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Entering one of Melbourne?s busy metropolitan hospitals on a crisp winters morning at 0640hrs, rugged up in a woolen coat, gloves, beanie and scarf, I was horrified to see a man sitting on the steps of the main entrance with a young girl in a pushchair. The man had a sign in front of him, ?please help feed my daughter?. The child, wearing a light summer dress, her blond curls matted under a Richmond Tigers beanie, had the biggest blue eyes, a feature that stood out on her dirt stained face. I paused; my thoughts briefly back in India, but only long enough to see security coming to move them along and went on my way to order my ritualistic pre-work cappuccino. The image soon left as I set about dealing with the latest intake of homeless, drug affected admissions to my unit. Ahh Melbourne?.the city of great food, better coffee and the AFL.
?Who do you support?? my clients would ask as I?d perch myself on the arm of the couch as a game was about to begin. ?The Sydney Roosters,? I?d reply amidst perplexed looks. ?Don?t you mean the Sydney Swan?s?? they?d ask. ?No, I?m a rugby league supporter,? would come my standard answer. Without exception, a glazed look would momentarily pass my clients faces and they?d mumble something incoherently under their breaths. ?That game is crap. It?ll never infiltrate AFL and take over down here,? they?d matter of factly state, calling out to an Australian colleague of mine for support. Then would come a pause as part of the game was watched and I?d go off and do whatever nurses are supposed to do.
Back on the arm of the couch, I?d ask, ?so who do you support?? ?Richmond (insert any one of many bottom feeder clubs here) mate, they?re gonna win it this year,? was the inevitable statement. Game continues with clients yelling at the TV. One of the Richmond players scores and does a celebratory salute. ?Yeah, I know mate,? a client responds, nudging me. ?See that, he?s just letting us know its all good. So, who are you going to support? You can?t live in Melbourne and not support an AFL team.? I?d ponder my response for a second or two. ?I think I?ll stick with rugby league. It?s a far better game.? The game goes on with Richmond (or whatever team) becoming bumbling idiots and being screamed at by the clients. Game over, team loses. Client gets up, kicking the chair and storms out to the smoke room. I wander off to write notes:
Nursing Entry AM: Involuntary client maintained on 15 minute obs. Client remains preoccupied (with AFL) this shift and appears confused; has no idea who the Sydney Roosters are. Thought blocking evident and appeared to be responding to non-apparent stimuli when posed with the idea that contact nurse supports rugby league. Client is displaying paranoia+++ in the context of thinking that rugby league is trying to infiltrate and take over the state. Attempting to staff split and gain confirmation of same paranoid ideation. Grandiose delusions voiced; client thinks Richmond is going to win the Grand Final. Pressured speech evident throughout the shift. Idea?s of reference from the TV also evident with client verbally responding to same. Reality feedback and psycho education re rugby league given. Client appeared irritable through latter part of shift and became physically aggressive towards chair, redirected to smoke room for low stimulus environment. Food and fluids satis. Overall, settled shift.
Melbourne?I think I quite like it here, despite the rugby league coverage being crap. My jobs certainly easy with so many blatantly delusional people running around the city in any number of tribal colours spouting paranoia. The coffee?s great?always an important factor and when you spot another person as mad, maybe that?s not an appropriate word to be using here, as fanatical about league as yourself, theres an instant connection. Victoria, the place to be? Not yet, but it will be when rugby league has infiltrated the state. It?s going to happen in 2009 after the Roosters win three back to back grand finals. How do I know? The man on the TV told me!
*Please note, this is written tongue in cheek and all characters depicted are purely fictional. I am not a nurse, nor do I suffer from any psychiatric illness.
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