Sunday, September 9, 2012

My Name Tag

In hospital, I looked for means of gaining some control when things became frustrating.

Remember the Occupational Therapist I wrote about? The one who made us play basketball in slow motion, and suggested we hire maids to help with housework at home? She showed us a weight room.

Again, I was surprised and excited. I like to work out. I had no idea that there was a gym in the building. It looked pristine - with a universal machine and a bunch of free weights.

"When can I come up and use this?"

"Oh, not until you are very stable. We wouldn't want you hurting yourself, would we? Plus, you would be out of practice. So, you couldn't use most of this anytime soon."

I began to understand why the equipment looked so new.

"So...I would have to be well, and have to practice lifting weights, before I could use this?"

"That's correct. Let's move along now, shall we?"

I felt a growing resentment towards this woman (for the record, I have met many wonderful OTs since. She was an exception). It had been a month, and I had played one game of slow-motion basketball. That was it. And to use the weight room I would have to be discharged from hospital, which would mean I couldn't use the weight room.

When I finished the little tour, I came back to my room and took out the name tag on my door. I tore it up, and found a piece of cardboard. With child safety scissors I cut it into a square that would take the place of my tag. With a coloured felt pen and great flourish I wrote "Piscator", and placed the card in my name slot.

I love to fish. Fishing requires incredible patience. My favourite is fly fishing. You must remain silent and attentive - focused on your line so that you don't miss that small twitch that tells you a fish is on. I also gently release most of the fish I catch. With fly fishing, the fish don't swallow the hook - with skill, you catch them in the lip so that they are not injured (most fly fishers like me use small, barbless hooks).

I decided to apply the same techniques to my hospitalization. Patience, focus and observation.

The nurses looked at my nametag quizzically. None of them asked me what it meant. I saw them make notes.

In the original edition of Izaak Walton's "The Compleat Angler," Piscator is the angler who has discourse with Venator, the hunter. Each of them politely argue the virtues of their respective sports.

Piscator is the patient one.

I decided that for the rest of my stay, since I was known as a "patient," then I would be "patient." In spite of anything that happened, I would be both the fisher and fish - focused and waiting - my goal to be released unharmed at the first opportunity.


Unknown said...

It seems you found a very good coping technique.

Patience is not usually my forte, but I'm learning more with my new lifestyle changes.

I truly don't know how I would have coped. That one Therapist reads like she was designed to drive me nuts and become violent. I commend you for not responding appropriately to her when bigger things were at stake.

D'Arcy said...

She was easier than coping with your lifestyle change. By far. ;)

Unknown said...

That made me smile.