A Look at a Night in a Psychiatric Residential Setting
He wasn't my resident but one of my coworker’s – we divide up the floors. I came down when she called for help because she couldn't convince him to go to the hospital. So I walked in there, got a look at him, but didn't show what I felt. I told him we were calling 911 because he absolutely needed to be seen by a doctor. That’s how you do it – you say what you’re going to do instead of asking. That’s how I deal with my bosses too. And he just nodded feebly and said “okay.”
I was able to get his temp and O2 stats but he was too twitchy for me to get an accurate blood pressure reading. I have new cuffs too. The paramedics were very rude as they normally are – before leaving, one of them even said don’t call 911, call the non-emergent number. I wanted to say “but you take all night when we do it that way” however I just smiled and turned from him to my resident: “good luck, we’ll see you soon.”
My coworker felt the same way. We exchanged glances which communicated all.
This resident had refused going to the hospital because he didn't want to be labeled as a junkie – he had admitted to another staff-person that he had used some meth a couple days ago, but otherwise it was ten years since he had done any of that. He said all this in front us me, my coworker, and the paramedics. But they didn't care, while we responded to the resident and told him it wasn't like that – something was obviously medically wrong and he needed to be seen. The paramedics didn't seem so sure, and I know – those scabs and scrapings all over his fucking body were a sight to behold. When asked about it he said “I’m picking, I keep picking,” and I thought of schizophrenics without the benefit of psychotropic medications bound up in straight jackets so they wouldn't tear their own hair out in all the psych hospitals that used to be in this country.
And so what if he was lying about the drug use? If he was using meth on a regular basis, he wouldn't be as big as he is, going on 300 pounds, just for the record. I believed him. Those emergency responders had the irritated look of someone who’d been irritated by an inept friend at a public place. They seemed not too concerned with him at all and took him because we insisted, our resident was ambivalent.
(Text from my coworker after tonight, after saying the person who relieved her called the resident a meth head seeking pills and why was he sent out? – “As far as I’m concerned everyone can just fuck off. We did the right thing.”)
So that night is over, tonight is already my Friday again and my kitten is driving me CRAZY!! Actually all of them are. They need food and I’m going to the bank when they open (finally, fuck you, Columbus) and depositing the check for my refunded deposit from the old place. Then I’m going to buy a propane heater because it’s official – the Okanogan Family Faire is banning campfires!