May Contain Nuts.

If you are easily offended then stop reading.

During my Student Nurse days I had to spend three months working on the Psychiatric hospital in South London. Some of the skills I picked up the was the ability to dodge incoming blows easily, wrestle a six foot six psycho to the ground in one deft movement and play poker, skills that have occasionally come in handy since then.

I worked on the admissions ward and nearly everyone there was sectioned (court ordered) and it was a bit of an eye opener. Some of the guys there were huge, brick shit-houses and you didn’t turn your backs on them *ever*. Most of them knew that if they punched your lights out then nothing would come of it, it’s like “are you nuts or something?” and the reply being the obvious “well, yes actually..” At times I felt like Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo Nest and developed a morbid fear of pillows.. So one developed a sixth sense when you were going to get decked, there was a chart on the Staff room wall with whom had went the longest without getting thumped, the longest period I went fist free was ten days but some of the old timers there nearly managed 100 days with a punch-up.

I should actually say that some of the Staff quite liked the fighting and enjoyed the fisticuffs with some of the more insane patients. I *did* see one guy, huge fucker, high on some weird concoction, take four staff on and beat them, eventually it took six police officers to subdue him enough for someone to jab his butt with a syringe containing enough sedative to take down a bull elephant..

The daily routine was to try to cajole the ‘inmates’ out of bed in the morning and get them off to occupational therapy but most just wanted to lay in bed all day and vegetate. We’d get most of them out of bed (eventually) but one huge guy in particular didn’t take any notice so the technique was to leave him to last, then two of us would grab his mattress, yank it up and literally toss him off the bed and run like fuck. He’s come charging after us but we were too fleet footed for him and eventually he’s give up and go get breakfast.

I wouldn’t want you to think I wasted my time there, I spent a lot of my time there constructively by learning to play poker. Playing poker with normal sane folk is difficult enough but playing it with someone psycho is a bit of a challenge for various reason. Knowing that your opponent could suddenly throttle you certainly added to the excitement of the afternoon, sometimes you’d see the other player being distracted and when you asked “what’s up?” it was somewhat unnerving to hear him say “the voices are telling me to kill you..”, and that was a member of Staff.. (only joking!), it certainly made the game more interesting. I did wonder though, was this just them playing us along, were they really hearing the voices but it was only for cigarettes so it was no biggie. I *have* sat at tables reading peacefully and suddenly all hell breaks loose because of the voices..

Anyway, we had quite a turnover of patients on the ward but one chap in particular was very memorable due to the fact that he masturbated continuously, even when his elderly parents came to visit (which thankfully was infrequently). I did suggest that they should perhaps visit during the night when he actually did sleep due to his strenuous and vigorous daily exercises but then conversation would have been minimal to say the least. Eventually they just rang up occasionally and listened to him panting down the phone at them, I’m sure some men pay good money to toss off down the phone to someone and I think I may have spotted an excellent retirement career for them, phone sex but didn’t dare suggest it. However, I did find it slightly worrying that to think I was masturbating almost as much as him – and he was considered mentally unstable.. where was the dividing line, two, three, four ham shanks a day? and what happens, was Big Brother watching in some sort of perverted way from the wardrobe and ticking them off on some clipboard..

Billy Connolly did an excellent sketch on masturbation, he was told how to masturbate when he was a young lad but then he was told that once you’ve done it a hundred times you die! So he masturbated furiously for a few weeks and counted them all up but he wasn’t sure, he lost track and then when he was masturbating he had this huge fear that he was going to die, and the shame of being found by his Mammy in bed with his hand around his member would have been too much to bear, it would give added meaning to the term rigor mortis.. or having a stiffy..

(Oh and I have a terrible terrible confession to tell about Springfield Psychiatric hospital and one dark stormy night but I’m going to consult lawyers before I post THAT!)

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