Care Or Abuse?I spent two months in a mental hospital in 2005. The whole story is just too much to go into, but the thing that brought me here is really the care I received while there, it's been praying on my mind recently. By and large, the nurses were great, and if they weren't great, they were proficient enough but a bit disinterested. With one exception.
I witnessed this one male nurse shouting at, taunting and slamming doors in the faces of patients. In the middle of the day, other nurses around, everything. On one occasion I remember trying to get him to stop, his response was that the boy he was harrassing liked it, he was having fun. Also, one night when he had me on one-to-ones (you're kept on constant watch, wherever you are, whatever you're doing, and your behaviour is written up) and was the only nurse around he would come to my room every so often to do his 'check'. On opening the door he would say things like 'Oh here comes another one!' and make nonsense noises, then walk away laughing. I should point out that I was 'exhibiting psychotic behaviour' at that point, but I know what he did was real. That night I followed him down the corridor and into the office, asking him why, why was he doing this? He kept repeating that I should just go back to my room as he kept writing up his notes on me. At one point (and I'll never forget these words, it's seven years later and I still haven't forgotten them) he said 'Wow someone really did a number on you, wish I'd seen the tapes'. And his voice as he said it, low and sly, the perfect voice for suggestion. Then he told me to go back to bed again, or 'go and levitate or something'. Thing is, sexual abuse is a big part of my history, he would have read this in my notes.
I kept away from him as much as I could from then on, except once when I asked him if I should 'just go and kill myself', as I was becoming confused and paranoid being in the hospital environment. His reply was 'Go for it', with a smile on his face. This was in front of the office, middle of the day, other nurses around, who I tried to call on, pointing out what he'd said to me. They tried to brush it off, he tried to back track.
I hope to God he's not still in nursing, the harm he could do is just shocking. Perhaps it's true that some of the sickest people work in mental health. Perhaps. But it doesn't explain why the vast majority of good nurses at that institution would ignore his actions. Part of me would even like to go back there, just for a short stay to see if he's still working there, and on the way out the door, quietly remind him of the things he said to me, the horrific ways he tried to mess with the minds of people he was supposed to be caring for. Oh, and his name is Gavin.