Traumatic! That’s what it was.
This morning a patient from one of our illustrious penal institutes was scheduled to see my partner. We don’t usually see these patients anymore – we used to regularly but found the entrance of a prisoner in shackles through the waiting room of children or older people was not much of a practice builder. So we started bringing the prisoners in through the back entrance.
We stopped treating these patients when it became obvious to us that most of them just wanted out for a trip rather than actual dental treatment. So they would get to our office and decide that they didn’t want to have anything done that day. Or there would be no problem to treat – the imaginary toothache has disappeared.
Today was an exceptional day. My partner had seen the patient in the past. The patient requested to see him again. Out of the goodness in my partners heart and our willingness to bend our less than rigid rules, he was scheduled for first thing this morning.
Today became an exceptionally traumatic day. The patient requested to use the washroom. The guard who was by himself took him there in his hand and leg shackles. Our washroom has no windows. Should be OK right? After a few minutes alone in the washroom, the prisoner threw open the door, knocked the guard down and ran. Shackles have been removed somehow. Right there in front of our reception staff. One of them was shaking in the back room after.
It will be a long time before our receptionists book any more prisoners!
My next patient didn’t show up. So I came home for an hour. I didn’t think the whole incident affected me that much but it feels good to write it down and get it off my chest.
Update: Randall provided me with a link to one of our local news stations. Check it out here.
I didn’t make it to Gate Crashers today. Over the past few weeks I have appreciated the time of sharing in prayer for my and other’s needs and joys. But today I couldn’t go. I couldn’t go for both emotional and temporal reasons.
Today is the first day of school for the three kids I have left at home. I hear one up showering now – she’s the early riser. Now I know they will all be up in time to go even though I am not home to shoo them out the door. They are all ready – spent last night organizing all their stuff. I had to make two quick trips to Wal Mart in the space of two hours last night to get the last minute stuff.
I’m glad to see school starting again, although we will all miss the freedom of more relaxed schedules. And school isn’t that easy for some of my kids, so it brings a lot of added stress into our lives.
But the hardest thing to do today was to give Patrick a hug and send him on his way.
Patrick knew so little when he came to live with us nine years ago. He couldn’t speak or write English and his written French was to put it mildly “difficult” to read – no punctuation, no spaces between words and very phonetic but incorrect spellings of all those words that ran together. Now he sits and writes away at his first novel – in French. I think it his way of journaling to relieve some of his own private angst. And his English – well it remains his second language, but he ‘s off to study at the university level in this second language of his – pre-law – philosophy as his major.
And oh, am I ever going to miss him! This kid become a young man in front of my eyes. This morning he was up early to leave for Saskatoon with Leo. He sat down in the office next to me. “I’m really going to miss you, Mom.”
“Well, you really won’t be that far away,” I said. “And I will see you on Sunday in Saskatoon. And you can come home or call anytime you want to.”
Meanwhile my emotions are starting to churn and I look at him realizing that this is one of those moments a mother wants – but doesn’t want. Separation. Growing up and leaving home. Taking a part of me with him. He, leaving a part of himself behind with us – the part that has grown deeply rooted inside my heart.
So I didn’t make it to prayer this morning at the church. I couldn’t leave early and not say good-bye.