Archive for autobiography

A Day Off

Posted in Blogging, jobs, careers and work, mental health, satire and humour with tags , , on September 18, 2012 by leovineknight

A shiny black cockroach walked around the brass footrest, and a fat man slumped to the floor in a pool of piss, while his pals knocked their dominos on the rough-grained table, and we savoured our unspoken pact. Two bags of salted peanuts later, we left, and I followed those perfect shapes up the rickety stairs.
Once again.

“Fancy a joint, Steve?” she said later.
“Oh, I thought you were vegetarian?”
“You’re always joking…. Now get rolling.”
In everybody’s life there is usually one glorious idyll. A few weeks, or months, of pure bliss. A time when heaven is glimpsed.

A ride on the beautiful bubble…


Busman’s Holiday

Posted in Blogging, jobs, careers and work, mental health, satire and humour with tags , , on September 13, 2012 by leovineknight

When we went on a trip to Scotland, the hired minibus was crashed on arrival, stranding ten patients for five days in a remote slate hostel, with no T.V., radio, telephone or other ‘mod cons’. One gentleman quickly became bored, and started to walk the two hundred plus miles home, while another developed concussion because she repeatedly cracked her head on the bunks she couldn’t get used to. On one camping holiday, staff woke up to find a patient missing, and eventually recovered him from a pleasure park nine miles away, while holidays at sea side resorts were eventually abandoned because of the difficulty in explaining wet and soiled beds to understandably irate landladies. Stately homes were not usually a success either, as patients normally walked past the finest works of art looking at their shoes and complaining about the no smoking regulations, or they set off alarms by sitting on priceless Chippendale furniture and (in one famous case) lying on the Royal half tester bed……

Weather Sensitivity Syndrome

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, jobs, careers and work, mental health, satire and humour with tags , , on September 7, 2012 by leovineknight

Our patients were generally very sensitive to inclement weather and often refused to leave the unit even if it was only lightly raining on a spring morning. There would be a major problem indeed if ‘bad’ weather coincided with a patient’s regular arrangement to visit a relative or the shops, because a compulsion would then be blocked by a phobia. The only solution sometimes was to book a taxi, and smuggle the patient out of the door with an old mackintosh over their head, as though they were a celebrity leaving the High Court. One lady was completely obsessed with the weather, spending long periods ruminating over the forecasts, gazing out of the windows, and getting extremely angry if it “took a turn for the worse”.
Being in England, she was generally apoplectic……

Freudian Slippy

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, books, journals and diaries, mental health, satire and humour with tags , , on July 8, 2012 by leovineknight

“Please shit down!” said Sidney.
He was a real veteran of psychiatric nursing, with a career stretching back almost 40 years, and while most of his contemporaries had moved into different fields, escaped through promotion or retired early, he had somehow survived the worst experiences the asylum could offer, hanging on for full pension like an old bloodied bull dog on the burglar’s arm. But his resilience had come at a price, and now the four decades of filth, horror and stress which packed his unconscious mind were slowly seeping out; tripping and stalling his intended speech with Freudian slip mischief. A bit like a half mad beast reaching through the bars of a cage to scratch its own keeper.
He looked a bit like Ziggy Stardust through a fisheye security peep-hole, stuck unapologetically in the 1970’s, but with a cracking, dusty husk, somewhat reminiscent of the girl who aged horribly when she unwisely left the magical confines of Shangri-La.

The Mush Room

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, books, journals and diaries, life and modern times, mental health with tags , , , , on June 11, 2012 by leovineknight

When they went upstairs the others were already adding the morning harvest to a Waldorf salad. There were quite a few dubious specimens with blue tinges and strange shapes, but the majority had that familiar phallic profile, so they ate them and waited for take off.
After twenty minutes or so, the tingling started and everything seemed funny. Some people began to smell a lot and a twist of fear ran around the group, as they reassured themselves with grins and sniggers. Somebody began picking their nose and the disturbed nostril swelled like a crater, while others swung their cigarettes around to leave bright orange arcs hanging in the air. There was some broken wind from the salad, and it fell on them like giant fly spit.
They were painfully inarticulate, then silent, experiencing periodic waves of euphoria and nausea, as the outside world shrank to a vague penumbra, and the room drifted like a raft in the beyond. Pink Floyd played, and they rode the rhythms of breath and heartbeat, while the wallpaper illusions shimmered and changed. Distinctions between object and subject began to blur, and they felt the thrill of disembodiment, loosing the feeling in arms and legs, swimming in the air, entering the music, leaving egos behind. Fragmenting.
But all too soon their minds sprung back into place, alcohol and joints were passed around, conversation returned, and they stepped back from the edge; personalities restored to what they weren’t.
They looked through the window and saw the zebra crossing, rising to the centre of the road in a perfect half circle; like a hill……

The Gas Chamber

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, jobs, careers and work, mental health, satire and humour with tags , , , on May 28, 2012 by leovineknight

The Smoking Room
For many years the smoking room could be immediately identified by its fire door, which was invariably wedged open with a soupspoon, or flattened against the wall by a convenient armchair. Now, a splendid extractor fan had been installed to provide ventilation and the fire door was generally shut (box ticked). However, because people forgot to turn the fan on, the room was almost always fog-bound on entry and sometimes residents could only be identified by the whites of their eyes.
After fifteen years of replacing burnt carpets, management had decided to tile the area and it now resembled a rather cold changing room at the public swimming baths. The chairs were scorched leatherette, with parallel brown lines running down the arms like notches on an outlaw’s cudgel. Cigarette ash covered the floors in drifts of grey snow, the walls were stained a bright nicotine-yellow, and the aluminium ashtrays remained pristine and empty. There was always a collection of seven or eight scummy half-empty cups on the floor – the arcane mysteries of washing-up continuing to baffle most residents.
This was the haunt of hard men, where solitary self-poisoning was occasionally augmented with sanguinary violence, as tab ends were rifled from buckled bins, and pecking orders ferociously restored. One window was nearly always boarded up, adding to the charm.
Just as a single, hard pea could always be found somewhere on the dining room floor, the smoking room would always yield a shard of broken glass to the assiduous cleaner, looking in a corner…

Good Morning

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, jobs, careers and work, mental health, satire and humour with tags , , , , on May 21, 2012 by leovineknight

The period between 7.00a.m. and 8.30a.m. was always something of a false dawn at the unit; a preamble before the main story. By 8.30a.m, most of patients were up and any additional staff, such as the cleaners, housekeeper, manager, and extra nursing assistant were beginning to arrive. The administrators and medical staff around the hospital would also be starting work, and the ‘phone would be springing into life. Visitors and deliverymen, porters and engineers, managers from elsewhere and people who’d lost their way, would all descend on the unit as though something important was happening. A growing cacophony of noise would echo up and down the corridors, sending the quieter patients fleeing into far off corners, while the more theatrical moved forward to button-hole members of their expanded audience with tales of woe, multiple requests, scenes of paranoia and exhibitionist acts. Voices were raised as each side attempted to master the other, orders were barked and complaints shrieked, while nursing assistants adopted their ‘lion tamer’ postures and patients gathered together in disturbing anthropological groups…

%d bloggers like this: