My visit to Danville State Hospital was much different than I expected to be. Other than the tour last week, I had never been inside and had no experience with a facility like Danville State Hospital before. I was initially nervous because I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect and I didn’t want to say or do the wrong. When we finally got to the MAC room with some of the consumers, I was shocked as to how friendly and open-minded they were. Two women invited some of us over right away to play Yahtzee with them. It had been a long time since I played that game, so we asked them to explain to us how to play. They were excellent instructors and spoke about all different rules and tricks they had learned. One of the women began to “zone out” during the game, so she left the table after we finished. She became disinterested after a while, especially because she wasn’t doing well in the game. The other quickly got up to get a new game. We played Uno for the remaining minutes, and the consumer won both games. During both games, I noticed how the consumer was very particular about how she wanted to play. She had no problem to see our game cards. In this time, the consumer we played UNO with began to tell us all about her family life, including her siblings and nieces and nephews. She talked about her niece, and said they didn’t get along. She said she was afraid they were similar and would feel bad if her niece ended up on the same path.
At the end of the hour, as we were getting up to leave, the consumer got up to give back the two pens that she borrowed. I found this to be extremely interesting, as I never would have thought it would be so important to get the pens back. When I realized that the pens could potentially become harmful, I then remembered that I don’t think in the same way that some of these women do.
Throughout my time at DSH, I became more and more intrigued and curious about why each of the consumers was there. I found myself assessing the two women I was sitting with in particular and identifying different symptoms and behaviors I thought each exhibited. I tried to stop myself from doing this the whole time, especially because I did not want to hinder my ability to be a good listener and understand more about the facility.
*Bold represents cognition, italicizes represents affect and underlined words represents physiology.