Before I tripped Over a Stone, Fridays, #11

I am still working as a psych tech on an adolescent crisis unit. These are my pre-fibro days. If you’d like to catch up, start with  Before I tripped Over a Stone, Fridays. #6.

Just a reminder…

The patients were being cared for by psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, and certified therapists. The psychiatric technicians (like me) were responsible for getting patients to their appointments, to therapy, to family sessions… we were more patient management than treatment staff. I just wanted to clarify that. These patients had the best psychiatric care and were treated by some of the top psychiatrists in the state.

Warning: This post contains offensive language.

Mr. Big was on the unit, with shaved off eyebrows and two of the most massive psych techs we could find shadowing him, attempting to contain him. This was an incredibly difficult situation. The sheer size of him was extraordinary. 6’5, 280 and all muscle. Plus this patient was suffering from a drug-induced psychosis, and he was only 16 years old. He was physically and sexually aggressive. We were on high alert to maintain the safety of the other patients.

We moved as many patients as we could to the short-term adolescent unit. But we were still running at 50% full… but this did mean half of the unit could be used to try to contain him.

I had just walked onto the unit for my shift when I saw a chair go flying across the common area, hitting a co-worker of mine directly in the head. The patients were screaming out of sheer fear. Mr. Big was yelling something about fucking everyone, and the technicians shadowing him were trying to restrain him. He kept breaking free.

“Kim, help us!” “Kim!”

I ran to the kids and gathered them behind me, then I said hello to Mr. Big. “Can I help you with something?” 

“Code Red Crisis Unit, Code Red, Crisis Unit.”

I looked at his psych tech, and I said do not let them open that door, he’ll run. So that tech went to stop them from opening the locked door to the unit. Mr. Big was advancing on me saying he was going to ‘fuck me.’

So I said, “I do not like your shirt.” He stopped. I picked up the thrown chair and sat down. “Go change your shirt, if we are going to be intimate I want to go on a date first.” He just looked at me… I looked right back and said, “I’m not going anywhere with you until you change your ugly shirt.”

He turned around and started walking to his room, I told the kids quietly to run to their rooms and lock their doors! They did … and I looked at the psych tech by the door and nodded, about a dozen people charged through the door… we got the hurt technician out of the unit while the rest went in for a 6-point restraint on Mr. Big.

I was so concerned about my co-worker that I really paid no mind to what had just happened. She was going to be OK, but she would never return to the unit. She said she just couldn’t.

I have no idea how I came up with those words. How I got all those kids safely to their rooms and made sure my co-worker who was hurt, got help. I will say it took every single person working that day to perform in tandem. Incredible people that I worked with, just unbelievably intuitive people.

Mr. Big was moved to a medically secured unit that day and snowed. He came back to the unit with his father four days later to thank the staff for helping him. He was back to being just a big 16-year-old kid with shaved eyebrows. I always wondered if they ever grew back in?

(Continued, Before I Tripped, #12)


13 thoughts on “Before I tripped Over a Stone, Fridays, #11

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  1. Haha! Brilliant work, sister! Look, there’s some folks who scramble in a crisis and some who just have a calm. They call it poise. Composure. A QB who shows “poise in the pocket” can have the whole defensive line bearing down on him, and he can still deliver an accurate ball upfield and make the play. A psych tech can show poise in the common area with chairs flying and linebacker-sized teens bearing down on her, and she can deliver the kids to safety.

    When the shit hits the fan, Kim, I want you on my team. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Poise in the pocket! Very cool. And one very huge linebacker had me in his sites! They used to call me the “cooler” cause when the unit was tense they’d literally call me to come in for an hour or two just to sit in the common area with the kids and calm down the tension. Haha. Of course I required time and a half pay for those requests! I got your back Tom! Thanks for the awesome analogy, made my day! Team Tom!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Very instinctual, yes. You become so used to being ‘that’ person once you step onto the unit… everything else stops and you are locked into the temperature of the unit. At least that was how I always felt, guess that’s why I loved those types of jobs… was just natural to work with somewhat ‘difficult’ individuals… ??? Who knows? I miss it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my god, Kim, I have chills. I have heard lots of stories in my life about psychiatric units, but this one is especially amazing. It takes a special kind of person to be able to walk into a situation like that and calm it down. It is a gift. Like Tom said, I want you on my team. I am seriously in awe of you lady! For so many reasons!

    Liked by 2 people

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