Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Days At The Asylum

For legal reasons such as I don't want to get my ass sued I will call my former place of employment "The Asylum" or TA for short. It wasn't actually an asylum, that was just our nick name for it. I went to work at this place just as a stop over, always with the intention of moving out of there as fast as I could.
Let me introduce you to some of my patients during my time there. All names have been changed to protect the insane, and again, to keep my ass from being sued. These are my patients for one six month period at "The Asylum."

I ask for third shift so I wouldn't have to deal with "the families", thinking it would be quieter. This is the scene I walk into one night.

Meet Paul-I walked in, clocked in and went through the ritual of  "the changing of the drug cabinet keys" that is done every shift. I left the drug room carefully locking it behind me. As I came down the hall I heard yelling, nothing out of the ordinary, after all some of those people are crazy. They yelled a lot. No cause for concern until I got closer to the front of the station and I noticed there was not one single person there. Big no-no at that facility. I was getting irritated because I was in charge of this shift and right off all my nurses and aides were gone. As these thoughts were forming in my already cluttered brain I heard rapid, shuffling footsteps behind me. Being relieved that at least one person was there I turned to greet them only to be blind sided and tackled to the floor by a 6'7" patient. New admit. So there we were rolling around on the floor, me yelling for help, him yelling for help and I lost a shoe. A few more rolls around the floor and he lost his hospital gown. So now I was wrestling with a very big, very mad naked man. Security showed up, but only two of them, we needed more. They pulled the guy off enough so that I could squirm out from under him and make a mad dash to the drug room. With his free hand he grabbed a chair and tossed it at me. I dove to the floor and slid behind the station as if I were going for a home run. I then came face to face with all of my missing nurses, aides and one doctor. Hiding UNDER the station. One of the idiots looked at me and told me to be careful. Really? You are just now telling me this? Why no phone call before I got to the unit to warn me that we had a problem? At least give me a fighting chance to survive. I got up and made it to the drug room, drew up a syringe of Haldol that would have put a horse to sleep and headed back to my patient. It was safer because I had security to help. At least it would have been if the patient had not decided to take the exact moment I was getting ready to inject him to do the alligator roll causing me to inject one of my security guys. He dropped like a fly, he would be sedated for hours. One of the dim wits under the station finally managee to have a moment of clarity and called the police for assist. About that time my patient broke lose and went running down the hall, naked as the day he was born. Midway down the hall was a fire break, this is just a set of break proof double glass doors, a small hallway with another set of glass doors opposite the first ones to separate the wings. These doors are automatic and only close in the event of a fire or with a special key, which was at the nurses station. I held my breath and timed it so that I could catch him just right, hit the fire alarm which activated the doors effectively trapping him in that small hallway. It also set an alarm off at the fire department. Soon I had a whole fire crew, more police and a naked man trapped in a hallway. I came out with ripped scrubs, one shoe, a black eye, sprained wrist, multiple abrasions. Oh and a still heavily sedated security guard. I am then informed that we have him because the state refused to take him back and some idiot authorized his transfer to us. Do you realize how crazy and dangerous you have to be for the state insane asylum to refuse to admit you?

Meet Ella-Ella was in her sixth year of a permanent vegetative state, couldn't regulate her body temp, was on dialysis and insulin because neither kidney's or pancreas functioned like they should have, she was tube fed and totally ventilator dependent. She tok a lot of time to care for but obviously caused no trouble. Ella's family was a different story. They wanted Ella up and dressed in street clothes every day and taken to the day room, ventilator and all, so she could "socialize" with other patients. Socialize? The girl had no clue she was even in this world let alone that other people were here too! They wanted us to teach her to feed herself again and according to them it would have been really nice if we could also teach her to walk again because she was going to need those skills when she went back to school. Never one time did they ever suggest that teaching her to breath would have been a good first step.  They couldn't bring themselves to believe that an ant had higher brain function than Ella did or that it was a catastrophic injury she would never recover from. You see Ella was an unbelted passenger in the vehicle her boyfriend was drag racing in, she was ejected through the sunroof, actually breaking the T-Bar brace with her head before slamming head first into a tree while the car was going over a 110mph. Ella simply didn't have anything left to work with except the very basic brain stem function that kept her heart beating.

Meet Hazel-There was absolutely nothing wrong with Hazel, she had no business being there and was probably in better condition than those of us taking care of her. Her problem was she was a very rich lady who was also very lazy. So she used her money and her connections and just lived there, using staff as if they were her personal maids. Hazel would not walk to the dining room or to the bathroom by herself. She wanted to be wheeled. She would not even get herself from the bed that she stayed in constantly to the wheelchair by herself even though she was perfectly capable of doing so. She wouldn't wipe her own butt, feed herself, dress herself, turn her room lights on or off, reach across to the nightstand to get her book, pour herself a glass of water from the pitcher that was within arms length, hold the telephone receiver while she talked on the phone, brush her own teeth, etc. The woman would do nothing for herself and drove her private nurse crazy. Hell Hazel drove us all crazy. But you can get away with stuff like that when you have a billion dollars and make heavy donations to "The Asylum". I don't grovel well and since I wasn't personally benefiting from her "generosity"  I refused to wipe her ass let alone kiss it. She hated the nights I worked.

Meet Pauline and Claudine-They were the sweetest women you could ever meet, I loved them both to death. Well, that might not be a good choice of words but you know what I mean. Pauline and Claudine were identical twins. They had never spent a single night apart in their 80 years on this earth. Both had declined to get married because they each felt it would have been too traumatic for each of them to be separated and knew no man would want to share a house with his wife's sister. In a sense they were married to each other. Both were school teachers. When Claudine developed a heart condition in her late 70's and had to be admitted it was known that she would never leave before she died. Pauline came with her and stayed day and night attending to her every need around the clock. They sang together, read books to each other, watched the same tv shows and reminisced about the past. You could always hear laughter coming from their room at the end of the hallway. They were both so thankful for everything that was done for them. Pauline became ill while caring for her sister and also had to be admitted. We put them in the same room, they would never have tolerated being separated. They died within 24 hours of each other, gracious to the end.


  1. Was this a nursing home?

    The stories are just very similar to those that I would experience at the nursing home I just left.

  2. This was a critical care nursing home. A little different than a regular nursing home but I imagine the patients were not all that different, just that the level of care required was more intensive. Thanks for coming by! I am following your blog and love reading it.