Clean Shoes

When I first landed on the Forensic Assessment Unit (FAU) I had hair and eyebrows; this constituted what remained of my sanity. There were a couple of nurses and a psychiatrist interviewing me in the visiting room. There was a camera on the ceiling to record my arrival. I was on a mission of love and was explaining myself and my mission. They seemed more interested in their notes than my lessons. I don’t recall if I was the Second Coming but I was certainly a disciple. The Forensic Assessment Unit was referred to as FAU and I immediately associated myself and those in my midst as residents of the Fallen Angel Unit.

There was a battle between good and evil on the Fallen Angel Unit. There were no balls of fire but rather traces of chalk. On the chalkboard in the dining area I would post messages of love and equations of affection. As cameras watched me float down the hall I would return to find only obscenities. Eventually a tiny Asian nurse removed the chalk but I don’t recall who had the last word. My mission then turned more verbal and tactile. I spoke to anyone slightly interested with compassion and sincerity and I literally gave one of the patients the shirt off my back.

When I was allowed into the fenced yard for exercise I would remove my shoes to keep them clean while I ran the dirt path on the perimeter. I was ordered to keep my shoes on for sanitary reasons but I failed to see the logic. When I returned to the ward I was the only one with clean shoes! Some of the nurses were quite exasperated by me. I wasn’t always meek and I was not medicated for easily handling. One of the male nurses who was most offended by my continual barefoot runs was watching me as I walked down the ward hall. I usually rolled up my pant legs past my ankles to save the only jeans I had. I bent down in the hallway and unrolled my jeans. I left small piles of dirt and debris. I looked at him and walked away.

My psychosis met further resistance when I shaved my head and eyebrows. As a disciple I was using one of the wards electric razors to maintain my religious devotion. The male nurse monitoring the morning shave informed me that the razors were not meant for people’s heads. I quickly pointed out that my face was part of my head. He was silently unimpressed but I assumed he was better informed.

3 thoughts on “Clean Shoes

  1. Sounds like you were blogging (kind of) even back then. And why is it that MH staff fail to see the good in feeling the earth between your toes? Clearly they have missed one of the joys of life – going barefoot.

    • I agree. I actually remember some wet days where I became quite muddy but the feeling between my toes made me feel human. It reminds me of a time I was given yard in jail. Usually when it rained we were not allowed outside. One day it began to rain gently and I commented to another prisoner how good it felt. He was a tough guy and I was surprised when he said it almost makes you feel human. Life can be messy and wet but there can be joy in that as well.

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