Friday, March 6, 2009

I Did Jail Time, Part 2



I thought that I was so brave, accepting this assignment on the jail ward , where is my courage now?

After finishing report and locating essential nursing supplies, I knew it was time to face the inmates.

Taking the large cool ring in my hand, I fumble for the key. Trembling, I unlocked the first door. Six patients quickly made their way to their beds. Trying to look confident and experienced, I did my best Nurse Ratchet impression.

I loudly announced, “Listen up men, you will do as I say and nothing else. One false move and I will have a sheriff in here to rock your world.”

Well, not quite…

Approaching the first patient, I muster up a sentence. “Are you John Smith?” He politely replies, “Yes, nurse”.

Okay, I think I am going to be alright.

Taking vital signs and making assessments went better than I expected. I was treated appropriately and with respect. Drama was the last thing that I wanted.

One patient stood out in my mind. When I had received report on Mr. Jones I was surprised to find that his crime was revealed to me. The diagnosis, Methyl Bromide poisoning. You see, this fellow Jones, he was never cut out to be a brain surgeon. He and a buddy had decided to rob a “vacant” house. Unfortunately their brilliant plan had almost killed them. The owners were not home because…the house was being fumigated! Luckily for him, a neighbor heard the ruckus and called the police. The two hoodlums were unconscious when they were taken into custody. As I took care of Mr. Jones, I found him to be alert and oriented. His assessment was normal. Soon he would leave the luxury and sweet nurses of the jail ward and return to the big house.

Entering the only private room on my list, my level of anxiety decreased. A frail man lay before me. Knowing his crime would probably have sent shivers up my spine. He was serving multiple life sentences. While changing sheets and giving a bed bath, I contemplated the man before me. He would no longer be a risk to society, I thought. Severe brain damage had left him in a coma. Months before he had managed to use his sheet to form a noose, he had hanged himself.

No, he would never be a threat again.

The day wound down and the night shift nurse reporting for duty assumed care of my prisoner patients. Walking back down the now familiar hallways, I returned to the sheriff’s desk and that menacing steel door. “Key,” the desk sergeant murmured and put out his hand. Reaching out, he grabbed the key and handed back my identification badge. He pushed a hidden button and the massive metal doors slowly opened…

unlike many inside, I was free to go.

19 comments:

April said...

I am so relieved to know that everything turned out alright! Don't you wonder what in those prisoners' lives went wrong to cause them to commit crimes and land them in jail? Was it just poor choices...or something more? Will you have to go back for additional "jail time"?

Mighty M said...

Wow - what a great story!

Island Girl said...

Wow! Through various internships, I've been taken to the jail before for various things, but I've never actually interacted with the inmates, besides walking by them, I would have been nervous too!

Beth E. said...

Shew, what a story - AND what a ministry you have!

Blessings to you...

tollesons4him said...

WOW! what a ministry you have, I am glad that everything went ok for you!

Eyeglasses & Endzones said...

Unbelievable story! I would totally read your book if you wrote one...you have an awesome way of phrasing and keeping interest!!! Great post!

Becca~TimeWellSpent said...

You are such a great writer! I love reading your stories! I'll it DID feel good to know you were free to go.

Elaine at Matters of the Heart) said...

You make me smile. =)

E @ Scottsville said...

OH wow... what a different view of such a place. I felt like I was in a 'movie' there for a minute. Great job sharing with us. =0)

Thanks!

He And Me + 3 said...

Wow...tell me more. THat was awesome, I still would have been very scared the whole time.

Semi-Slacker Mom said...

Okay. That was a great story! You are such a talented storyteller!

jennykate77 said...

Wow. I bet you have tons of stories that would keep us on the edge of our seats. I'm sure as a nurse you've seen it all.

Belle (from Life of a...) said...

I just don't know how you do it. I have a friend who teaches in a youth detention facility but that's NOTHING compared to your going in to nurse. As someone else mentioned...you truly did minister...but actually you do that everyday anytime you're nursing.

Melissa said...

Thanks for the smile...well written.

Orah said...

Well that is an interesting place to work as a nurse. I once worked as a nurse in a psych ward and that was hard for me to handle. I commend you, I don't think I would be able handle it. :)

Melissa said...

Oh hey come on over tomy blog asI have passedon an awardto you! http://clem4fam.blogspot.com Have a great night!

blueviolet said...

What a great story and I really loved how you ended it too.

Paige said...

Oh my gosh. Seriously. Please write a book!

Jen said...

interesting, very good post.