When I arrived at my office this morning, I discovered that someone had placed, smack dab on the middle of my desk, a sealed plastic box containing one huge serving of chocolate-frosted double-decker fudge cake. Since yesterday was my regular day off, I wasn’t sure how long that cake had been sitting there. I went into the office next door to ask the office technicians if they knew anything about it.
“I got it for you this morning,” Ms. D told me. Her job included scheduling my appointments and entering my caseload data into the computer.
I was puzzled. “Did I do something that deserved chocolate cake?”
“It’s not for anything that you did,” Ms. D said. “It’s for what you’re going to have to do.”
“Oh no,” I said. “I drove by the prison on Saturday and I saw about seven transportation buses in the parking lot. Did I just get a bunch of new arrivals?”
Ms. D gave an apologetic smile. “You’ll see,” she said.
I went back to my office and turned on the computer. I waited for my emails to load and then I opened the one with the attachment for the Monday Movement Report. And then I couldn’t help shouting.
“Five new arrivals! A level of care change! That’s six initial intakes!”
Since the tracking system showed that they arrived over the weekend and were officially added to my caseload yesterday morning (by Ms. D, I suspected), I now had nine working days to see them. Today was already too late to add any of them, and the rest of this week was full– because I would be gone next week Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for my mom’s visit. So basically I had to fit six hour-long appointments into my schedule some time between now and next week Friday. And find the time to read their files and complete each patient’s treatment plan and suicide risk evaluation. I would definitely be staying late at work every day this week.
“Enjoy the cake!” Ms. D called back.