Words in a Row

Spelling and grammer and all that stuff--supposibly its like, real important!

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.

  1. If you’re read­ing this, I’m very dis­ap­point­ed in you.

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