“They’re Eating My Memories.”June 11, 2011
I am a casual (less than part time) mental health assistant on a mental health ward. Basically, that means I spend my hours (12 hour night shifts) making rounds, checking on patients, and doing all the menial tasks that nurses and doctors are paid too much to do. Tonight, I got placed on a 1:1 with an elderly man that has alzheimers. Really, really bad alzheimers. A 1:1 basically means I have to sit with him, follow him around, and stare at him when he’s sleeping to make sure he doesn’t find some new and creative way to kill himself.
So anyway I get told by the nurse (my boss) that I need to sit with this guy in his room until he falls asleep. The guy has been walking around the unit all day mumbling incoherently and wandering into other people’s rooms etc. Basically, he’s a hazard because he will keep going into places where he’s not supposed to. He has been redirected into his room all day long but every time he wanders back out. We finally got him to go into his room and again this is where my 1:1 starts.
It’s 12:00 at night so I get him in his room, put my chair with the back to the door, and turn off all of his lights except for the tiny nightlight. I then decide to pull out my iphone and just start browsing reddit, because, fuck it… the guy is just going to wander around in his room what else do I have to do. Anyway, he starts roaming around his room and his bathroom in the dark, mumbling to himself some more. This guy never, EVER in the week that he has been here has been able to make a coherent sentence. He’s a white guy but we’re not entirely sure he speaks english, since he was just picked off the street downtown for acting all demented and not wearing any clothes.
So I’m sitting there in the dark reading off of my iphone, when he comes up and stands right in front of me. His breath smells like a curtled dog shit, and he’s huffing and puffing straight at me. I assumed he would just give up on trying to get out the door because I was in the way, but he just kept standing there, his shadowy outline against the dim streetlights outside his window. Until this point I had not thought of the guy as “creepy” or anything, he was always smiling. So you can imagine how it was more than a little disturbing for me when I turned on the light to see his face and he was looking at me like he was going to murder me. His eyes were bulging out of his head, his lips were peeled all the way back to show off his few remaining teeth, and his hands were in tight fists. “Holy shit!” I thought to myself as I reflexively backed my chair into his door. He just stood there staring at me but he wasn’t moving. Then he started talking in a high pitch strained voice. I couldn’t tell if they were words or not so I put my ear closer to him and he was definitely letting out a high pitch squealing “please help me, help me, you’ve got to help me”. He started holding his crotch with both of his hands, so I assumed he meant help him use the bathroom.
I walked him over to the toilet and he was still grimacing. I tried to help him pull his pants down but he wouldn’t let me. He was just grabbing his crotch extremely tight. “Do you need to go pee?” I said. He started making that high pitch squealing noise again that definitely sounded like “please help me”. He then turned and looked me straight in the eyes and very clearly said “They’re eating my memories” as his teeth were still gritted.
This creeped me right the fuck out. I couldn’t believe he just said that. Why the fuck is someone who has super advanced stage alzheimers going to turn straight to someone else and say their “memories are being eaten”. I was going to go tell the nurse the crazy thing that this guy just said, but then he started moaning really loud. His hands that were grabbing his crotch moved up to his abdomen, then he quickly started grabbing his chest. “Oh shit now it’s a heart attack” I thought. Nope, he kept grabbing up to his throat, then his head. I ran to get the nurse at this point, because he was definately acting like something was going wrong.
When we got back to the room he was still standing in the bathroom not moving. I told the nurse he had been grabbing his chest in pain so she lifted up his shirt. This gave me the biggest goosebumps I have ever felt. There was an inch-wide bruise shaped like a snaking line running all the way from just above his collar bone down to his pants line. This really creeped me the fuck out. There’s a couple more nurses in there now trying to figure out what gave him the bruise, and I’m in here (in the nurse’s station) typing this shit up and answering phones. There had better be a good medical explanation for this.
edit The nurses only looked at him for maybe five minutes and decided it was a burst blood vessel (All the way from his head to his crotch???). They said they’ll tell the doctor about it in report tomorrow but they act like I’m joking when I told them about the shit he said to me. They think I’m just fucking with them… but I’m not going near that guy anymore. Fuck that.