As I described in a previous post, every Wednesday morning my colleagues and I meet for Interdisciplinary Treatment Team (IDTT). Five patients from my caseload were due to attend today’s team. We were scheduled to start at 9:30 AM. It was 8:45 AM, and I was still trying to complete my paperwork for the fourth patient. I hadn’t even gotten to the fifth patient’s treatment plan yet. I was trying to suppress my panic, but the anxiety was there.
About half an hour later, I stood up to stretch and take a break from my desk. I wandered over to the break room to chat with my colleague Dr. R, who was standing in front of the copy machine, reading some papers that he’d just retrieved from his mailbox.
“Take a look at this,” he said, handing me an inmate request. “Looks like I’m going to have to pass it along to custody.”
I quickly scanned the block writing on the page and caught the important words. “Inmate planning to escape,” “weapons in the cell,” “you need to investigate.”
“Oh, boy,” I said. We both knew what was coming, once he turned in that note. “Here we go.”
Dr. R left the office and I could have started a countdown, knowing exactly what would happen next. Within minutes, the announcement was made on the facility-wide paging system: “All inmates, recall and lock up. All inmates, recall and lock up.” The lieutenant came into our offices to make sure there were no inmates and informed us that an emergency count of the entire facility was being conducted. I knew from experience that the rest of the morning– and maybe even the rest of the day– was a wash. We wouldn’t be able to see our patients or have IDTT that morning, but we certainly now had the time to catch up on our paperwork.
I stood at the door to the mental health services building and watched the inmates on the yard heading back to their housing. It was 9:30 AM. The universe had just smiled down on me.