January 24, 2017
I had a patient assigned to my floor a few years ago. He was an interesting fellow. Every time I walked past his room he’d be talking to himself in the mirror, not just little chants but full on conversations. He had a lot of visitors and while his actions determined that his logic wasn’t all there, he held pretty cognitive conversations. If you met the guy for the first time you probably wouldn’t realize he had any diagnosis.
“Hey Jeff,” I interrupted one of his one on one conversations. “I’m getting ready to take off, did you need anything else for the evening?” He didn’t respond right away, instead he finished his sentence in the mirror.
“… Thats all you can do for the day, and there’s going to be more visitors tomorrow if you need to act differently then you will have another chance to do it then.” He turned to me then “No Marcus, thank you.”
“Jeff, what are you talking about id you don’t mind me asking?” I sat down behind him on his bed.
He looked at my reflection in the mirror for a moment before saying “I am just talking about my day.”
“What about your day?” I ask.
“Well I firmly believe in the mirror test.” he said turning around to face me, “All that matters is if you can honestly look yourself in the mirror and tell the person you see there that you have done your best for the day.”
“Why not just tell yourself in your head?” I ask
“When you ask god for forgiveness its one thing to say it to your self, but its a whole other experience to go to a preacher and tell him all your darkest moments and ask him to pray for you.” He shut his eyes and lowered his head, without opening his eyes he continued. “I don’t always recognize that guy in the reflection but I know this is my room, that is my plant over there, and my picture of my wife on the bed stand. I know that that guy is me. Everyday I tell myself to be better so when I meet God I know that I tried as hard as I could to be an honest human.”
I touched his shoulder, and looked at my reflection and said “You did a good job today, tomorrow you’ll do great” I turned to Jeff who was watching me curl his lips into a smile.
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