First story I have written about my profession that I have ever put up anywhere. Has some poop involved near the end if that is what you are into. It is a nursing story after all. Gives you a reason to keep reading til the end at the very least.
-The Egg Party
Tales From Before The Crypt
by The Egg Party
So I was looking after this client the other day. I am going to get straight to the main story. Writing about him is often tangential so I'll add details as I progress. I look after him in his home, a group spot run by the Department of Human Services. Months before the occasion he had decided that he did not want to sleep in his bed anymore explaining,
'it was too too broken, too messed up electronic ways. Dangerous really'.
He insisted on sleep in the living room, either on the floor or on the couch. However a year before that he was laying all hundred something kilograms sprawled under his bed pulling the wires out.
'To fix the mechanism. You know, 's'not only a risk not fixing it, it's my responsibility'.
It had been enough time between these two events that the guy didn't recognise that he was the engineer of his own subsequent problem. See his memory didn't sort of work anymore. It was a strange jumbled mist. I imagined his memory not like a steel trap but a wide holed grate; most of the small stuff slipped though some tiny bits did remain on the bars of the grate. All the big ideas were caught and were used as a basis for everything else. I remember asking him about what he wanted to be in the future. He was a guy of nineteen and he imitated the desires he saw appropriate for his age level. He wanted to be a lot of different things always intense. It always came down to the money. He wanted to be a bird farmer, an obstetrician, an actor in the ninth Harry Potter film, so on. At the time he was currently fixated on being a police officer, as was his way. 'Nick. What would you do as a police officer?'
'Well I'd buy a pie. You know. They get them for free'.
He perceived any slight sign of interest. He would use the mild enthusiasm to increase his delightful bravado. He knew everything you see.
'Yeah you know not only pies but everything in the store'.
'So everything in all stores is free for police officers?'
'Yeah all stores, everything is a least thirty five to fifty per cent off'.
You know his mind was strong for certain ideas. He had a smile he had on his face when he lost touch with the actually job the little police officer in his dream would do and focused on all the things he would get for damn cheap. It had a charm to it.
'Plus all policemen get one hundred thousand dollars a year. Or like one hundred and fifty. Whatever'.
He had at one stage in the past talked to a police officer and of all the information that about the job he was told he remembered two things: he would get paid more than the ten dollars a week he got as a gardener and that a one time in the history of the police officer’s career he had received a cheap pie.
Well anyway. Where was I? The bed. He had the staff for the house drag his mattress out to the living room every night. Then back away in the bedroom when people were sitting in the living room or whatever. I watched people day in day out clean sheets every morning of the newly fabricated bed in the middle of the lounge.
Thing is, the guy had two full time staff. I was the guy's personal nurse. Other person was the disability support officer. So he had two people's full time attention all day every day. Not parents. The people he grew up with for the later stages of teenage hood and young adulthood were completely reimbursed. They had to occupy his days, busy his strange mind. Infection in the brain killed off most of it. Epilepsy was carrying off a lot of the rest. Physically injuring himself played a big part too.
So it is coming to the end of my shift. If I get this guy to take his medication, I get to live another day. As a rule he finds the tablets put him to sleep and he wants to stay awake all day and night. So he would do much in the way of trying to get out of taking them. Sometimes he took them, sometimes not. At the time he was pretty regular with them since he had graduated from high school. He had less opportunity and practice to saying no to things. He was more of his own master. To be in charge, he needed control of his seizures.
He had his bed in the living room right at the heart of things. The house was like a long oval with the living room at one of the pointy ends, the place as ugly as linoleum. The guy had done his own random decorations over the place due to him, on occasion, being unreasonably violent. There were benefits of having two staff there for many of these altercations.
He was calling his girl, of a nature. He knew her through high school and so they both had a disability. He's was not fully able to do any real appropriate social interaction or get into any romantic relationships. He had been banned from Facebook three times, to my knowledge, for harassment of his friends, family and, most often, strangers. Nothing too outlandish or crazy but he applied an eight year old mentality and intellect in attempting to play a game that he had no foundation for as a nineteen year old bloke. 'Babe. Love you. We should fuck. Hello. We should kiss. Hello. Hello. Hello my girl. This is your guy. You know. Hello. Call me. Call. This guy. My number is [ten digits long]. It’s your guy! Call me. Hello'. He could string those long sentences of much of the same for multiple paragraphs.
Anyway he had been to one of this girl's previous birthdays. It had been a roller skating number. He was pretty good on the skates for a guy who was lopsided on the best times. Used to take him in the past to organised roller hockey, I did. He didn't really play games but he was welcome to the training. The coach had a soft spot. Good man he was. So the guy was having a day of it out there. I was watching. He was pushing a shoving, altogether too violent with the other players really.
I was eating silly amounts of the concession stand food, watching it unfold. Fuck it. I'm getting paid my nurse salary may as well see how much red licorice I can eat sitting on the side of this guy’s hockey training. I might as well eat lots with the time I had. My mum had asked me a few weeks before if I was bulimic. Thought I would take advantage of the time to make sure I ate lots. Filled out, looked healthier. Or rounder. Or whatever.
He's was having a fucking day of it in the rink, pushing kids all over the place. Mind you, they are all around ten to twelve and he's a larger eighteen year old chap at the time. Plus he had a love of protective work gear. So he is kitted out in florescent oranges and yellow all over his hockey armor. I think I am pretty sensitive to people with disabilities but the look of him - all six foot wrapped in bright colours with a stick in his hand - screamed I have a scary fucking disability. Fucking chap gets himself sent off. He went up to the coach when off the arena and tries to apologise in his own way mind you.
'What did you do wrong pal?'
'Well as I sees it. That little power point...'. He was racist from family indoctrination. '...pushed me as I was going for the ball. So I pushed him back. It's a contact sport. Not my fault'.
'Well first off there chief it is not a contact sport. And you are seven or eight years older than the other players. Tell you what; I don’t want a discussion over this really. Accept that you reacted badly and then you can rejoin training'.
What you should be expected next is not an acceptance speech. Chap lost it, fucking decides to throw a roller skate at the old coach. But his roller skates were like bear traps. Fucking things are hard to use in a dramatic scene if you have to spend thirty minutes undoing straps and teeth. At the same time people were surrounding him and repeatedly telling the guy to apologise. But he was in a rage, pupils glassy. And cloudy. How eyes can look both clear and empty whilst appearing opaque is inexplicable to me to this day. Even after seeing the fixated expression a few times. Had one renegade cross eye and it made it hard to read him or work out where he was looking. Thick glasses too. But neither eyes nor glasses hid his crazy stare, his complete removal from the rational plane. He had a mission. So as for the skate, he got it off, he got it off and he was barred.
So about a year after this altercation he found out this girl of his was having another roller skating party at the same rink. Forgets he was banned from the fucking place, he worried his rollerblading skills were subpar. So he tried to get them on at home. He was sitting on the kitchen floor struggling to all hell. To state the thing I should have been frank about before, I never liked that chap on roller blades, he's a danger. He being barred saved some more critical situation occurring. He was struggling with his boots and I thought I needed to resolve this. It's dark. If he rolled round the street he’d break something and it'd be shit. I was finishing work in fifteen minutes. If he bladed round the damn house the son of gun would crack into the furniture – what's left of it – and get some terrifying head wound. So I didn't want him rolling.
'Look I can't get these. These. roller blades. Man! Tie 'em for me'.
I sat in a cross legged pow-wow with the fucking guy.
'Well way I see it, you take those night medications of yours, same as you do every night, and I'll tie your boots'.
He didn't like taking any medication. But if he didn't take those damn ones he'd have righteous seizure all about the place. Epilepsy of his sort was not a good combination with rolling around on eight wheels. So we made a deal.
'Take them then I'll do your boots up'.
'You’re a good old Nonkey, (a pet name he had for me. Perhaps a combination of a nun and a donkey?), you are. Deal. True to my word, I am. I have a strong heart!'
We were to shake to confirm the deal, medication for mobility. He had my hand in his but no shake. He had a strong grip with big gnarly farmer’s paws. He took the medication. Almost. The cup was to his lips. With the tablets raised to his face he asked.
'Nah, you just want me to take 'em so I fall asleep don't you?'
And true the medications were exhausting. Scheduled and necessary but damn tiring. Never the less. Seizures. All that jazz. Safety. Duty of care. Come on.
'How about this, I make you a coffee. It is nine pm but you take those medications, I'll make you a coffee. You take your them and you'll still have all the energy to roller blade round this here house'.
He scrutinised me for a second, his one good eye staring at mine. Then he relented, shaking and all. He is a man of his word. My most respected quality of his really.
I went to make the coffee.
'Ain't taking no sugar with my coffee. Honey or nuthin' fuck off'.
He has been told by his dietician that sugar is the fucking antichrist. So only cups of honey with a dask of coffee every morning. No added sugar. Fuck sugar, it is poison, he told me regularly. No honey was in the cupboard. My head fell to my chest. There was another house connected to his. The other residents lived there.
I ran to the other house with the other clients.
'I need some fucking honey or the deal is off. My god man don't you understand?'.
I saw the confusion in the other staff member but I pushed the face out of my view.
'God help me if I do not get him honey. Oh Dios Mio!'
I searched and thank fuck the place had honey. I ran back to the guy with a med cup full of No Frills honey.
'Praise the fucking Christ man. Pal! It is Organic honey damn you. Fuck the sugar train this here is honey straight from that fucking queen bee’s asshole into your coffee. Take those medications and I will make you up a cup Joe. Gods be kind'.
He sat with the roller blades askew, medication cup to the left waiting patiently. I made the guy a cup of coffee with decaffeinated mix and brought it over. I tied one roller blade tight as I could. He took his medication reluctantly and I reluctantly tied the other one.
So he hits the coffee down in own mouthful after the medication and roller blades are dealt with. I was surprised he couldn’t breathe fire after taking the boiling drink down like that. He got up wobbly as all hell. Not the medication doing that. He was just not meant to be on that many wheels. He careened round the fucking place. Knocking things, people. Then he slowed. He had naturally low stamina. The circles round the hallways got wider and longer. On one of the last rounds I pulled the bed to where he started his circuit. Then I waited. He finally came to stop, the last lap ending in the living room. Face red. He was tired from an intense day. He stopped at the end of the bed and dropped, KO, straight bouncing on his mattress to sleep. Safe as a house and house was safe. Medication did him in in the end.
Anyway I put the oxygen monitor on and I stood over him. I wanted to brag about the timing of the situation - the bed, the meds, and next staff arriving shortly for their inactive night shift. I was a little proud of the manufacturing of it by many practiced steps.
But who would care? Not sure. I guess it is mildly interesting if you are up to this point. Or I forced you in some way to read about my dull nursing stories from before the crypt. Or, you know, we're related or you are socially obligated. If this applies to you I guess you can readjust your position on me in some mild way if you want. Healthy criticism wouldn't go astray. I don't feel like a good person too much lately.
I am only proud of my work on certain occasions. I am reminded of a time I was working in the Royal Melbourne Hospital a few years before. I was slammed on a certain shift, busy as fucking balls, sweating whilst moving around those corridors. Anyway I had just toileted a bedbound patient. Only piss. Fuck yeah.
I go to move out the way but this weren't any ordinary piss! A fucking turd was coming out as I watched. I jumped forward. The bed protection had been moved thinking it was only innocuous urine. No way was some turd ruining my perfectly made bed. My gloves were on. No double glove but they would have to do. The patient is asking, 'is it alright?' to me as she holds onto the bed rail. Fuck. Patient didn’t even know or feel they were shitting. Interesting. I thought how it took me quite a few alcoholic beverages before I got to that state.
‘Yes everything is fine, don’t you worry yourself. I won't be a moment’.
I was talking as I lunged and ended up catching this fucking turd mid flow, contained it all in my gloves and then deposited it straight on the bed pan. I almost said out loud that Adam Gilchrist ain't got shit on me. Or my fucking bed. But I held it. Cleaned up the mess and opened the curtains. I sat at the nursing station after washing up. I felt pretty happy about that achievement. But who would I tell? Some other nurse might appreciate the bed save. But I don't really want to tell them the story. Most of the stories make me feel uncomfortable, imagining that when I tell the stories from my job all people imagine is me arm pit deep in human excrement. But maybe that is a big part of the job I am proud that of, that I don’t even fucking notice any more. Instead I got drunk at some bar or party and talked about it there. Maybe to you. Because you know whatever I was drunk.