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
The events portrayed here actually happened, with a few embellishments on my part… Was it real, or was it all in my mind?
Due do bad weather on the east coast my flights were delayed and I would arrive in Ontario CA two and a half hours later than what was originally scheduled. I immediately contacted Rockview Mental Institution so that the car they were sending to pick me up would not be waiting for extra time. I sent a text message of my flight’s arrival while the plane was still on the taxiway and received a text back that two representatives from the facility would meet me at baggage claim. I had expected a driver holding a sign with my name on it, but instead I was met by an orderly dressed in white hospital scrubs. After confirming my identity, Mr. Bind (all hospital personal are addressed by their surname) stated that he had instructions to take me into custody on a 5150 psychiatric hold, a seventy-two hour period of observation at the Institution.
What? I had thought that I was visiting the Institute to observe at the facility, not be a patient, but being in public I did not want to make a scene and meekly allowed him to escort me outside to a waiting white transport van.
Continue reading My Rockview Mental Institution Stay – Part 1: Arrival and Intake
I had to continually remind myself that I had volunteered for this adventure. Whatever doubts I had could not reverse the fact that once the scenario started I would be unable to stop it.
Having worked for the ___ News for only two weeks, I was surprised that the editor wanted to see me for a story assignment. As a cub reporter, I had expected to be assigned the grunt work in the news office for several months.
Continue reading Never Volunteer
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.
Continue reading Officer Swift – Chapters 4-5
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.
Continue reading Officer Swift – Chapters 2-3
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.
Continue reading Officer Swift