11/22/17: Tales from 6-D East (Restraining the Rage Machine, Part two, Look Away)

And he struggled for three days.

This poor man, who had knocked himself unconscious by ramming the solid oak door with his head. Who had ripped a mattress in half. Who had raged and raged for hours and hours in the locked room. And… who knew what happened before he had been taken to 6-D East?

This poor man.

Now in four-point leather restraints, he began raging again. As soon as he came out of the chemical restraint he was fighting the leather ones with everything he had. And he had plenty. Like a machine that had no off switch this poor man pulled and kicked and screamed and shouted and cried and cried and cried…

This poor man.

It was impossible to walk past that room and not feel the painful, energy that welled up from this poor man. So very sad and so very angry. The entire ward (perhaps the entire hospital) was affected. At least once a leather strap broke. The frantic flurry to deal with it was frightening. So very afraid he would get free and do unbelievable damage to himself and/or others.

So very afraid.

By the second day of constant struggle, it became clear he was rubbing most of the skin from his wrists and ankles so there was talk of trying to switch to posies (cloth restraints) but that idea was quickly dismissed after the first broken leather strap incident. Nurses were constantly changing washcloths that had to be wedged between the leather cuffs and his skin. Soaked with blood. The times he was sedated (as often and safely as possible) they would work so very fast for fear he might suddenly come out of it and get free enough to kick or strike or bite.

So very afraid.

The head nurse required them to always have a large male orderly or nurse’s assistant on hand when they did anything around this poor man. So of course, I did my part. Holding this poor man’s arm or leg or head, with all my weight as a nurse changed his clothes or cleaned his body. The sheer strength of him was frightening. The power of his rage. His muscles were like steel. His entire body, dripping with sweat. Dealing with his restraints required at least two men and two nurses. And we only did that after he’d been given a sedative.

Thorazine. Someone once referred to it as a straight-jacket for the mind. But it wasn’t safe to sedate him for too long. Soon he would be back to what passed for consciousness. To the physical struggle. With an almost renewed fervor he would again pull and kick and scream and shout and cry and cry and…

One day, I was going passed his room on my way to another patient when I stopped in to just check on the poor man in restraints. Struggling and shouting and crying. But then I heard him start to… sing?

Well he more shouted it than sang it but, it was a song. Or part of one anyway.

“Oh I wish I were in the land of cotton, old times there are not forgotten. Look away, look away, look away… ”

“LOOK AWAY!!”

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I’d just heard this poor man start something that he would keep up for the rest of this day and into the better part of the next.

“LOOK AWAY!!”

“Look away, look away, look away, Look away, look away, look away Look away, look away, look away Look away, look away, look away.”

“LOOK AWAY!! LOOK AWAYYYYYY!”

He shouted it over and over. Sometimes at the top of his lungs. Other times in almost a whisper as he became exhausted, or again needed to be sedated for the regular cleaning or changing of restraints.

“Look away, look away, look away, Look away, look away, look away Look away, look away, look away Look away, look away, look away.”

“LOOK AWAY!! LOOK AWAYYYYYY!”

“What is it he wants us to look away from? From him? Or… something else?” or some such thing, was the speculation all over the ward. “Is he saying this to us? Or to himself?”

It was the question of questions. Some thought it could be the answer to what it was that made him struggle and rage. And that particular speculation was kicked into high gear when this poor, poor man got his first and only visitor.

“Oh my God!” I heard the nurses gasp. Many now were convinced they had the answer.

His wife had arrived.

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To be continued…

 

By |2018-02-18T19:06:01+00:00November 22nd, 2017|Memoirs|Comments Off on 11/22/17: Tales from 6-D East (Restraining the Rage Machine, Part two, Look Away)