MY CAREER AS A PSYCHIATRIC NURSE IN ARIZONA

Alice Parris-Arizona State Hospital

Alice Parris-Arizona State Hospital

I spent sixteen years of my twenty-five year nursing career as a Psychiatric
Nurse. In Arizona, they call it Behavioral Health. I worked in private facilities
for adolescents, where they had a private chef, to registry work with adults-
also in private Behavioral Health facilities, to the Arizona State Hospital where
I worked on all of its Forensic Units. I spent more time in Geriatric Forensic and
Adolescent Forensic than I spent with adults. Any call-offs by scheduled Registered
Nurses could mean that any nurse could be floated to any unit at anytime.

When I first went to the State Hospital, as a registry nurse, I admit that I
was terrified by the looks in the eyes of the patients. We would describe it
as “looking off.” I spent my first day grateful to be in the medication room
preparing medications and not on the floor being terrified. Patients would cue
up to receive scheduled medications at a door at the med room which had a top
that could open, while the bottom of the door was locked. This was to prevent the
possibility of a newly admitted patient from charging at the medication nurse.
A staff member stood beside the patient to help identify them, many or most had
removed their admission wrist bands.

I cannot describe the first few minutes of that first day, starting with the
sound of doors being locked behind me. Fear welled up inside of me. By the end
of the first day, I had been chased around the unit by a new patient (who had
been in and out of physical restraints all day.) New patients were not stabilized
on their medications and staff did not know their “cuing behaviors.” Cuing behaviors
are predictable movements within certain patients that would proceed an attack on
other patients or staff member-such as pacing, increased verbal assaults, facial
expressions. As a medication nurse, the faster a nurse could draw up IM medications,
the safer the staff would be. Staff would dislike a “slow nurse” who put them at risk.

Chaos could break out at any time, over anything. When one patient “blew” it was
like the popping of popcorn; others would follow suit. Soon a “riot” would have
broken out on a unit. One of the jobs of the floor staff was to monitor for cuing
behavior and when observed, notify the charge nurse or med nurse so an oral liquid
form of the medication could be offered to the patient. If the patient refused, it
would more than likely lead to a “show-down” and sadly, physicians orders for a
Seclusion and Restraint would be issued for the patient, so that they could receive
their medications IM. Seclusions and Restraints follow strict safety guidelines for
the patients: continuous monitoring of vital signs, bathroom needs and a re-assessment
for compliance every two hours. Remember at a state facility, if compliant per
verbal agreement, the patients were allowed back into the general population. Many
of these patients had already had a brush with the law or community and were determined
to be a danger to themselves or to others. Some were petitioned and some were court
ordered until “competency” could be established (if facing legal charges.) Some patients
could not understand the charges against them and had to be prepared to go before a judge
by virtue of role-play undertaken by professionals.

Malingerers, who had broken the law, but were there to avoid “real jail” were easily
weeded out by behaviors. Occassionally, a patient had become so “institutionalized,”
that they were terrified of leaving a “step-down” unit and going into a monitored
living environment outside of the high metal fences and barbed wire. Such a patient
could easily try to “cheek” their medication as to allow the fullness of their mental
illness to resurface. By “cheeking” I mean not swallowing their medication-hiding them
in the mouth, until they could “stock-pile” it.( which in itself is dangerous should
the patient decide to try an attempt at suicide.) Not taking medication would lead to
the de-stabilization of the patient. Erratic behavior and violence were not far behind.
There was a protocol to ensure that patients could not “cheek” their meds. Every now and
again, a patient would “outfox” the staff, anyway. Every shift that a mental health
professional stepped onto the floor of a Forensic Unit was an act of courage and bravery.

It is needful to make a distinction between “non seriously mentally ill” and “seriously
mentally ill.” Also, to make a distinction between someone with suicidal ideation versus
homicidal ideation. “Non seriously mentally ill” could be cyclothymic, bipolar along with
personality disorders. Also, poor impulse control, poor insight in various combinations.
Seriously mentally ill, could cover the gamut: sociopaths (antisocial personality disorders)
with homicidal ideation, Paranoid Schizophrenia; a combination of diagnosises rendering them
incapable of holding down a job. I believe that many homeless in Arizona are mentally
ill. They fell through the “criteria-cracks.” They were too ill to get out of the relentless sun in the summer where dozens yearly would die from heat stroke. The summer before I left Arizona, the good citizens went around to the homeless passing out bottles of water. I often wondered why emergency lodging was not provided for these people, for the water would run out. They looked too shabby or scary to hang out in the air-conditioned mall. They would more than likely be chased away by mall security for frightening the shoppers and ruining their spending day.

While the conversation ensues about guns and the mentally ill, it is my belief that people who display poor impulse control, who hate & fear are just as dangerous as the seriously mentally ill, in a “perfect storm. It is my concern that people who are not knowledgeable about the differing degrees of mental illness do not put everybody into one lump. There are “Patient’s Rights” to consider. The mentally ill have these rights, as well they should. In Arizona, there is petitioning process available. I suspect that those who observed Jared’s behavior were afraid of him. They would be afraid to petition him, even his parents were probably justifiably afraid of him. They would not want the repercussions of having petitioned him not knowing what he might do when he came out. Most of the community probably recognized the possibility that he had “homicidal ideation.” Police can be called in to pick up and take to an assessment facility those who need mental health services but are not willing to seek them on their own.The criteria in Arizona is “danger to self or danger to others.” Someone could have called the police anonymously to ask them to monitor a person behaving strangely within their neighborhood or community.

It is my hope that this blog will help America not to further stigmatize people who have already been stigmatized. Americans always seem to need a new underdog to kick-about. I hear the words, “nuts” and “crazies” bandied about. It is NOT OKAY! Rather use the terms “disturbed” or “seriously mentally ill.” Talk about “suicidal or homocidal ideation.” I pray that the people who are seeking a solution, find an effective, compassionate way to deal with mental illness as it relates to gun ownership. We do not need any more cruelty in our minds or our conversations. We do not need those in need of our help to
be hiding fearfully in the shadows. We do not need the seriously mentally ill to feel paranoid about being discussed in a perceived “threatening” way. This might prove counterproductive. All of the seriously mentally ill are not in “the system.” Our civility in this specific matter, itself, could save lives.

Alice Parris

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ALICE PARRIS PROPHECY OF 2010 IN REVIEW

Before I receive the prophecy for 2011, which could concern the world or myself personally-I do not know, I thought that I would re-focus on the one of two paragraphs that contained the prophecy for 2010. I believe that we have seen these things in the face of a resurgence in cholera in Haiti, polio in Africa, drug-resistant malaria in Asia, human cross-over of bird flu, bedbug infestations in the finest dwellings in the U.S. We have seen this prophecy in Tsunamis & earthquakes world-wide. We have seen trained animals attack and kill their trainers in increasing numbers. We have seen the revolt of nature, the introduction of plagues, the cruelty of man against man on the rise.

Increased economic disaster will lead to suffering which will corrode the moral fiber of those who suffer. Crime will ensue. Those comfortable in their insulated lives might find themselves the targets of brand new criminals. Home foreclosures have led to abandoned animals. Many abandoned animals now roam neighborhoods in packs feasting off of road kill. Dogs such as these attacked and bit my eighty-five year old mother as she took her morning walk in Hilton Head, South Carolina. She had to get a tetanus shot and a series of rabies shots. There are rabid raccoons in Hilton Head. Gratefully, she survived the bite and the series of shots.

The devolved will evolve with a new ‘survival-mode mentality.” The heartless will not recognize these changes until they are car-jacked or kidnapped from their lovely cars and homes. When human lives have been dismissed as “too expensive” in favor of the study of algae, as in “Christian” Governor Jan Brewer’s Arizona. Solar energy should always rule the day, with that relentless Arizona sun. President Obama cannot be blamed for everything that happens. He is not and has never has been black Jesus, nor is he the incarnation of historic “evil men.” Those who are disappointed that he is just human, well too damn bad!

March 15th, 2010 entry entitled, BRACE YOURSELVES:

“There will be an increase in clusters of populations all over the globe that are taken out every single day. We shall hear of both great and small passing from this world. The suffering, the aimless and the dispossessed will be taken earlier on. There will be great infirmities: malignancies, heart failures and auto-immune disorders. Many will wish to exit this planet of pain, but they will not be able to. The elements will be a continuous drain on finances worldwide. Calamities shall strike by virtue of nature “going rogue,” as well as cruelty from one human being to another.”

Alice Parris

THE REPUBLICAN CONFEDERACY CONFLAGRATION

 
 
Photography by Stony River of Australia

Fire image by Stony River/AU

 
 
 
 
 

What would the Republican Confederacy do without President Obama to demonize? What would they do without the Administration to castigate? What would they do without Pelosi or Reed? Nothing. They’ve got nothing. They worship at the altar of Ronald Regan’s economic vision. This is a vision which builds up the rich and creates more poor. They feign a sincere concern for the budget, but when it is time for a remedy, they reject the solution in lock-step fashion.

I propose to you that this anti-everything Obama is a ruse to deceive the people. Who made the second Amendment one of God’s ten commandments? They have taken the word of God and perverted it. They have not, “…loved their neighbor as they have loved themselves…” The Word of God says, “…those that live by the sword shall die by the sword…” Is that why there are so many militia in the name of God?  To the end that they themselves perish with the weapons of their choice?  They mask the Word of God with bigotry, while in truth,  it is the wealthy who fuel their outcries of, “steal, killl and destroy…anything Obama”  They have not known the love of God.

They de-legitimized Africans, forcibly removed from their lands, by calling them 3/5 of a person. This means even with the forced slavery of Africans, slave-owners could sleep at night. After all, slaves were not quite human. The Republican Confederacy has done everything within its power to de-legitimize President Obama. The Birthers… Believe me, had there been concrete evidence to the assertion that he was not born in America, everyone would know it. The lawsuits of Orly Taitz (with a thick immigrant accent) would not have been tossed out as frivilous. The state of Hawaii would have acknowledged that the President was not eligible for office. Why do the conspiratists insist that everyone is hiding the truth? The reason is that they have been lied to themselves. They are lied to everytime their faces are glued to Fox news. The lies are untruths mingled with some truth. This is mind control at its finest.  Some truth and then the lies. All will be received as truth. This truth has the capacity to destroy whomever, whatever.

Manifest Destiny helped Europeans steal, kill and destroy Native Americans: it was their God-given right to take whatever they wanted because the “red-skins” were heathens. The Native Americans were de-legitimized in this instance, as well. Believe me when I say that Apache curses still haunt Arizona. It is the bankruptcy state. There remains a glass ceiling. Most people make their money from elsewhere and spend it in their vacation/retirement in Arizona. Arizona itself is akin to the mythological Sisyphus who was punished by Zeus (due to his hubristic belief in his own cleverness) to push a boulder up a hill only to have it roll back down again. This eternity resulted from audacity.

Several months prior to The Battle Of The Alamo (Feb 23rd-March 6, 1836) Texans had driven all Mexicans out of Mexican Texas. Between 1821 and 1836 Texas had been governed by Mexico. Many of the Anglo-American settlers owned slaves. Mexican’s President Anastasio Bustamante ordered all slaves to be freed by 1830. In order to get around this law, many Anglos made their slaves indentured servants for life. By the year 1836, there were 5000 slaves in Texas. In 1830, Bustamante also outlawed immigration of the United States to Texas. In a convention of 1832, angry colonists started the protest with the intent that U.S. Citizens be allowed to immigrate.

 Although Mexico enacted laws to monitor immigration of U.S. citizenry to Mexico; violence ensued by virtue of a revolt against Mexican jurisdiction.  March 2, 1836, Texans signed the Texan Declaration of Independence. On April 21, 1936, the Texas Revolution ended with the capture of the Mexican leader Santa Ana. Then Texans (U.S. immigrants)  called the freshly stolen land, the Republic Of  Texas. Mexico refused to acknowledge its independence. The purpose of the mini- history lesson is to highlight the absurdity of the signs and the people who say, ” we want our country back.”  America is a stolen country. It is an epic tale of immigration. Now, border states cry and groan over illegal immigrants. No wonder history books will be re-written in Texas. The truth remains stained with blood, at best.

These outburts from the Tea party Movement, Conservatives and their prisoners; the Republicans are a smoke-screen for bigotry and separatism. It is a travesty both morally and spiritually. I suggest that those holding up the degrading signs of President Obama take the time to read the Bible and understand that God is NOT with them on this one. He hears the cries of the homeless, hopeless, hungry, sick and disposessed. He does not violate His word for the convenience of those who worship their guns. “…God is nigh unto the broken-hearted…”  I dare one of the tea party people to ask to sit at the table of the leader of one of their movements. To have a cup of tea. While there, if you ever get in, look around you. Their house will  look nothing like yours. Their lifetyle will not look anything like yours. Their motives are nothing like yours. See for yourselves. You have been duped by big money, afterall the rich must get richer no matter what. Regurtigate the lies spun by Fox and friends, separate yourselves from the hundreds of conspiracies out there that defame an Administration which was mired in Republican muck from day one. Think for yourselves. Let me see: Palin is rich, Limbaugh is rich, Beck is rich, O’Reilly is rich, Hannity is rich. For all of your defaming and sign carrying, are you rich too?

THE GREAT LAND GRAB

Who shall inherit the earth, where you have planted
your flowers and built your fences?

Whose bones are buried beneath your feet, although
unmarked, and un-flowered?

Do you suppose borders shall stop the progeny from
returning to the place of ancestors?

Who is now screaming about whose land is whose?
Where are the bones of your forefathers? 

That is your land; the land of your people.

No borders, laws, or penalties shall stop the trail of tears,
DNA leading to the homeland.

Why the flawed measures, the detention centers?
 
Why the table pounding? Don’t you  know that those
who pound the loudest are not the rightful owners?

Re-written books and  re-staged events attempt
 to” legitimize” what was and remains

the great land grab; a Manifest Destiny of annihilation.

It is all too convenient,  too flawed. Who will jump upon their

soap-boxes, filibuster immigration issues,

who will shoot with rubber bullets, and tow away the cars

of protesters? There are many,  but “…The earth is the Lord’s and
the fullness thereof…”

There are no absolutes, here,
since the Statue of Liberty was given the toss.

 As I sit upon my newly purchased plot of land, I know
 although it is not a bridge or highway, eminent domain

gave builders the right  to sell it to me. 
The previous owners, along with those before them,

cry out  from the ground; bloody and plundered.

Justifications fictionalize and fears mount. How will
we feed OUR children?  Not enough care was

given to the feeding of our neighbor’s children.
How then, do we expect to reap a harvest of food?

How do we expect to reap a harvest of righteousness?

 

Alice Parris

MEDIA POWER

WILL THE REAL BABYLONIAN SOOTHSAYERS PLEASE STAND  UP?

Who has the greatest power in all the world? Who can make a prince rakish and cause a princess to fall to her knees? Who is greatly feared by politicians, celebrities, and leaders? Who can overtly or subliminally penetrate your day -time thoughts with images that produce hellish nightmares?. Who can show us limbless soldiers and skeletons popping out of coffins upon a sea of murky misery without concern; oblivious to the power of these images to instantly de-range the mind? Who can judge the famous prior to a court hearing and declare them guilty? Who can isolate and marginalize segments of our society with a few words and a few images?

I am sure that by now you know who can make a president a person of loathing no matter what he truly believes. The media can do these things because we have allowed them to. We are afraid of them. They wield the power to make or break anyone, anytime, anywhere. The media have become the soothsayers of our times. Very few question their prognostications after the pundits have extrapolated and peddled their latest books. We are convinced by the “sincere” news commentator who is ready to put on his boxing gloves and fight any and every body who does not conform to his sense of morality. (All the while shamelessly hawking t-shirts and books.)

The worst culprits of all are the paparazzi. Who really killed Princes Diana? Who makes celebrities wish that they were anonymous and even homeless? Who has turned talented and naturally attractive people into “gods and goddesses” by virtue of their beautiful photographs? Being an idol in this day and age is a very risky thing. Idols are falling. Who is bringing them down? The very same people who built them up. Why are so many people afraid of these stalkers? They peddle celebrities; causing them to have to have numerous bodyguards to protect them from the people that have been whipped into a frenzy because of the latest photos of them. Oh, how they love to see the big star have a public melt-down. Bleary-eyed, teary-eyed stars are visible in a half a dozen magazines, when all regular people want to do is to buy some groceries. Are we dealing with seared consciences at large and in charge?

The question is not why the media has unbridled power, but rather why has the average Joe puts up with it? Why haven’t a sea of diverse people risen up and said, “enough is enough. If you do not have any new news, then stop barraging us with the same old news clips 24/7.” This of course, will not happen. All of these things are driven by mammon. Brow- beating the famous pays well. What will bring change? My prediction is that the predictions of the Babylonian Soothsayers shall fail: the idols are falling like Dagon, before the living God.

Published at www.aliceparris.com. Written in 2005; its truth not diminished in time.

THE SHIFT: IT’S TIME TO CHANGE GEARS

There comes a point in everyone’s life when they have to shift gears. For purposes of survival or sanity, a decision will be made to alter the speed of engagement or the direction of the course being taken. For some, boredom is just the norm. Low level depression has become a tolerable condition. Feeling alive doesn’t seem as important as staying alive. Those who have multiple talents and no longer find life to be enjoyable or even bearable, must make this shift. Some people are good at being in the present, while others languish in the past and view the future with uncertainty. We create our tomorrows by what we engage in today. Very simple. No matter how successful someone is, in any given field, if the juice is gone-then it’s gone. It is not anyone’s fault. It is just a universal demand for change in the lives of every living creature. Homosapiens (while more complex) also experience this primal need for change. 

We have become trapped by want. Our want of anything and everything. It keeps us locked in. What would happen if we just stopped wanting? If we simplified and in some cases downsized our lives. We have been told to “super-size” everything-except for our weight! We went along with this agenda because it fed our want. Having fed our want, we wanted even more. How disappointing when our want has consumed so much of our planet. But, I am mainly talking about being personally content. Stop wanting. I plan to. I did not give up wanting as a New Year’s Resolution. I did not give it up for Lent. I am giving it up because I find it to be anxiety producing and the source of great misery when the object of want does not lend itself to being wanted…by me.

I am involved with multiple creative endeavors and I hit a dry spell. I did not want to read. I did not want to write. I barely wanted to create lyrics. I did not want to sing. I lost the song in my heart. It was the end result of having wanted too damned much. Old story, but perhaps a salvation for me. Without want there are no “knobs to turn.”  There are no “carrots” to be successfully dangled. There won’t be the sucking sound as the takers take what they promised to give. Now, I plan to create a new tomorrow. I plan on slashing anything upon the ledger that will bring me back to the state of wanting. Creating a new tomorrow requires going deep within ones “spirit well.”  I am going and I will stay there until I have sorted out what it is that my eyes would like to see.

I have created many futures, already. I started as a fortune-teller, long ago. Then, I became a Registered Nurse. After a season, I went into Forensic Psychiatric Nursing. Rough stuff. I would find myself on night-shift writing poetry. I intended to get the poems published-but they just seemed too dark.  Simultaneously, I had been writing lyrics. I studied everything worth reading on the subject. I got the general idea of how to structure lyrics. Having been an abstract poet, lyric writing required discipline. I, then, hooked up with a talented musician(Bobby Parris) for a Spoken Word CD.  I wrote blues, Contemporary Christian and jazz lyrics that were published and became beautiful songs. I sang jazz songs from the 30’s & 40’s to Afro-Euro Groove. This was all while having had five consecutive  husbands and raising five children(ages thirty-five to thirteen)

There are so many things that we are told that we cannot do without. Well, the list is not as long as one would suppose. I wanted to make my mark in the earth and that I have done. I never wanted riches. My family has had prosperity for generations. By nineteen years old, I had discovered that money and status never made me happy. I spent my time giving away anything that I had and did not utilize. Now, that was fun! I have blogged my heartfelt opinions. Now, I am fairly well blogged-out. Cyberpace has been sucking up my future life. I have to make it stop. I have got to change these gears!

 

Alice Parris

CURRENT REPUBLICAN AGENDA

Republicans do not engage in overblown statements because they are ‘psycho.’  These are deliberate inflammatory remarks whereby they can use ‘freedom of speech’ to mask their overt ‘hate speech.’ There is a method to their madness. They are using tried and true hypnotic techniques disguised as slogans and distortions to dismantle the minds of people who are not in the habit of thinking for themselves. It is their hope that with their constant litanies of hate speech, that they can get some ‘un-hinged’ people to further cross the line into breaking serious laws.  Why would the Republicans, Conservatives, Tea Party Movement, KKK and Neo-Nazi groups want this? So that they can say, “We told you so. We told you that our ‘freedom of speech’ would be hindered under Obama. We told you that our freedoms would be curtailed.”  It is a crime to engage in hate speech and act upon it, yet they act like they do not know this. What drivel! They know this all too well. How many lawyers, huh?

They are inciting violence, hatred as well as  naming targets 24/7. They are creating their own ticking ‘time bombs.’ When there is an act dastardly enough for any of their leaders to be investigated, they will say, “See, we told you that it was just a matter of time. We told you that our freedom of speech would eventually be in jeopardy. Now, do you believe us?” “Who is with us?” This is their real purpose for talking like the psychotic. It is to induce psychosis in those who are already in this state of mind. It is to goad and give license for the sociopath, psychopath, homocidal maniac, arsonist, vandalist and anarchist to act. It is that simple. They are desperatly wanting to be right… about something…about anything at this point of a complete political rout. I say, that when they have pushed the masses over the edge into serious criminal activities,  go after the Dr. Frankensteins!

Alice Parris

JUST HOW STUPID IS OBAMA OPPOSITION?

It is quite clear that the GOP & friends are united in their opposition against every move that President Obama makes. They are so vehement,  so vitriolic in their vocal opposition that they have boxed themselves into a corner. The collective intelligence quotients of the opposition is decidedly low. They have not understood the human condition nor have they understood the human psyche. They think that just pushing the “no” button across the board is a wise move. It is not. It is unadulterously stupid. It squanders any available “capital” or  “leverage” needed to make gains for their own constituencies. Following Sarah Palin (the party -splitter) is stupid. Every time Dick Cheney opens his mouth, he sets the GOP back light years. The “new and improved” Cheney, Liz, speaks with the same forked-tongue as her father. Where are the truly viable leaders of the GOP?

President Obama came into the office with an agenda of inclusiveness. The “sore-loser” Republicans decided to fall upon their own swords rather than to congratulate the winner. They decided to become the gathering-place for the disgruntled by “naysaying” anything that President Obama said. The Progressives were also dismayed because President Obama could not complete their “to-do” list instantly; a funky pile of wormy problems awaited his arrival at the Oval office.  How could anyone not  understood that when he took a step to the right, he was under attack, if he moved to the left, he was under attack, if he stayed to the center, he was under attack. Where, now, would be his motivation to extend that hand; his motivation to accommodate the fickle supporter? When big things are on the table, the malcontented would have lost their leverage, by virtue of their multitude of “nays.”

As a staunch supporter of President Obama, I find it to be sickening at how very wishy-washy the media can be in the name of “fair & balanced” reporting. I am not even speaking about Fox because Fox News is an anti-news outlet.The others take their cues from soothsayers and paid-for polls. They lack vision. Day after day, a parade of pundits are rolled out because someone in the media believes that they have “the answers.” The fickle are ready to throw the President under the bus with the exhalation of every breath. Most of the pundits who are paraded, have books to peddle while they participate in a game called  “guess-damn-ation.” The media should be in the “bookie” business; because they are the ones laying out the odds, according to their inside “tips.”

Who cares if the Independents blow with the wind? Who cares if the elephants just stand still, who cares if Sarah Palin divides the party-exiling the GOP into “the wilderness?” What is going to make the difference is the young people, of every color. The young people are going to prevail. How dare the GOP ramble about their concern for the debt of future generations, when it is they who have steered all of us into this economic ditch? How dare the GOP open their mouths with an “answer” when they really don’t give a fig about the youth of this country! The voting-age youth understand who has their backs. The Hispanics are very well aware of who was giving Justice Sonia Sotomayor a hard time, even when her qualifications were superior to that of her “peers.” Those who are surviving by virtue of their extended unemployment checks know who has their backs. Women, who now have equal pay, know who has their backs. The sum total of all those who have experienced grace at the hand of President Barack Obama, know who has their backs. An elephant either stands or falls. Standing for “no” regardless of ever-changing circumstances, will cause the elephant to fall.

Alice Parris