Decaf, OK?


21 comments   |   Anger, Blog

“Put down the chair!”

I was walking on to the inpatient unit.  A nurse was screaming in fear for herself as a very large and psychotic man had a chair raised high over his head, ready to smash it onto the defenseless woman.  Staff were already running towards them, about to intervene, about to try to wrestle away the “weapon” and place the man in restraints if needed.

“Put it down!” another voice joined, another person scared and startled.  The chair hung weightless in the air, held high by the man’s fully extended arms, a metal frame securing a plastic seat and back rest, the gleaming sheen of polished steel ready to crack down on the skull of a nurse who was just doing her job, just trying to keep patients safe, just about to have her head cracked open by the man, draped in a hospital gown, face red with the flow of adrenaline, breath fast and heavy with the flow of psychotic rage.

Dan was my patient.  About to assault a nurse.


I’ll tell you what I did after the first ten comments.     ~Dr. Joe

  • Becca Shrand

    Hi Dad!!
    This is so cool! Maybe I should just comment ten times? I don’t think I should say what I would do in this situation seeming that I have heard this story a million and one times!!

    Love your favorite daughter,

  • Kathy Tamulevich

    You tackled him and wrestled him to the ground?

  • Steven Diogo

    Congrats on the new site, Dr. Shrand … looks great. And kudos on your excellent motivational practices!

  • Beverly

    Create a diversion by singing the “Star Spangled Banner”?

  • Beverly

    Create a diversion by singing the “Star Spangled Banner”?

  • Rich Willette

    I think a clue to this might be found in the picture. Maybe Dan had too much coffee, and his psychosis was caffeine induced. The man seems over stimulated. Is it time to switch to decaf? Perhaps, he didn’t have enough coffee. A jolt of java might ease his withdrawal if this was the case. I too must admit, I’ve heard this story, and, while I haven’t heard it story a million and one times, at last count, it was about 999,999. Nevertheless, it is definitely worth repeating and illustrates a humorous point that is at the heart of the IMAX equation.

  • Anonymous

    Dan, don’t do something you may regret. We can work it out. Put the chair down and let me know what’s bothering you. We can work it out.

  • Debbie Cornwall

    Hmmmm. Maybe call a time out for everyone and ask the patient what happened to cause him to be so upset that he had resorted to picking up the chair. If you ask the patient what’s wrong, perhaps it will make him feel like he’s more in control of the situation and that you respect him enough to ask a question rather than making a statement. It also gives everyone the chance to back physically farther away from each other, buying time and thereby reducing the threat to the nurse.

    Can’t wait to see the outcome, Joe, and I love the site!

  • Christine Mcmaster

    Hmmm…”draped in a hospital gown” you say? Any chance someone could sneak up on old Dan and pull that gown to the side, therefore causing Dan to put down the chair so he could cover himself up? A little modesty goes a long way, you know! Might even save a life.

  • Islandcrazed-Mainer

    I agree with Beverly’s Star Spangled Banner idea. It’s enough to throw the patient off. Also don’t bother yelling, Make your voice low and calm so the patient is forced to stop and focus on what is being said. I’d also tell everyone to clear the room asap. My last resorts would be a dart gun and another steel chair but that doesn’t solve the problem. :)

  • Ruthie

    I like the Star Spangled Banner idea, too, but I wonder if a patient in this state would even notice it.

  • Sandi

    Somebody better do something! That nurse could be me.

  • Jim Cantwell

    (1) calmly sing “come on and zoom, come on and zoom, come on and zoom a zoom a zooma zoom!” then take the chair from Dan, as he remarks, “I thought I recognized you, Joe!”

    (2) quickly turn on your MP3 and tell him he has the concept of musical chairs all wrong

    (3) tell him that he has already passed his audition for World Wide Wrestling, Don King needs to see him, and he can calmly place the chair down

    (4) apologize for being late with his coffee, tell him you also are a bear withiut your daily jo, and ask if he can put the chair at the table to sit and have some Dunkin Donuts with you (sans the cream puff)

    (5) drop your voice in Clint Eastwood style, extend your fingers at him, and say “Go ahead, Dan, make my day …” (perhaps that would not lessen the anxiety …)

  • Walter Breitzke

    Seriously, I’d create any kind of diversion to get the man’s attention so the nurse could run/crawl/roll away and out of harm’s way, even if that diversion meant saying, “Hey, look at me!” and then dropping my pants. After that – after everyone was out of harm’s way – I’d then talk to him and try to calm him down, maybe even getting a chair myself and saying, “I’m going to sit in MY chair. How about YOU doing the same and let’s talk.” (Of course, by that time I would have pulled my pants back up.)

  • Lydia Snow

    Turn in my resignation and immediately go back to school to get my degree in music! I had a job at a halfway house in Burlington Vt right out of college, and often found myself in these situations. I was not up to the challenge in any shape or form but I love and admire all those that do!

  • Ediemooers

    Say ‘Dan, Hi! I’ve been looking all over for you! I think we missed our afternoon coffee date!’. That’s what we do in my office.

  • Gingermolasses2010

    OK Dr Shrand,… had at least 15 comments………and the answer is…………………

  • Paula

    Very calmly offer him a cup of coffee

  • Polonius

    I would probably say, while trying to not sound too hysterical “what are you doing?!!” followed by “why?”. I would then try and say something along the lines “ok, I understand why that can make you feel ________”, but then try to ask or suggest another way to deal with the situation (in an effort to defuse it). As soon as possible I would then have staff try to take the chair from him hopefully slowly and gently.

    Ideally this is what I would do. In reality, who knows?

  • Denise Wall

    Calmly ask him to put down the chair.


    SIT DOWN!!!!!