Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Yellow Marker

The report was good. Everybody said that he was doing well. He'd set goals, acheived them and moved forward. I looked forward to meeting him, I hadn't seen him for some time, a few years at least, and it was nice to be going into a meeting with him that bore only good news.

He'd aged. So had I. We chatted a bit about knowing each other for years and then it was down to work. I'd told him that staff were thrilled with his progress. He'd become more mature, more responsible and more capable. He was relying on internal controls rather than external controls. We reviewed the goals he'd acheived and it was nice being able to remind him of where he was the last time we spoke, and then to compare that to where he was now. I could tell he was proud of himself.

I asked him to give me an example that really showed he was doing well. This is one of my favourite clinical questions. It tells me what he thinks is important, what he's proud of, where he sees improvement. He thought for a while. As he did my mind, as it always does, leapt in to fill the silence, I tick, tick, ticked, my way through his list of achievements while waiting for him to sort out his answer.

"There's no more yellow marker."

Forgive me but I didn't have any idea what that meant. I looked at him confused, I didn't even say anything, I just looked like I didn't get it.

"You know, yellow marker. There's no more yellow marker."

I said it, "I have no idea what you are talking about."

"You don't know about the yellow marker?"

I shook my head.

"The staff write notes and if I've been bad they use a yellow marker over what they wrote. There's no more yellow marker."

"Oh." I suppose that's good.

But suddenly I got this creepy feeling that right then, right at that moment, a great big pen was writing in the Book of Life upstairs, taking notation about how I lived my life, handled my temper and my tendancies, how I was with others, how I behaved.

I picture a sea of yellow marker highlighting everything I've ever done wrong all over those pages.

A resolution.

No more yellow marker.


wendy said...

I think what amazes me about this particular situation is that he was so acutely aware of the yellow marker...something staff probably never thought about. They simply wrote a note and highlighted to be certain it would stand out to the other staff. I'm pretty sure they didn't know that the person they were writing about was conscious of the dreaded yellow marker or what it might mean. Makes you think about the things we say or do that we think of as neutral, doesn't it?

Janet said...

It's Janet Valcourt here. Bruce Edwards just told me he had seen you. Good lord man, it has been ages. I returned to Wood Street 3 years ago, and still think of you every day I look out at your old place. I googled you, and found this blog. You always have written beautifully. I was sorry to read that you now require a wheelchair, knowing how poorly most buildings are designed I can only imagine how difficult it can sometimes be. Bruce told me both you and Joe look well. I still miss his laugh!
Drop me a line when you can and I will certainly follow your blogs here!

Anonymous said...

That line no more yellow markers makes me think of my 91/2 yr old son- who has to stay within yellow borders at school.

It also goes to show you jusy how much other people pick up in life-that what is importnat to one, is not always important to another.

Again- a great story-I would like to write as eloquently as you do,but my ''thing'' is baking. I wish we lived closer so I could bake you something-but hey -the thought willhave to do!!

Hope your cabbage rolls tasted as good as you wanted them too-and please-keep writng-you fill me, and I lknow others, with insight and joy!!

Have a great day

Aussie Leis :)