I hate to be the bearer of bad news but things will not change if they are not called out. Last night I was in the hospital with my mother when I noticed irritability in some of the employees and nurses.
One lady asked, “What’s wrong with sixteen?” A different lady replied, “Schizophrenia.” “What tha hell!” The operator says after the call bell starts ringing. I saw the nurse who was taking care of my mother on the telephone. “I told him he cant use the phone.” She was asking the person on the phone to get her a code that she could show the patient in room sixteen.
The call bell rang again. “If that bell rings one more time I’m gonna put his ass in the dirt!” I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. “Unplug his bed and move the bed away from the wall!” “He’s gonna have to be restrained because he keeps pressing code blue!” Two security guards walked down to room sixteen at a normal pace. They were there about five minutes and left. I heard one of them say he would be back later.
My anxiety was on ten because I was concerned for whoever was in room sixteen. I have a relative who had schizophrenia, I’m very familiar with its effects. I tried to remain calm but the maniac inside was fighting hard to get out. I saw three police officers pass our room. One asked me if I worked there and then followed the other two. Their stay was even shorter than the two security guards.
What was happening in room sixteen? All of this over a phone call? I was trying not to pace the room. I heard a man’s voice. “What ya’ll do, give him something to knock him out?” The operator’s response was, “Nah, but I wanna go in their and talk to him to torture him that way.” The burly man passed our room with a set of handcuffs. My stomach started churning. I had already heard his diagnosis of schizophrenia so I was wondering why he wasn’t been treated for his illness. Why was he being tortured while he was having an episode?
I waited for things to calm down at the nurses station. My mother was resting and seemed not to notice the disturbance. I walked three small steps to the nurses station to let them know of my safety concerns for my mother and the rest of the patients who were relying on them for care. The operator smiled and told me that the guy in sixteen was a prisoner and that they had things under control. My response to her was that I was not concerned of our safety because of the patient in sixteen, that I was concerned due to the abusive language that was being used by them along with their actions toward the patient in sixteen.
I stayed the night because I couldn’t leave my mother alone with people who were out of control, aggressive, and lacking compassion. The morning nurse wanted to talk about last nights incident. He told me that the patient was not a prisoner. He told me that he was a scared teenager. He shared the patients history with me before telling me that he was being given seizure medication for his personality disorder. DEPAKOTE was the medicine they were giving him. I asked him why wasn’t he being given a different medication. I have had personal experience with this drug and have witnessed its side effects. My mother had seizures in January due to poor care in a dialysis facility. My mother who could not move and had to be turned in the bed, lifted, cleaned, etc., acquired a strength that I had not seen in her in several years after taking Depakote. She was extremely irritable and combative.
While on Depakote, my mother was restrained in her bed and was able to slide out of the restraints. I recorded the incident while it was happening because I knew anyone who knew my mother probably would think I was exaggerating the episode due to my mothers previous state. I told the morning nurse that I requested the Depakote to be discontinued due to the aggression and increased confusion. My mother who has never called me someone else, started calling me Cynthia while she was on the drug. When the drug stopped, the side effects subsided.
Sometimes I feel bad that I care about the treatment of the weak so much because there’s so much mistreatment going on in the world. I feel bad that it feels like there’s nothing I can do to make things better. I don’t want to be a trouble maker or someone who doesn’t know how to mind their own business, but I cant control my passion to stand for those who cannot stand for themselves. I really wanted to tell those people that they had run their race and need to retire, or that they shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near sick people, but I didn’t. I’ll find a more progressive way to say it while searching for solutions for better healthcare.