud he is learning so well (they both are really just youngest has yet to learn savings) both doing great in college/trade school, and both turned out not to be a drain on society. But I agree that a lot of people out there think they are entitled to things. Hubby’s oldest is one such kid. He disowned us and filed for SS disability because he has a limp no other reason we know of. He feels the world owes him, just like he mother did. The oldest 20 year old takes after his dad (hubby) and plans and saves but hates to spend for anything. We taught them all the same, they were raised the same after I got here into the family with my son. I can see the 2 20 yo (step brothers) being different but they are more alike than the 2 who are blood related. Out of our 4 sons we have between the 2 of us, one lives at home and is still trying to learn to save his money, he has gotten better at this the past few months. One lives with his GF and is pretty tight with his, gets what he needs but lies within his means. One expects everything to be handed to him because he deserves it(he feels), and the oldest has lived on his own since he was 19 (almost 32), put himself through college and lives within his means. All in all I think we did pretty good with the 3 and nothing could have changed the one that disowned us.
    Sorry to ramble, but I do know how you feel, having seen it first hand, but also we TRIED to raise up self sufficient kids and teach them to live within their means and not depend on others for everything. I just wish more parents taught their kids to live within their means and not to be materialistic. There is so much more out there than material things, I wish more understood how to enjoy life and really live rather than how things are now.
    Adele

  2. Reminds me of something my chiropractor told me. She won’t get embroiled in her patient’s emotional stuff. One patient was apparently so upset that he couldn’t get her to react that he ended up rolling around on the floor having a temper tantrum and screaming. Maybe she should have sent him your way! 😉

  3. I noticed when my daughter was in elementary school, there was a lot of emphasis of boosting our kids’ self-esteem. So much so that I recall their singing a song “I am Special” to the tune of Frere Jacques! Okay to a point, but I’m meeting 40 year old teenagers these days! They still expect “Mom” – Society, the Government, other people- to bail them out. There must be a happy medium. Maybe raise our expectations? Like, not tolerate the trantrums in anyone over 4 years old. (I used to work retail- you would not believe the hissy fits thrown by grown women!)

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