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Another Day In Paradise!

Room 101:  Gus, a former heroin addict, is in an intense manic episode. He’s hyper, with pressured speech, screaming out his mantra: “Give me Adderall!, give me Adderall!”.


I try telling him about Lithium, the gold standard medication for mania.   He responds, “F… you, doctor, I don’t take shit.” 



Room 102:  Lisa’s arms are all bandaged due to self injury.  She said that she is so upset that she will hang herself.  (I assign a female staff person to stay with her.)



Room 103:  Feces are noted, on the wall.


Fred says: “I couldn’t wait….please, doc, discharge me.”



Room 104:  Julie says I must get her out of the hospital  immediately or else her boyfriend will be coming to the hospital with a rifle to shoot everyone. (We warn the security guards and the police.)



Room 105: Bill tells me that he’s a reincarnation of Abraham Lincoln.



Room 106:  Fifty year old Sharon looks directly at me, smiles and says: “I pray for you every day, Dr. Guterson.”



Room 107:  Tommy asserts:  “Chess is like life and I’m a champ.  When that guy beat me, I knew he was cheating.  He denied it so I beat the crap out of him.  Am I sorry?  I don’t know.”



Room 108:  Ruth is disheveled and malodorous, oblivious to her appearance:


“Your nurses here are so nice.  I made a picture for them.”



Room 109:  Tony, who previously had served five years in the state penitentiary, asks me: “Doc, what are those strings hanging down from your pants?”   


Me: “They’re called tzitzits. They are considered a holy garment and Jewish men wear them in order to encloth themselves with something holy.”


Tony:  “Wow!  That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard.  Where can I get a pair?”




Yes, another day, another day of ramblings on the psych ward…



Each of these persons, rooms 101 to 109, are not simply patients.  They are human beings, souls who are in pain. 


And pain can express itself in all sorts of ways.



Look closely and you will see that every one of them craves connection . 



Just like us.

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