Friday, June 10, 2011

The Saga Continues

Last fall I had a difficult client at work. To refresh you memory check here: the first visit . Almost seven months went by without a visit from him. I think I assumed he had realized he wasn't getting what he came for and went elsewhere. Then last weekend I went up front to get a client. And. There. He. Was. Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap. I hadn't recognized his name but as soon as I saw him it all came back. So back we go to the room. I am in  no mood to even try to be nice this time around. I see on his chart that only one other therapist is listed as having worked on him. And nothing from his visit with me is there. So I know that this is not the original chart (most likely misplaced by front desk, an all too common problem which leaves us with no record of prior care to go on). This means I have absolutely no idea how many therapists have dealt with him and no way of knowing if any of them had any problems with him.

So he is carrying with him a bottle of lotion. Not too unusual. Some clients bring their own and request that you use it instead of what we have. Not a big fan of that because so often whatever it is does not work well for massage. But whatever. When he hands it to me I realize it is sunless tanning lotion! He gives me this sob story about how he can't be in the sun because of medication he takes and that he is ridiculed for being pale (please remember, this is an older man....not some kid). He lives alone and has no one to rub this stuff on him so that he can look tan and healthy. I am not exaggerating when I say he was practically crying about this horrible problem. I calmly explain to him the reasons why me using this lotion is a bad idea.

1. Absorbs in very quickly which means it will make a lousy massage lotion
2. Will stain my own hands and arms
3. Will stain our sheets

And number 4 I did not tell him but wanted to scream.......I am not paid to be your tan applicator! There are places you can go where that is what they do...spray nasty chemicals all over your body to give you a fake tan! Go there for crying out loud!!! Sigh.........   Then he starts begging me and actually arguing about it. Oh and then, he tells me that the last therapist he saw shorted him 20 minutes. So he takes out a stop watch and starts timing me! Never mind the fact that *I* wasn't the one who shorted him, I have been officially informed that he will be keeping tabs on me. Yeah, I am just done with him at this point and we hadn't even started.

Finally I get to work on him. He is lying face down to start. He has the blanket off again, no big deal. I just have to be more careful. The sheet is just sitting below his butt crack. Our protocol is no butt crack visible. As you're working on a client it is extremely common for covers to shift around somewhat, exposing some butt crack at times. It's usually no big deal,  no cause for alarm certainly. Just cover them back up, no harm done. With this guy I know I will have to be VERY diligent in keeping the upper hand and in not letting him think for a split second that I am cool with ANY slips. So right from the start I am yanking that sheet up over him further. And as I work he keeps in almost constant motion, first raising up one hip and then the other, till that sheet sure enough slides down. I keep yanking it up. After a few times he says to me "Brenda you don't have to worry about the sheet. I'm not embarrassed.". I replied, very professionally, "That may be but I have to keep you covered." So it happens again. I pull it up again. And he says "I'm really not bothered by it. You can leave it down". I tell him very emphatically "No, I cannot work on you uncovered". I'm about ready to pull the plug on the session but he finally settles down and leaves things alone.

There is occasional conversation in which he asks me if I'm married (of course I lie and say yes cause I'm not stupid!), and do I give my husband massages. Now it should be noted that many clients ask similar questions. But they are not clients with a history of creepy behavior. Makes all the difference in the world! He also asked me if it's different working on men than on women. Okay that question seriously creeped me out. My response was "no, there is no reason why it would be". To which he replied "hmmm....interesting". Interesting? Really??? Why? It's not like I'm having sex with my clients you cretin!!! And truly what I would like to have said is that yes it IS different, because I have never had to deal with this crap from a female client.

When I had finished up working on his back/neck/shoulder area while face down, he all of a sudden says to me that he is going to be getting an MRI. I ask him why and he says it's because he was in an accident a couple of days ago. Oh hello! You tell me this AFTER I work on all those nice areas which quite possible are injured??? If that's even true though, because he couldn't seem to remember which day it happened on. And he hadn't been looked over but in a phone conversation with his doctor he was told he should have an MRI. All sounds really weird to me. But the point is I can't trust this client to tell me important things.

Then when I had him face up a whole new problem arose (no, not He fell asleep. Which normally with a client like this would be a blessing. But in his case it made things more difficult. I soon realized he had pretty severe sleep apnea. He would stop breathing. And I would have to watch him carefully to see that breathing resumed. Many times he would go so long that I could see his whole body begin to struggle for oxygen. Then I would have to go and reposition his head to get his airway opened up again. One of the times he came around and complained about the sleep apnea. Of course he had not bothered to inform me before the session that he had this problem! So then I knew that he was aware of the issue. That really pissed me off. I give clients every opportunity to let me know about things like that before we start.

When I had to wake him up to let him know we were done, he yelled out "what! 90 minutes already???" I said "nope. 80  minutes of hands on time is what you get here". I didn't even begin to apologize or be nice about it either. I was so fed up by then. But when he was leaving he practically bowed down to me while telling me how awesome I was, that I was the "master", a "goddess", that I had taken him to five levels of dreaming (no....I don't make this stuff up, I swear!). I was thinking "more like five levels of oxygen deprivation"! He said he never wanted to see another therapist ever. That he would follow me always. GULP. Things is, I know this time that it wasn't because I did a good job. I did nothing but go through the motions this time. I was seething silently through this whole session. So when he stood there saying all those things it felt more like being told "I own you bitch". I got news for him. If he ever comes near me again he will be sorry.

We have a form at work that we fill out if we need to request to not see a certain client again. This is for cases like mine where the client didn't actually DO anything like grab me or ask for sexual favors or touch himself. In those cases we end the session, leave the room and management handles it from there. But in my case I fill out this form documenting my reasons for not wanting to work on them again. And I guess then if they get enough complaints they get rid of the client (theoretically). We just had a meeting a few short weeks ago where this was the main topic of the meeting. The owners tried to assure us that they would always see to it that we never had to feel uncomfortable or worry about being assigned to these people again. So coming off of that meeting I was cautiously optimistic that things would be handled quickly and professionally. Oh I really should have know better! I filled out the form before leaving work that day. The assistant manager who took it said she would give it to the manager. When I checked my upcoming schedule I saw that this guy was already back on my schedule for just a week later. I kept calm because I knew no one had had a chance to take care of it yet. A couple of days ago I gave my manager a call to see what was going on. She hadn't even heard about it! There is a book that all incidents are supposed to be put in so she can look through and know what's going on. It hadn't been put in there. So she told me she was going to get it dealt with right away and didn't have to worry. I would most assuredly not have to work on him again. Today (the day before he was on my books again) I got a call from one of the assistant managers. He said he had called the guy to get him to reschedule with someone else (they waited until the day before???). The man was adamant that he did not want to see anyone other than me. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that this guy has been a problem for other therapists and they were much ruder to him which is why he insists on seeing me. That's what I get for trying to be professional and calm. So this assistant manager asked me if I would be okay with working on him one last time. WTF???????????  No...I would  NOT be willing to do that. I told him under no uncertain terms I had been promised that I would NOT be asked to do that. I held my ground. He said he would hand it over to the manager. Yeah. You do that buddy.

If I walk into work tomorrow and that man is still on my schedule I will turn around and walk back out. End of story. Stay tuned.     :)

1 comment:

  1. How creepy indeed, I hope it all ended well and you didn't have to work on him again? Reading this made me realize what an awesome client I am though, so thanks :) And wow, the tanning lotion! Now this is ridiculous!