Print Story Tales From The Hospital
By sugar spun (Wed May 20, 2009 at 08:35:05 AM EST) (all tags)

Sometimes I wonder if I actually work in a sitcom.

Case meeting today, in the usual offensively hot room. (Note to Germans: you will not die if you happen to be sitting in a cool breeze on a hot day. Stop closing the windows.)

A lot of cases today, most routine. Then we get a case: 26 year old woman self-referred because she suspects she might have some sort of paranoid disorder. She lives in a large apartment complex (it's named in the report) and is convinced that a neighbour, or at least someone who lives there, is spying on her. "Stalking" is the term she used, the past tense of which is gestalken in German and which made me snigger and hastily pretend to be coughing. She's referred to the day clinic, and we move on.

Next patient: 45 year old man. Self-referred because he is stalking his neighbour and would like to stop. The next question is of course, Where does he live? and with the answer come gales of laughter.

We decide to un-refer the female patient to the day clinic, refer the male patient to a self-help group for people with various obsessive disorders and prepare to move on. But then the question arises: how do we explain to the female patient, without breaking the male patient's confidentiality, that she's not paranoid because he really is (was?) after her? We know she'll be upset not to be referred to the day clinic because she'll feel that we're not taking her seriously, but we need the space and since she is astute and not sick we can't give it just to soothe her feelings. We also can't put her into the day clinic since her neighbour the stalker would be in the building at the same time.

We decide to keep her with the current therapist and hope that the group therapy helps the neighbour. Plan of action is for her therapist to advise her to keep a diary of sightings of the neighbour, and they can talk about whether it's excessive and/or why she might think herself to blame rather than someone else. Some good may come of her therapy after all.

I really want to talk about a patient we have who ought to have severe PTSD and is actually completely sub-clinical, but I'm still trying to figure out how. He's so uninteresting that he's fascinating, if you see what I mean. Hopefully I'll figure it out.
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Tales From The Hospital | 29 comments (29 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
sitting in a cool breeze on a hot day by georgeha (4.00 / 8) #1 Wed May 20, 2009 at 08:44:21 AM EST
Do you know how many German motorcyclists died because they weren't wearing kidney belts, and their back got cool?

My guess is zero. by sugar spun (4.00 / 6) #3 Wed May 20, 2009 at 08:48:10 AM EST
No German has ever forgotten their kidney belt before a motorcycle ride. The dead ones are all foreigners.

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Seben ! [nt] by Phage (2.00 / 0) #25 Thu May 21, 2009 at 03:12:30 AM EST

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Can't be a sitcom... by chuckles (4.00 / 7) #2 Wed May 20, 2009 at 08:47:57 AM EST
else you would have arranged a blind date for them and they would have discovered how right they are for each other.

"The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin [...] would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities"
Silly as it sounds, maybe this is not a bad idea by anonimouse (1.00 / 1) #5 Wed May 20, 2009 at 09:54:33 AM EST
... the line between stalking and infatuation is a rather blurred one. Unless said neighbour is a real threat maybe increased socialisation between the two would resolve the matter one way or another.

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
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You mean by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #8 Wed May 20, 2009 at 11:55:02 AM EST
...when the stalker discovers that stalkee is both shallow and completely annoying?

Actually...that would be a really funny movie.  Stalker spends lots of effort and contrives to get himself lots of personal time with Stalkee.  (Maybe gets himself trapped on an elevator or something.)  Stalker discovers that Stalkee is incredibly annoying.  Stalker flees, and lives happily ever after.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

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you need the full Pepe Le Pew cycle by clover kicker (4.00 / 3) #11 Wed May 20, 2009 at 12:12:40 PM EST
The stalkee falls in love with the now disinterested stalker, and they reverse roles.

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You Guys Are Geniuses. by CheeseburgerBrown (2.00 / 0) #22 Wed May 20, 2009 at 06:15:56 PM EST
I'm gonna copyright this thread and selling it to someone.

(Then, twenty years later it will be rebooted with younger, cooler actors.)

I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da.
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It's already a film by Dr H0ffm4n (2.00 / 0) #26 Thu May 21, 2009 at 05:55:58 AM EST
Note: by sugar spun (4.00 / 1) #4 Wed May 20, 2009 at 08:50:15 AM EST

Opinion appears to be divided as to whether the past participle of the German stalken, to stalk, is Gestalken or Gestalkt.

As in, I heard gestalken but my resident pedant says it's gestalkt and has done research to support his claims.

I would like to take this opportunity to say that I think they sound as funny as each other and don't care which it is.

They both sound cool by gzt (4.00 / 1) #14 Wed May 20, 2009 at 01:47:51 PM EST
But I think gestalken sounds cooler.

The stalker came in right after her? Did we consider the possibility that he... stalked her to the hospital?

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Possible by sugar spun (2.00 / 0) #17 Wed May 20, 2009 at 03:15:11 PM EST
But they were just being discussed today; neither was present in the clinic. I didn't get the dates of first appointments for each one - but he could've.

Hmm. He seems pretty herbivorous, as stalkers go - just being around a lot when she is, adjusting his schedule so he passes when she's passing. No night vision goggles or scary letter deliveries.

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as a matter of principle by BlueOregon (4.00 / 1) #15 Wed May 20, 2009 at 02:47:33 PM EST

In standard high German it *must* be gestalkt if the infinitive is stalken, for it is a general principle that all new verbs are weak (see also: googeln, gegoogelt).

Exceptions could exist in two cases:
1. stalken is *really close* (in form) to an existing strong verb, so by analogy takes its form from the other verb.
2. we're dealing with dialect (and/or regional language) vs. standard high German, in which case the same rule does not have to obtain.

As for something *similar* -- "talken" has been adopted in some contexts, but it's past participle is "getalkt" (see: rule above). Das Talken, on the other hand, can also refer, as you're aware, to applying talc, as related to "der Talk" and "das Talkum".

In any case, yes, both sound funny, and it's not really something to care about. "stalken" (and "stalker" & "gestalkt") both seem to be used in Dutch beyond the merely colloquial; standard German (especially in formal/official contexts) still seems to prefer heranpirschen & belästigen, and Pirschjäger & Anschleicher.

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Dialect by sugar spun (2.00 / 0) #19 Wed May 20, 2009 at 03:21:12 PM EST
The reporting therapist is one of the few people on staff who speaks Bayerisch as opposed to High German when at the meetings. The other Bavarians tend to kick their registers up for formal occasions, but some of them don't care to.

I find it almost impossible to tell when they're using colloquialisms and when not; sometimes I've been admonished for being too colloquial by accident. I used some form of "fertig sein" last week in the context of days left till I go off on leave and received a thorough telling-off for it.

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LOLWUT? Seriously? by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #23 Wed May 20, 2009 at 10:39:59 PM EST
I *still* use it, fifteen years later.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

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Fertig by brokkr (2.00 / 0) #29 Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 05:50:11 PM EST
Allow me to use this opportunity to link to my most favoritest rant evar:


Deyr fé, deyja frændr, deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn, at aldrei deyr: dómr um dau∂an hvern.

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I am interested in PTSD by Dr H0ffm4n (4.00 / 1) #6 Wed May 20, 2009 at 10:49:52 AM EST
and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

It's a tough call. by sugar spun (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed May 20, 2009 at 11:57:12 AM EST
The patient I want to talk about would be hard to keep anonymous, but is absolutely fascinating because $Patient has never had so much as a nightmare following an experience that would send most of us spinning into psychiatric inpatient units.

I'm working on a paper at the moment about why it might be that some people develop trauma-related disorders while others face the same trauma and do not. If we were to accept a simple biopsychosocial model, then it would make sense that people with similar upbringings or environments would have similar responses, but they don't - and why? Multi-layer self-models and adaptations of hardcore analytic philosophy to suit my purposes are in use in my long-winded but hopefully reasonable answer.

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Ist er von Osterreich? by marvin (4.00 / 1) #16 Wed May 20, 2009 at 03:11:22 PM EST
Something to do with a cellar?

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No by sugar spun (4.00 / 1) #18 Wed May 20, 2009 at 03:16:01 PM EST
Although getting my grubby little hands on those patients would make me the happiest researcher in the world.

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I suggest by anonimouse (2.00 / 0) #20 Wed May 20, 2009 at 03:44:20 PM EST
..a paper on what happens when stalker and stalkee get together might be worth a doctorate or two. Get them to attend a joint session.

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
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I've read a little on that subject by Dr H0ffm4n (2.00 / 0) #21 Wed May 20, 2009 at 04:05:05 PM EST
Why some people get PTSD and others don't. The best samples tend to be comrades in armed units. They go through the same experiences but don't react the same ways. But gaining access to control samples is tricky.

IMHO, upbringing and environments don't necessarily determine character except in extremes.

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I don't believe the BPS model either by sugar spun (2.00 / 0) #24 Thu May 21, 2009 at 01:06:00 AM EST
If it were possible to say that specific types of upbringing or environmental factors led to PTSD or other disorders, we would be able to predict which members of a group of children were more likely to develop certain adult-onset diseases. We can't. There's more to it.

I want to claim that those who don't develop these disorders have a more thoroughly integrated self-model than those who do. My confidential patient had no problem accepting and integrating whatever we asked him to, but there was an almost identical case a while earlier that ended very differently because that patient wasn't able to do so.

If you're interested, send me a message and I'll give a bit more detail outside the areas that are universally visible.

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I'm curious in general and not particular by Dr H0ffm4n (2.00 / 0) #27 Thu May 21, 2009 at 06:06:29 AM EST
So there's no need for specifics of this one case. But thanks.

My curiosity is sourced from wanting to understand a little better a PTSD sufferer I know. I am not their therapist, but it would be useful to get a grounding. The symptoms presented are not as literal or directly connected to the nature of the trauma as I had expected.

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That's really common by sugar spun (2.00 / 0) #28 Thu May 21, 2009 at 06:57:49 AM EST
and can be rather confusing. There's a school of thought that says there's a link between cause and symptom, but it may not be an obvious link: a woman who's raped may exhibit no altered sexual behaviour within her normal relationship, but could become obsessive about having enough laundry powder in the house. It makes no sense on first glance, but if she'd been thinking about needing to buy laundry powder when she was attacked, she could blame not having seen the situation unfolding on the laundry powder and be attempting to control her surroundings that way.

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If you get a free moment . . . by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed May 20, 2009 at 11:25:14 AM EST
school them about leaving the fucking windows open in Dezember. Morons.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

In December it doesn't count by sugar spun (4.00 / 1) #10 Wed May 20, 2009 at 11:58:49 AM EST
because they're all wearing outdoor clothes indoors.

I saw a girl today wearing a top with narrow straps, no jacket, a short skirt, flip flops ... and a scarf. Had I been less pregnant I might have punched her just on principle.

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well, to be fair... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #12 Wed May 20, 2009 at 12:45:34 PM EST
...she could be a singer. They have this thing about keeping the actual throat itself warm.

Or it could be fashion.

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No, it's Germans. by ReallyEvilCanine (4.00 / 1) #13 Wed May 20, 2009 at 01:19:24 PM EST
The perma-scarf is right up there with the motorcycle kidney belts.

the internet: amplifier of stupidity -- discordia

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Tales From The Hospital | 29 comments (29 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback