When the security guard slammed him against the outside of the waiting room window for the first time, it sounded like a bird hitting the pane. The man was shouting and upset, and when the guards put hands on him his agitation grew. The waiting room window was partially frosted – for my privacy, no doubt, what with HIPAA and all – so I could only see the tops of heads clearly. Torsos were blurry and haloed behind the glass’s foggy bottom.
Five more guards walked out through the hospital door. Six against one. For a second it sounded like the man was crying, but then the shouting started up again. I saw, silhouetted, the hands of guards on waistbands. The guards were quiet as they took him inside. Beyond the glass, through the thin strip of clarity at the top of the window, all I could see was water falling, but I don’t know if it was rain or melting snow.
Denise Morency Gannon says
Your post is a day and night occurrence in all emergency departments. I can’t tell you how many times I take care of people who are cuffed to the arms of the cot and guarded by officers who accompany them. In them I can see the Christ in his most distressing disguise. Their stories are most often times heart breaking. Even more disturbing are the criminally insane who think that lewd behavior is appropriate because they’re institutionalized after frequent stays in the prison system. With the lack of psychiatric facilities, the breakdown of the family and poverty on the rise that only exacerbates the situation, we’re in a national crisis.
Thanks for your poetic and poignant post. Keep these folks and the people who treat them and guard them in your prayers. If you want to see life at its most raw, spend time in an ED.
Margaret Felice says
Very true, Denise. I am always moved and oddly humbled when I visit our city hospitals. The staff there are all doing noble work.