Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Making Earthquake Drills More Fun...

So. Alaska has undertaken a several day long earthquake reenactment in honor of the 1964 earthquake that shook the heck out of Anchorage. Being a good State employee, I volunteered to help out as a "victim" for a few days. This has been fun. Why? Because I have a looooooot of experience with being a patient, and it's not hard for me to throw a spanner in the works. And that's the point of a drill, right? To work through potential problems? So my throwing spanners is really a matter of duty. Muahahaha.

Day 1: OCD Patient off her meds.
  This was the scenario to which I was assigned. Severely OCD patient with anxiety issues not taking her meds. What they expected was to pretend to calm me down, give me fake meds, and send me on my merry way. What they didn't expect was a patient genuinely shaking (I'd had a steroid infusion the previous day), very familiar with OCD symptoms (I've had friends with it), and with the scientific knowledge to say, "No, that drug won't take effect for at least two weeks." Ended up being "counseled" by a genuine mental health counselor who, in real life, works one floor above me. Figured I'd make his life interesting, so I threw in bits about lupus and other things from real life. By the end of the drill, he wasn't sure if I was genuinely crazy or not. (The jury is still out). I am, by definition, a mental health counselor's worst nightmare in an earthquake: I'm a survivor of another major earthquake, I have no family within a thousand miles of Alaska, I'm chronically ill, etc. Let's just say the next day everyone involved congratulated me on how well I acted.

Day 2: Patient with Severely Bruised Foot.
  Boring. So, since I wear a MedicAlert anklet anyway, let's throw in a bleeding disorder (ITP) and lupus to make it more exciting! All of the sudden your bruised foot patient is at risk of bleeding to death! They didn't realize, at first, that the anklet really was mine, and I wasn't making up the chronic illnesses. That, plus I get cold very easily, so when I entered the make-shift medical facility, I was shivering to the point that the nurse thought I was actually hypothermic. Fun! Then they put a fake-TB patient near me, and I pointed out that, if they really did that, I'd be dead. I like to think that I'm working out the kinks in the system.

To be continued...

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