May 4th -- Fire Alarm Caused by Evil Martin

(names changed)
 
It was about 3:15a.m. when the fire-alarm went off and soon afterwards there was a nurse at the door saying "everybody out!"... my room mate Sidney had already gone by that time. Stopping only to grab my bag, I went downstairs and out the end door, joining the mob there. No sign of a fire. The damp ground was a bit cold for bare feet. In came the fire-fighters -- they searched around for a fire, to no avail. Allana thought it might be due to the faulty hand-dryer in the women's toilet, and she told the men, but they ignored her. Soon it all got too much for Allana and she started weeping. And Donna was sitting on Barry's lap. Finally we were told we could go back to our rooms, though the fire alarm wasn't switched off till some time later. I didn't get back to sleep for hours(?). What a touch of excitement -- would've been better if there was a decent fire though. As long as my comics didn't get singed.
    I started a letter to John this morning, then at the community meeting there was a lotta interesting stuff -- the patient Neal (youngster) was stressing that there's nothing wrong with him, he doesn't know why he was brought here, and he wants to see a doctor. There was talk flying about the fire incident -- apparently Martin started a fire when he lit one of his sheets with a cigarette lighter. No accident. Barry said the evacuation was a complete fiasco -- there were patients running to two different ends of the building, thus making a head-count impossible. And that African night nurse fellow, he was in a blind panic. Walter, who was the last to evacuate because he didn't know what the fire alarm was, said he was roughly handled by the black man, and hatred was the result. Of course, we patients aren't told about evacuation procedures, so they can't expect us to be efficient and organised. There followed a lot of complaints about the patient Martin -- he smokes indoors, he blows smoke in people's faces, he harrasses the women and children visitors, he threatens people; in short, he annoys everyone and he's a sicko. The discussion continued until Allana commented that Martin is too sick to be in this ward, and nurse Kamilla said firmly that he'll remain in this ward until he gets better. The words must have been spoken too harshly for Allana's sensitive nature, because she broke down and sobbed obscene insults to Kamilla and left the room weeping. Nurse Kamilla's face showed not an ounce of shock or regret. Lousy uncaring nurse.
    I played a few games of patience before lunch, then I watch Ricki Lake and tried to dry my insoles out by the heater. After one I did a bit of my insomnia drawing, it's nearly finished -- but it's definitely lacking something.
    I played a game of Spiderman 2, encountering new and confusing stuff -- Martin the patient came along and I put on my hard impenetrable face while he talked. He offered me a drink to wash down my cake, and when I refused he said I must be in league with the devil. But later he reverted to his friendly complimentary style. I made no eye contact and gave the shortest of short answers.
    I overheard a conversation between the nurse Jill and the patient Lesley this morning -- Lesley said he doesn't want to die but he doesn't want to live and he wants to be set free from this place so he can go out and hurt himself. What a depressed young man. As he talked with Jill he got happier and more positive.
    At dinner Martin moved from another table to sit near me dang it. I ignored him.
    I'm sitting in the dining-room, it's nearly 8:30 and they seem to have forgotten about supper.
    Both T.V.s tuned to channel 10 -- nothing I can do.
    I better make a shopping list for tomorrow. I'm going out.
    There's a new hand-dryer in the men's toilets, after all these months of there not being one. The funny thing is, it looks so old and battered.

24/1Entry into psychiatric hospital
1/3Day Before Dreaded False Discharge Incident
13/4Night-time intruder incident
4/5Fire Alarm
4/6Visit From Melanie -- Day After the Dreaded Sheet Changing Incident
10/6Susan Turner
29/6 & 1/7Departure and Discharge from Hospital
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