So let’s go back to Friday. On Friday, I experienced irritation, disappointment, despair, apathy, pride and elation.
I woke up feeling irritated for no apparent reason, although it could have possibly been because every night that I’ve been here, the two men I live with have been rather disruptive past 11pm, which is the definite point at which I try to walk and talk quietly. Every night I have struggled to go to sleep, including on Tuesday (?) night, when the one set the fire alarm off multiple times after midnight while drunkenly trying to make cheese on toast.
Disappointment joined the lot when I discovered that my job is hindering my attempt to lose weight (yes, I do need it, but not as much as some people). My diet is pretty open to tons of food as long as fats and oils are limited. I don’t cook with oil, instead using a spray thing, yet I eat heaps of carbs. This has been very successful in the past, but working every day doesn’t easily allow for sticking to this diet, especially when the office biscuits are positioned right next to me. Also, when doing cooking sessions, we try to eat the food the patients cook, which, of course, won’t be tailored to my diet. So, lo and behold, I put on a couple of kgs last week (which have thankfully dropped again this weekend). I was always an overweight (but not obese) child, and I don’t want to go back to that.
Despair – I wasn’t the only one feeling kind of low on Friday morning, though. Some of the patients who are usually more cheerful were also a bit down. One of them had a bit of tantrum in a meeting and said all of the staff were terrible and careless at their job, and I had to battle not to take this personally. All of the patients are prone to saying things like this, and I was told that I shouldn’t listen to the negative, but still try to see where the anger is stemming from. It was a struggle, though, and the hurt only calmed a few hours later via apathy.
Things changed after lunch when I had my formal supervision. My PE was so encouraging, and couldn’t think of anything negative to write on her portion of the form. It really helped to hear that, despite the patient’s earlier raging, I was doing well so far. She commended me on my eagerness and my ability to connect with the patients. She also said I was excellent at being aware of the patients and potential risks, which I said was probably a result of my years of experience being an older sister, cousin and babysitter.
Finally, elation. There was a disco for the building’s patients yesterday, with karaoke and the option to come in fancy dress. It was incredible to see some of my patients so engaged in such a normal teenage event. So many chose to sing, as well, something I didn’t expect. Even I was roped into singing, and it took me back to years of living in Japan, singing karaoke and organising dances for the younger students at my school. I felt so at home and so happy then. It only got better when I was leaving to go home and saw the two most timid patients in my ward coming down with smiles on their faces. If they didn’t know already, they know now that I’m a bit loopy, as I did a whole double fist pump act. At least this amused them, and I saw one smile for the first time.
That was my rainbow of emotions at the end of my first week.