Sunday, September 18, 2011

Schizophrenic Encouragement

I was in a somber, pensive mood walking to the gym early in the morning when I saw Mr. Orange Juice riding toward me on his bike.

The first time I met Mr. OJ a few months ago, he came up to the triage desk and asked me for orange juice.  I asked him if he was a patient.  Then, the other nurses pulled me aside in hushed voices and told me, it's just Mr. OJ the happy schizophrenic. Just give it to him and he'll leave because he is harmless.  I was curious- ok, but why the hushed voices? He was good friends with K, they explained. K was a middle-aged night-shift Charge Nurse who had suddenly died a few weeks before of a brain aneurysm. It shook the whole department to the core because she was a constant presence up until that fateful day.

I took out two little cartons of orange juice.  Mr. OJ graciously thanked me and called out, WANT TO SEE MY NEW BIKE????? The staff followed him out to see his new bike. I didn't go, but was highly amused..

Mr. OJ probably didn't remember this instance when he saw me on the old flagstone entrance of the gym. I lowered my eyes as he got closer, but then I heard an indulgent "you'll be all right." The huge black schizophrenic man on the bicycle grinned ebulliently at me as I looked up in surprise, "you are just like me when I was younger. You'll turn out ok." He zoomed by me without stopping, a flash of fluorescent orange, and called cheerfully once more over his shoulder, "you'll turn out ok!"

I couldn't help but grin stupidly to myself.  He is the happiest schizophrenic I ever saw. And totally made my day.


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