Sunday, December 22, 2013

Put up Your Dukes!!

Once upon a time, in 1988, I applied for a job at the Austin State Hospital. They had a 2 week paid training program and one of the biggest things they got through to us was that they wanted us to be certain that our clients were always wearing nice clothes and being taken care of all of the time.

When I got through with the training program I was assigned to the Extended Care ward, where they generally had patients that were there for the long haul. 

There, I met Theo, who was the shift manager. He gave me the walk around and I got a high level view of how the unit worked. Then we went back to the day room.
One of the first patients I met was a man named Lloyd who had been there for like 40 or 50 years. Theo told me that he had been an amazing boxer in his youth.

One of the things they were adamant about in training was that we were supposed to be sure that we were to ensure that patients were properly dressed at all times. I noticed that Lloyd was wearing pants that were too big for him and he was holding them up with his hands, so I decided to take it upon myself to help him out. 

I mentioned it to Theo. He also saw that Lloyd had been dressed incorrectly, so when I suggested that we go change Lloyd, he agreed.

I asked Lloyd if I could get him some pants that fit. He said "yeah," so we all walked back to the laundry area. After a few pairs of pants were tried out, we found a pair that fit well (they can't wear belts). Lloyd was happy, and that gave me a feeling of satisfaction! First day at work win!

We got back to the day area and Lloyd re-entered the population.  

After a little while, I went back to check on Lloyd and maybe to get to know him a little bit better. "Lloyd, how are those pants working out for you?" "Oh yes they are great." And at that point Lloyd took a step back and swung his right arm toward me. At that moment I realized that it was a roundhouse punch coming at me and it was going to clean my clock if I didn't move. The universe went into Matrix Mode and I managed to pull my head out of the way as his fist whooshed by my nose.

As the adrenaline started rushing through my system, I heard Theo. I was expecting him to come running to save me, but he was laughing uncontrollably. I was hyperventilating and he was laughing at me? He walks over and says "Oh man! He almost got you." "Yeah, what is wrong with him?" "Well, I told you that he was a boxer, and sometimes he thinks that he's back in the ring."

He thinks he is back in the ring. Nice.

"So what do you do when he takes a swing at someone?" I asked. "Well we did have a good plan in place to deal with it before, but it won't work now," says Theo. Starting to get curious, I asked "Why not?" 

"Because he doesn't have to hold his pants up now that they fit."

A few weeks later, a new round of recruits entered the unit. According to Theo, one of them inevitably asks to help Lloyd... so when I was asked about finding some new pants, I was more than happy to help them find the way to the laundry hamper.

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