I’ve worked the last several evenings on a unit for high risk psychiatric patients. This is not to say that they are necessarily violent, though they might be, but rather that they are higher risk for hurting themselves or others, need to be watched for sexual behavior, or just have greater medical needs. They could be depressed, delusional, paranoid, borderline, psychotic, schizophrenic, any number of things really.
Besides my actual name, here’s what I’ve been called by patients on this unit:
patient (the adjective, not the noun)
The Spanish Inquisition
a good guy
Most of the patients are polite and appreciative, or they just stare blankly at me when I address them. The majority of the negative terms for me came from one person in particular. Today when she called me a nerd, I almost laughed. “Geez lady,” I thought, “that’s so tame compared to all the other things you’ve called me. It’s practically a compliment.”
What do I do to earn her scorn? Oh just things like: checking on her every 15 minutes as required by policy, asking her to keep her voice down when she’s shouting in the dayroom, telling her that it’s inappropriate for her to leer at another patient and say, “I’m licking this chocolate pudding like I want to lick your body.” I know, I’m such an asshole. Oh yeah, she called me that too. Well, she mouthed it. Could have been mouthing “Ice gnoll.”