When someone is so broken that they require the care of a mental hospital, don’t you think precautions would be taken not to further the possible detriment to that person’s mental stability at that time? That would be the logical thing to do, but that’s not what happened this past week in the real life example I’m about to portray to you.
I haven’t been writing much this week because, in addition to the culmination of my year as a music teacher, in that two of my biggest recitals for my students were this weekend, I also got a text this past Tuesday from my stepdaughter (who is 25) asking what my schedule was like for the day. When I asked her why and what she needed, she asked if I could give her a ride to an emergency therapy appointment she made that evening. When I asked her if something happened, she conveyed to me that she and her boyfriend had broken up the night before (they had been together for 6 years), and that she couldn’t stop thinking about swallowing her entire bottles of prescription meds. She has had thoughts and minor attempts before as well with hurting herself and suicide. So I picked up her bottled of pills from her from work so that she couldn’t take them until I came to get her for her appointment. When I took her to her appointment, the therapist wanted me to take her to the hospital ER where they would evaluate her and determine whether to send her to an inpatient psych facility.
After she was triaged and they took a blood sample, she was sent back out to the waiting room with me. After that, a male nurse came to get her and very adamantly and coldly told me that I was not allowed back with her during this part. He worded it in such a way where he mentioned something about her getting undressed and in to the gowns and he gave me the creeps and made my skin crawl. He was one of those people, and I’m sure everyone has encountered those people, that just feels intuitively wrong to you. And he came across to me immediately as some sort of child toucher, vouyeur creep. Immediately, I began texting with my best friend who is a mental health therapist in another state asking if she knew anything about the intake process in a regular hospital psych ER. One of my former students was admitted to a mental health facility for two weeks while she was in high school and later wrote a blog post about it where she spoke about the strip search that was conducted upon her entering the facility that made her highly uncomfortable. Immediately my mind went right to that memory and was worried about my stepdaughter and this male nurse that wouldn’t let me back who said that it would be up to the doctor as to whether I was allowed back or not. My best friend told me to Google it and sure enough I came across several articles about this, many from my state no less. This didn’t sit well with me at all.
After meeting with the social worker, who had called me back to speak with me, she said I would be allowed back, and they called me to come back and sit with my stepdaughter. Pretty soon after I got back there, she told me all about how shaken she was from their procedure when they took her back. They told her that with a male security guard present and this male creeper nurse present (no females mind you) that first they were wanding her down and then she had to strip down naked in front of them and put the gown on in front of them. She became pretty upset by this and asked if they had to watch her or if they could turn around or something and the security guard left immediately. Not creeper nurse. How did he respond? He told her, “This is my job. It’s not appealing you know.”
First of all, I’m pretty sure this is high illegal considering I’ve had female OB/GYNs the entire time, and whenever they performed the exam, they still had another female nurse come in the room, and they were female. In addition to this, there was a camera in her room because she had to press the button to call for the nurse Everytime she wanted to go to the bathroom because she was being watched all the time. So this entire process of her stripping down naked was also on camera, which could have also been a male behind the camera watching as well, and if it is being recorded (as I’m sure it was), who’s to say these people don’t go back and watch it over and over. This disturbs me at such a deep level, I can’t even begin to tell you.
And I’m pretty sure this male creeper nurse knows what he’s doing is not protocol. Because later that evening my husband came to visit. Miraculously, during that time period, a female nurse comes in and says she’s taking over as the nurse. So my stepdaughter and I figured creeper was off duty for the night. But looks and behold, who do we are still walking the halls working about 20 minutes later, creeper nurse. My stepdaughter shot me a look when she saw him walk by that told me she thought the same thing, that he took one look at her Dad there and got scared out of his gourd. He probably thought I was her friend when I came in with her and didn’t realize I was her stepmom because she and I are it 15 years apart in age, and I look young for my age on top of that. So he probably didn’t see me as a threat. My husband had her very young, and he is 7 years older than me. So then, oddly enough, after my husband leaves, he starts coming back in to her room to take her vitals and such. Yet someone else had “taken over as her nurse”. And to add to his shape shiftiness, later at night, the female nurse had ordered a recliner chair for me to sleep in for the night (as I wasn’t about to leave her there alone with that weirdo for a hot second), and he’s the one who brought it down and was putting the sheet on it and being extra nice to me and buttering me up, he went and got me a blanket and when I went to take it from his hands he said that he would cover me because, “that’s what we do, we are here to serve. And thank you for being such a great support system for her. We truly appreciate it.” Just wow……Is someone now afraid of being reported????
I told my stepdaughter that when she got released and was ready to talk about everything that we would have a conversation again about it because I am pretty sure what he did was illegal, especially because there were no females present. What if someone was sexually abused? What if that was the reason someone was suicidal? That could push someone towards it rather than helping them, all just to make sure they don’t have a weapon on them at that moment. Um, NO!!!!! I have never been sexually abused in any way and this would have scarred me for life, I can tell you that. I am very protective of my body and the thought of someone violating my privacy like that is one of the most inhumane things I can think of, ESPECIALLY when she was there ego get help. I am utterly and inexplicably horrified by this and I honestly hope that my stepdaughter wants to, at the very least, make a formal complaint to the hospital about this so that he can never do this again to anyone and so that this hospital has proper procedures in place for sensitive intakes like this. I am just mortified.