5. Earning A Crust.

Anecdotes from working in a psychiatric hospital..

"I need to take a look inside your vagina.."

Sometimes you've just gotta say what you mean and Enrolled Nurse Bridget Hargreves wasn't beating about the bush (yet) as she attempted to escort patient June Southerby to the ladies' block, while at the same time efficiently wiping June's cheek with a kleenex. It was a regular ritual that neither enjoyed but Bridget (being the only female on-duty, heh..) tackled the task with her usual aplomb. But the woman riled;

"No f*ck off! You're not comin' near my snatch you l#sbian b*tch!"

June enjoyed a forthright manner of communicating and was good at expressing how she felt, without the need for superfluous small talk.

However the eloquent June was no match for the seasoned expertise of EN Hargreves, who knew her job as well as anyone who had spent the last 20 years working the 'bins'. Bridget slipped the packet of Dunhill Red into her nurse's tunic pocket with a practised flourish which was at once both ostentatious and clandestine (and an absolute pleasure to behold for the observing male nurses). The couple meandered towards the female cubicles.

Ian the Charge Nurse - never one to miss a didactic opportunity - peered over his coffee mug towards the fledgling greenhorn in the corner..

"Now that, Young Andy, is what we call 'persuasion'.."

The nursing student nodded in reverence. Three months into his training, Young Andy was diligent in the assimilation of all aspects of The Craft. In fact he was so keen he would have gladly performed the PV examination himself, but this was '..not strictly necessary at the moment, lad..' Andy's restless, latex-clad digits would be restricted to the clinical exploration of the male rectum for the time being.

"So why does June need to be examined?" asked Andy.

Ian met his student's gaze; was the boy ready for the brutal realities of asylum life? Well, Andy had dealt with getting Old Kenny up the other morning and helping the man to shower off the remains of the night's vomit, which had solidified into a kind of nocturnally-harvested crusty tube arrangement from mouth to pillow. Ian made a decision: Andy was ready.

The charge nurse continued, "Every pay day, June goes out to the hospital grounds to visit the male patients in the gardening group. There she 'services' them in exchange for a few quid and stores the pound notes in her 'purse'. Today is pay-day."

Ian went on to explain that much effort had been put into preventing this unusual behaviour over the years, but June - who suffers from Chronic Schizophrenia - had always found ways to return to her remunerative activities when left to her own devices. The main issue was considered to be June's health in terms of prompt removal of said monies from the cha-cha to prevent putrefaction and infection.

The only serious victim of this state of affairs had suffered during the early days of June's innocent routine. One Mr. Malcolm Tibbis ("Moneybags Mal"), owner of the hospital tuck shop had experienced a near myocardial infarction after June had approached his kiosk with the intention of procuring cigarettes with some of her recently-earned (and still warm) cash.

"And to think I gave up working in a bank to come here.. I'll never look at a pound note the same again," mused Andy.


The pound coin was released into circulation in England in April 1983. June bought herself a rather fetching zebra-skin purse.

Corollary 2

To this day, no single member of the farm group has ever issued a complaint against June Southerby..

Corollary 3

Meanwhile-in-Australia, 'paper' currency has become plastic-coated for water-proofing and longevity. Enjoy..!



Random House

Life in a Community rehabilitation facility..

I: Handover

You always know when you've arrived for duty at Random House. If the acrid stench of stale piss doesn't get you first..   [read]

II: Pulp Friction

Has she been helping herself to the residents' medication again..?   [read]

III: Student Nurses

They're not bad," Maudlin replied, "We've got one male and one female this time. Jeff, the male, is interesting..   [read]

IV: Initiation

The laundry bag creaked a bit at the seams as the rope tying it to a radiator inside gave a little, but it held strong..   [read]

V: Evening Shift

Andy looked up from his microwaved lasagne and carefully wiped his lips with a napkin, "I'll deal with this one."..   [read]

VI: Rehab & Reality

"Hey cheer up Nurse Andy!" said a bright apparition standing at the office door. "Wot you got to be so down in the dumps about..?"   [read]

VII: Body Fluids

Now, I truly tried hard to find a nicer term here, but nasal mucus doesn't really begin to describe..   [read]

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