My first experience with Doctor Teitelbaum was on the Hub within the Correctional Treatment Center of the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego, California. I stood in front of the wrap-round desk that contained the every day signal-in sheets for the MTAs, chatting with the officer on obligation, once I heard a voice in the back of me. The voice turned into a warbled mix of falsetto and feminine baritone
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“I desire to be escorted to the Facility One Clinic. I become told to fulfill MTA Taylor here.”
I became to get a view of the speaker. She turned into a heavyset lady in her early fifties with a surprising amount of frizzy, dyed red hair, sticking crazily out from underneath a extensive-brimmed, magenta hat. She was sporting what might have been a exercise suit of a glittery material in two one-of-a-kind shades of purple. Her shoes were yellow sneakers and she carried a huge, pink leather bag. Small, beady eyes peered back and forth among the officer on obligation and me, through huge glasses on her pale, moon-fashioned face. Taken aback by way of the pointy disparity of her look a number of the uniformed officers and scrub-carrying scientific staff, I would no longer were completely surprised if she had instructed me she turned into there to don a bright red nose and make balloon animals for the inmates. I turned into the MTA assigned to Facility one health facility. An MTA, or Medical Technical Assistant, changed into a position precise to the California Department of Corrections. It changed into each a scientific role and a peace officer position. MTAs replied to all scientific emergencies and ran the day to day of the clinics on the yard. The department might quickly cast off the placement, and we would accept the choice of being either nurses or correctional officers. I could later choose to emerge as a correctional officer.
“I’m MTA Taylor,” I said, “I do not believe we’ve met before. Can I ask what your business is on the health facility?”
She made a dramatic flourish with her left hand and raised her atypical warble of a voice, affecting the fashion of a Shakespearian actor.
“I am Doctor Teitelbaum,” she introduced now not best to me, but to anybody inside the nearby region, “I am the new Psychiatrist.”
Five minutes later, I changed into escorting Dr. Teitelbaum across the plaza to the Facility One Clinic. We reached the Facility One gate, and the gate officer checked our identity.
“Are you new to the jail device, Dr. Teitelbaum?” I requested. I knew entering a jail yard for the first time can be an amazing and scary experience.
“I am new to the prison machine, Mr. Taylor, however not new to the ones imprisoned by means of mental contamination.” Her eyes took on a fevered, dreamy, remote look. “I am right here to help men get away their prison.”
The gate officer, a black guy in his overdue forties, looked at her, then appeared questioningly at me. Talk of helping inmates get away changed into not something taken gently. I confident the officer that Dr. Teitelbaum became using a euphemism.
“It’s Just communicate,” I said. “Dr. Teitelbaum doesn’t mean get away from the real jail, but the prison of intellectual illness.”
Dr. Teitelbaum looked wordlessly up at the officer through her huge glasses. The gate officer frowned however opened the gate. He seemed Dr. Teitelbaum up and down, taking inside the complete oddity of her apparel. He grimaced and rolled his eyes.
“It’s on you, Taylor,” he said. “It’s all on you.”
We stepped onto Facility One Yard. The prison backyard changed into a large, oval strip of land surrounded by a song a 3rd of a mile lengthy. Inmates sporting blue CDC uniforms walked around the tune, returning to their housing units from morning chow. They walked counter clockwise within the same course, with occasional reminders over the loudspeaker to “Keep shifting on the music.” Prison is nothing if no longer redundant. Inmates see the same colors every day; blue and grey inmate uniforms, green and khaki officer uniforms, grey prison walls. You can imagine, then, the reaction a few of the inmates after they saw Dr. Teitelbaum entering the yard in her crimson ensemble, magenta hat, purple hair, yellow shoes and a massive crimson bag. Inmates stopped at the track, pointing. Inmates status within the pill line in the front of the medical institution stared. Some regarded hopeful, no question questioning, as I had earlier, that she is probably some shape of entertainment. Others laughed, and I heard a few jeers.
Inmates have been lining up in front of the hospital for tablet line. They have been allowed medicine in their cells, however psychiatric medicinal drug needed to be administered at the health facility. Much of what takes place inner a jail is in reaction to complaints filed via inmates. The California Department of Corrections had settled or misplaced several complaints filed by way of inmates who suffered due to bad clinical standards and nonexistent or inadequate psychiatric treatment. The courts ordered the branch to treatment the trouble, and the department struggled to rent physicians, psychiatrists and other clinical employees. Because of this, hiring changed into the concern. Anyone with a clinical license could gain a settlement function working within the jail. The requirements have been pretty low. Over the years, I even have worked with nice psychiatrists and physicians. I actually have regarded and revered committed psychologists. I actually have also recognised the ones who, in the departments rush to fill positions, fell through the cracks of the screening technique. To meet the necessities ordered by using the courts, Inmates have been screened for intellectual health related troubles. This became appropriate and important, but it additionally had a extraordinary impact on prisons. Suddenly, inmates have been being diagnosed with bipolar, schizophrenia, psychosis and antisocial behaviors. They were located on psychiatric medicines, which required observe-up appointments with the psychiatrists. Soon, lots of inmates have been on medicinal drug, and greater psychiatrists had been required to satisfy the need for follow-up appointments. The increased numbers of psychiatrists ended in even more inmates being placed on medicine, which required even greater psychiatrists and psychologists. The day Dr. Teitelbaum first walked into Facility One Clinic, the value of psychiatric remedy at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility had exploded to nicely over one and a 1/2 million greenbacks in line with month. This did now not encompass regular, health practitioner-prescribed remedy.
Psychiatric medicine may be divided into three classes: Anti-seizure medicinal drug, uppers and downers. If you pull returned the curtain of psychiatric and psychological jargon, you soon understand that psychiatric medicinal drugs are tablets, simple and easy. I recall a conversation with one of the contract psychiatrists. He was a in his late forties, an agreeable man without the standard airs psychiatrists are acknowledged to have. We have been having lunch within the MTA office in the medical institution. The inmates had been locked up of their cells for matter, and we were on my own.
“Do you recognize what I do for a residing, Taylor?” He asked.
I smiled at him across the table over my lunch.
“As a ways as I can inform,” I stated, “you’re a psychiatrist.”
“Well, of course I’m a psychiatrist,” he stated,” however I’m no longer talking about my name or license. I’m talking approximately what I absolutely do.”
“Well, Doc,” I said, swallowing a bite of a tuna sandwich, “I may be loopy, and you’re better perfect than I am to make that determination, but it seems to me you speak to inmates approximately their problems, then provide you with a diagnosis and a treatment plan. Does that about cover it?”
“Well, this is absolutely how we word it, but it is not the coronary heart of it,” he stated. “What I truly am is a certified drug supplier.”
“Do I need to get my handcuffs out?” I stated. “Is this a confession?”
“I did say certified, Taylor. But licensed or no longer, that’s what I am. Have you ever really concept approximately what psychiatric remedy is? Drugs, Taylor. That’s what they’re. They’re uppers and downers, and I prescribe them to drug addicts in a correctional facility. If I wasn’t certified to do it, I would be sitting in a cellular in place of sitting here having lunch with you.”
“Now, Doc,” I stated. “I suppose you is probably selling your self quick. I’m positive you are doing a lot of properly. There’s a huge distinction between what you do and what drug sellers do.”
“A difference in motivation, I agree. But now not in what I do. When I first began, I opened an office inside the city, and advertised for clients. I desired to assist humans, I truely did. But you know what kind of clients I got?” I shook my head and motioned for him to hold. “People started out getting into my workplace with memorized signs. I knew they were simply telling me signs and symptoms, so I would prescribe them particular medicines. It turned into obvious. But I had a lease and payments to pay. You recognize what I did, Taylor? I prescribed the medicines they desired. After that, phrase unfold, and customers kept making appointments. Over half of had been drug addicts trying criminal capsules.” He pointed to the nearby medication cart. “That’s what they’re. Drugs, man, drugs.”
I had skilled the effects of the medicine myself approximately a yr before, whilst a person surpassed me a bottle of liquid risperidone, a medication prescribed to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disease. Some of the liquid had spilled and changed into at the facet of the bottle. I touched the liquid with my naked hand. The medication seeped thru my pores and skin and entered my bloodstream. For a terrific hour, I became euphoric, guffawing and extremely talkative. Though the medicine in no way touched my lips, a part of my upper lip went numb. Even today, whenever I bear in mind the incident, that a part of my lip turns numb. Like the coolest health practitioner said, “Drugs, man, tablets.”
The pill line turned into very lengthy, reaching from the tablet line window to the song about fifty yards away. Close to 1000 inmates have been incarcerated on Facility One Yard, and 1/2 of them had been on psychiatric medicine. An MTA stood inner the drugs room window, handing inmates their medication through a rectangular slot. The MTA, a balding faded-skinned man by way of the call of Ford, looked at Doctor Teitelbaum as she passed by. He smiled at me and shook his head. Several inmates looked at the new psychiatrist, then looked questioningly at me. I left out the thinking looks and made my manner to the hospital. I opened the sanatorium door and led Dr. Teitelbaum to an office in the again.
“This is your office, Dr. Teitelbaum,” I stated, commencing the door and switching on the lights, illuminating a small office with chairs facing each other throughout a wooden desk. Dr. Teitelbaum entered the office and sat heavily inside the table chair, plopping her huge pink bag down on the desktop. “I will deliver a agenda of inmates and inmate clinical charts in a little bit.”
“Patients, Mr. Taylor,” Dr. Teitelbaum said. “They aren’t simply inmates. They are my patients, and I cannot wait to see them.” She seemed up at me via her large glasses, the far off gleam returning to her eyes. “I guarantee you they have never seen the likes of me.”
“Yes, Doctor. I believe that may be the case,” I said. Despite her decidedly unusual look, I completely supposed to present the new psychiatrist the advantage of any doubt. Part of my philosophy became, and nonetheless is, now not to choose a e-book by means of its cover. “Would you want the door closed or open?”
“Please near it,” Dr. Teitelbaum said. “It is time for my calming ritual.”
I nodded and exited the workplace, last the door in the back of me. I had a hectic day in front of me and needed to prepare for it. Leaving Dr. Teitelbaum by myself in her office, I grabbed a cup of coffee from the already brewed pot within the treatment room, sat down on the desk, and started organizing the inmate scientific charts, dividing them among clinical and psychiatric sufferers, ensuring every chart had sparkling doctor’s notes to jot down new prescriptions on. I become absorbed within the ritual, when I heard Dr. Teitelbaum singing opera in what I idea might be Italian, as loud as she likely may want to. I stepped out of the treatment room. MTA Ford turned into coming out of the medication room.
“What the heck goes on, Taylor?” He asked. I stood outside Dr. Teitelbaum’s office door. The opera endured in her warbled voice. Inmates peered thru the sanatorium windows, questioning why the tablet line had stopped, hearing the Italian opera coming from in the hospital. I shook my head and knocked softly on the workplace door. The Italian opera persisted internal. I knocked louder.
“Dr. Teitelbaum?” I known as. The opera persevered. I shrugged at MTA Ford and opened the door. Dr. Teitelbaum turned into sitting behind her table. Her eyes had been closed, her arms lifted above her head, transferring dramatically from side to side, undertaking an orchestra which only she should hear. Seeming unaware of my presence, she persevered her overall performance, her voice straining to reach soprano levels, then falling to baritone lows, all at the pinnacle of her lungs. All I may want to do become anticipate her to prevent. For several minutes, the opera continued. Then, with one very last crescendo of screeching soprano and faltering baritone, the performance got here to an abrupt end. Slowly, she reduced her palms and opened her eyes, blinking within the mild of the workplace. She stared up at me through her big glasses, acknowledging me for the first time considering I entered.
“Is there some thing I allow you to with, Mr. Taylor?” She asked.
“Well… ” I said, “Uhm… What I suggest is… “
“My making a song, Mr. Taylor. Is that why you’re here?”
“Well, yes, Doctor,” I stated. “It was a touch sudden.”
“I find opera to be calming, Mr. Taylor. It is a part of my morning ritual. It lowers my pressure stage and prepares me for the relaxation of the day. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my habitual isn’t but entire.”
“Will you be singing again?” I requested.
“No, Mr. Taylor,” she said, “I will be meditating. Close the door, please. Let me know whilst the first affected person arrives.”
I left Dr. Teitelbaum by myself in her workplace. MTA Ford had overheard the verbal exchange.
“She’s crazy, guy,” he said.
“What can we do approximately it?” I said.
“We need to inform anyone. I mean, she’s a real mad hatter.”
“I’m not in for telling,” I stated, a word utilized by each inmates and officials. It supposed you were now not a snitch. Snitches have been equally hated by means of inmates and officials.
“This is exceptional, Taylor. Somebody has to realize.”
“Let’s just see how it performs out,” I said. “What’s it going to harm?”
Ford agreed reluctantly and again to the tablet line. I endured to get equipped for the scientific and psychiatric appointments. Dr. Wong, the medical doctor, a diminutive Asian man with thinning hair, sporting a physician’s smock over slacks and a dress shirt, arrived. He knocked on the medical institution door and I opened it. He entered the sanatorium.
“Good morning, MTA Taylor,” he stated.
“Good morning, Doctor,” I stated.
“Is it a terrific morning?” He stated. I opened the door to his workplace, letting him in. He requested me the same questions each morning.
“A satisfactory morning, Doc.” I said.
“A satisfactory American morning?”
“Yes, Doctor,” I said, “It’s a high-quality American morning. There’s coffee inside the back. Want a cup?”
The physician smiled, nodding.
“Is it American coffee?”
“It was purchased in America,” I stated.
“Then yes,” he stated. “I want an American cup of espresso.”
This habitual had performed out five days a week for almost a yr. Doctor Wong, a transplant from Asia, who had lived a lot of his formative years struggling to feed himself, who in some way no longer most effective made it to the US, but have become a clinical doctor, loved America with a fervency bordering on insanity. It wasn’t a first-rate day except it became an “American” day. He had a headache as soon as, and I brought him a Motrin. He requested if it become “American” Motrin, taking it simplest after I assured him that it become.
“Good, Doc,” I stated. “I will carry it to you.”
I again to the remedy room to get the medical doctor a cup of espresso. I heard low humming coming from under Dr. Teitelbaum’s workplace door. I left out it. She stated she could be meditating, which became quality with me if she did it quietly. I made Dr. Wong a cup of espresso and taken it to him, putting a agenda of inmate patients on his table. He took the cup of coffee from me and sipped it.
“Thank you, MTA Taylor,” he said. “That is a great American cup of espresso.”
“You’re welcome, Doc,” I stated.
The pill line ended about half an hour later. Inmates commenced arriving for their clinical and psychiatric appointments. I let them in, for my part checking their identity and medical ducats to the time table, patting them down for guns and contraband. I checked their blood pressures and instructed them to stand on a scale to test their weight. Afterwards, they waited collectively on a protracted, timber bench in the health center place. I opened Dr. Wong’s desk and positioned the primary inmate’s clinical report on his desk. I opened Dr. Teitelbaum’s office door at hand her the report of her first affected person. She become still humming lowly to herself, her eyes closed.
“Your patients are arriving,” I said, setting the file on her desk.
“Five minutes extra, Mr. Taylor. I am not quite carried out with my calming ritual.”
“Fine,” I stated, “permit me recognize when you’re prepared.”
She closed her eyes again and started humming to herself. I left her there, closing the door behind me. Ten minutes later, her workplace door opened. She turned into retaining the document I had given her. She checked out the inmates who had been waiting at the bench.
“Mr. Williams?” She called. A black inmate in his mid-thirties stood up. He checked out the psychiatrist, then checked out me. He raised an eyebrow.
“For actual, Taylor?” He said.
“This way, Mr. Williams,” Dr. Teitelbaum said.
The inmate shrugged and entered the office. Dr. Teitelbaum closed the door. I opened it again.
“Doctor” I stated, “the door needs to be open at least enough for me to listen what’s going on. For your safety.”
“That is unacceptable,” Dr. Teitelbaum said. “There is a such thing as affected person confidentiality.”
“This is a jail,” I said. I motioned closer to Inmate Williams. “He is an inmate, and I cannot depart you by myself with him.”
Her face became a shiny coloration of pink, however she took her seat at the back of the table.
“Very properly, then,” she stated. She took a deep breath and permit it out slowly. “Let us retain.”
I exited the workplace, leaving the door open about 1 / 4 of the manner. More inmates were arriving for the clinical and psychiatric traces, and a few already seen by means of Dr. Wong had been trying to leave. I patted down a pair inmates to make certain they left with only what they had arrived with, and let a couple more inmates in. I entered the remedy room wherein MTA Ford turned into busy transcribing new orders from the medical charts.
“How’s the Mad Hatter doing?” He asked.
“Just seeing the first inmate now. I wager we must wait and see,” I stated.
It did now not take lengthy to learn how Dr. Teitelbaum turned into faring with the inmate. I heard Inmate Williams cussing loudly and Dr. Teitelbaum shouting in her unmistakable voice. The inmate shouted back. Dr. Teitelbaum released a hysterical scream. MTA Ford and I ran from the room, ordering the inmates in the medical institution to get down. They diminished their selves to the ground. I pulled a canister of pepper spray from my duty belt and entered the workplace, shouting for Inmate Williams to get down. He complied, straight away leaving his chair and sitting at the office floor. Dr. Teitelbaum turned into status behind her table. Her face became pink and glistening with perspiration. Her magenta hat was in her hand, and her purple hair turned into in disarray.
“Are you all right, Doctor?” I requested.
Dr. Teitelbaum stared up at me. Her lips trembled. Her round face quivered with indignation.
“What is the meaning of this, Mr. Taylor?” She shouted. “I will not be interrupted for the duration of a remedy consultation!”
“You had been screaming at every other,” I said.
“This is remedy, Mr. Taylor,” she stated. Her entire body turned into shaking. “Do you no longer apprehend? This is therapy!”
Inmate Williams held up his hands.
“I didn’t do whatever to her, Taylor. I swear it, guy. She’s a crazy girl.”
Dr. Teitelbaum twisted her hat, staring angrily down on the inmate.
“I am no longer a crazy woman,” she shouted. “I am the psychiatrist!”
Leaving his office, Dr. Wong walked up in the back of me. He checked out Dr. Teitelbaum. He saw the inmate at the office floor and examined the psychiatrist, who stood, shaking visibly, clutching the magenta hat in both arms. Dr. Wong shook his head.
“This,” he announced gravely, “is certainly unamerican.” He became from us, entered his office and closed the door at the back of him.
Dr. Teitelbaum lasted a month or so longer, the need of the branch to fill clinical positions outweighing the need for able companies. She never got any better, even though her shouting “therapy” changed into ended by way of order of the chief psychiatrist. I turned into within the sanatorium on her closing day. She became wearing her now infamous magenta hat and was attired in yellow and orange, in place of crimson. We made it to the quit of the shift with out major incident, and I turned into sitting inside the MTAs office. She stuck her head into my office.
“Mr. Taylor,” she stated, “as you probably already recognize, these days is my final day. The established order become simply now not equipped for my unique emblem of treatment.”
“I’m sorry to listen that, Doctor Teitelbaum,” I said, no longer meaning it in the least.
“Yes, properly,” she said, “I am going into commercial enterprise for myself.” She surpassed me a purple enterprise card. The card examine, DR. Teitelbaum, Psychiatrist extraordinaire, and included her telephone quantity. “If you are ever in want of psychiatric care, name me.” She checked out me via her glasses, that dreamy, far off appearance in her beady eyes. “I am no longer reasonably-priced,” she said, “but I am the nice… “