Monday, October 6, 2014

Hell of a Night at the Psych Ward

          And then there was this assignment in the most acute Psych Unit of the hospital. The first night was unremarkable and that was when I was able to make those 70 chart packs which I mentioned in my previous post. I was surprised when I was assigned there a second night in a row when things didn't go as well. For starters there was a plugged up toilet because the patients in that room were throwing their trash in it. So I donned a pair of gloves and dug out the trash from the bowl but despite my efforts, the toilet was still clogged and it took a few plunger attempts by the maintenance person later to fix it.
         Meanwhile a female patient was awake and laughing all night long for no apparent reason other than whatever funny things was going on in her head. Another patient was retching and throwing up in his room except for one time when he did it on the full length of the hallway. Guess who had to clean that up? 
         An insomniac who had been complaining of being unable to sleep for days finally did so only to be woken up by the loud snoring of a newly admitted roommate. So he got upset and tried to sleep on the toilet floor (no, not the plugged up one) which wasn't any help because it was too hard. Another man was compulsively pressing the call light near his bed and in the bathroom, and also punching in numbers on the exit keypad. Not because he needed anything or was trying to escape but rather a compulsive habit. 
         A woman was trying to talk to staff all night and was demanding and argumentative at times when she didn't like the responses. A newly admitted religiously delusional pregnant woman who was calm when she was being interviewed, suddenly went postal on a male patient whom she thought was going to harm her baby. She said she was going to protect the baby with her life. The surprising thing was that she went from speaking proper English to ghetto English when irate. Unfortunately she couldn't be medicated at that time due to her pregnancy until properly evaluated by her doctor. After resting for a couple of hours and waking up very early in the morning, she underwent another transformation and started bouncing around the room and talking about how blessed and holy her baby was, all the while bowing and praying and lying on the floor.

          The staff were counting the slow minutes until it was time to clock out. It was just another day at the office. Would you believe I was assigned to that unit 4 consecutive nights that I was on duty?! On that fourth night, 3 patients became menacing towards me because I couldn't give them a second cup of coffee in the morning. I had to request the supervisor for a reprieve and assign me to another unit the following night and thankfully, he did.

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