Coffee, Case Notes, and Lies

It’s coffee time. At last, I reckon. My brain is not happy.

I’m trying to get some case note stuff up to date.

Oh yeah, before I forget. The coffee is wonderful stuff, New Guinea Kongi Gold. It’s from our favourite coffee roaster who has coffees from all over, this one is lovely. We get him to grind it in the store. I figure that his $2,000 (or $5,000, whatever it cost) coffee mill is going to do a better job than one of those spinning blade things we might get for home use. And when it’s being ground the aroma explodes into the air. It’s like standing in a rain forest and having the whole aromatic under-storey cascade over your head.

So, time-out time. With a mug of coffee in one hand I can mouse over to WordPress and blog for ten minutes – anything to get my mind off whatever it was on. Now, where was I? That’s it, case notes. Blerch!

Case notes and me? We’re not the best of friends. It’s not as if we’ve ever done anything to annoy each other. It’s just that we don’t get on very well. Most of my case notes are short and sharp. That’s good. But I only ever write them in my appointment diary. I see a client, I write up a sentence or two about what we discussed etc, that’s it. The rest is kept in my head. I can often remember ‘the rest’ with a client a year or more later. It’s how some people’s heads work.

Touble is, those people up there, the higher ups I mean, they want more. They want real notes. On a computer. They don’t really like my head notes. Well, OK, that’s not fair. It’s just that they can’t read them. So whose fault is that?

I’ve been two years in my current work.  That’s two thirds of the way through our pilot project. It’s time to make a formal report so we can extend the funding. That means I have to write stuff that other people can read. You have no idea how I wish I had a scanner that would just read my head notes and download them into some software application, all neat and tidy.

So here I am, sitting at my computer with my diaries for 2008 and 2009. It’s a start. All I have to do is read every page and type it up. But this is where it get’s all odd.

Case note software has all these boxes and slots and little areas for different bits of information. Sometimes I can’t read them. I’ve got this reading problem, a dylsexia kind of thing. Reading text is OK for me, but reading stuff in little boxes is a different story. I look at the format and my head goes blank. The page doesn’t mean anything. The same thing happens when people do Powerpoint with too much litter.

On one occasion last year I was in a planning meeting and the ‘King of Powerpoint’ in my organisation was suggesting a format for work procedures with lots of boxes and charts and arrows pointing to circles etc. – ‘the full catastrophe’ as a friend of mine would call it. One of the other managers looked at me and smiled, saying, ‘It’s OK Kim, you don’t have to look at this.’

The funny thing is I have no trouble just writing. I’ve been writing since I was a kid. When I’m on a keyboard there is some part of my mind that gets bypassed and the words appear as I think them. Writing stuff that I make up as I go is no problem.

Reading is the same. It’s only when the format of columns and rows etc gets me that my head won’t follow along.

And the stuff I write? The books and stories? It’s fiction. It’s all lies. I make it up as I go along. None of it is not true.

Can you see how this case note stuff is going to end up? I wonder if I should just invent  a case-load of clients, fabricate a diary full of appointments, construct a series of interviews, posit a range of outcomes, cobble together some recommendations, and send it off to the higher ups. Yep, that should do.

This coffee is good stuff. It’s really sharpened my mind and I can now see the way forward. Thanks for listening.

Now, I’d better get back to work.

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