Friday, 7 November 2008

Admission Procedures

As I think I've mentioned a couple of times recently, I have been looking through some old copies of Janus and particularly the letters pages in the ideas that various people put forth regarding what they termed as admission procedures. Some of the letters were quite ingenious and demonstrated quite deep psychological knowledge and understanding on behalf of the writer. This sort of thing very much inspired my writing of INSTITUTIONALISED volume 1 and continues to inspire me as I approached the completion of volume 2 and begin to trundle through the pages of volume 3. I thought I'd sketch out some of my thoughts on the subject. Obviously this whole field pertains to institutional discipline but say in that certain aspects, such as intimate shaving, could be just as applicable to a girl being placed for the first time into the hands of a strict governess; she might well institute such a procedure, with advantage, as an introduction to her authority and regime... which is good enough reason to drop in a nice little illustration I came across recently (see left).

Upon arrival any luggage carried should be sequestered as should mobile phones, MP3 players and the like. The type of institution I envisage, being run on very professional clinical grounds and presenting the aspect, externally at least, of a private hospital, all smiling and efficient smartly uniformed nurse's, would provide for a very disarming atmosphere for a young lady to be delivered into. Most people are quite used to being asked to turn off mobile phones and other electronic equipment when in a medical environment and with not even private medical establishments being totally guaranteed free of crime these days, an offer to keep safe these items while she undergoes a preliminary medical examination and completes any documentation etc that she might need to sign would almost certainly be accepted. She can be told that luggage will be stored for safekeeping or under different circumstances the ploy might be that it will be brought later to her room for her. Either way the tactic is to separate her as rapidly as possible from anything pertaining to her old life. The girl's first impressions of the establishment are important here in getting the ball rolling; she should be greeted by staff having a friendly smiling aspect but having also an air of efficient institutional professionalism. The staff uniforms or important here; from the outset she should not perceive them as other women but rather as nurses, staff nurses, hospital sisters and of course the matron - this brings into play the notion of socially conditioned compliance, the way that all of society learns to relate to representation of authority. Similarly her processing should appear well oiled and efficient; once started she should feel as if moving along an unstoppable conveyor belt -there should be no time for reconsideration, reappraisal or objection but rather she should be led rapidly deeper and deeper into the system.

Clothing should be relinquished as soon as possible - the provision of a standard hospital examination gown is perfectly adequate at this point. A side room off the main vestibule would provide the perfect situation for a changing room but should offer no other facilities than the minimum, perhaps a small bench on which to sit to remove shoes, a coat hook, a hanger for her blouse or T-shirt or whatever and, of course, a disposable paper examination gown.

A tray should be laid on the side to receive jewellery, her watch, hair clips and pins if worn and similar items; the pretext of taking a shower will usually be enough to ensure compliance at this stage so avoiding an overly premature adoption of an authoritative stance - it is preferable at this point that staff retain that friendly, reassuring tone, persuasive rather than forceful, yet at the same time are assertive enough to just maintain the momentum.

The shower itself should be sited elsewhere in the hospital and well away from the vestibule and other public areas. In this way there is a finality to her separation from her belongings and clothing, psychologically she has unknowingly stepped over an invisible line separating her old life from her new.

Once in some remote part of the building dressed only in a disposable paper gown and surrounded by smartly uniformed staff she would be at a truly massive psychological disadvantage.

The showering would be followed by her drying herself of course; a small towel, little more than a face towel, should be provided for this and this will be the ideal moment for the reappearance of the nurse that has accompanied her. She would then redress in an examination gown but not the one she had initially been wearing, that will have been already disposed of. Once again a disposable paper gown is perfectly adequate but it should differ in some way from the one she had initially been given; it doesn't matter really how it differs so much as that she should notice - perhaps it will be printed with the hospitals badge or coat of arms or whatever - the point is that it is yet another message received that she is now well separated from the world outside (I quite like the idea of the use of the words, psychiatric wing or psychiatric ward in this context - perhaps even secure psychiatric wing, just for the additional impact of that lovely word... secure.

Then it would be off to the examination room: the first few procedures would go ahead with her wearing the gown then would come a time when it would have to come off, perhaps for a breast exam or even a full-blown mammogram. She would undoubtedly place it to one side, expecting to replace it later, but would they see the nurse seemingly absentmindedly screwing it up and disposing of it in a rubbish chute. This would now be the perfect point to address the problem of body piercings, should she have any, and also to move on to such aspects as addressing her hygienic intimate shave - and this should be careful, detailed and include both the anal and vaginal areas. Now not only has she lost all those external personal trimmings that had defined her personality in the outside world but also she is being changed physically to suit her new life. This should be the first time that the staff begin to adopt an authoritative tone with her; at first couched almost as requests but gradually and quite subtly taking on more and more the aspect of orders (indeed this change can be very gradual, perhaps occurring in over a timescale of days). The momentum should be kept up here; perhaps a vaginal douche followed by a highly detailed intimate exam then an enema and/or suppositories - other procedures continuing to keep her occupied while waiting for their effect (perhaps this is a good time for her institutional haircut - see left) – before her first experience of the anal speculum. All in all it should be a deeply humbling and traumatic experience; by the very end some sort of uniform will have been delivered for her (the type of thing can be left to the imagination but as I see it would depend on the nature and operation of the institution in which she is to be detained) and without pause she should be hurried into it and then out into the corridor and off to her cell.
Those that have read INSTITUTIONALISED volume 1 will know the sort of thing that I envisage here but I've recently had sent to me a lovely pic (I am uncertain as to its origin and will remove it immediately if it infringes anyone's copyright) that is very nearly perfect other than I would consider it a little over-furnished. The tables or desks or whatever they are on the left would have to go, the girl is going to have no use for those; I wouldn't envisage books, magazines or writing materials being allowed anywhere near the area in which she is being detained, let alone in her room. In addition, if it was left to me I would go for a simpler colour scheme. although I understand the artist's use of the green to delineate the floor and other features, and the door would be plain and unadorned - indeed it would be difficult to discern against the white of the walls, once closed.

If all has been carried out correctly it will be only now, as the heavy and securely locked door closes behind her, that the girl will really begin to take stock of what has just happened to her, of her new situation and of her new life. Only now, sitting on the side of a hospital bed surrounded by four blank white walls in a claustrophobically small room with bars across its window, both inside and out, and perhaps dressed in something approximating to a prison uniform will she begin to grasp implications of some of the terms in the documentation she has just signed. Perhaps the period was somewhat limited, perhaps the legal extent of their control over her during that period is also limited to some degree… but then again perhaps there will be other documentation to sign, at a later date, documentation that might extend the period of her stay and tighten their control over her, documentation perhaps requiring the persuasion of the cane or of the leather tawse to receive her signature... and then?

1 comment:

poorly patient said...

I trust similar admission procedures would be carried out by female staff on male patients