Nursing Voices

Monday, October 22, 2007

I Want to Hold Your Hand

This record cover takes me back to my youth. I first saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show when I was eight years old. I thought they were dreamy. My father thought they were the most ridiculous act that he had ever seen on television. He hated them, and he kept griping about their long hair. He said that they needed a (expletive) haircut. I adored their cute moppy hair, and their cool British accent. My poor parents went insane shortly after they bought me a record player for my birthday. I kept playing Beatle records over and over again until the records wore out. The song, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” entranced me. I knew every word in every verse, and I even heard the song in my sleep. That song still comes to mind every time I have to tell patients that they can’t touch each other while they are residing on the psychiatric unit.

I know that you are wondering why patients can’t touch each other on a psychiatric unit. After all, look at John and Paul. They are in each other’s personal space. It's no big deal, right? It can be a really big deal if you're touching someone who is paranoid. They may think that you are trying to hurt them. I've seen a lot of paranoid patients become violent because they think that they are being attacked. And then there is the issue of abuse. Many patients have been physically and sexually abused in the past, and they really don't want to be hugged by someone that they have just met. They have boundary issues, and it might be hard for them to tell you that they don't like to be touched. And let's not forget about unit romances. I occasionally see patients engaged in a major lip-lock, or trying to slip off into each other’s rooms. The nursing staff never tolerates this. You are on the unit to work on your issues, not to find a date. I remember watching two teenagers who were planning to have sex on the unit. My colleagues and I enjoyed watching their mating dance. It was entertaining. Then the girl made a big announcement at the nurses station that she was going to go take a shower, and that she didn't want to be disturbed. We watched the boy sneak down the hallway into the girl's room, and we counted to three before swinging the door open to the girl's bathroom. BUSTED!!!!!!!

Take John and Yoko’s advice: Don't hold hands on a psychiatric unit, and give peace a chance.


Blogger SRR said...

As you are a Beatles fan, go see Across the Universe, a musical using Beatles music. I loved it!

3:54 AM  
Blogger poody said...

I too owe the soundtrack of my youth to The Beatles. I was always fond of George!In fact, one of my all time favorite musical lines comes from a Beatles song~ Oh, that magic feeling, no where to go! No where! How I wish sometimes I had that magic feeling!

1:12 PM  
Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said...

I had the vinyl copies of Beatles '62-'66 and '67-'70'. I always liked them.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder about Lindsey Lohan and her new fling.

Shameful, I know..(me, that is.)

Of course I suppose rehab is a little different than being an inpatient on a psych floor. Or is it? I really don't know...

7:35 PM  
Blogger raecatherine said...

hahaaa! of course, it's sometimes strange to be on the other side of things...sometimes we've had terminal patients who want to 'get it on' with what little time they have special arrangements are made for privacy (rare, but it happens)

1:14 AM  
Blogger The Curmudgeon said...

My father made remarks about the hair, too. He probably would have had a stroke if he knew what was coming.... but, then, Ed Sullivan would have had the stroke first.

raecatherine's comment tickled me: My parents had his and her colon cancer; it killed them eventually. But there was one point where they were both in the hospital recovering from one surgery or another... and they were given a room. Somebody put a sign on the door: Honeymoon Suite.

I still smile... and mist up... thinking about it.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Mage And George said...

...and your teeth in a jar by the door. :) Mage

2:06 PM  
Blogger jaz said...

I was born too late.

I was still toddling about, gnawing rusks of zweiback, when the band broke up.

I had to discover them later.

6:46 PM  
Blogger MY OWN WOMAN said...

The Beatles...........the beginning of my innocence..........and the end. The carried me pretty much through my whold spectrum of life........or at least "a day in the life."

11:03 AM  
Blogger Smalltown RN said...

I remember when I was a nursing student doing my term in psych...I found it so odd how you could almost cut the sexual tension on the ward some kinda made me nervous...I think I knew then that I would not make a very good psych nurse...I am so glad there are so many areas in health care that one can nurse....

Now as for the Beatles....I can remember my older sisters being crazy about them...and like your father mine was the same....he frowned upon them. I think one of my sisters went to their concert when they came to Vancouver....I was surprised to hear my father actually let her go....

4:49 PM  
Blogger MY OWN WOMAN said...

I can't believe that I didn't proof read my post before I pushed the enter button. I'm so embarrassed!

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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3:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such things also happen in acute care facilities. I always tell patients "If you are well enough to do "that" you are well enough to go home.

In this day of revolving door health care where people do not stay in hospitals for as long, we deal with this issue much less.

I worked in a top-tier facility where a rather famous individual was allowed in for a visit with his wife in the ICU. She was alert and oriented but on a ventilator due to a progressive debilitative disease process. We disabled her alarms and shut the door. We don't want to think about such things, yet as health professionals, we see the breadth of the emotional experience.

7:08 AM  
Blogger scalpel said...

I loved the ward story. And isn't it funny that their hair was considered long back then?

2:56 PM  
Blogger Doc's Girl said...

Do you ever wish that you could say to your patients, "well, if you feel like getting laid, maybe it's time to go home?" :)


In sobriety, you see a lot of people hooking up at AA meetings...and when I saw them, I always thought to myself, I could never date someone as screwed up as me! :-P :-P

10:14 PM  

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