Snot, Diarrhea, Chicken Bones…

I spy with my little eye

My sister can’t eat chicken on a bone. I remember when I was younger that used to gross me out too. I always wanted boneless chicken, and especially wings. All those slimy little wings with the little bones and tendons. Yuck, made my stomach turn.

Then, I was put in a Mental Hospital and saw feces smeared on the bathroom stall…

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AMHI Right After it was Closed Down 2005

I remember during my stay in 1999 there were these old metal lockers where the patients kept their cigarettes and lighters. When there was a smoke break, the patients would line up and the worker would open up each locker and each patient could get their cigarettes. One patient didn’t want to lose his place in line because if you missed the opening of the lockers and the exiting of being out in the “yard” (it was a large cage attached to one of the doors so no one could escape, although I watched many try and a few actually scale it) you would miss that smoke break. Well, he proceeded to blow his nose into his hands and wipe them onto the lockers. Which wouldn’t all come off immediately, and just kind of smeared around. I in turn started to gag and made it to a small waste basket to vomit.

When the nurse asked him why he didn’t go to the bathroom he quietly replied “I didn’t want to miss smoke break”. I believed him and he was serious.

When I was remanded in 2001 after being found NCR for Postpartum Psychosis, I happened to have a pair of these blue hospital socks. You know the kind they give you when you’re inpatient with the little rubber soles so you don’t slip and there’s no actual heel. Well, they never made it to my feet. I took a black permanent marker and wrote “PHONE CONDOM” on each sock. This happened after one patient who was a very nice man was admitted but had rotting teeth to the point whenever he ate they would bleed. After dinner where the dessert had been cake, he was called to the telephone to take a call. I had to make a call when he was done and my normal MO was to clean the phone off with an alcohol swab. Well, as I looked at the mouthpiece I could see that
my alcohol swab was not going to work as blood from his mouth and chunks of cake were lodged into the tiny holes. So my ‘Sock Phone Condoms’ were born. I still cleaned the phones with Alcohol swabs, this was just an extra precaution.
I’m not certain I could pinpoint the “most” disturbing thing. Would it be the evening I went in to go the bed and as I got under the covers I found a pair of mens dirty underwear under my pillow? He was an older gentleman who was refusing his meds at the time. I can’t actually recall how many times he goosed my boobs. Once he went back on his medication for a few weeks he was a totally different person. Complete opposite. Wouldn’t have guessed this was the same man, pinching my boobs, trying to grope my bum and sneaking his dirty underwear and dirty notes under my pillow.
I still have a very vivid recall of this very elderly lady who couldn’t quite make it to the bathroom and had bad diarrhea. I was on the phone sort of squatted on the floor as she tried to make it to the toilet, but couldn’t and was going to the bathroom all the way down the hall. I quickly got off the telephone.
These are the kinds of incidents you see constantly in a Psychiatric Hospital. People are ill, a lot are also elderly. I don’t even know why some of the things that occur actually do. Some I know why. Like the elderly lady, or the man who’s teeth were just so bad and desperately needed to be fixed. I remember as he went to the dental clinic while he was there he would proudly show me his teeth and I was proud for him. People deserve to feel good about themselves.
I know that I have forgotten more than I will ever remember from all those days and nights in there. I have often wished I could have recorded it all just so I could remember. 24/7 for years in an acute psychiatric hospital. At times when I actually start talking about things, some of them startling, some shocking, ridiculous, funny, asnine, horrific, hilarious, awesome, inspiring and more. I feel as though I could never get them all out.
I do not know when eating bone-in chicken seemed so much more tolerable and didn’t make me gag anymore. I know that probably sounds quite silly to some of you. But, I know it used to and I know there was a turning point where I had seen so many grossly strange things that eating bone-in chicken was nothing.
I also know I can’t tolerate too much noise. Why? Well, because when you have people screaming at the top (and I do mean the top) of their lungs for days and nights on end in the room next to you, for weeks, you develop an intolerance. I felt very bad for her. She would sleep for about two hours a day, usually in the afternoon. The rest of the time she would pace the hall in front of her room or be in her room screaming at God and/or Jesus.
By the 4th or 5th day I requested those soft foam earplugs (I had to have a special doctor’s order written) and had someone buy me a package and bring them in.To this day I always have a package and use them. When storm Sandy blew through I slept with a pair in because of a branch that kept hitting the roof.

Blogging and sharing my stories is a means of catharsis for me. Whether a few or a few thousand people read them, it just feels good after so many years of not saying anything. Also, people have started to talk back, the people I have been looking for. The one’s I suppose that I was waiting for to go first and they were waiting for me. Someone always has to go first. It’s starting, slowly but surely and I am glad.
I know I am not alone and it has felt that way for so very long and the others that are reaching out. They’re not alone either.

So… What’s grosser than gross? Not much.

 

 
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~Be Loud, Be Purposeful, Be Strong, Be Courageous, Be Creative, Be Something~
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