The True Story of the Maximally Flaccid Pud and Your Tax Dollars at Work
Way back, maybe 30 years ago, My Previous Best Half worked at a state neurological institute taking care of developmentally disabled patients. They were facing a problem with their patients that I had to deal with working with the mentally ill: Many psychotropics or antipsychotic medications cause impotence, and some patients would masturbate, or try to masturbate, until they injured themselves (skin damage, usually, although sometimes the patient had no trouble getting erect but would simply masturbate all day every day).
Anyway, My Previous Best Half was in a team meeting at which they were discussing how to deal with one such patient: Very low IQ and minimal independent functionality, but he was otherwise a healthy guy in his early 20s who had no trouble getting it up and sweet eructating Cthulhu, but he loved to masturbate. Let’s call him Dick, because duh.
Dick had been flogging the bishop so much he’d chafed himself into a bunch of open sores and ingrown hair cysts and other grody things that developed into a nasty UTI; they’d had to catheterize him, pump him full of antibiotics and keep him in a straitjacket or bed restraints 24–7 for several weeks.
He was nearly healed, but they knew he’d just start oiling the old baseball glove again as soon as possible and were discussing options to try to control it without chemical or physical restraints.
(I need to pause for a quick aside: My Previous Best Half was an LPN at the time; there was another staff nurse present, the MSN in charge of the unit, and an activity therapist, who happened to be the only male in the room.)
Someone in the room wisecracked that they should just give Dick some KY Jelly so he wouldn’t keep hurting himself. After a brief chuckle, the MSN—remember, this was a woman with a Master’s degree in nursing—said thoughtfully, “Look, people masturbate. Instead of pretending we can make him stop maybe we can get him some lubricant and a little bit of instruction so he’s, you know, just doing it more safely.”
All heads swiveled and all eyes fastened on the male activity therapist, who was taking minutes. Let’s call him Willy, because isn’t it obvious?
Willy glanced up and realized everyone else was looking at him. “What?”
“We’ll need you to help Dick with this,” the MSN said.
“Help him with what? With masturbating?”
“Yes—I feel that if we can get him some lubricant and a bit of instruction we can minimize these injuries. We’d need you to adapt to whatever learning style will work with Dick, whether it’s just demonstrating”—I still can’t believe an educated medical professional said this with a straight face, even though Archer wasn’t there to yell about phrasing—“or a more hands-on approach.”
Willy stopped taking notes. “You cannot possibly be serious.”
“What’s the problem?”
Willie said, “Buy Dick all the lube you want. But if you think I’m going to teach him to masturbate better you can forget it. And if you ever suggest to me again that I masturbate in front of a patient to teach him how to masturbate better, I’ll report you to the state nursing board.”
The MSN got a little sniffy. “Willy, I can write you up for insubordination if you refuse a direct order.”
“Oh, PLEASE do!” Willie said. “I’d love to be there in the superintendent’s office or state board’s office when you try to explain to them why you thought your job gives you the authority to order me to masturbate in front of one of our patients!”
As everyone else in the room stared at one other with “Am I imagining this?” expressions, Willie and the MSN started shouting at each other, but then the MSN stood, took a deep breath and said, “Willy, we need to have this discussion in my office.” They left and were heard shouting at each other in her office for the next 20 minutes or so.
Willy and the MSN did a lot of stomping around and glaring at one another and addressing one another with icy formality for the next few weeks. My Previous Best Half never found out what happened in the long run—Willy and the MSN wouldn’t talk about it although Willie hinted they’d been forbidden to talk about it, so she suspect Willy made good on his threat to inform the superintendent.
But the MSN and Willy both kept their jobs, while Dick spent every spare moment masturbating and was in and of restraints for the next year or so until My Former Best Half went back to college to finish her RN.
Your tax dollars at work, folks.
PS: When I worked for the state hospital we had one such guy who would go into the bathroom and try to masturbate for hours at a time, but thanks to his meds he couldn’t get erect. He was an otherwise easy-going guy, a young POC we’ll call Peter, and if I have to remind you why we’re calling him Rod I really must ask you to take this article more seriously.
One day I was on the unit with he other psyche aid, a hilarious guy I’ll call Peter,1 who looked and talked a lot like Antonio Fargas from the ’70s buddy cop series Starsky and Hutch. We heard shouting in the bathroom down the men’s wing, and then someone exited the bathroom, yelling and threatening at someone else in the bathroom.
Peter and I went to check in the bathroom and there sat Rod, forlornly twiddling his a maximally flaccid pud.
“What’s going on, Rod?” I said.
Rod wasn’t the tiniest bit embarrassed or self-conscious. “Shit, man,” he said. “I can’t get it up!”
Peter rolled his eyes and said, “Get your pants on and get back out in the dayroom. You’re an embarrassment to our race, Rod—only black man I ever seen can’t get it up!”
I don’t remember exactly how we handled the incident in Rod’s case notes. I do remember feeling privileged to have witnessed and documented such an awesome bit of history.