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Part I - Handover

You always know when you've arrived for duty at Random House. If the acrid stench of stale piss doesn't get you first, then the low, almost subliminal murmur of hushed voices interspersed with the occasional cackle of maniacal laughter will. And that's just the staff room..

Andy kicked open the door to the nurses' station - standard procedure - and went to chuck his backpack down on the chair which wasn't covered with skid marks. However as such chairs do not actually exist at Random, he plopped his bag down on the floor as usual and decided to stand for a while. The day shift was handing over the day's activities to the night shift.

Almost as one, the gathered throng turned briefly to nod a welcome, then the collective (un)consciousness was returned to Maudlin, the nurse-in-charge of the day shift. As usual, people were doing their best to stifle yawns as the monotonous drone continued. But if their slightly watery eyes gave them away, Maudlin appeared not to notice.

"Brian had quite a good day today. He got up for breakfast and had a shave and a shower and passed a good bowel motion.." ('But not all at once I hope,' Andy thought to himself)

"And Mrs. Flopsy had a good day too.." ('Yeah, well if you consider getting out of bed, staring at a dry face-washer for 20 minutes, smoking 50 cigarettes and shitting your pants, a good day,' Andy mused.)

"However I'm afraid Simon has been masturbating in his room again. We made him go for a walk, but you might want to give his knob-er, doorknob another wipe with an alcohol swab before you go into his room to check on him tonight."

'It's funny how these shift handovers go..' Andy reflected to himself. Often with so much emphasis on the basic bodily functions, especially in elderly and surgical settings. These are subjects which the average outsider is less-than-comfortable with. But within Nursing circles, such natural functions are of primary importance and stripped of any taboo, they become the topic of 'normal' conversation.

This is one of the main reasons why nurses, doctors and some other health professionals often have such a way-out (or maybe just more basic) concept of reality. When a person desperately needs your hand up their arse to remove ten days of painfully-impacted faeces, small talk kinda goes out of the window. There is little place for taboos in nursing, especially Psychiatric Nursing.

Andy looked down at his watch: 7:05pm. This was going to be a long shift..

 


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