Can’t take the psych patient’s behavior personally

“I’m not hurting you, the handcuffs are.”


“Then take them off!”

“You keep swinging at us.”

She had already taken one of us out with a kick to the groin. Three police officers and four firefighters assisted in the take-down. She had been harassing people at a grocery store, then running in traffic prior to our arrival. Spitting, screaming and at one point lying in the middle of the road, refusing to move.

“Get that shit off my face!” she screamed, the sound muffled and distorted through the towel I had wrapped around her mouth.

“You’re biting.”

She struggled some more but was unable to escape. Tied with sheets onto our stretcher, held down by a few people but still full of hate and anger. She tried to spit but the towel stopped any forward progress the saliva and phlegm may have accumulated. It smeared around her mouth. I moved the towel a little and wiped her face, then replaced it before she could spit again.

“Why are you being nice to her?” one of the firefighters asked. “She took a chunk out of your arm!”

“It’s just my sweatshirt.”

Thankfully fall had taken over. With the chill comes a uniform switch. Short sleeve shirts are gone for the winter. Last week it would have been a chunk of flesh rather than some cotton from the sleeve of my sweatshirt.

“She kicked Tom in the nuts!” he said, struggling to keep her legs from delivering the same to him.

“She didn’t kick Tom, or bite me,” I said. She’s attacking things she thinks are a threat. It’s nothing personal.

Things calmed down for a while, until we got her to the ER and a whole new army presented themselves to her.

She attacked. We held her down until she was sedated.

I cleaned the saliva off my arm. The skin wasn’t broken.

1 Comment

  • Frederick Mikkelsen says:

    have had, sad to say, schizophrenic family member who fits this description. She is gone now and we try to remember the other times – the good times.

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