Saturday, January 16, 2010

From Pudding to Freedom

They must have administered something to me to help me sleep. I was groggy when I "woke up" and noticed that I was back in the ambulance. We got on the highway and drove for quite some time. I didn't know where we were going. I was calm, tired, in and out of sleep. Good drugs.

I remember when we got to where we were going, I suddenly sensed a threat to my well being. My well being was not something I should have been in charge of at this point, and the attendants knew this. But when they tried to escort me through to my new "home" I darted away, making some sort of escape attempt. I ran into the nearest room and closed myself in the closet. This was not viewed as good behavior, especially since it was the room where a woman was staying. She was unimpressed with me, I gather. So the attendants got a hold of me and moved me somewhere else... again, my recollection of this phase is sketchy at best, so I don't know if they had to medicate me some more to get me to cooperate, what was going through my mind, or how long a period of time passed before I was allowed to become alert enough to take note of my surroundings and begin to make sense of it all. What I do know is that I woke up in a room with other people in it-- like a community recovery room with about five beds in it.

I first woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of one of my roommates snoring. When I met him later, I was thrown by the apparent disorders and maladies he was suffering through, and then I was surprised to see him be the first of us to be released on his own recognizance. I guess maybe he didn't have the insurance coverage that the rest of us in there did, or something. But for a little bit there, my confidence in my judgement and perception was shaken. Hard to say what the logic behind it was, but then, logic ain't in extra supply at a psych ward.

Soon, I settled into the schedule, started receiving visitors, having regular meals, participating in group sessions. The food was good! I started learning the names of some of my fellow captives. I won't relay them here, but it could be said that I made some friends. One of the friends was a bunkmate of mine-- he slept across the room from me. He seemed really put together, and he had a great sense of humor. We immediately began referencing "One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest" and started to plot which sink we would be wrestling from its place and tossing through a wall to gain freedom, blessed freedom.

But he also had his moments of pained expressions, where when we were trying to communicate, an obvious discomfort would form in his thoughts, and he'd struggle to hold back tears. This didn't react well with my own thinking, as I would take it personally, as if he were trying to tell me something but was saddened by my inability to figure it out. When I'm sick, I do a lot of internal suffering, rampant thinking without regular check-ins with others. This is part of how the disorder thrives and torments its subject.

There were other friends as well. One night in particular, I woke up early and couldn't get back to sleep. There were a couple of ladies who were up at this time as well. I think it was like 3 or 4 am, and we sat there watching a movie. What movie, you ask?

Crazy People.

It was very funny, the little bit that we watched. And we were all crazy too. I don't recall why we stopped watching-- maybe because we were getting too loud, and it was by then "late" enough that I could take a shower, something I was looking forward to, as I'm sure others were as well. But I wonder how funny the movie would be now?

I think it was on this early morning that one of those ladies showed me the secret drawer that held the pudding. Chocolate pudding in individually wrapped packages. It was like finding the candy dish at grandma's, without your parents there to limit you to one piece. But I was careful not to overdo it, because I knew that everything I was doing was being monitored, and I didn't want to create some further treatment scenario by getting out of control. This was also why I desired to take a shower-- I thought that the sooner I could display normal hygenic habits, normal sleeping habits, and normal speech and social patterns, the sooner I could get out of there. But the pudding made me think twice about leaving. Okay, not really. I was motivated to get back home.

I think it was also at this facility that I met a woman that had tried to kill herself. She had taken a lot of pills of some sort, and it had hit her liver hard. Most of her liver was destroyed. She had been in a coma for a few days, but now was recovering. Her skin color was a yellow-green, and her eyes seemed to bulge out of her head. She looked like she was unreal to me. I was still kinda manic, so I was tickled to talk to her. I hope I didn't bother her much. But she seemed almost animated, like a special effect in a movie or an hallucination. I would see her again several weeks later, and she would be doing well and would look more human than amphibian. I did not tell her this, however.

After about a week's stay at Sequoia Hospital, I would gain my release. And this time, it wouldn't take a kicking and screaming fit. It did however require my signing of a few documents; one of which was a waiver of my right to own firearms for 5 years.

Of course, if I violate that edict, and they produce that document, I suppose I could always plead insanity.


Deb said...

More good writing. Keep it coming.

(t)om said...

It's a socialist plot!!! They're trying to take away your God given right as an Amurican.

Gerri said...

Ditto what Deb said...