Screening questions

Recently I overheard a man in a store complaining about the stupid questions they ask you at doctors’ offices.  “Do I feel safe in my home?  Are you kidding me?  I weigh 250 pounds. You think somebody’s beating me up at home?”

I understand his annoyance – I’m annoyed when I call the nurse hotline and have to go through questions about whether I’m having symptoms of stroke or heart attack.

But I wanted to ask him, “What would you like the weight limit to be for that question?  Would 225 pounds be small enough?  Should there be a height requirement, too?  How does that nurse know your partner isn’t 300 pounds?  Or maybe 95 pounds with a wicked right hook?”

At work I routinely meet with men who report that their female partners hit them.  They don’t bother calling the police, because guess who gets arrested on a domestic violence call? It’s not the one who weighs 95 pounds.

Likewise, most people laugh or get offended when I ask them if they hear or see things other people don’t.  “Look, I’m not crazy!” some of them say.  But they’ve never been there for the interviews where someone looks at the floor and says, “Actually…”

Some people seem to find the abuse questions pointless, but occasionally I get people who find them pointless in the opposite direction.  I once asked a young prostitute if she had ever been sexually abused.  She looked at me like I was stupid.  “Well, yeah.”


2 thoughts on “Screening questions

  1. Jay

    My issue with the do you see or hear things it that it’s often kind of difficult to know whether other people see or hear those things. Mine usually show up when I’m alone, and when they show up around other people they’re unobtrusive enough. I figured out that they weren’t real when I started meds, although it’s possible that, had I been asked whether I saw or heard things that I thought *might* not be real, I would’ve told the questioner all about the cat that followed me around, the cop cars on access roads that were always there when I drove on highways, and the way ceilings were constantly dripping.

    1. Julia

      Some people seem absolutely sure they are not seeing or hearing things out of the ordinary, some seem sure they are, and a few aren’t sure. My next question is usually, “Does it bother you?” And if the answer is, “Yes, it’s scary,” we talk about whether they should see a doctor about meds. If the answer is, “No, it was nice to see my grandmother again,” I usually leave it at that and tell them to let me know if it becomes a problem for them.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.