Sunday, April 1, 2007

Just when you think you have seen it all

As I arrived into work I see that the emergency room waiting area is full. I clocked in and put my gear on and the officers I was relieving were giving me the run down of the day’s activities. “Not a thing going on, the ER is just full and you have one down in the cooler” (body in the morgue). A few minutes into the shift my partner and I were ask to assist a male out of his vehicle. He had some kind of stomach virus and had not eaten in days. As we bring the person in we are suddenly thrown to the wolves by registration staff. The full waiting area has now turned to a lynch mob because they are tired of waiting and they are sicker than the person who was just taken back to a bed.

The whole time this is going on there is a female in her mid 40’s just sitting in a chair in front of a nurse almost catatonic. Instead of calling a psych tech or another nurse the registration person points her out to me. The women seem to snap out of her hypnotic state, starts whispering and crying and run out of the waiting area. Normally people in our area love to join a mob so I thought it was weird she ran off, so me being me I followed. On a side note the last time I followed an upset women outside her husband nearly ran me over after he beat her. Anyways she had parked outside our ambulance entrance and when she drove off she hit the curb, swerved and slammed her brakes at a stop sign beside the hospital. I jumped into our broken death trap of a jeep and followed her over, I stopped and walked to her window and that’s where the fun started.

The women would speak almost as if there was no problem, except she kept saying, “If I said there was a cat there, would you agree with me?” I told her, well Miss I am not going to lie, the only critter around is the bird chirping away behind me. Then she dropped her head and started to cry and whisper, “I want to end it all, I want to end it all.” The she reaches over to a gym bag and I yelled get your hand away from that bag. As I reach for my radio she started to head into traffic. I would put my radio back and she would stop. I could not get her to park the vehicle nor could I get her to step out. After a while she seemed to have to personalities, but what was weird it seemed each personality had its own mental problem. Now I spoke with our wonderful psych nurse and counselor and they think she is just border line, but there is a 1 in a million chance this is happening.
After about three hours of standing, at times in the rain trying to convince both personalities not to kill themselves I was able to calm her down long enough to radio for police assistance. In the process of talking with her one of the personalities told me her husband abuses her. Now it is not my job to judge the truthfulness of this statement, but just the same I was going to leave that up to the deputies. They were able to get her to admit herself to our psych ward where the nurse and councilor will find out if we have a border line or a 1 in a million phenomenon. Either way it was a first for me to try to convince two personalities not to commit suicide, my brain is fried!




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DID, dissociative Identity Disorder...the new name for MPD, Multiple Personality Disorder is actually much more common than 1 in a million.

"Although no controlled study has been conducted in the United States, an estimate of the prevalence of DID in the U.S. population is from 1 in 500 to 1 in 5,000, or between 250,000 and 2,500,000 people."

http://www.cameronwest.com/did1.html

"Dissociative Identity Disorder: Prevalence rates of .01 (Coons, 1984) to 1% in the general population. Studies have indicated a prevalence rate of .5 to 1.0% in psychiatric settings (Maldonado et al., 2002)."

http://www.isst-d.org/education/faq-dissociation.htm#prev

Many people diagnosed with DID have a previous misdiagnosis of borderline personality disorder; many also have previous misdiagnosis' of schizophrenia. The diagnosis of DID is controversial, just as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder were controversial 100 years ago. Many, many psychologists discount DID until they have actually seen it themselves (although many HAVE seen it and don't realize it).

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