By: Debbie Moore-Black, RN
PhD. Big man on the psych unit. Eighth floor. He puffed on his pipe as he sat behind that powerful mahogany desk separating him against them…as he listened to dialogue. One after the other.
The broken. The misfits. The psychotics and schizophrenics. Bipolar.
Beaten at birth, physically and emotionally.
He was the God in the land of serpents.
He’d select one by one. ECT. Electroconvulsive therapy.
Electrodes to their heads, mouthpiece in place. All clear. Surge of electricity to their brain as they went into a grand mal seizure.
They filed out. One by one. Zombie. Not remembering the present but knowing the past.
Eyes bulging. In a daze. And they’d stumble back into their room.
The psychiatric unit. 1970’s.
Murderers. rapists.pedophiles.domestic violence.Homeless. nameless
We got them all.
And after 2 years as I transitioned from LPN to RN I saw no cure.
Filing in and out, open door, revolving without a cure.
One pill makes you happy. One pill makes you small and the one the doctor gives you doesn’t do anything at all.
I ventured away and toward ICU nursing for 34 years and near retirement I thought I’d try psych again.
Nothing changed. FBI. Watching you. Poison in my juice. He’s watching me. I’m pregnant with Jesus. I am the Virgin Mary.
They had titles. A rapist a murderer a kidnapper. Violence.
I was assaulted twice. Randomly and unprovoked. Two CAT scans later and realized there was no cure. No pill that would alter them into the right direction. No algorithm.
ECT changed. Anesthesia now. With an anesthetist. Valium IVP. And a petite mal seizure.
Filed back to their unit by wheelchair after a recovery room period.
And they still didn’t remember the present but knew the past.
I left this time for good. Feeling no hope. For this population that may have had a chance at birth but were born defeated.
Behind his mahogany desk as he puffed on his pipe. He had all of the answers as he manipulated his existence on his throne.
Female nurses bowed down to him in adoration. Male techs walked by without eye contact.
He was feared. He was the god of the psychiatric unit.
With all of the answers.
But no answers at all.
(Google stock photo)
One thought on “Mahogany”
With no State facilities to send them to after their insurance is exhausted, they are sent ‘to the Community’ for care. Ha! ~35% end up in tent cities or under bridges in our cities. Sad. So sad.
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