My god, is everything on this blog going to be about my psych patients?
They do provide most of the entertainment though.
Not one single day passes without us having to admit at least three psychiatric patients for acute psychosis.
At least three.
Makes you wonder about that kooky guy at the corner shop that everyone says is "eccentric" hey!?
The psych patients that are part of our primary mental health care clinics somehow feel safe at the hospital, and regularly use it as a place to visit on their days off from harassing their families. These are not scheduled visits mind you, but operate more like pleasant outings for them.
They visit regularly, thus we get to know them, and they get to know us. Most of them are just well enough NOT to be admitted, but ARE unwell enough to cause disruptions of varying severity.
The two most famous are as follows:
Mr P who suffers from schizophrenia punctuated by religious delusion:
He believes that he is the holiest pastor that has ever lived. His commitment to religion is spectacular and frightening. He can rapidly, incoherently, and without taking a single breath deliver entire sermons in ten seconds, spewing spit and dental caries as he goes.
Every single morning at 6am without fail - he is at the hospital. He is fervent in his daily mission to preach to the hundreds of sick patients in the waiting room. He says bizarrely prophetic things that may or may not make sense, depending on your analytical talents.
"Gister het julle mense gaan slaap, maar julle het nie vanoggend opgestaan nie! Praise jesus!"
(Last night you people went to sleep, but you did not wake up this morning! praise jesus!")
Inappropriately pointing out the scarf-wearing muslim patients and saying," Jy moet jesus vra om jou leef te het! Luister na die venster van vredeheid!"
You should ask Jesus to love you! Listen to the window of freedom!
Often he starts singing praise songs at the top of his voice, and dancing to the tunes in his head, completely oblivious to the fact that the tired, hungry, sick patients are not at all interested.
Often one of the patients, whose stabbed-scalp-and hangover induced headache is made worse by the mans caterwauling, shouts out some profanity like, "hou jou bek." or "gaan kak."
shut up or go and take a shit
I find this paradoxical mixture of extreme religiosity and swearing quite hilarious.
Then there's Mr G who pays the trauma unit a visit every week,to tell us that he is leaving for London very soon.
He has been doing this for the last three years.
He always dresses up very smartly and insists on shaking hands with every staff member before moving on to the rest of the hospital.
Sometimes he pulls out an official "letter" to prove that he is going to London. It's so official that he wrote it himself on a piece of fullscap in blue ballpoint pen.
We play along and wish him a safe flight.
Those are two of many. The staff treat them as part of the family and tolerate their visits with a friendly smile. They tolerate their antics as they know that these random visits help to make these normally ostracised patients feel as if they are a part of a community that cares about them.
This morning though, a psych patient started kicking up a huge fuss because he wanted antibiotics for a sore throat.
He was not frankly psychotic, being one of the few who were compliant on their meds- he was just being rude.
So we decided to ask security to escort him off the premises as he was being disruptive. He went quite gladly, and without resistance, all the way to the police station, and then returned to the unit with a form. The man had convinced the police station that the security guard at the hospital had assaulted him and they gave him a medical certificate for me to fill out so as to open up a case. I was legally bound to interview him and complete the damn thing...but cleverly and legitimately moved his non-urgent folder to the back of the queue.
He eventually got tired of waiting, forgot why he was there and left...singing merrily on his way out...
Sometimes the best medicine is no medicine.
Argh! There are so many more psych stories I want to tell you from today!
But I'll give you guys a break for now...maybe in two or three posts I'll bring you back here..