Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Several things going on.

Firstly, bit of a soap opera night a few nights ago. It was almost "Previously on ER". You could do a montage, with that horrible asthma kind of music they used to have, and a series of short clips -

Me talking to a bald man with blood on his hands, with the police waiting outside to question him, and him saying "I can't remember anything" and four business suited detectives standing outside saying "two dead and one in intensive care, looking bad, no-one knows about the children..."

Me talking to a hundred and eighty kilogram man covered in soot, lengths of rag tied in his hair, bright blue eyes staring, while I tried to listen to his chest as he barked, snarled and growled at me, and tried to edge between me and the door.

Me and my fellow registrar talking to a sleepy gentleman in his fifties as we informed him that all our efforts had failed, he would have to have bowel surgery, and agreeing that perhaps it would be better if objects designed for the purpose for which he had used them came with a sortof string on the end, so that if you did lose them, in the heat of passion, you could pull on the string and retrieved them. And thereby avoid the inconvenience and embarrassment of the surgeon having to retrieve them for you.

All in one twenty four hour period, I kid you not. Murder, madness and a real estate agent who'd stuck a foreign object up his bottom.

The whole thirty centimetre gel filled vibrator thing is easy to laugh at (and many of us did), but it does make me grateful that my sexual proclivities are so mundane. From what I can work out, most men on the planet want something like what I want. This meant that in my youth trying to get what I wanted was relatively low risk and high return - so I got sex and love and so on.

But God knows how lonely and unsatisfied I would have been had I only been able to achieve sexual congress with someone who was willing to wear a fish costume, or be no more than four foot tall, or who would pretend to be a bear.

The sooty man was someone who lives more often in mental institutions than out of them, often for years at a time. He lights fires all the time, inside and outside his house, and feels that people are plotting against him. It is true that people are plotting against him - this time it was the landlord, who was sick of him lighting fires inside his house, and called the police.

The more cynical, and to my mind culpably ignorant doctors in the ED occasionally remark that "the voices" never tell the chronically mentally ill to get a job, or wash, or make a contribution to society. I don't know why this man lit fires, but he had done so for twenty years, and there was no medication that really stopped him, and on occasion he had leapt out and attacked a fire officer with a length of steel pipe when they arrived to extinguish the fire.

You can imagine, in this part of Australia, with a drought starting to bite across two thirds of the nation, and the eucalypts sere and dry, how easy it was for this man to be locked up for so long. And he is not a photogenic subject, with his scars and his staring eyes, and his extra forty kilos from olanzapine, and his criminal record of assaulting a fire officer. No-one's going to stand up in Parliament and call this a miscarriage of justice.

A similar story, this one involving an elderly man from around Fang Rock, one of the suburbs further south of here, the edge of our catchment area. Neighbours had become concerned (and that's never a promising start to a paragraph, is it?) that the occupant, an Italian man in his fifties, was acting strangely, so they called the ambulance.

When the ambos arrived at the place, around sunset, they found that the old man had almost flooded the place. Specifically he had made a huge, shallow moat around his house, thirty feet wide in places but only a few centimetres deep. They stood on one side of the moat and shouted and called, but got no answer, so they splashed off across the water to the front door.

"I reckon the old bloke's a bit confused" said one guy. The water was about ten centimeters deep, but the bottom of his trousers was already wet.

And the second ambo glanced towards him and saw over his shoulder the Italian man standing staring at them, stark naked except for a pair of big black Wellington boots, holding one end of an electric cable in each hand, and crying with fear, and trying not to drop them.

Apparently they "talked him down", and it took close on an hour before he would let them out of the water, but that one moment would stay with me for the rest of my career. I don't know how ambos do it.

Other than that, the writing is difficult and slow, but the moods are improving, and I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel, the time in the near future where I will not spend the majority of my blog entries droning on about my feelings and my mental state, but will actually have something interesting to say.

With that in mind, have a look at this site:


If you've ever had that juvenile "no-one knows what it's like to be me" depression, then this is required reading.



Blogger Chade said...

Have you ever wondered if it's the police, fire and ambo's that have the mental illness? These guys go charging into horrific and dangerous situations constantly. Not normal behaviour.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Foilwoman said...

Chade, that's why they are mostly young men. That's why most militaries consist of cannon fodder between the ages of 17-25. You can get guys in that age group to do just about anything if they think they will seem more macho and their peers will respect them. You can get them to run into machine gun fire, much less a burning building that's about to collapse. It's a way to use the natural thrill- and danger-seeking behavior of testoterone laden young men in a societally useful way (rather than picking fights in bars, etc.). Of course, EMTs and firemen normally stay in the profession after they are older, but that's probably because they've gotten used to the adrenalin rush. Also, it's a perfect job for someone with ADHD -- fritter away time, play computer solitaire, go save a life, run into a burning building, carry out the cat, then go back to waiting at the station while playing cards or whatever.

7:41 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home