Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Sometimes you can't see what's coming...

Yesterday I had a new experience at work. We had a boy who was making death threats towards his new roommate because of racial issues. Then he decided he was going to A: stab and kill the roommate, B: cut his own wrists, or C: throw himself off the roof of the dorm. His staff ended up having to restrain him and take him off to the county hospital to be evaluated.

All of that happened Monday. When I came in on Tuesday morning, I found out he was still in the ER and had tried to run a few times. Another staff and I went to relieve the night staff that were there with him. Right after we got there, they took the three of us into a locked area. There was an area behind a glass wall for the psych doctors and nurses. We were in the main part of the room with about 20 other psych patients waiting to be evaluated. Most had been brought in by the police.

There were a lot bunch of beds and couches in there as well as two locked, padded rooms in the back for anyone who was acting up too much and was a threat to themself or others. During the 5 hours I was there, they had to rotate numerous people in and out of the rooms and the beds.

One lady kept getting off her bed and banging on the nurses station window to yell at them about how she wasn't a patient there and they had to let her go. She couldn't explain why she had a hospital bracelet and gown on. Eventually they had to give her a sedative, so she took a nap on a bed right behind me.

Another woman, who was also legally blind, kept pacing the room and wailing on and off. They brought her a food tray when she said she was hungry. That calmed her down for a bit. She finished everything on the tray, so they took it out for her. I guess she forgot about that because then she started screaming that they were trying to kill her by stealing all her food before she could eat any. She tried to attack someone on a bed she though was hers and when some doctors came out she grabbed someone's juice box and threw OJ all over the room. That earned her a trip to the padded room where she started ramming the window with her head. As they were dealing with that, the first lady had a seizure and flopped out of the bed she was in behind me.

Another guy was sure that everyone there was spying on him, so he went kept confronting people and even pulling the payphone away from other patients who were calling family to yell at whoever was on the other line. A doctor got cussed out for asking a woman what month or year it was and "acting like [she was] an idiot". The woman never was able to give an answer, though she did have plenty to say to everyone in the room at one time or another.

Eventually they got us out of there, and put our kid in his own room where he couldn't escape. I felt really bad for him despite what he put everyone through lately. He had a vacant look in his eyes the whole time although his questions told us he was terrified of the people in there. You could tell by talking to him that something wasn't quite right.

I don't think this will be his last time in room like that.

And no matter what I or any of the other staff do or say, it's sad to think that this is one we can't save. We can tell what the future holds for a lot of these kids, yet often we are powerless to do anything to stop it.

Sometimes you can't see what's coming. Sometimes I think it's best not to know.

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