Newspaper Archive of
Cheney Free Press
Cheney , Washington
December 23, 1982     Cheney Free Press
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December 23, 1982

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Page 6 Cheney Free Press Thursday, December 23, 1982 Medical Lake Caring for the mentally ill: A Cheney nurse's st "Once you stop doing things for him, he'll be all right," Marit says as the attendent wheels the old man to the breakfast room. "Later in the day he'll want hugs from us." Again Marit washes her hands, then enters the next room. "Mornin' Doug. Mornin'. How you -doin' today?" Marit says as she wipes his face then changes his soiled shorts. Assisted by two attendents, Marit lifts Doug on his feet and into the chair. "Doug can understand what we say to him but he can't talk back," she says removing the dirty bed linen. "Off you go Doug. Time for breakfast." An attendent wheels him away. The hand washing has now become a ritual. She unlocks the yellow door and enters with another nurse. A man about 50 lies curled up in bed, one tubeextending_ out his nose, another extending from his bladder. "John, I'm going to wash your face honey," Marit says wiping his face and hands and sponging off his body. The smile and enthusiasm still fills her face and words. "Stand up John. That's it," she says as she and Nurse Prahl place John in his wheel chair. Marit bends down and ties the man's hands securely to the chair arms. Marit gives Louise a drink during breakfast. [] "If we don't restrain his hands, he'll p, ll his tube out." She turns to John. "There you go sweetie. Ready for the day," Marit says wheeling the figure down the corridor to the breakfast area. Outside the doorway a black man in a chair stares blankly down the hall. For the next 15 minutes, the nurses and attendents continue their routine. Everyone smiles. Marit comes out a yellow door marked "Rose" and "Violet." An attendent wheels the two old ladies down the hall. "It gets pretty warm down here," Marit says stopping to fan herself. But she takes no time for a breath of fresh air. For 16 years, Marit has worked as a licensed practical nurse caring for the sick and elderly. In February 1980, she joined the Eastern State Hospital nursing staff where she was assigned to the geriatric ward. Here live the most helpless and sometimes most aggres- sive patients. Half the 23 patients require full care, Marit says. The other require some help. "The mental capacity is down here, more so than is a nursing care facility," Marit explains. Many nursing homes By Rod Everhart She glances at the clock--7 a.m. Putting down her coffee cup, Delphi Marit walks out of the office and down the wide corridor line with wheel chairs. She enters the yellow-doored room where the old black man sits naked, hands clasped between his legs. "Ready for the day Jimmy," Marit says as she helps him into his shorts and pants. "OK Jimmy, all set." She and an attendent lift him into a wheelchair; then she leaves and washes her hands in the bowls on the cart. She then moves quickly to the "-second room. Methodically, she unties the bed restraint and lets down the guard rail. "Bill, Bill we're gonna get you dressed now," she says, helping the old man sit up. Bill mutters an obscenity. "Oh, shut up, shut up," he babbles. Marit slides on a pair of shorts while another nurse helps with Bill's shirt. "We're gonna put your pants on honey. Stand up," Marit says. "Oh shut up!" says the old man again. He spits on the floor. The routine is familiar. Marit has done it many times. send their hard-to-handle patients here, she adds. Nursing home patients are more oriented and aware of their surround- ings and able to participate in activi- ties, Marit claims. "The patients here are more aggres- sive and less able to cope with everyday living," she says. Still, she prefers this atmosphere. "1 enjoy taking care o-the-geriatric patients," she says, a smile lighting her face. "I've never wanted to transfer to another ward." While an attendent wheels one patient to the breakfast area, another yells from her room. "Morning Carolyn. Just a minute honey, I'll be right in," Marit says peeking inside the room. Despite an atmosphere that could depress the happiest person, Marit lets little bother her. "I sometimes think "will someone I love be in this situation and will I have to take care of them," she says, adding that she wants to do the best job possible. Marit enters another room to clean a patient. She exits wheeling an old lady down the corridor. "When do we eat? When do we eat?" demands the gray-haired old man in overalls. "Pretty soon, now," Marit replies moving out the doorway. The North Terrace corridors buzz with the nurses' and attendents' energy. They move through their daily routine like bees bringing honey to the hive. "It takes a special kind of person to work on a ward like this." Marit hustles down the hall, grabs a linen cart and now enters Carolyn's room shutting the yellow door. Carolyn likes privacy while dressing. Five minutes later the door opens. "Help with Carolyn," Marit yells. Another nurse and attendent respond and they all lift Carolyn into her chair. Marit's energy seems endless, as she performs her job. "It takes a special kind of person to work on a ward like this," she explains. "Most people after working with us a few days get used to the routine and atmosphere," Marit adds. "Some stay. Some leave." She says some workers who once were cashiers or clerks can not see the benefits of this work. "It's a hard job," Marit continues. ii! i ;i i A patient sleeps on a cold couch in the vacant lounge. "But the rewards are there in a smile from a patient or in some progress they make. Some even go on to a nursing home," she says. It is the patient smiles and progress that keeps Marit coming back day after day. "You learn to grow close to them, to see them as someone's grandma or grandpa," she says. "And when they pass on I feel a bit of relief because they don't have to sit in a chair all day," Marit continues. "But I feel sad too because it is someone I have helped each day." The morning duties continue until every patient is awakened, dressed and wheeled to breakfast. Marit shifts her energy now to preparing breakfast trays. "Mornin' Louise, how are you feelin' this morning. You look nice," says Marit placing a tray of toast and milk on the woman's table. She gives Louise a drink. The room smells like toast and coffee and eggs. Marit prepares another tray, then another. She hands a tray to Rose who takes it and sits down. Rose is one of the few patients who can care for herself. She was sent to this locked ward because she threatened to leave, Marit says. The feeding pattern continues. Most patients sit quietly feeding themselves while others wait for help. Marit goes over to feed Beulah, a middle-aged lady with Huntington's Korea. John finishes his breakfast and removes his own tray. Another patient takes a few bites then slips into a blank stare. A white haired old man rocks his wheel chair. By 9:05 the attendents clean off and stack the last tray on the food cart. Marit finishes feeding her patient. Life here seems spiritless. Some patients pace up and down the corri- dors, others sit and stare at nothing, others just sleep. Patients have few activities except for an afternoon visit by a music therapist who plays piano, Marit says. "Patients just couldn't stay awake or concentrate long enough for much else," she adds. "The mentally ill are human beings and people just like we are." With breakfast over, Marit now begins brushing patients' hair. Carolyn is first. "Hey beautiful, want your hair brushed?" she says. Carolyn nods. Marit believes the public does not understand either the mentally ill or mental hospitals. Outsiders see a vision of strai the movie "One: Nest", In fact locked up and replaced by Marit. "The and people just "Mental set few," Marit could someday I Lake "'Fellowship d 400 East 8:00 a.m. 9:30 a.m. 10:45 a.fn. 6.OO p.rn. Tues. Thurs. Bryan Family NOW OPEN Medical Lake Arcade Come in and check out all of our games! E. 208 Lake (Formerly the Beauty Nook) St. John'S Wayne S. 223 Hailer! St. Anne  Sat. 6 p.m, I Holy DaYs Father E. 708 Lake, Eastern computer school slated Eastern Washington University will offer a five-day computer school Dec. 27-31 designed to provide adults with BASIC computer language training. Cost is $125 Eastern's five-day school, will teach students how to write complete pro- grams, alter existing programs and provide instruction in problem-solving techniques to get results from small computers. Designed for beginners or near beginners in working with computers, the school--offered during Christmas break at the University - will use the 15 terminals in Eastern's Patterson Hall. "We'll have what amounts to un- limited access to computer terminals," says Dr. Donald Homer, leader of the school. families anticipating a computer in need with the computers. We think the their homes after the Christmas holi- course will be especially useful to days," he said. No previous experience with com- puters is expected or required of "Students will be able to spend students. No mathematical ability is literally as much time as they want and required and Dr. Horner says indivi- dual goals will be given special atten- tion during the course of the week-long school. Further information and registration applications can be obtained from Uni- versity Conferences, EWU, Cheney 99004 or by telephoning 359-2406. Center to hold registration night Eastern Washington University's Spokane Center will hold a winter quarter information-registration night on Wednesday, December 29, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Students and prospective students will find financial aid, advising, regi- stration and course information at the session, scheduled at the university's School board accepts bid At the Dec. 8 meeting of the Cheney School Board, school directors accept- ed the local gasoline and diesel fuel bid from Bill's Fills of Cheney. Bill's Fills gas bid was $65,724.33, and the firm's diesel bid was $21,931.28. Allhough a lower bid was submitted by Dompier Oil Company, school directors elected to do business with the Cheney .contractor because of the small differ- ences between the bids. Superintendent Gale Marrs said the School District has a policy where by it can accept the local bid if it is close to the next bid. tte said the district already has done so once before. ,,, Holiday Special  Reg. $35.00 Wave Design Freedom by Zotos : :, Only $30 .00 ,:, ' Senior Citizens Only $25.00 , GOOD THROUGH DEC. 31 :-2 Sunshine Styling Salon ,,,: 2' S. 108 Lefevre 299.5282 Medical Lake '/ facility on the 7th floor of the Bon Marche Building in downtown Spokane. University Registrar Melanie Bell said students can confirm downtown courses at the time of registration and urged early sign up for classes, noting that space is limited in many instances and most courses are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Nearly 2,000 students are enrolled in classes at EWU's Spokane Center, which recently announced an im- pending move to the former Farm Credit Bank headquarters building at the corner of First and Wall. The university's Spokane offerings are ex- pected to be located in the new facility by the start of fall quarter next year. Bell described the information- registration night as an "opportunity for graduate and undergraduate stu- dents to receive full service ad- vising, registration and information on financial aid options." A free press: Your key to freedom. CHRISTMAS EVE 6 p.m. Lake City Assembly Corner of Grace and Walker i Medical Lake - 299-3139 I ' I internationaltV Acclaimed Skaters! Wodd Famous Dance Champions! 4 SEE A S'rAR STUDDED CAST! World- Renowned Champions! PReSeNTS "HiU..O, WOIRI.ID, HRU..OP World-Wtdel woducO tJ. vou' OPENS SAT DEC 25-SUN JAN 2 SPOKANE COLISEUM SPONSORED by EL KATIF SHRINE I $900"$750"$600 I (all seats reserved) 15 PERFORMANCES! 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