From time to time, as noted earlier, some folks come to my house, and one way or another, wind up strapped to a gurney, dressed in a patient gown, under close observation every minute, until we can find a nice soft room for them in the psych unit so someone with the patience of Job and the compassion of Dr. Schweitzer can sort them out, and help them get the voices out of their head.
We do an excellent job, but sometimes, there's just too many crazies, and not enough watchers.
So when you get someone settled in, rotate them off the restraints, get all the prelims done to grease the skids for their departure to our/somebody else's psych eval unit, sometimes they've become such model citizens that the need for being tied to the bed rails has long since passed, and can't be justified.
And then Mr. Murphy punches in, and that split second the minder is busy dealing with one of the unstable campers, one of the calmer ones notes the merest sliver of a chance for freedom, and bolts for it, leaving the minder with nothing to show for a last desperate effort but a handful of patient gown with no patient inside it.
When you're the one who sees someone sans obligatory hospital gown, or anything else, go flying past you, out the front door, over parked cars and parking attendants, bushes, hedges, parking meters, and fire hydrants like a gazelle on crack, it's probably better that you noted the patient is now running in nothing but a smile up the nearest freeway onramp, rather than attempting to replicate her feats of Olympic steeplechase prowess into the dead of night.
Now, I know at that hour, human response and higher brain function aren't at their peak, even when you've been on the nightshift for, seemingly, your entire adult natural life.
But when you pick up the phone, and report the incident to the local Patrolers of Highways, you expect a certain level of...well, not competence, which they have, but more like...perspicacity, which they might sometimes lack. Just a bit.
You would then be forgiven, after telling them a naked crazy woman is running down their freeway, and asking for a wee bit of assistance in corralling said waif, and returning her to the land of Milk and Geodon, when they ask in reply, "Could you give us a physical description?" and your jaw hits the floor.
But when you ask, in a voice dripping with sarcasm and pathos, heard plaintively across the entire waiting room, "Officer Notthesharpestpencilinthebox, just exactly how many naked women do you figure you're going to find running down the freeway at 3AM???" and this reduces both the security chief and your charge nurse to hysterical giggling tears for 10 minutes afterwards, it makes the entire shift almost worthwhile.