Bathroom Blood!

A reflection on some personal experience (Mental Health series – part 7)

I was working as a psychiatric student nurse in the locked men’s ward.  It was morning, all patients were up (potties emptied) and now it was bath time!  The bathroom had one bath in the middle of the room, 4 open shower recesses (no doors or curtains here) against one wall and a few sinks along another side.  There was always a lot of activity – some men were supervised while shaving and others while washing.  The room was full of naked and half naked men all in reasonably close contact with each other and with staff.  I had been warned about Billy who was a seriously overweight mentally handicapped schizophrenic with frequent aggressive outbursts.

This morning started like most others, but after about 15 minutes I looked about the room and realised I was the only staff member there.   This, of course, was a deliberate act by the regular staff – sort of a test, sort of an inniatation sort of a “cop that” you GT bastard! (see post No.1 re GT).  I became a little concerned when Billy started showing signs of irritability.

When he started slapping himself on the face I knew he was about to explode.  I approached carefully still keeping a safe distance and tried to verbally de-escalate the situation – this was completely hopeless.  He was red in the face and trembling – he took one step toward me, but put his foot squarely on a piece of soap.  He legs shot from under him and he fell heavily hitting his jaw on the bath on the way down.  Blood poured from a cut on his chin as he lay on the floor – now instantly subdued.

I left the room for a few seconds and called for assistance.  A couple of regulars arrived in no particular hurry.  They saw Billy lying on the floor bleeding.  Immediately they slapped me on the back with a “well done” and “good job”.  They were certain I had taken him down – I tried initially to tell them it was an accident but they wouldn’t hear of it and kept on singing my praises.  I had earned some credentials – not bad for a GT!

Billy ended up with 5 stitches and was fine.

Bob Goodwin – StoriesAndPlays.com

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