Virginia Oh Virginia – This is one of the most craziest experiences I have ever had with a patient in my 2 and a half years working at the Mental Hospital. Crazy! I hate to even think about it, I feel like I cant go there in my mind again. So I’m going to do my best at getting it all out onto the blog. My first time meeting Virginia I walked into work and I heard screaming. It was a loud, deep, long moan almost. I walked towards it and found 2 of my co-workers with her as she sat on her bed. They were talking to her trying to get her to calm down. That first night with her she slept most of the night and it went fairly well so I didn’t think she was going to be that difficult.
To back track Virginia is in her upper 20’s, only a few years older than me but she appears to be in her 40’s for whatever reason. She is of average height with short brown hair. Virginia is developmentally delayed and also has psychosis, the doctors think its Schizophrenia. She was sexually abused pretty badly as a child and the doctors believe this has a lot to do with her psychosis. It is believed that sexual abuse can bring on psychosis and I have found MANY cases of patients who have psychosis and were sexually abused as a child. I have to believe there is a positive correlation.
Anyways, my next day that I came into work Virginia had gotten much worse. She had begun screaming non-stop, all day and all night. Her voice had become hoarse from screaming for so long. The screaming was also filled with anger and if someone attempted to redirect her or calm her down she would become aggressive and hit you. A doctor actually talked to us all before we went out to work with her telling us to be patient with her because she had had such a terrible life that had made her like this. It was pretty surprising to hear a doctor be that concerned.
So this was my first of 3 nights in a row to be working. The next 3 nights were extremely difficult. The screaming became unbearable, not only for us but for the patients. It was traumatizing actually. I couldn’t do it anymore but I had to. We couldn’t get through to her, there was no light in her eyes. It was as though she were looking right through me, as if I wasn’t there. She would take her clothes off, go into other peoples rooms. We gave her food to eat and she would have it dripping off of out of her mouth. My co-worker and I did manage to bathe her after about 30 minutes of coaxing and I washed all of her clothes since they were soaked in urine.
The second of the 3rd night was the absolute worst. The screaming somehow escalated. I was telling everyone to go to their rooms and close their doors. Amazingly so other patients would be standing there asking me a question like, ” when is phonecall time?” as Virginia is screaming about the devil and being raped at the top of her lungs. It made me so angry. I wanted to say, ” Really? Can’t you see what is happening here right now?” It was so weird and inconsiderate to me but then I remember that they themselves are not completely there either.
The night of the second day was so bad that our CEO came in. He rarely, if ever comes in and one of the doctors must have called him. We had given her everything possible to knock her out and nothing was working. Our doctor told us that she had talked to her ” Peers” and no one had an answer. It was so crazy! So anyways, the CEO came in, walked her to a different hallway and let her pace up and down hall yelling. We could still hear the yelling but at least it wasn’t so close to us anymore. So when she yells it sounds like a bunch of gibberish, and only rarely will you understand a word or two. Some of my co-workers were a lot better at understanding her and would tell me she would talk about sexual abuse and the Devil. When she was yelling, it was all angry yelling. She never smiled and you could tell she was responding to internal stimuli.
So our CEO took her for about 3 hours into that hallway and it was such a blessing. We were able to get other work done, the patients were able to sleep and we were able to have a mental break from it all. He would come out from time to time and he looked absolutely exhausted. He couldn’t believe the amount of energy she had and that she never stopped yelling! We said, ” Yes, we know.” I had an extremely bad headache that wouldn’t go away.
She never went to sleep that night. In the morning they found an office room, emptied it out, took a bed in there and she had her own personal room. We would have 1 staff member with her there at all times watching her. I went home that morning and I felt like I couldn’t function. I felt like I couldn’t talk or listen to anyone else talk. I felt sort of traumatized. I couldn’t feel emotion either. I woke up feeling the same way and I had to go back to work again. The thought made me want to cry.
I went back in and she was still in her personal room and luckily another co-worker offered to go stay with her. I was so grateful. She didn’t get better that day or the next day but about 4 days later I went and saw her and she was happy and smiling, talking a lot but not yelling. She had a light in her eyes. She could see me this time. I couldn’t believe it.