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Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

Creator: Frank L. Wright, Jr. (author)
Date: 1947
Publisher: National Mental Health Foundation, Inc.
Source: Available at selected libraries
Figures From This Artifact: Figure 2  Figure 3  Figure 4  Figure 5  Figure 6  Figure 7  Figure 8  Figure 9  Figure 10  Figure 11  Figure 12  Figure 13  Figure 14  Figure 15  Figure 16  Figure 17

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Andy felt pretty good about things as he went along the corridor with one of the attendants. Then the attendant unlocked a door marked Ward C. "Here's a new admission for you, Finley."


A big, red-nosed attendant came out of a room down the hall. "Okay, Dodds. We'll take over."


"The cop who brought him in said he was pretty tough."


"Oh, did he now?" Finley looked Andy over with a speculative light in his eye. "You brought him to the right place. We've got a spot all picked out for him."


Finley urged Andy ahead of him down the hall. The farther Andy went, the more he sensed that something was wrong. The long hall was lined on both sides with heavy doors with little square wire-glass peek-windows in them. Andy didn't dare look into one.


Just opposite a little alcove on the left, Finley turned Andy into one of the little rooms. "Here's your hole," he said. Before he closed the door, he turned to the other attendants who were playing cards in the alcove. "Here's a new one, boys. And the cops who brought him in said he really put up a battle."


The "boys" turned around and looked at Andy. "We'll soften him up." "He's in the right place." "Maybe a little training, eh?" were some of their remarks. They resumed the card game. Finley locked the door and Andy looked around his room.


It was a small, bare room, about ten feet square. There was no bed or mattress in the room, just one coarse wool blanket. The one window was heavily barred. Andy sat down on the blanket and worried. The gangsters must have fooled him somehow; and yet, that doctor had sounded sincerely friendly. The problems tumbled over and over in his mind.


After a few hours, Andy became thirsty. He looked out the tiny window in the door and saw the attendants sitting there -- or were they guards? He knocked on the door and called, "I want a drink of water." No one moved. He banged on the door and yelled, "Please give me a drink."


One attendant half turned toward the door and shouted, "Make your own water!" The other attendants grinned and went on playing.


Before long Andy was not only thirsty -- he absolutely had to go to the toilet. He banged on the door, explained his situation, pleaded for release. He cajoled and threatened. Nobody paid any attention. Finally, Andy relieved himself on the floor.


An hour later, Mr. Finley and another attendant came into Andy's room. "So! You think you can mess up this room and get away with it, do you? Gimme those pajamas," Finley ordered.


Andy had carefully kept his pajamas from getting soiled. "My pajamas are all right. I'm sorry about -- "


A smarting slap landed on Andy's face. "Gimme them clothes, you filthy cur. You'll learn not to stall around when I tell you to do something."


Andy drew his arm back to return the slap. The other attendant grabbed Andy from the rear, crooked an arm around his neck, shutting off his breath, and planted a knee in his back, stretching him over backward. Finley pounded Andy's unprotected ribs and abdomen, brought his knee up forcefully into Andy's genitals, and slapped Andy's mouth when he screamed in pain. The other attendant dropped Andy on the floor and kicked him twice along the back.


"That ought to settle him for a while," the attendant remarked. Finley locked the door, and looked in at Andy, doubled over and shaking in the corner. "He knows now who's boss around here."


(Based on reports 941, 943 and 971)


The names of the two visitors were familiar to Don. He had heard the supervisor talk about them as two of the "fine attendants we used to have before the war." Therefore, he showed them around the ward freely.


They teased and laughed at several patients, and then they asked to see "Stinkie." Don finally understood that they wanted to see the little feeble-minded boy who was kept in constant seclusion on the ward. He was an incorrigible little rascal who liked to spit on attendants and throw his food around and make as much trouble as he could.


"Hello, you little bastard," one of the visitors said. "Can you still spit?" The patient demonstrated that he could. Then the two men took great delight in pointing to scars for which they were responsible. "Look, his hair still hasn't grown out where I conked him with a broom." "There's a remembrance from me he'll carry to his grave." And much more of the same.


As they left, they said, "Keep alive for us, Stinkie. As soon as the big money gives out at the war plant, we'll be back to play with you."


(Based on report 940)




"Let me emphasize that none of the good hospitals use strait-jackets or other forms of mechanical restraint, except in rare cases; nor do they resort to sedative drugs and seclusion except as a last resort . . . Force, which would excite and arouse even sane people, has given way to psychology and patient effort."


in Scribner's.


"Hilda, if you open your mouth just once more, you'll go right into the 'strip' room. I'm sick and tired of your godawful talking and singing."


Hilda, of course, could no more stop talking and singing than a woman with a sprained ankle can stop limping. It was a symptom of her illness. But Mrs. Gladwyn, the attendant, slammed her magazine down on the desk and said, "By God, I'll show you!"

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