Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  38 / 70 Next Page
Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 38 / 70 Next Page
Page Background

THE ORDERLY

By ROBBIE SKEIST

These are some scraps of writing I did connected with

homosexuality while I ws working as an orderly in a

private mental hospital in Chicago. I changed the names so

the patients and the staff won't get hassled.

The French Kiss and the Pinch

Today's crisis came when Lenny, a patient around 15

years old, gave me a French kiss. just before, Michael-who

was discharged from the Army when they caught him

making love (not war) with another soldier-had smiled,

hugged me, and given me a smack of a kiss on my cheek. I

thought Lenny was about to do the same, but instead he

went for my mouth.

·

His lips were wet. He put his tongue in and moved it

around. It was a good kiss and I couldn't tell him to stop.

Still, the head nurse was standing about seven feet away

watching, quite surprised, so I couldn't respond. I stood

there. He kissed me. After a while, maybe four or five

seconds-the nurse came running out and screamed

"Lenny! Stop that!" I think she pulled his arms from

around me and scolded him. He asked if she would be as

upset if he were kissing a woman. She muttered something

about "You know the rules."

Three hours later, Mr. Waller, a licensed Practical Nurse,

pulled me over and said he was told to have a "fatherly

talk" with me. The head nurse told him to tell me she was

upset that I had just stood there when Lenny kissed me. I

told him I was stunned so I didn't react, which was

misleading because I didn't explain how nice the stunning

kiss was. Mr. Waller said if it happened again, I should push

Lenny away and insist that he stop.

At the end of his little lecture. Mr. Waller gave me a little

pinch on the side of my stomach, gathering a little roll of

my fat between his large thumb and forefinger. It felt good.

Holding Hands and the Confession

jacob is a social worker who cracked up and committed

himself. He wanted a rest and some therapy. They're giving

him insulin shock treatment-a procedure which scares me

and which none of the staff wants to explain to me.

Yesterday they gave him shots, drained out some blood,

put him in a coma and got him out of a coma. Today he

was sweating and tired and scared. He was strapped to his

bed and looked like a cornered puppy. They had to give

him another shot to return some essential fluids to his

blood stream, but he was fighting them off and the doctor

had scratched him twice with the needle.

They called me in to hold him down and they were

going to call the other orderly, too. This was upsetting me

and I gave them a line about "You just leave me alone with

him for a few minutes and I'll get him ready for you." They

agreed to let me try.

For ten minutes, jacob and I held hands; his deep brown

eyes pleaded with me. I told him that no matter how much

he disliked the insulin shock treatment, he needed that

particular shot to recover from the last few hours. We sat

quietly. The nurse and the doctor came in and easily gave

him the shot.

I stayed in the room, sitting on jacob's bed, holding his

hand, talking quietly. All sorts of things came out. He put

down the hospital, cried for his parents, talked about his

girlfriend, blurted out "Sometimes I'm a little queer,"

squeezed my hand.

Today, two nurses and an orderly told me not to spend

so much time in a patient's room, not to sit on a patient's

bed, not to hold a patient's hand.

Shaving, and the Unexpected Mole

I'm 23. I'm 80. Harold's 80 and I just helped him shave,

just shaved him, and it took a while. It took two hours or

maybe 23 minutes. Twenty-three minutes out of 23 years.

I'm 23. I'm 80. Harold's 80 and I just helped him shave,

just shaved him, and it took maybe 23 minutes.

He's an old man. An old Jewish man. An old Jewish

lonely man. An old lonely jewish man named Harold. A

man named Harold Foner. An old lonely Jewish man

named Harold Foner. It's quite clear in my memory and in

my fingers that I shaved him.

I could hold my life together with a little string of holy

acts like that. The place does him no good: He gets lonelier

and more confused.

Yesterday, at the side of his bed, the right side near the

foot, as he lies on his back, I say on the floor there he had

his left shoe and his right slipper. Or perhaps it was his right

shoe and his left slipper.

Shock, hurt, why choose a word. He didn't like it. I

found the other shoe and the other slipper on the floor in