Monday, December 16, 2013

The Writing is on the Wall

One of the patients had to come off one of his meds for bipolar disorder because of vomiting.  The gastrointestinal problems resolved within a few days and his mood swung upwards- where it remained for weeks.  The weeks were filled with endless, misdirected energy that wore out everyone around him.

One particular morning, after staying up all night creating a book of drawings, he started physically fighting several other patients.  We had to contain him as the instigator in a seclusion room under watch.  No, there is no padding on the walls.  Only a bed is in the room.  I checked before the patient went in.  I went on a break.  When I returned, I checked on the patient again.  He was giggling to himself as he was drawing on the wall.  The walls, door, ceiling, floor- all covered in graffiti drawn with colored pencils, crayons, and markers.  Not little "I was here marks."  Colorful, big, bubbly tags and sharper death threats against rivals.  Only twenty minutes.

I can't fault the patient.  I turned to the attendant who was watching him.  "How did this happen?" I inquired, even though the man was clearly on his cell phone in the middle of a conversation.

The attendant rolled his eyes and held up his cell phone to me, as if to emphasize to me that I was the rude one for interrupting his phone call.  "Well," the attendant shrugged his shoulders, "What did you want me to do?  Tell him to stop?"

"Yes!" I exclaimed.  "That is exactly what I wanted you to do!  That is why you are watching him."

The supervisor's response:  I should have chosen an attendant who would have actually watched the patient to watch the patient.  Also, administration will be very unhappy because this is destruction of hospital property.

So this man is excused from having to do any work at work.  They don't take into consideration that I had no attendants to choose from who would actually watch the patient.

At least the patient only hurt the walls, door, ceiling, and floor and not himself or someone else.  But the supervisor was right on one point:  Administration will come to the ward to investigate destruction of physical property, but never an injury to a patient or an employee.

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