Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sedation and Seclusion

I have tremendous respect for psychiatric nurses.

I would guess that the most stressful aspect of their job is keeping all of their patients safe. That's hard when the patients are working against you, like me and Darth Vader were.

His voice didn't stop once I was admitted to hospital. He kept urging me to bang my head and to find ways to kill myself. I snuck into a bathroom on my ward. That's where a nurse found me, smacking my head against a concrete wall.

He sounded the alarm and grabbed me. I didn't resist (I never really wanted to smash my head against concrete anyways - that was Vader's idea). Several nurses surrounded me. The rest gets fuzzy - I was either injected or given something to swallow. I learned later that this is called a "pharmaceutical restraint." They don't use straitjackets anymore - just drugs.

I was walked to seclusion. My glasses were taken away, so I was pretty much blind. I was locked in a small, white room. There was a mattress on the floor, and I think a bedpan. It was dark, except for a square of light near the top of the door. Every ten minutes the square would blank out as a nurse looked in on me.

It was probably one of the lowest points of my life, but it was also profound. I just had all of my freedoms stripped from me. My tiny environment was silent and dark. I lost track of time, and eventually went to sleep.

I don't know how long I was in there. At least 12 hours, maybe 24. I remember being let out, being blinded by the brightness of the hallway, and hearing a nurse exclaim "D'Arcy! You are the last person I thought I'd find in seclusion."

It wasn't traumatic, like you might think. It felt like I had been on a long trip in a space capsule.

It also felt like I had changed somehow, turned a corner, and during my space trip had escaped Vader. At least for a little while.

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