Remember when I had the incredibly busy day last week Friday? There was a point in the day when I went outside to talk to one of the correctional officers on the yard, and I heard an inmate calling, “Dr. C! Dr. C!” I knew he was trying to get my attention, and I knew that he thought I was Dr. C. She and I work in the same building, we both have long dark hair, and we’re about the same height. I suppose that from a distance, a person could mistake one of us for the other.
It’s one thing when a patient speaks to me in a socially acceptable manner when I encounter him outside of the office; it’s a different story when it comes to inmates yelling at me from across the yard. My policy is this: I don’t acknowledge it—and more so when that individual isn’t even yelling the right name. You have to have good boundaries when you work in a prison, and if you turn your head and look every time an inmate calls out to you on the yard, you are going to develop a certain kind of reputation among all of the inmates who live there.
So I ignored the inmate and went back inside the building and forgot all about it, until I returned to work today and ran into Dr. C this morning. I told her about the incident and how the inmate was calling her name at me.
“What did you say to him?” Dr. C asked.
“I didn’t see who it was,” I said. “I just heard the voice calling your name, and I ignored it. He was probably thinking, That bitch.”
We both laughed.
“I guess I’ll find out soon enough,” Dr. C said. “I’m sure I’ll get an earful the next time he comes in to see me.”