“Jim, wake up,” I head David’s voice in the distance. Louder, “Come on, it’s time to get up.” I opened my eyes to a bright sunny morning with the light streaming through the basement window.
I was back in my house. I started to sit up but couldn’t. The straps across my body held me down on the vinyl mattress. I was in my Posey straitjacket, and Dave, my partner for six months now, was unlocking the cell door. He brought a water bottle with straw to my lips, and I drank the refreshing cold water.
Dave was dressed in tight 501s and a tee shirt. He said, “Don’t drink too fast now.”
He looked at me and I looked at him. With a knowing expression he said, “You had the dream again.”
“Yes,” I said between sips of water. “And you had a starring role.”
Continue reading Officer Swift – Part 5
My mind was reeling. I was trapped inside Dr. Erickson’s private asylum that operated as if it were for the criminally insane. The “treatment” consisted of the use of physical restraint and drugs to modify behavior. I persisted in maintaining my will against the attempts so far to change my belief system, even if I did question aspects of my being. It is true, I had repressed any sexual feelings while I was in school and in my first months as a cop. And now this: being forced to bring back those questions I had asked myself and then so easily dismissed.
What happed to me next is, even now, still painful to recall. As I lay on the jail cell green and shiny vinyl mattress in a canvas straitjacket, which I later learned was a Posey friction buckle jacket, in a diaper and leg cuffs, I realized how vulnerable I was. I heard someone’s heavy footsteps making their way walking down the corridor to our cell; it was Nelson with a meal.
During the entire stay in the asylum the meals were never breakfast, lunch or dinner, just meals. I was never really sure if it were day or night. This was deliberate on the part of the asylum; neither Dave nor I knew how long we had been in this hellhole of a place.
Continue reading Officer Swift – Part 4
Part Three — This One Gets the Full Treatment
The two orderlies who “escorted” me to the treatment room did not speak as we moved through the corridors and down the elevator. These were large men, not overweight, mind you, but they had tremendous muscle bulk and, based on how easily they forced me along, were quite strong.
As the elevator descended to the basement level, I looked at the name tags of the “goons” who held me prisoner. On my right was Mr. Johnson, who was about six feet tall, had the build of a prize-winning body builder, with his white shirt stretched across his massive, chiseled chest. The white pants had a loose fit, but his thigh muscles were clearly visible through the fabric. His short cut blond hair and piercing blue eyes gave credence to my belief that many blond men had “attitude” problems. To my left was Mr. Nelson, almost a twin of Johnson, but with dark brown hair and brown eyes.
The elevator doors opened in front of the door labeled “Hydrotherapy Level Five,” which opened into a large room with cinderblock walls that had been painted institutional green with steel doors along the right and left walls. I was dragged from the elevator to the counter window of the nurses’ station in the middle of the room. Johnson handed a folder, my “medical chart,” to the male nurse inside the work area. The nurse looked familiar; it was Nurse Reynolds from the clinic. He looked at the chart, entered some information into his computer terminal and then looked at Mr. Johnson.
Continue reading Officer Swift – Part 3
Seeing those two new orderlies coming toward us in the dayroom, all I could think of was football linebackers. These guys’ muscles were massive, and the pair of them looked as if they spent half, if not all, of their day in the gym.
“Jim, Dave, it’s time for your medication,” the blond orderly said.
Almost in unison, both Dave and I said, “What medication?” Dave continued, “Dr. Clarke did not mention anything about medication.”
The blond with the nametag Boris towered over us. “Dr. Clarke is no longer managing your cases. Your new psychiatrist is Dr. Erickson. He has reviewed your charts and has prescribed a mild sedative. Now drink this.”
I tried to avoid the paper cup with the drugged juice, turning my head any way I could while at the same time trying to get up from the chair. Boris forced me back down into the chair with one of his massive hands on my right shoulder. Then he pinched my nose with his thumb and forefinger while holding me down by pushing his knee against my crossed arms. When I gasped for air he poured the thick, overly sweet liquid down my throat with little effort, letting me know that he had indeed done this many times in the past.
Continue reading Officer Swift – Part 2
Waking up from modern sedation is something that I will never get used to. I heard the voice in the blackness, “Wake up, Mr. Swift.” I felt someone shaking my shoulders and repeating, “Mr. Swift, you need to wake up.” From the blackness I opened my eyes and saw a figure leaning over me. I tried to sit up but was firmly held down.
“Mr. Swift,” the man above me spoke in an authoritative voice, “I will need your assistance in changing your diaper.”
Diaper! What was he talking about? Only then did I feel the dampness around my groin. I tried to sit up, but my arms were held tight against my chest. I could not move my arms. I raised my head and saw the white canvas that covered my arms and chest. “What is going on?” I asked. “And who are you? Where am I?” The questions streamed out as I regained my mind from the fog of the drug.
Continue reading Officer Swift – Part 1
As I have previously noted, Rockview Mental Institution is modeled from the period of the late 1940s and 1950s, before Thorazine became the preferred method of controlling and calming the disturbed patient. In that era the straitjacket, the padded cell, four-point restraint, therapy baths and the cold wet pack treatment were in common use. The staff at Rockview concluded that I was still too agitated despite the treatments I had experienced during my first full day and second night. It was time to up the ante so to speak: I would be subjected to the wet sheet pack.
The treatment involves wrapping the patient from neck to below the feet in cold sheets and heavy blankets. The body heat from the patient warms the sheets to a very warm state; the transfer of heat requires tremendous work on the part of the body and the patient is left lethargic and exhausted from the experience.
Continue reading My Rockview Mental Institution Stay – Part 4: Wet Sheet Therapy
Except for attachments on the wall for standup restraint there was a special bed with dozens of attachment points, a grey vinyl prison mattress two padded cuffs for the wrist and two padded cuffs for the ankles. I lay down on the bed’s mattress with my head resting on the prison vinyl pillow. Both orderlies working in tandem quickly placed the padded leather cuffs around my wrist and locked them closed after adjusting for size. They were already secured to the sides of the bed. My ankles were next. I felt my legs being forced apart, my ankles being placed in the padded cuffs and locked in place. I was in bondage. A locking leather strap was threaded between the wrist cuffs and over my stomach, pulling my arms inward towards my body. No side-to-side movement of the wrists was possible. The same procedure was done with the ankle cuffs, and my limbs were frozen in place. Four point restraint.
A three-inch-wide strap was threaded under my left arm, over my chest and under my right arm, and both sides were secured to anchor points on the side. A second three-inch-wide canvas belt pulled taught over my legs between my crotch and knees. Six point restraint.
Continue reading My Rockview Mental Institution Stay – Part 3: Progressive Bondage
The next morning I was awakened to the sound the door being unlocked. Mr. Bind and the Doctor entered my room. As they released my ankle restraints Doctor directed that I should take a shower, shave (with a safely razor) and do what else may need to be done. I was escorted to the bathroom. It took about fifteen minutes to complete the required tasks and, as I opened the door, I was startled to see the emergency restraint chair featured on the RMI website directly before me.
My reaction did not go unnoticed. The Doctor pointed to the chair and I sat down. Working together, one on either side of me, they restrained my wrists first, followed by the lap belt, then the shoulder harness and finally the leg restraints, a task that took less than a minute. The chair was tiled back and I was wheeled to the breakfast table that was part of the hospital day room. Breakfast, prepared by Mr. Bind, was a treat: scrambled eggs, wheat toast with boysenberry preserve from Knotts Berry Farm, grapefruit juice, milk and coffee. Doctor left me securely belted to the chair as he held the glass of juice to my lips.
Apparently I was very thirsty as I drank the juice quickly. The rest of the breakfast was brought to the table and my wrists were released but the other belts remained holding me tightly to the chair. We had a pleasant conversation and I thought they would see that I was not delusional and release me.
Continue reading My Rockview Mental Institution Stay – Part 2: The Padded Cell