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Monday, December 29, 2008

Boot to the Head

I have a migraine this morning and yes, this reminds me of a story. I had one student, Ethan, who had been diagnosed very early on with bipolar, ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive, and a whole host of other maladies. His bipolar was so severe that he was actually diagnosed as a toddler when his mother first noticed his horrible rage blackouts and mood swings that were worse than a pregnant woman on crack. In spite of all this Ethan was one of my favorite kids because he was smart, he worked hard, and when he did flip out, you knew it wasn't personal.

One afternoon however, Ethan was rather angry with me, though I can't honestly remember why. It had been a long day and I was really glad to see him go back down to the unit. I was leaving early-ish that day to get to class as I had just started my Masters, so I got all my stuff together, threw, on my coat, and was just locking my door when A SNEAKER hit me across the face. Let me tell you how much fun it is to actually FEEL your nose shatter... And as I'm about to reach up to see if my nicely broken nose is bleeding, I catch a fist across the side of the head and that's it...I'm out. Literally. I blacked out.

Apparently one of the staff members in the unit thought it would be hilarious to leave Ethan behind. They realized he was in a lousy mood and figured it'd be more fun to let the school staff deal with him because they felt we always got off easy by sending them down to the unit where they acted out all night. So Ethan came back up to the school all by himself which was a big no no, wandered upstairs, saw me leaving for the day, and decided that it was all my fault he was in a lousy mood. He picked up a track sneaker (not just a regular old sneaker mind you, a track sneaker which is ten times heavier) and jumped me from behind with it.

When I came to a minute or so later, two of the male staff had ahold of Ethan and they were asking me what I wanted them to do with him.

"What the hell do you think I want you to do? Haul him to time out!" No, I'm sorry. I want you to make sure he's comfortable, maybe get him a cup of coffee. He just knocked me out for the love of God!

I stood up best I could and weaved down the hall after them like a drunken dock worker, following them to time out. Ethan had started to struggle so a third staff member, Brian, was now with us. I came around the corner into time out and leaned against the wall to keep from falling over when Ethan started to scream at me.

"You need to go to the nurse! Get the fuck out of here! I broke your nose! I hurt you! You can't stay here! I hate you! You need to go get ice! Get out, get out, get out! Go away! You have to leave!"

Oh really kid... "Listen, Ethan, one thing you should know by now: if you start with me, you're going to finish with me. In other words, I'm not going anywhere until you're ready to process with me. Got it?"

Of course that just pissed him off more. He started yelling and screaming, completely unintelligible gibberish. He just wanted me gone but I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction even though I could feel myself literally drifting back and forth on the edge of consciousness. I stayed with him in time out for an hour and a half while he screamed and bared his teeth. Finally he started to process through but that was when I just couldn't take it anymore. I sat down on floor with my head between my legs, begging one of my staffers, Dan, to just please drive me to the hospital for pain killers.

When I got to the emergency room, the nurse asked me what happened, eyeing Dan warily, like I was a victim of domestic abuse. I laughed and said, "No it wasn't him. Actually, I got knocked out by a 13 year old."

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