Chapter 6: The Wet Pack Treatment (or it’s a wrap)
I am not sure how long I had slept but after Patti gave me my breakfast shake I fell into a deep sleep. The next thing I knew I was looking up into the face of Dr. Smith. She said hello, and that she needed to discuss my treatment. “Mr. Murphy all the test we did on you yesterday show that you will be the perfect candidate for this therapy, and I would very much like you to under go this treatment."
I asked what I would have to do?
Amanda said "Nothing, just lay there." she said with an evil smile.
"You see the treatment is an updated Wet Pack, I have done a great deal of research on the mind and how it reacts to sensory deprivation. I have a theory that this treatment may help patients with psychotic episodes, but I need to test it on a normal person like you first, before we try it on the insane." She when on to say, "The wet pack is a treatment that is seldom used anymore. Leading Doctors have presented results of a national survey which reviewed its recent use for 46 hospitalized psychiatric patients and conclude that the treatment is safe and has interesting and useful effects (such as out-of-body experiences) that go beyond the concept of simple restraint. Further study of treatment with wet sheet packs was recommended."
I said in my retarded voice, "Ok, how does it work?"
She looked at me and said, "Do you trust me?"
I said, "Yes, but I would like to know what I am in for."
She smiled and said, "A very interesting time."
“Ok let’s do it, and besides I am in here on an involuntary commitment, so it’s not like I have a choice!” I said with a laugh.
The Doctor looked at me and said with a silly voice, “Why Mr. Murphy you’re so right”, and she smiled.
I said, "Well let’s get the show on the road." I had read about wet packs, so I knew a little bit of how it was done, for one thing I was going to be wrapped up like a mummy which I thought was very cool.
"As part of the experiment you will be covered with sensors, all over your body and you may be wrapped up for as long as 24 hours."
I replied "It isn’t like I have anywhere else to go." Which made Amanda laugh.
The one thing she said that I was not too thrilled about was they were going to place me on a ventilator by means of an endo-tracheal tube. "This way we can monitor and control your air intake. Also most of the staff that will be preparing you for the wet pack are not on our team. So once they come to collect you must stay in character."
I said, "okay-dokey".
Amanda said that she knew I was going to enjoy myself after reading the results of my test from yesterday.
“Mr. Murphy you really are a very sick man”, the Doctor said with a smile.
Amanda told me that she would send the staff to come pick me up in a few minutes. I felt like I was Alice in wonderland waiting for the mad hatter’s tea party. I didn’t know how right I was.
In no time the door to my cell opened and in walked officer Cathy Salazar, nurse Sally, and a female psych tech pushing a wheel chair. Cathy came over to me and said, "Well Mr. Murphy how are we doing today?"
I looked up and tried to pull against my restraints and make some unintelligible sounds.
Officer Salazar said, "Its OK, were just going to take you for your treatment."
Salazar started removing my bed restraints, by this time I had the drill down. Officer Salazar would get me on my feet and Nurse Sally would dress me in the red scrubs. As this was taking place Cathy would start putting me back in restraints, first belly strap on and placing the leather hand cuffs and connecting them through the D ring on the belly belt. Meanwhile the psych tech was placing my legs in the leather cuffs with a short strap connecting them together to keep me from running off or kicking.
As all of this pulling, tugging, and strapping is going on I started think maybe Amanda was right, I really am sick to be enjoying this so much, and then I thought how lucky I am to have a girlfriend like Kelly who could make this all happen for me!
Yes I was a very lucky guy.
But then I was snapped back into the here and now as I was quickly pushed into the wheelchair with the locking seat belt.
The psych tech noted that I did not seem as violent as my chart said I was.
Sally told her that I would be very submissive and then with no reason I would go crazy and attack anyone in my sight. Sally said, “Oh no, we are going to keep Mr. Murphy locked up tight for our safety and his.” As she turned towards me and said, “Isn’t that right Mr. Murphy?”
I just stared back at her and grunted. Officer Salazar reminded the group that they need to get me over to the O.R. prep room to get me ready for my wet pack treatment, and with that we were on are way. Rolling through the hallways of the hospital was always exciting for me, because something was always going on in them.
The group entered a room marked O.R. Prep, as I was pushed into the room. I looked around and saw a table and lot of medical equipment. There in the mists of it all was Dr Smith and a team of medical people including a guy with a camcorder. I though to myself, 'I hope I can get a copy of the tape'.
They all were in scrubs and most of the people I had not seen before, so for sure there would be no question, to these people I was a real patient. I was rolled in and rapidly removed from the wheelchair and place on the gurney in center of the room and strapped down.
Dr. Smith walked up and ordered a nurse to get an IV dip going on me. Amanda turn to me and said, “Hello Mr. Murphy and how are we doing today”
I responded with, “Where am I, and you're trying to kill me!” in my retired voice.
I heard a voice in the group tell some else, “He’s delusional for sure”. Dr Smith started ordering her team to start prepping me for the endo-tracheal intubation tube, also she told other team members to get started hooking up the EKG, oxygen monitor, body temp sensors, and a bunch of other probes and sensors that I never heard of. As I lay there I was stripped of my scrubs and all kinds of medical gear was being attached to me including electrodes to my face.
About this time Amanda said, “Ok Mr. Murphy we are going to give you the general anesthesia now so we can place your endo-tracheal tube. Trust me you do not want to be awake when we do this.”
She when on to say, “When you wake up you will not be able to talk, however you should not be in any pain, do you understand?”
I said, "You’re trying to kill me!”
Amanda turned to her staff and said, “I always try to explain to the patients what is going to happen to them, sometimes it doesn’t do any good."
I heard one nurse ask was it a right to try an experimental treatment on such a sick patient. Amanda told her that first the treatment is safe. Two, she had permission from the head of psychiatry giving the ok to perform the treatment, and three she explained that she needed the data from my treatment as a benchmark and held no hope of the treatment helping my condition.
The anesthesiologist places a mask over my face and told me to breath deep. As I was pulling the drug laced air in my lungs, I was wondering what it was going to be like having a machine breathing for me. Since I arrived at the hospital on Friday, I have lost more and more control over my own body, but now I would not be able to control my own breathing. I would truly be totally dependent on my Doctors and Nurses. As all of this was going through my mind, all went dark and I fell in a deep sleep.
When I came to, I felt the oddest sensation. My mouth was taped shut with a ½ inch plastic tube come out, also my throat felt like it was packed with something. I was not in pain, it was just weird. But in the next second, weird went to a whole new level when the ventilator forced air into my lungs and then pulled back out again. Wow this was over the top.
I opened my eyes and I was in a different room, it looked like a hydro treatment room, but I was in a traction bed from what I could see. Of course a traction bed was not really a bed at all, it was more like frame work, a rack if you will that support a person with movable straps. They are mostly used in putting people in body cast. I had no clue why I was trussed up in one right now.
Amanda saw me open my eyes and walked over to me and said, "Mr. Murphy we are alone for the moment, are you in any pain? Blink your eyes once for no, two times for yes."
I blinked no.
Amanda said, "Good, we have you completed wired up and our next step will to wrap you up in ace bandages, that’s why your in the this traction rack, it makes it easier for us to wrap you, are ready?"
I blinked yes.
Dr. Smith told me that the wet pack could be done with wet sheet or towels, but she prefer the Mummy motif that the ace bandages gave, and she said, "I know you will too. We are going to wrap you head to toe like a mummy. Then we are going to place you into a canvas body bag and tighten the straps up on the bag. All of the hoses and wires will exit the bag at your feet, that way we can roll you over if we want to. After that we will connect your body bag to the over head lift, by the eight D rings on the body bag. This will hold you perfectly level as we move you over the large hydro tank. We then will lower you into the tank of body temperature water and monitor your heart beat, your oxygen, brain wave, and all of your other body functions. Then we will see what a healthy mind will do when all sensory input is cut off."
"Mr. Murphy we will leave you in there up to 24 hours, that is the limit that Kelly gave us, I feel you could probable go longer, but maybe next time?"
I thought to myself 'next time?'
Doctor Smith went on to say that they had a few more surprises for me but that I would find out those in the tank.
She then asked if I was ready for my “treatment”?
I thought for a second, what have I got myself into, but I was in way too far to back out now, I was not sure at this point that Dr. Smith would let me. At this time I could not talk, I am strapped down to a rack and can’t move, and oh yea I am a patient committed to a state mental hospital.
I blinked yes.
Amanda smiled brightly, like I had just given her a great big Christmas present.
Amanda said, “Great you’re going to love this”.
'I hope she’s right.' I thought to myself.
Dr. Smith said that the medical team would be returning from their break any second, when they get back just enjoy the ride, and don’t worry. "I’ll make sure you get a copy of the video of the procedure. I am taping it for my paper on the modern wet pack, and you’re the star!" As she this the medical team walked back in.
Amanda said, “Ok team we need to work fast to keep on schedule, so if there is no questions let’s get hoping.”
At this point the room was a buzz with activities, I could feel people at my feet placing padding between my toes, then the wrapping of the ace bandage around my feet separately. The wrapping continued up my legs one at a time. While my legs were being wrapped another person was placing my neck in a hard cervical collar to immobilize my head. By this time the team wrapping my legs had reached my crotch, and continued up my torso.
I was a little shocked then the nurses working on my head placed a rubber plug in each one of my nostrils, then placing a lot of tape over them. I had not been getting any air from my nose, the ventilator was taking care of that, but it felt very strange.
The nurses also retaped my mouth with more tape, and now I knew why to make sure the water of the hydro tank stayed on the outside of me. The wrapping had now moved all the way to my arm pits, they stopped, and started working on my hands. They first placed thin cotton gloves on my hands and then started wrapping my hands, after the first wrap they placed a small foam ball in each hand and then rewrapped my hands.
After they finished with both arms, they kept going to my neck and then returned down to my feet. They placed my legs together and started wrapping both of my legs together.
Amanda was right I was being mummified all right.
The nurses at my head placed ear plugs in my ears, but to my surprise they were ear phones as the nurses said, "test, test." into my ears. The wrapping had worked its way back over my chest, the med techs now moved my arms and placed my hands on my lap and they started wrapping over them.
At this point in my mummification, Dr. Smith walked over to me and looked me over and told her team that I looked great and then put her hand on my head and stoked a few times and said, "Ok it’s time to tape his eyes shut."
Amanda smile at me and said, "Have a nice rest Mr. Murphy", and with that the nurses closed one of my eyes and placed an oval self-adhesive pad over my eye holding it closed, then repeated the operation on the other eye. I was totally in the dark and wrapped up like a mummy, and then they wrapped my head. I felt them pulling the canvas body bag over my body, then the straps being pulled tight.
I felt like I was being moved and something was being hooked to the bag, then I felt myself being lifted off the rack, then I was being lowered into the hydro tank.
The hydro tank was very strange design, it’s equipped with a removable metal lid that can be sealed airtight. At the foot of the tank it has a place for all of the cables and hoses to exit the tank and still remain air tight.
I could feel the water starting to soak into my wrappings, the water was like a nice warm bath, not too hot not too cold. The next thing I knew I was sinking into the water and it was going over my face. At first I start to panic a little, but I realized that no water was going into my nose or mouth and the ventilator was doing its job and giving me plenty of good air.
I told myself to relax and it would be ok.
I could feel the nurses pulling on my body and I found out later they were unhooking the D rings from the lift and rehooking the D rings on the canvas body bag in to the walls of the hydro tank to keep me off the bottom and to keep me from floating into the lid of the tank. After Doctor Smith checked and verified that I was ok and that everything was setup correctly, she ordered the lid placed on the tank and sealed shut.
I was no longer a person or a mental patient, but I was now just an experiment.
The nurses were watching my life support readings and brain waves on a collection of computer screens. I lie in my tank wrapped up like a mummy, and start to dream.
On the outside of tank Amanda was very pleased with her experiment, she told the two nurses on duty that she was going to see to her other duties and would have them relived it a few hours and if any happens to page her ASAP.
After Doctor Smith left the room one of the nurses said to the other, that she did not like this kind of treatment, even for a mental patient. The other nurse said it did not really matter, it’s not like he knows what’s happening to him, have you read his chart, he is pretty far gone. The first nurse said that she still did not like it.
I was coming in and out of consciousness. I was having these wild dreams, out of body experiences. I felt very deeply relaxed and with no anxiety. Had it been one hour or five hours since I had been placed in the tank, I really didn’t care I was in heaven. The next thing I know is that the water started getting cold.
This bought me back to earth, I was starting to shiver and shake. I tried to breathe harder but the ventilator would not let me. All of a sudden I was not having fun anymore. I started to feel like I was going numb. I would have cried out for help if I could have spoken.
Then just as I was going nuts (no pun intended) from the cold, the water started warming back up. A voice in my ears called my name, my real name Brian. The voice was Kelly’s, she said that she was here with me and that Doctor Smith was very happy with the data that her team was collecting from me, and that she hoped I was enjoying myself. She said that she would be here tomorrow when they pulled me out of the tank.
The next voice I hear was Amanda telling me she had a surprise for me, a few of the electrodes hooked up to me were set up to induce a little electric shock. Amanda said that she wanted see how my brain waves would react to the outside stimulant.
'I hope the voltage is not too high!' I thought to myself, and I started feeling very uneasy about my present situation.
Amanda said that the treatment was going great and the data being collected was fantastic and she was very pleased. Doctor Smith said these would be the last words I would hear till I was unwrapped and with that the ear phone went dead.
I lay there in the hydro tank waiting for the shocks to started, but nothing happened?
Was Amanda just try to make me freak out about something that was not go to happen or was she just waiting for me to relax and then zap me? All I could was wait for what ever they were going to do to me.
The hours passed, or was it days I really could not tell. I was subjected to heat, then cold and electric shocks, after a while I felt delusional and started to have hallucinations, what a wild trip it was. I had lost all sense of time, up and down, I feel totally out of control the only constants the pitch black, the biting cold and the sting of electric shock.
The next thing I knew I hear the bang sound of the latches of the tanks lid being released and removed. Then the hoist slowly pulled me out of the tank and I hung there for a few minutes, I could feel hands touching me. I guess that they were letting the water drain out of the canvas body bag and my wrappings.
The ventilator kept the air flowing in and out of my lungs with the mechanical precision. I was slowly lowered down and could feel my body coming to rest on the table.
The medical staff started removing all the straps of the body bag, and unzipped the canvas bag. They gently removed me from the body bag, and started unwrapping me layer by layer. I lay there on the table not able to move a muscle, I was exhausted.
My time in the tank was the most extraordinary and terrifying time of my life, I must say it was beyond sex itself. At last I was completely unwrapped, I was quickly dried off with towels, a disposable diaper was placed on me again, and then my old friend the suicide watch gown. In seconds one of the Psych Tech had placed me back in restraints, I laughed to myself I couldn't move if I wanted too I was exhausted.
Dr Smith walked over and started instructing the two nurses about removing the endo-tracheal intubation tube. The nurses started working on me, first they removed the ventilator tube and for the first time in over 24 hours my lungs had to work to pull in air into my chest. They next deflated the inflatable cuff on the trach tube then pulled it out of my throat. It was a strange feeling, but not painful, I was glad to get it out.
I started to take a deep breath but I started hacking and coughing. At that point one of the nurses pushed my head down on the side of my face grabbed my jaw and opened my mouth and pushed a suction tube in to remove all of the crap coming up from my lungs. I stopped coughing and could finally could breath.
I had lived through the Wet pack!
Charter 7: Visiting with a Psychologist
Amanda and Kelly walked over towards me and directed the medical team that they could leave and nurse Sally, Officer Kelly, and herself would take care of me.
The group slowly filed out of the room. Kelly walked over to my side looked around the room and asked, “All clear?” Amanda replied, “Yes”. Kelly grabbed my face in her hands and gave me the biggest, longest, deepest kiss ever. Kelly asked if I was ok.
I said, "No worst for wear. It was the wildest experience I have ever been through and I loved it." I then noticed that my voice was back to normal, "What time and day is it?"
Kelly said it was Monday morning. My last day in the institution, I sadly thought to myself.
"Well," Amanda said, "We have a full day for you before you leave us, so Sally please give Mr. Murphy his shots for his voice trouble."
She gigged a little, and once again the shots in my mouth took my voice back to it’s retarded state.
I said that I was dead tired and wanted to sleep.
Dr Smith said, "You look like you have been run through the mill and that’s how a lot of our mental patients with your condition look. So now's the best time for you to go out to the day room to hang out with the other patients, of course such a violent patient as you can’t go out to the day room with being appropriately dressed."
"So it’s a strait jacket for you Mr. Murphy," said Officer Kelly with a laugh.
I said, "Well it is my last day and I am still a patient in a mental institution, so it’s not like I can say no, now can I?"
Three women looked at me and said, "NO!" with a laugh.
I ask if I could get some food.
Amanda replied, "Yes, but remember your still on a liquid diet, Sally please get Mr. Murphy a breakfast drink."
"Right away!" Sally said, and she walked out of the room.
After breakfast I was dressed in a strait jacket and red scrubs pants and locked in a wheelchair. Then we were on our way to the day room for me to get some sun and hang out with the other patients. I was feeling tired, but I was fascinated by all the activity in the day room.
The day room was a large open space with one wall that was a large window made with small pane glass (1940’s style), that you could see the rolling country side through, it was beautiful. The Nurses running around trying to keep order in the room.
Looking around it was truly a mad house, but the people were amazing to watch, men, women, old, and young all in their own world in their minds. I just sat in my wheel chair and watch the show pass me by.
All of a sudden a new face walked up to me. "Hello, are you Randy Murphy?" the young woman asked me.
I just looked at her with my tried eyes and said nothing. She asked again if I was Mr. Murphy and I said "yes" with my retried voice. She told me that she was a psychiatric therapist and Dr Smith wanted her to meet me. I just kept looking at her not saying a word. I thought that I better do my best insane patient act.
She told me her name was Kate. Next she started out by asking me the usual question, "Do you know where you are?" I decided to have some fun.
I said, "I am in a mental hospital, but I don’t really belong here, I am not really crazy."
Because of my drug induced voice and the files on me that Kelly had put together so well, there way no way that she even give it a second thought, as far a she was concerned I was as mad as a hatter!
Kate kept talking to me and trying to tell me that she and the rest of the staff at the hospital were here to help me.
I kept insisting that I was not crazy and I was being held against my will.
Finally Kate told me I needed to calm down, or she would need to have me sedated.
I said, "I will be good, but don’t give me any more shots", and I stopped talking and tied to look as terrified as I could.
Kate was looking at me and I could see that she felt sorry for me, the poor mentally ill man.
As Kate walked away, she spoke to Sally and told her that she thought if she could have more time with me, she thought she could help me at least a little, Sally said, "You never know you may get that chance."
Sometime later, as I started dozing off from the lack of sleep, Nurse Sally walked up to me and told me it was time to go to lunch and take a nap in my room.
We rolled down the halls and passed all the nurses stations and back to the locked wards and my room I-13. It felt good to be home, I chucked to myself.
Soon I was strapped in place on my bed in 6 points. Sally feed me my lunch and I fell into a sound sleep.
Chapter 8: Temporary conservatorship or long-term custody?
I woke as the over head light was turned on. As I looked around the room Kelly and Sally were standing there smiling at me. I asked what time was it, Kelly said about 4:30pm.
I replied, "Well I guess we have to start getting ready to transport me out of the hospital."
Kelly said, "Well we have some time and Dr Smith would like to talk to you before you go."
So I was trussed up as usual in my red scrubs and placed in a wheelchair. We took off down the hall way and pulled into a room that said group therapy on the door. Inside Dr. Smith and the rest of the girls on the team were there. All the chairs were place in a circle and I was rolled up to the edge to become part of the circle.
Amanda started out by asking how I had liked my stay at the mental institution.
I told them, "I am having a great time, I am just sorry it was already over, it's too soon."
"Well," Dr Smith said, "that’s great because that’s what we wanted to ask you about, if you would like to stay with us for a little longer?"
"How much longer?" I said wearily.
"Well how about a year?" Dr Smith said in a very matter of fact voice.
"A year! I have a job.” I said with the sound of shock.
"Well that’s true," said Kelly, "but you have been talking about a change of careers for sometime because of all the stress at your work place.
"Yes, but becoming a full time mentally ill patient was not one of my preferred career paths."
The room broke out in laughter.
Dr. Smith said, "Brian let me make you a proposal. I would very much like to continue my research, and you have turned out to be the perfect subject. When we first started talking about bring someone in the hospital it was more of a gag, and I just thought it would be good to work through the wet pack treatment, but all of your testing showed you are absolutely the type of subject we need for the experiment. I have a large grant to do this study, and it has money built in for paying test subjects. So I can pay you about half of what you make right now, but on the up side you will not have to pay income tax and we can move all of your stuff out of your apartment and into storage. That will save you lots of money, and did I tell you that you will have a great medical plan?"
The room broke out in laugher again.
I said I need to talk to Kelly alone for a few minutes.
Amanda said, “Brian it’s up to you but we would really like it if you stay with us”.
All of the people walked outside the room.
I asked Kelly did she want me to stay at the hospital for a year?
Kelly said, "Well it’s your decision, but I think we can have lots of fun and we do have our room in the pit to have conjugal visits. After the year you can go out and find a better job than you have now."
I though to myself I could write a book about my year in the mental institution.
I said, "OK I will do it!"
"I knew you would say that," said Kelly as she planted a big long kiss on my face.
Kelly walked of to the door and told Amanda and the girls that I was their newest long term patient. Dr. Smith told the others to head back to there normal duties and that her and Kelly would work out the details for my extended stay.
Kelly asked me when I had to be back at work.
I said I had taken the rest of the week off to relax after my week-end stay.
"So no one will miss you for a week, Ok that gives us plenty of time to work this out." Kelly said. "First thing tomorrow you will call your boss, your voice will be back to normal by then. Say you have found a new job out of state and that you’re giving one week notice. Just tell him send your last to your paycheck to your old address and it will be forwarded. Tell him your girl friend will pick up your personal things and hand in any company equipment from your home. You will have to tell him that you know its fast, but they wanted you to start the new job ASAP and you're committed to it."
Kelly said that she would take care of all the details of moving my belongings out of my apartment and into storage. She would shut off all my utilities and pay the final bills. Kelly also stated that she would need me to sign a power of attorney so she could get my bank accounts and my 401k set up for my long term stay.
Also Amanda said that Kelly should sell my car, no uses of paying on a car that will not be driven.
I felt like the girls had my life more and more all planned out for me.
Dr. Smith said she would call the lawyer who does all of the court commitments for the State hospital, who very luckily is one her best friends.
Kelly asked, "Are you going to tell her that she will be getting a sane man committed to the mental institution?"
Amanda replied yes, in her doctor knows best voice.
Kelly asked, "Can we trust her?"
"Oh yes, she is going to love this, she will think this is going to be a lot of fun, she’s like us, she has a sick sense of humor."
I was dead tired so I was wheeled back to my room and strapped in for the night.
Kelly and Amanda said they had millions of details to work out. They were very excited about the new plans they had to make for me.
I laid there thinking, so much for the just being in here for just a week-end, and how good I felt just knowing that I was safe and secure in my own little world, just like all the other mental patients.