Convincing a Patient I Was Not The Devil

By. Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

When I came in through the doors
the old, schizophrenic woman
sized me up, referred to me as
the devil, and said she would not
discuss her problems with me.

I walked over to the nursing station
and read her medical chart, not
paying attention to her screaming
and epithets. She knew I was
coming for her and she didn’t like it.

After a half hour of taking notes,
the old woman was screamed out.
She had her cigarette break, had fifteen
minutes of group time, where
she was mostly guarded and withdrawn.

When I came out to talk to her, I was
polite, smiled, and requested her
audience. Somehow we hit it off.
She didn’t think I was the devil anymore.
She voices her concerns and fears.

She demanded I help her out of this
hellhole, where she believed she was
not a patient like the others. She said
she wouldn’t trust the doctor with her life,
and I a perfect stranger could save her soul.