I went to Clearwater, this morning, for a deposition of an injured worker. This is fairly typical. However, what we did not know was that she was probably mentally ill. She is not so far gone that it is easy to tell immediately. It is well hidden beneath a quilt of stories. She has no idea where the truth lies. It is impossible to tell what was real and what was make believe, since there was nothing to compare it by. Not even her social security number is matched to her. A problem, I suspect, of her mis-memorizing it. She was convinced those nine digits were issued to her at birth, the Social Security Administration disagrees. She has a slew of pseudo-names. Initially, we believed them to be a cover. But now I see them as a psychosis and possibly a sign of schizophrenia. She literally does not know who she is. Unlike many, many, of the other workers she has no intent to lie or misrepresent. She does not even know she was doing it. She has no sense of the real.
I have dealt people like this before. I have been told that George Bush is with us, at the Judge's office, during a mediation. I have been called, as a courtesy, and been told to leave Florida because a meteoroid is coming and going to destroy us all. I have been told, in a deposition, that the reason the accident occurred was related to a terrorist plot. At a pool supply company in Bradenton, Florida, nonetheless. I have been asked, by a women, if I could please refer to her as Yahweh. I have read about made up gun shot wounds, arrests, pregnancies and strokes. None of them at all even close to real.
I think these are funny. They make my job interesting. But they are truly sad. I am not even going to comment on the social problems involved with treating and handling the mentally ill. We all know they make up a large percentage of our homeless population. That is a whole other reality.
What else was sad was the processional I passed on my way there. The entire Pinellas County police department was on the road, on their way to the funeral of a Polk County officer that was shot and killed last week. He made a routine traffic stop and the guy shot him and his K-9, then fled. They shut down all three counties last week in a massive man hunt to find him. The next afternoon the shooter was found. The officers opened fire, like it was nobody's business. Shot at him close to 150 times and put 60 bullets in him. Crazy. Yet, here were more men who place themselves in the line of fire, going to honor a man they probably never met. I heard there were officers from all over the country in attendance. Same goes for them. True heros. People who love their job and risk everything to do it. Their job means more then asking *crazy* people about neck injuries. It is the real deal.