Thursday, August 28, 2008

Measure twice, cut once

So after consulting with my supervisor about a patient, he recommended administering the Criminogenic Thinking Profile, and he emailed me the test. Naturally, after printing the test, I took it myself and put my results in my Gmail status (40th percentile overall, if you care or if it means anything to you).

Because Gmail does not allow you to annotate emails, I often reply to myself and include relevant comments. Because the email from my supervisor only said CTP, and not the full name of the test, I posted my Gmail status message with the test's full name into a new reply to send to myself, so it would be included in the conversation and I could search for it in the future. Of course, as you'd so intuitively gathered by now, I sent my results to my supervisor. Lucky for me he's got a sense of humor and a natural curiosity. His response- "Not too bad. Any high [subscale] scores?"

This are trying times...

This are trying times my friend when I and my patients begin to feel irredeemable but there is hope, yes there is. listen

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More psychosis in the news

See my original post on psychosis here.

I've been following the sad story that unfolded July 29th on a Greyhound bus traveling in western Canada. Without any apparent provocation, Vince Weiguang Li calmly and repeatedly stabbed Tim McLean to death before decapitating him, displaying his head to other passengers (who had fled the bus), and eating parts of his body.

When arrested on the bus, Mr. Li said "I have to stay on the bus forever." Since his arrest, Mr. Li has declined to speak; aside from acknowledging his guilt, he only spoke when asked by the judge if he wanted a lawyer. Mr. Li shook his head and quietly said, "please kill me." Mr. Li was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and has since been admitted to a secure forensic psychiatric ward. Though he declines legal assistance, Legal Aid Manitoba stepped up to represent Mr. Li.

Following the case, I've encountered many comments on blogs and news sites condemning Mr. Li's actions and calling for Canada to reinstate the death penalty in his case. Many are dismissive of "this mental illness BS" and point to the fact that Mr. Li knew what he was doing. (Of course he knew what he was doing, but he was not doing it in the reality we experience- he acted according to the demands of another world entirely.) They think he should be thrown in a hole or deported back to China after revoking his Canadian citizenship. There are also those who recognize that Mr. Li cannot be considered fully (or at least criminally) responsible for his actions and that we should reserve judgment until more facts come to light.

In my last post on this topic, I expressed sadness at the horrors that can befall the mentally ill, their families, and bystanders. This time around, I'm saddened by the intolerance and misunderstanding still prevalent in many people's perceptions of mental illness.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pedalling in the rain

Soon after starting off (without having checked the weather, of course), I saw heavy clouds and lightning over New Jersey, but I decided not to head back. I like to change my routes, because they're tracking me, I mean, to explore new areas of my neighborhood I couldn't (or wouldn't) on foot, and to get some variety. Here's today's ride:


It started to rain on the last leg of my trip, and I put my legs to work (uphill) to get home. I had my bike safely in the vestibule and sat in the rain on my stoop, guzzling water and waiting for my heart to slow down a little (and for my jelly muscles to get it together, man!). Tough workout, but good to get moving. Also nice to finally get inside and plop down listening to the thunder.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Words for the Wise #4

Today's word comes from the newest book on my wishlist, "Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages" by Ammon Shea.

acnestis (n.) The area of an animal's skin where it cannot reach to scratch itself.

From the Greek, using the negative prefix /a/, it literally means "unscratched." Consider yourself that much more enlightened for having clicked your way here

The other words in this series can always be found here.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Today's Ride

I had to drop off the dry cleaning up the hill, so I thought I'd go into the park to practice mounting and dismounting my bike. See, with the saddle properly adjusted, the knee is only slightly bent when the pedal is at the 6 o'clock position. This maximizes pedaling efficiency and prevents injury. Problem is, that makes the saddle really high up, and your toes only graze the ground.

During my last ride, I realized I needed to figure out the proper way to get on and off if I don't look like a flailing platypus trying to get on and I don't end up unsafe and fraught each time I want to stop. I was headed to the park to get the hang of these basics on the grass so I could avoid showing up to my sister-in-law's wedding with embossed asphalt on my face (and having it preserved for posterity in her album). Turns out these techniques are really rather simple, and I got the hang of them by the time I got to the park, so I enjoyed my ride and got back in time to move back from alternate side parking.