Yes, folks, I’m still working on it and this is still on the table. I phoned the DMH yesterday and guess what? They never received the paperwork I sent on August 16th, 2012 appealing the decision of the director of nursing that I reported to you way back when….oh, I’m sure you all got very, very tired of hearing me talk about it.
But then again, maybe you didn’t.
Cuz am I all that crazy? Just because we are mental patients, does this mean we should relinquish all human rights once we go into “treatment”? Is this what “treatment” means?
So here’s the deal: Massachusetts grants us lowly mental patients telephone privacy on inpatient units. On the Alcott Unit, which is an eating disorders specialty unit at Walden Behavioral Care, in Waltham, Massachusetts, the phones are out in the hallway where anyone can hear conversations, and clearly this is not following the law. I questioned this back in February and was immediately granted access to a private room with a phone, but sometimes was denied access to the phone by nurses who were ignorant of the law. Most nurses hemmed and hawed over it and said that patients had to ask specially for this room. At one point, they told me I was crazy and that the room didn’t exist, that I was hallucinating the room and needed medication, that I was delusional that these laws existed, and so on and so forth.
Trust me, these nurses were not psychotic, just extremely ignorant and didn’t give a hoot about the patients. They were dead scared of me. Cuz I saw right through them. I may have been psychotic, but I did know the law. I may have been psychotic, but that doesn’t take away my intelligence and my quick wit and my demand for fair treatment under law.
Just because we are sick, do we “deserve” to be punished, isolated from families, cut off from the world, our only contact with the outside world these two phones that are in the middle of the hallway where all the other patients, staff, doctors, visitors, and miscellaneous passersby can hear? Would it really be that much trouble to build little soundproofing walls to provide privacy for folks talking on these phones?
And yet the director of nursing refuses to budge on this issue. Someone claimed that DMH walked in there and said these phones were legal and I think DMH was never in there. I think this was a flat-out lie. Someone said DMH said the walls around the phones would be a hallway obstruction. I think this, too, was a lie because I think DMH had not even looked into it yet at the time that statement was made.
See, there was something I observed while I was there. Every time I got into a meaningful conversation with another patient, it got cut off. The staff overheard, and broke up the conversation. So we’d be talking, and suddenly, staff would walk in and say to the other patient, “The nurse wants you for meds,” or, “Group time!” or, “Come fill out the snack list,” or some such thing. If we were talking in the hall, the staff asked us to move. The staff verified that there was an intercom in the “Group Room” where they could listen on to conversations that took place at the table. They denied listening in on conversations, but during one of the times I spent there, they told us flat out they were going to monitor our conversations because we were gossiping. This was when I was there in March 2010. Then some staff claimed that this was illegal. But I said, right in their presence, that just because something is illegal doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
I notice that often, staff at hospitals will say, “That’s illegal” as a way of dodging a topic. So if you ask, “Do you give meds and lie about the reason you are giving them” and the staff say, “That’s illegal,” they are dodging the issue. They are not answering “yes” or “no.” I can only conclude that the answer is “yes,” they do not even want to answer this question because they flat out break the law. Do you see what I’m saying?
So yesterday I phoned DMH and the person with whom I spoke was very interested in my claim. She said I should immediately e-mail her the original letter I sent. So I did. Right away she sent a confirmation. It was quite clear to me that all this was new to her.
I believe that the director of nursing at Walden has been lying all along to the human rights people at the hospital and to me. I think they want to maintain tight control over the patients.
Now, let’s dig deeper on this issue. Why do they want to maintain such tight control? Why wouldn’t they want patients talking to their families?
Because they don’t want families to see the reality of the place. Reality is that some rather shady stuff goes on over there. Reality is that Walden wants to look real good to insurance so they will get their money. So they want to make sure they put plenty of weight on the patients. Weight looks good on paper. It’s the only measurable means of showing the insurance companies that they are doing well by the patients.
But you and I know this is bullshit. Not only that, it’s dangerous. Put weight on a patient too fast, or feed too much too soon, and you end up with refeeding syndrome. Look it up. It’s fatal. And yes, I saw a case of refeeding syndrome that was TREATMENT INDUCED at Walden. I saw one helluva lot of treatment-induced shit happening over there, including a a case where a person’s eating disorder itself had been treatment-induced.
And I’m going to use a lovely nasty politically incorrect term just to prove my point….I saw a case where a woman became “wheelchair-bound” due to treatment. She was forced to go on bedrest and because they did not allow her to move her body, she lost her ability to stand up on her legs and walk. She lost muscle tone.
People, this is not only happening at Walden Behavioral Care, this happens at “treatment” centers all over America and all over the world and this has to stop.
We are going to take back our rights. It will begin with this one simple step of getting the patients telephone rights. If I can do this with this one letter that I e-mailed over to the DMH yesterday, and that one conversation alerting the DMH to what is going on, then I will change the world for the better.
Signed, Julie and Puzzle, the most powerful thing to happen to eating disorders on six legs.