Saturday, August 26, 2006

Keeping the laughter

photo by grassrootsmsw

"A paradoxical thing is that in making comedy, the tragic is precisely that which

arouses the funny…we have to laugh due to our helplessness in the face of

natural forces and (in order) not to go crazy."

Charlie Chaplin

This week at work was so intensely busy and full with complicated cases and situations. Additionally, we had limited staff this week which served to increase the intensity and demands. For those of us working, one could see the burning rubber on the soles of our shoes as we ran from floor to floor, patient to patient. We triaged like a NYC emergency room, all the while providing good interdisciplinary team care to our patients and families. We also juggled and managed the needs of the many personalities and politics that are inevitable in a large hospital. To my surprise, this fast paced week seemed easier than others because the team used laughter and light heartedness as a coping mechanism. Our daily team meetings were filled with deep belly laughs...we even performed some great disco moves to the theme of 'Stayin Alive' by the BEEGEES.

Laughing at ourselves is an unlikely but extraordinary way of bonding and building team strength. To keep the humor "alive," I add the following top ten list I found on the web...Enjoy!

Top Ten Signs You Are Approaching Burn-Out
For social workers and mental health workers.
by Storm A. King

10) You think of the peaceful park you like as “your private therapeutic milieu.”

9) You realize that your floridly psychotic patient, who is picking invisible flowers out of mid air, is probably having more fun in life than you are.

8) A grateful client, who thinks you walk on water, brings you a small gift and you end up having to debrief your feelings of unworthiness with a colleague.

7) You are watching a re-run of the “Wizard of Oz” and you start to categorize the types of delusions that Dorothy had.

6) Your best friend comes to you with severe relationship troubles, and you start trying to remember which cognitive behavioral technique has the most empirical validly for treating this problem.

5) You realize you actually have no friends, they have all become just one big case load.

4) A co-worker asks how you are doing and you reply that you are a bit “internally preoccupied” and “not able to interact with peers” today.

3) Your spouse asks you to set the table and you tell them that it would be “countertherapeutic to your current goals” to do that.

2) You tell your teenage daughter she is not going to start dating boys because she is “in denial”, ”lacks insight.” and her “emotions are not congruent with her chronological age.”

And, the number one reason you may be burning out....

1) You are packing for a trip to a large family holiday reunion and you take the DSM-IV with you “just in case.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This entry was especially meaningful to me...I do believe providers in EOL care need to balance the culture's dark side of death with "human light"...a smiling face, a witty line, a hug...nourishment for those we serve as well as ourselves...we're all blessed to do this work...