Therapeutic Communication

So I’ll admit I’m not the best with the therapeutic communication business. I’m more of the type of person that would say “oh? You see little green men in the corner? You’re right. And the little green men say it’s time for you to take your pill and go to bed”….

(PS for those of you non-nursing types the ‘therapuetic response’ would be ‘I don’t see the little green men, but I’m sure that’s scary for you’…. and the next time your senile grandma tells you she needs to go home because her father’s worried about her you’ll know that the therapeutic response is ‘it’s 2007 your father died 23 years ago’ –orient to reality– which results in 45minutes of desperate tears of: ‘why didn’t anyone tell me he died’… therapeutic. Right. -But I digress…)

…Last night at the mental institution we had another 4 hours (FOUR HOURS) to sit and practice therapeutic communication with whichever crazies (That’s the PC term 😉 ) were sitting in the TV room. I don’t know about you but I have trouble sitting and talking for 4 hours straight with someone I like, let alone someone I don’t know. Turns out I would get to practice my therapeutic communication afterall. I’m sitting next to a fellow nursing student, my age, female, and we start chit chatting (she’s not so into the mental health rotation either) and she says “So remember how sick I was last week?”

(…and here’s where I need to interject that no student nurse will ever willingly miss clinical for illness. You have to pay a fine, and make up the hours, and risk failing out of the program… I’ve only known one person to miss clinical for being sick and that’s because she was admitted to the hospital. If you recall I even dragged my sorry butt to clinical 3 days post-op while I was still bleeding from the ass…)

I said I did and then she proceeded to tell me “I found out why. I was 6 weeks pregnant and just found out last week” I attempted to hide my surprise because I was still a little unclear “you are?!” “I was” “wait, you are?” (you may be able to see where this is going faster than I did because my brain just does not function rapidly these days) “I was 6 weeks pregnant, I got an abortion yesterday”. I’ll be honest and say that I’ve never actually known anyone first hand who got an abortion and didn’t really know how to react. While I don’t think I’d make the same decision even in the same circumstances I’ve long maintained I don’t think that’s something you can know what you would do until you’re in the situation and godforbid you ever have to think about something like that.

We ended up talking about it for quite a while and she told me she was horrified when she found out and there was no question in her decision. She told another girl in our group last week when she found out and told the girl she wasn’t going to keep it. The girl told her “well if you’re not going to keep it just don’t even tell anyone” I said “that was probably very good advice because that’s something people feel very opinionated about in this country” (the girl I’m speaking with who got the abortion is from Africa) She talked about it with her boyfriend (of 3 years) and told him this was what she wanted. Her boyfriend has a job in Chicago and she didn’t want to go through a pregnancy/baby without him here. She told me she was not emotionally, mentally, or financially ready for this. Her due date could have delayed her graduating till the following year and that’s just not an option.

So we talked about everything from how she was feeling to her thinking about getting an IUD so she would not have to worry about this happening again. Even by the time I got home late that night I was still in disbelief: “Wow, I can’t believe she actually told me all of this” because when it comes right down to it, I still barely know her. I hope it helped her to be able to talk about it with someone, and to let someone know how much she was hurting that night.

I told Hubbin when I got home and honestly didn’t know how he would react. I wonder sometimes how I would feel and how he would react if I ended up pregnant before I finished school. Obviously we’d end up with a baby, but still, I wonder what emotions would be most prominent at first. –Although I know his mother would be excited enough for all of us– I think I’d be scared, I’m pretty sure I’d cry. (Even though I still sometimes wish on my way to clinical at night we could go back to the post-partum unit and I could bathe the babies and long to take one home again) I feel so overwhelmed with everything that’s going on in my life already that it was still possible for me to be sympathetic with her decision even though I sometimes get caught up in the emotions of wanting my own baby right this minute.

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3 thoughts on “Therapeutic Communication

  1. Oooooh, babies! And it never gets better–A girlfriend of mine just had her 3rd baby and I found myself wanting another one. 🙂

    As for abortion… Our neighbors across the street have a 16-year-old daughter who’s pregnant out-to-here. When her dad first found out, he offered her a car if she would have an abortion. I was so stunned. I honestly think the best answer is adoption… It’s probably THE HARDEST way to go, but that doesn’t change my opinion. 🙂

  2. If people waited until they were truly “ready” for a child, no one would ever have them. You just can’t be ready for the way a child alters your life. I feel bad that your classmate felt like she had to make this decision. I’m with Austin — once you find yourself in that position, the kindest thing to do is allow your baby to be adopted. Nevertheless, you really got a belly full of therapeutic communication in during that convo, eh?

    Now, about the crazies and therapeutic communication… I had a schizophrenic brought in by ambulace the other evening – he saw spiders crawling all over him. As the paramedics rolled him in on the gurney, one of them was flicking at the patient’s pant leg with his fingers. I asked “what are you doing?” And the MICT said “flicking the spiders off.”

    Nice. Let’s keep this hallucination going…

  3. If you ever want to hear a reader’s feedback 🙂 , I rate this post for four from five. Decent info, but I have to go to that damn yahoo to find the missed parts. Thank you, anyway!

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