They put me in a fairly comfortable room with my own loo and a good view of people's passing feet. As I languished on my gurney people came in from time to time to take vital signs, information, and bodily fluids. One of them asked whether I had an advance directive. No, I said.
So he brought me one, only it was from the wrong pile of papers. He brought me a mental health advance directive. I had no idea that such things existed, never in all my years having fallen into the hands of the mental health establishment, for which God be thanked. I knew at once it was a mistake. Surely they weren't expecting me to go mad in there.
So, a mental health advance directive. This is how one wishes to be treated when one goes completely bonkers. I didn't sign it, but rather brought it home to share with dinner guests, since a good laugh promotes digestion. Now I will share one of the best parts with you. "Seclusion," I guess, means a padded cell, and "restraint" means a strait jacket.
I would like the interventions below to be tried before use of seclusion or restraint is considered (check all that apply)
- "Talk me down" one-on-one
- More medication
- Time out/privacy
- Show of authority/force
- Shift my attention to something else
- Set firm limits on my behavior
- Help me to discuss/vent feelings
- Decrease stimulation
"Chain me to a hot radiator," an alternative suggested by a dinner guest, was not on the list, nor were "leave me the hell alone" or "tie me up and spank me." Personally I would prefer "Shift my attention to something else." (Oh, look! A submarine!)
Someone pointed out that Paragraph Eight essentially nullifies the whole document: "You should be aware that there are some circumstances where your provider may not have to follow your directive."
The Advance Directive for Mental Health Care bears the marks of having been uttered by the New Jersey State Legislature, as it mentions particular statutes. Long live the State.