Why did she do this to me?
Mentally challenged adult trying to be part of society, cheated and the aftermath. Nurse balancing advocacy, safety and client independence.
The screaming echoed down the hallway followed by a string of curses and a crashing sound! My steps slowed down as I listened. The voice was familiar---too familiar. I rang the doorbell of the apartment and all sound stopped. The door slowly opened and I looked at James, the home health aide’s grim face.
“Is that Ted?”
He nodded as I cautiously entered the apartment. “What’s going on?” As James opened his mouth, one of the bedroom doors was flung open and out stormed Ted. He looked at me and screamed, “I want to kill her!!”
I looked at Ted calmly and asked, “Who Ted? Who do you want to kill?”
“That-----“! She robbed me!” A string of unmentionable names followed.
“Ted! Sit down. Let me help you. James please get him some cold milk with a squirt of chocolate please.”
As he drank the milk, the story spilled out. Ted was a resident in a group home where I was the Nurse Manager.
Recently Nancy (another resident) and he had broken up and Ted wanted to hook up with someone. Ted was mentally challenged but loved two things; working his day job and having sex. So on payday he was advised by a “helpful “coworker friend that on a certain street he could find a” girlfriend” for a certain price.
So Ted went to the building in a nice neighborhood and found a pretty girl standing outside.
He point blank asked her to have sex for money and she smiled and said yes. She then took him in to the building and took him into a nice “living room”. She then asked him if he wanted a threesome and he was thrilled. She asked him her fees upfront which he promptly gave as he was very honest about money matters. She then asked him to take out his clothes and wait. She took his clothes and went to call her friend and never came back. Ted stood in the living room in his birthday suit getting colder by the minute! He then went into the next room and found a corridor with lots of doors. He knocked on the first door and an old woman came opened the door, looked, screamed and slammed the door! More doors opened, more screams and then the police arrived! He was at a senior citizen apartment complex!
Ted was escorted by two grinning policemen back to his residence in a blanket. As soon as the cops left his anger and humiliation spilled over and he exploded. He started yelling, throwing things and having a meltdown screaming, “Why did she do this to me?”
I calmed him down and told him that not all people were trustworthy in the world and that not all women were like her. I cautioned him about getting sick from having sex with strangers. I told him that the money lost was a good lesson for him not to give his hard earned money to strangers especially for sex. I reassured him that the cops would be hunting down the “bad woman” and let them do their job. He calmed down some.
I remembered the first time I saw Ted. I was being introduced to the five residents as their new nurse. This older white guy around 60 came and hugged me tight. Being new to the country, I thought that this was a way Americans said hello! An older woman Ethel, who worked as the home health aide in the residence, came smiling and pried him loose off me and told me. “Don’t let Ted hug and feel you as he loves to do that! After that I gave Ted a wide berth when he came near me—and kept him at a distance physically.
Ted had a job in a company and wanted badly to be one of the boys. So when everyone talked about having girlfriends, Ted wanted one too. Two years before I joined this agency Ted asked Nancy to be his girlfriend. Their visits were supervised and Nancy was put on birth control. When I came onboard, I noticed that Nancy was very fatigued and tired. Being mentally challenged and paranoid schizophrenic, I was concerned if the psychiatric meds she was on were to blame. Two things stood out on chart review. Her periods were heavy and frequent and she was on birth control. When I questioned this, I was told of the “arrangement”. I was amazed that a woman with a mental capacity of a child was in this relationship. As I gained her trust, she told me that she did not like sex as it hurt. Further questioning revealed that Ted was having anal sex with her and she did not want it as it hurt. I also was concerned as the latest CBC showed that she was very anemic and that she had fibroids and Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding. After a meeting with the team and the state official (as she was a ward of the state), the birth control pill and the sex stopped. Nancy was happy although the bleeding continued and she ended up with a hysterectomy which was another wild story by itself.
When Ted heard that his arrangement was off, he was furious and threw his TV on the sidewalk through his bedroom window on the 6th floor. Luckily no one got hurt----! Ted continued his daily job and was always on the lookout for love and checked women out thoroughly! I left the agency but always had a soft corner for my “girls and guys”. I always expedited mentally challenged patients especially while working in the ED. They have dreams and hopes like all of us and experience emotional ups and downs. They need special handling, razor quick thinking and simple explanations. They notice if they are treated with respect and will remember that always. Last year, I went to a local shopping mall and parked my car. As I walked towards the entrance, I passed a van with people waiting to board. I looked at some of them with helmets on and nostalgically thought of my “guys” that I took care of 22 years ago. I suddenly stopped when I looked at their faces as they really were my guys!! With tears in my eyes, I called them by name, one by one and even “Rocking Sam” who was severely autistic, stopped and looked at me and smiled. The staff that were all new to me were startled till I told them who I was. I asked about Ted who I was told passed from a heart attack many years ago. Nancy is still there and goes to day program daily. When I think of how dependent they are on staff to advocate and take care of them, as they get older I realize how much our care can make a difference. It may not make headlines but they still remember you.
Isn’t that why we do what we do every day without fanfare? To be a Nurse, the best kind!Last edit by Joe V on Oct 20
About spotangel, BSN, MSN
Nurse, writer, mother on a spiritual quest to see the puzzle of life as a whole and wants to do small things with great love.
Joined Mar '12; Posts: 199; Likes: 816.May 26Spotangel, you really have a heart of gold! Thank God for nurses like you. I enjoyed the article (and sorry Ted passed).May 29Thanks for all the likes and comments!
Now when I scroll thru my articles and see your screen names I feel like as if my family is reading my articles!
It gives me tremendous encouragement to put down on pen all these nursing experiences that are percolating in my head!
I am truly humbled and grateful for all your support!
I grew up wanting to be a journalist and writer.
God's path for me was Nursing but He, in his unfathomable grace ,has given me the ability to write which after Him and my family is my greatest joy and happiness!
Love you all---!May 29Ted was a real character . I handled him with kid gloves because under all that bluster and bravado was the mind of a seven year old that was desperately trying to cope up with the world. He always felt that he was two steps behind no matter how hard he tried.Hence the bluster, the groping, the cursing and wanting to be one of the men.Thank you 3ringnursing. He does have a special place in my heart.May 29Quote from spotangelPoor guy, that sounds awful. Cruel thing the prostitute did, too. I mean Ted may have dodged a bullet, but still makes me sad he was humiliated like thatHe always felt that he was two steps behind no matter how hard he tried.Hence the bluster, the groping, the cursing and wanting to be one of the menMay 29True! It's like having to let go of your child every day and pray that they make it through the day safely and come home intact.
After we bolstered up his battered ego and self confidence with some "TED" talk , he kept saying"You can't con ME! I am too smart!"
We would agree and tell him,"We know you are a smart cookie!" and cross our fingers behind our back!
We encouraged him to role play "offers" with us and how to respond. Thank fully no other adventures followed and we encouraged him to watch sappy awwwh movies about true love!
He always tried though----could not let a pretty face pass by! We loved him warts and all!May 30What a great story. I love it that you were able to be part of their lives like that over time and help them like that. Thanks so much for sharing it.Jun 2Dear spotangel,
I am speechless after reading the story of Ted. Great post. I really like your point of view! And I find your opinion quite interesting!
Most of the times people don't realize what mentally challenged people go through...their challenges, likes, dislikes, hobbies, little pleasures...you have made a genuine attempt in pleasing Ted with your valuable presence and professional advises. It's remarkable that you have made a difference in his life, and many more like him in our society.
It's very hard to find nurses who listen to their patient's concerns with empathy, hold their hands during a procedure and comfort them, or give them a reassuring hug. The nursing profession is as much about kindness and caring for the whole person as it is about medical and technical knowledge. You are on the top of the chart SpotAngel. I am honored to have personally known you. Keep up the good work and write more about your experiences because I can relate to it from my own experiences.
- Paul ChackoJun 3Thank you Paul. Keep up the good work and writing that you do! I know that your children are very lucky to have a father like you! God bless you for everything you do! You are an inspiration to many parents.
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