My Rockview Mental Institution Stay – Part 2: The Padded Cell

By Straitjacketkwf2

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.

Much to my surprise, after the breakfast dishes were cleared I was wheeled back to my hospital room. Mr. Bind released me from the chair and the Doctor came back to my room with a canvas straitjacket and Humane ankle restraints. I was pulled to a standing position and presented with the jacket open ready for me to insert my arms into the sleeves. Not wanting to cause a scene, hoping that I would be released that day, I did put my arms into the closed sleeves. The Doctor moved behind me, grabbled the collar of the straitjacket and started to strap it closed. Starting with the neck strap, he continued to progress down my back pulling each strap and buckle taught. After the jacket was closed behind me he went back to the top and pulled each strap with greater force and the jacket formed itself very tightly to my torso. I could feel the pressure front and back as the jacket pressed evenly against my upper body.

01_unknown-4Two crotch straps were pulled between my legs and secured in the same manner as the other back straps. Even though my arms had not yet been strapped around me, I knew there was no way I could escape this jacket. Both the Doctor and Mr. Bind worked together, one on each side and positioned my arms first through the font loop on the chest of the jacket and then through retention straps on the side of the jacket under the armpits. As one stood in front of me and pushed my elbows in towards each other the other pulled the arm strap and buckle several times before he was satisfied. I had no arm movement that I could find, not that I didn’t try. Holding on to the back strap of the straitjacket, I was “escorted” rather forcefully down the hall. There was limited space between the entrance to observation room (I’ll get to that room later) and the padded cell. I was moved temporarily into the observation room while the padded cell door was unlocked and the door pulled outward into the hallway. I was encouraged by a push to move into the cell and stepped on the four inch padded floor covered in a very off white vinyl. I was surprised as my feet sank down into the padding. I was turned around to face the door, leaning against the back wall of the cell. Humane restraint hobbles were strapped on my ankles and locked; I eased down first to a seated position and then to a prone position.

The Doctor came back to the cell with a pillow for my head and then proceeded to strap a substantial muzzle over my head. I could feel the straps being pulled this way and that as the muzzle pressed with greater force over my mouth and around my head. The muzzle was used not so much to prevent speaking but my speech was muffled. It was designed, or should I say over designed, to keep the patient from biting. Mr. Bind then commented that their director was very upset that I had escaped the wrist cuffs the previous night and I made them look bad. I would spend extra time in the padded call. They then closed the door and I could hear the bolt lock being moved into place, heard the sound of a padlock being pushed closed, locking the bolt into place. To hammer the message into my brain that there was no possible escape, I heard two heavy lumber boards being pushed down in the brackets that would prohibit the door from being pushed outward from inside.

I looked around the narrow cell. The walls loomed up six feet toward the ceiling and, except for a crack where light could be seen from the outside, the door vanished into the walls of the cell. With only 30 inches of width and six feet of length, movement was severely restricted. I tried to move backwards to get into a seated position, but could not gain enough traction with my crew sock covered feet as they sank into the floor. The ankle hobble added to the inability to position my feet for more efficient movement. The lighting was low and almost soothing as I looked at the walls towering above me and then, unexpectedly, the light went out and I was plunged into darkness. I lay there on the thick soft floor, unable to move sideways due to the narrowness of the cell walls and unable to move backwards or forward.

My breathing was restricted by the muzzle, and with the exertion I used to reposition myself my body heat increased quickly and it was trapped by the heavy canvas of the straitjacket. Inside the jacket I was sweating profusely and the moist heat caused the canvas to become stiff and rigid. I lay there, working to breathe slowly and cool down. The only light came from the crack in the where the door met the wall. I noticed that cool air filtered to the cell through that crack. I listened for any noise but could hear none from the outside; I only heard my breathing restricted by the muzzle. Escape from the straitjacket was impossible. Escape from the padded cell was impossible. Escape from the locked facility was impossible. I was screwed. I was feeling paranoid. Would they hold me longer than the 72 hours? How long would they leave me in the overly secure straitjacket and cell? Would they hear me if I cried out for help? Would they forget that I was locked in here? I was losing track of time trapped in the dark. Here I was, only ten hours into my 72-hour hold on the 5150 commitment, and I had been totally and soundly defeated.

I do not know how long I had been in the cell when, but much to my relief, Doctor knocked on the door and asked how I was doing. It took great effort to speak, but I pleaded to have the muzzle removed saying how difficult it was to breathe. There was a long pause, and then I heard the sound of the wood brackets being removed, the sound of the key as it freed the lock and the sound of the bolt sliding open. The door opened and I felt the cool fresh air rush in to the cell. Doctor, without comment, started the complex task of unlocking and multiple straps of the muzzle. It seemed to take an eternity but slowly the muzzle loosed its grip on my face and was lifted off. Without further comment the Doctor stepped back, closed the door and I listened to the process of the door being secured again. I was not getting out yet. How upset were Mr. Bind and Doctor with my minor success in freeing myself from the wrist restraints the previous night? As I lay there in the dark I started again to try to reposition myself; I was getting tired of being on my back. I found that I could make some progress in moving towards the wall behind me. But as I succeeded in getting up on one elbow the pillow got in my way and hindered my progress to be in a seated position.

At least I was not on my back but I was stuck and did not make any further progress, nor, I discovered, could I reverse and get on my back again. The padded cell and straitjacket was proving a worthy advisory. I rested a while, re-evaluated my position and, in desperation, called out for help. I was surprised at the speed at which both Doctor and Mr. Bind came unlocked the door. There might have been bemusement on their faces as I looked up from my awkward position, I couldn’t tell. Before they started to assist me Doctor went to get his camera to record the event. But, eventually, they repositioned my body to a seated position and started to unbuckle the straitjacket, starting with the top neck buckle and working down my back. It must have been difficult working in that soft narrow space as I felt Mr. Bind and Doctor reposition themselves as they worked on the jacket. Finally I felt the arm strap give and I pulled my arms outward toward the walls. Progress was limited due to the 30 inches of space. They moved me this way and that to undo the crotch straps and the lower part of the jacket and it took about five minutes to pull the jacket away from my body. Mr. Bind stepped over me to unlock the Humane hobbles, and it took both of them to help me get to a standing position. I asked how long I had been in the padded cell and was surprised that it was only 2 hours and 30 minutes. Secretly I was disappointed. I should have lasted much longer.

unknown-5But I would never let them know that. One has to be crazy enjoying being strapped tightly in a straitjacket and locked in a padded cell. And I reveled in it. I did not know it then, but I would revisit that cell with an all leather straitjacket and a Mr S Puffy Leather Hood the next day! I was taken back to my hospital room and Doctor brought me a cold bottle of water. I needed to get some office work done and Mr. Bind allowed me to have my computer to work, but not before putting a leather restraint around my right ankle and padlocking the attached chain to the hospital bed. Mr. Bind reminded me that the door still locked from the outside; I should knock when I was finished working. Two hours later I had finished my work and needed the toilet.

Mr. Bind answered my knock on the door and removed the chain around my ankle. I told him I needed to take a leak and was escorted to the bathroom. As I opened the door both orderlies grabbed me and walked me down the corridor to the observation room.


To be continued …



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