“That’s something that I’ve always dreamed of.” – a daughter to her dad.

24 08 2014

This is a guest post from Kevin Shipp, a friend of ours in NWMC. Take note all you dads especially of daughters.

YouthSoccer-300x300As a Spanish Medical Interpreter, I can see pretty much any scenario possible. This time I was interpreting during a family visit at a Psych Ward.  Where the teenage daughter was admitted for developing symptoms of anxiety, depression, gender identity disorder, suicide attempts and other things such as a nervous eating habit.  She had been there in treatment for about 10 days already.  Everyone present during this appointment included: the teenage daughter, her parents, the doctor, a social worker, a counselor and myself.

 I’ve interpreted for a lot of emotionally intense appointments over the past four years.  But of all the appointments that I have had, I’ve only shed a tear twice, and this was one of those times.  The Doctor spent the first half of the appointment describing all of the medications that they had already tried on her and other medications that he suggested might work better.

After the Doctor left, it was turn for the social worker and counselor to talk.  They asked the parents and the daughter a few more questions to get an idea of their family life situation and how they could help the daughter heal and get back to normal. After a few ice breaker questions, this is what happened:

One of the closing questions that the social worker asked was about what the parents wanted to see from their daughter when she was able to return home.  Their answer in a nutshell was: that she would have more trust in them and communicate more and to not stay in her room all day.

The social worker then asked the same question to the daughter and she replied with these statements: “I never have any time with my father.”  “It’s like I don’t even know him anymore.”  “Even if he is home, I don’t even know how to talk with him because he’s always so busy.”  “He spends time with my brothers but not me.” “I see other girls at school who have a good relationship with their father.”

To this the father cut in and replied with these statements, “Well, I have to work to provide for you and the rest of your siblings.”  “You’ve always been free to talk with me when I’m at home.”  “Even if I’m with your younger brothers, you’re welcome to come out of your room and spend time with us.”Then the counselor asked the father: “But I think she’s saying that she wants to have ‘One on One’ time with you.  Have you been able to spend One on One time with your daughter, or has your time been involved with other things or busy with taking care of her younger brothers?”

 To this the father replied to his daughter, “Last month, remember, when you were in the hospital, we were able to spend good one on one time together.  Didn’t you like that?”  

“Yes.” The daughter replied.

The counselor spoke up again, “So does it take your daughter being in the hospital for you to spend One on One time with her?”

This statement shut the father up.

Then the counselor turned and asked the daughter, “So is ‘One on One’ time with your father something that you would like to have when you leave here?”

A moment of silence passed. Then she started to sob and cry as she replied:  “That’s something that I’ve always dreamed of.” 

There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.


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