Theoretically studying psychiatric nursing is fun, scary and overwhelming but talking to a psychotic might be frightening yet might also be uplifting.
“She was a daughter, a sister, a woman, a wife and mother but was robbed of it and spent her 49 years of existence inside an egg.”
Wrinkled by time, with an arching back, slowly moving while continuously rolling her fingers that seems to play an invisible pill, her upper eyelid loose and wanting to elope with the lower and a non failing red headband. As you look through her, she is a reflection of what the book says about a psych patient taking antipsychotic drugs for years.
Conversing with her will take tons of patience, it felt like riding a roller coaster on rusty and termite infested tracks, you just want to jump off and save the remaining saneness left in your timid young brain. But as you care for her everyday, bathing her and using the techniques you’ve learned from the four walled air conditioned room, her bubbly loosely associated answers seems to make sense and as time goes by, slowly, a story unfold.
As I was finally able to read her chart the missing pieces was found.She was three when her father died while her mother decided to love another as soon as her father left to the heavens. That move tore their family apart, then the next tragedy came. Her mother died. Being one of the youngest, she was left under the custody of his stepfather, torn from hard work yet still bounded by the curse of being poor, she saw a mere pigment of escape. At a young age of 18, she was married but there was no happily ever after. Her husband turned out to have two mistresses, both having a child, and yes, his husband is the one responsible for both. Under the roof of responsibility, blinded by love, hope, torment and fragility of young age, she started to lose grip. She orphaned her two children and gave them to her neighbour like unwanted puppies, the eldest was six while the youngest is two days old.
The story of her being to Negros and Malabon was a blur, but in Quezon City, she was diagnosed. Schizophrenia. The institution closed due to financial deficits, she was then transferred to a national medical centre that caters psychologically ill patients. There she became old.
In 2001 she was ready for discharge, ready to face the world and have a new life. A world that brought tons of sorrow might turn out to be a place to be loved, enjoyed and cherished, but I was wrong. None of her relatives came. Not even a single visit, a word or a hug.
Until now at the age of 78, she is still there, never hoping that someone will come, enjoying every affiliation of students, eagerly cooperating for a mere requirement.
This affiliation is the most memorable for me, so far. It made me realize how lucky I am. How God, fate and life has been so good to me. That my turmoils and whinning is incomparable to them.
Being a nurse is a duty of patience, hard work and sacrifice but it never fails to amaze me and touch my soul. Thank God I am still standing in my feet and able to run for my goal. R.N.