EMPATHY/SYMPATHY FOR THE ADDICTS…?

As a nurse,I’ve been working in so many different wards and specialities,that it’s sometimes hard,to separate the one incident, from another.Thìs specific story,is one of the hundreds of memories,good ànd bad, I sometimes recall and today is one of those days….

It was way back in 1988.My eldest daughter,was about four years old,at the time and the youngest of three children,with older brothers,respectively six and nearly seven years older.I worked as a private nurse and was employed,through my Agency,to work a two day,(7:00 to 19:00)two days off,two nights(19:00-07:00) and again two days off,repeated per month.It was at an institution,known as an rehabilitation institution,for alcohol and drug abusers…illegal substance use,which mostly included,the use of Marijuana and excessive alcohol abuse.Hard-core drugs,wasn’t really a major issue,back then.Addicts in South Africa were more or less happy,with only(binge) drinking alcohol,or the smoking of different types of Marijuana….

As nurses,we had to attend some part,of the daily therapy session,with their GP’s and Psychiatric visits.It gave us a better understanding,of the resident’s overall health.I found it extremely interesting.You won’t believe,what that patients are capable of,when going through serious withdrawal.

We had a senior Registered nurse on duty, with every shift and it just so happens,that this specific “sturdy” RN,had the most beautiful,auburn red(colored)hair.One of the new residents,who was admitted the morning,was in the Sputnic,a room, walled and floored with carpet and spunge and unreachable,unbreakable windows.There was a mattress in the room,but nothing else,to prevent this person,to do himself any harm.All residents,had to take their medication, under strict supervision and when you’re busy to administer medicine,to one pasient,you can’t let your guard down,for one moment.They tend to pretend to swallow and the worst of all,was the residents,that formed coalitions,to help each other get out of swallowing,by trying to distract you!!Well it was time for the newby,to get his medicine and the old hands were called in,to come hold him down.They went through the same,when they were admitted in the Sputnic,previously.

This guy,wasn’t a cat to take on,with bare hands and he slipped past the two people,trying to hold him down…..heading straight to our dutyroom….I froze,when I saw the wild animal in his eyes and in his movements.He was out of his mind and storming through the door…..I knew I was in trouble…but he grabbed the redhead RN by the throut,trying to strangle her,shouting,that she was the Red Russian,sent by authorities to get rid of him…Luckely,two more male residents assisted the other(already “heafty”) two residents,brought him down,so we could inject him and get him back in the Sputnic.It usually,doesn’t take longer than four days,for a person,to go through the withdrawal and this guy,trying to kill the “red Russian” became one of our bouncers,afterwards.All of them,are really sorry and ashamed,of their actions afterwards,but we knew it wasn’t personal and we felt sorry for them,having to go through such hell,to become a whole person and family man,again….

It was also during this time,we had a real teddybear,doing his six week treatment,for the third time….. Let me keep the next part, about him for later ànd the sixteen year old boy,with the rich parents,who overloaded him with money,instead of giving him the love and attention,he needed so much……

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