The following is a work in progress and will eventually find its way into my second book in the Pathway to Freedom Broken and Healed trilogy. I’ve chosen to post it here because I want people to understand how hard it is to get help when you’re mentally ill and if you don’t have the ability to withstand what I went through here, which is multiplied by the 1000TH power in a larger city such as, say, “New York” it becomes nearly impossible.
I urge you, do not be judgmental toward those who are mentally ill. Realize they’ve an illness just like high blood pressure, Cancer or any other thing.
Mental illness is the hardest to treat because it hampers the brain. So, please open your hearts and minds.
I will never be cured. For now, I’m stable but this could change at any time.
Many of you knew me during my dark period. To those who have been with me through it all, thanks.
The Continuing Journey to Be Well
This took place in the summer of 2016.
Finally, the week had ended, and I was headed home. Bobby, Campbell, and I had an enjoyable time, but I’d felt all along something was a bit off between the two of us. As time went along, I began to think it was me, and my moodiness that was not helping.
After a while I began to work ridiculously hard to keep my depression and mania away from Bobby. Not because I didn’t want him to know. I told him I was having medication issues, and I kept him informed about the doctors and what they were doing, but I also buffered him from the everyday struggles I had while dealing with all the changes I was going through chemically and physically. I knew he’d had an unpleasant experience with a girl who did not take her mental illness serious like I do now, and I didn’t want him frightened off by it. I’d asked him many times if he were ok with my mental illness and he always reassured me saying, “You’re not like her, you take your illness serious and you do an excellent job taking care of it. I know sometimes you get a bit loud, or excited, but we have agreed on plans to help not have those problems.” Bobby assured me that he would let me know at the first sign of trouble. I, however, was depressed and manic at various times during my stay at his house, and I know more than once it bothered him. I could tell by his behavior. I could also see, although I tried not to, that he was not doing at all what he’d promised.
Rather than speak to him about it, I made the mistake of thinking that if I went home, got myself straight, that things would be ok.
After I went back home, things seemed ok between us for a while. We chatted in the mornings before we set out for our day, and I tried as best I could to be upbeat. I was, however, incredibly stressed about the situation where my house was concerned. It was becoming out of hand in an unhealthy sort of way for me and my animals. Bobby was concerned and he and I kept talking about different things I could try to get help with. I’d had a grant from an organization called ARC of Washington County and while everyone who worked for me helped in one way or another, no one was truly fixing the trouble and setting things up for me so I could maintain after work was completed.
This was yet another difficulty that had me down. I could find no peace, not even among the areas in which I lived.
Near the end of summer, I began to have serious problems with my Bipolar and Anxiety. Finally, after trying over and over to get in to see a regular psychiatrist and being told it was going to be a long wait, I gave in and decided to go to the hospital.
I talked with all my family about it, and with Bobby. He agreed that I should go to
The ER and be admitted. Again, he praised me for being so responsible with my illness, and agreed over and over when I talked of how mental illness was no different than high blood pressure or blood sugar and that a person if doing all they were supposed shouldn’t be persecuted for being ill, and instead should be supported.
I simply believed him to be the most awesome friend on the planet.
The process of getting evaluated for Crisis placement was hard to say the least.
Once I’d gotten there, gotten signed in and finally through the exhausting and humiliating process of being registered I settled down, and began to think of all the years I’d fought with this illness and where I was now. After settling Campbell,
I lay back against the bed and began to softly cry. I felt empty and alone. I also felt somehow that this was going to be the beginning of the end for me and Bobby.
I knew it was seriously only a matter of time.
It didn’t matter how much he reassured me, told me how special and awesome I was, there was something running in the background that bothered me. I tried to shove it away, but it ate at me as I tried to quiet my mind and drift toward sleep.
As the ER finally settled toward the sleep of the sick, injured and dying, I put my mind on playback, and settled in for the memory show.
Once again, the fact that the brain cannot differentiate between now and memory was brought home to me in the clearest of ways.
In the early eighty’s when I was just a teen, I had my first mental health episode. We did not know then what had caused it. First I experienced a long bout of depression over the summer, after my freshmen year of high-school, followed by a serious mania episode during the first few weeks of my tenth grade year. After which I attempted suicide for the first time. I was found around 8:30 in the evening on the floor of my dorm room at the Tennessee School for the Blind in a puddle of my own blood. I slashed my left wrist. Thankfully, it was not fatal. Unfortunately, it would not be my last attempt or my last battle out of mania and depression.
For the next ten years I was in and out of hospitals, tried multiple medications, saw multiple doctors starting in Nashville and working my way into my home town of Kingsport Tennessee.
I was labeled everything from a spoiled brat who, “Needed her ass blistered” to a “psychotic who needed heavily medicated.”
Both things, I might add, were tried, as well as many others along the way.
Everyone I saw doctors’ therapists, etc. had a differing opinion on what needed to be done. I never felt completely whole or wanted anywhere, and find I still have that issue today.
I want to also add however that my parents were doing the best they could with the information they were and weren’t getting, and that much of what was going on with me was complicated by life circumstances around me.
I’ve always done best in a routine scheduled calm environment, like institutional settings such as the Tennessee School for the Blind, Opportunity East in Morris Town Tennessee, or The Seeing Eye in Morristown New Jersey.
As I lay there trying to shut my mind down and go to sleep, I realized that I’d experienced similar events as what I was going through right now.
It dawned on me, that when I found myself in settings where there were people.
smarter than me, who lived seemingly better and were well respected and liked by their peers, and still found themselves completely comfortable talking with me, listening to my interests, and actually finding them interesting too would boost me up in to a state of bliss. What seemed normal to people like my awesome instructor and friend, Drew, or Bobby the man I felt someday might learn to love and trust me, to me was a rarity and gave me happiness I still this moment in time cannot find the correct words with which to describe.
As I lie in bed, there around 2 AM in the morning listening to the sound of Campbell’s snoring and feeling grateful for the gentle care that had been shown to the both of us of late, it dawned on me that Bobby had been at school the year I had the first episode. That other teens had followed similar patterns later in the year which I’d learned later is a frightening but normal reaction among institutional group settings, but whatever the “Normal Pattern” This meant Bobby had always known of me and my “Issues” and had sought me out anyway. I sighed at the awesome feeling that gave me. Even if things between us didn’t end up working out, just the fact that my mental illness would not be the issue that caused it to end was awesome.
I closed my eyes, and tried to rest, but my mind was running now, and there was no stop button that night. Nothing to do but let it go.
In 1992 I suffered another of what had become multiple episodes of first depression and then mania followed by an attempt on my life. I was placed in the Ridgeview Pavilion in Bristol Tennessee and there met a doctor who would first correctly diagnose me, and then proceed to begin working toward teaching me that I could live with my illness. I have had many successes and failures over the years, but I’m proud to say after nine failed suicide attempts, I have decided I very much want to live, and so have begun a true journey to “Be Well.”
Why do I call it, “Be Well?” Well, the reason to some might sound trivial or even corny, but to me it is most awesome. It is because a dear friend of mine whom I hold close in a special place in my heart, who supports me daily, whether it is in spirit or physical communication between us, a friend who cares for me enough to always sign his emails to me this way. He often ends our phone calls the same.
It means the world to me when he says or writes that to me. I know it is his true heartfelt wish for me, and that his friendship and instruction are real and not just because it is his, “job” to be kind to me.
I turned over to face Campbell and leaning over the side of the bed petted the big dog’s head. He’d worked hard to get me there, and I knew he was tired.
I settled back and continued my trip down the path of what could at times be a dark and twisted trail, and then just as suddenly as it started a patch of straight smooth road with sunshine lighting the way would appear.
I closed my eyes, and tried to make it all make sense to me. Trying to bring back even the slightest detail. I knew from past experience that no hospital stay whether it was four days, or four months, was productive if you weren’t ready to work, and worked hard at digging in to the crux of the matter. Hospital stays were for getting at the root of the trouble and giving it a boost toward being well.
Understand “Be Well” That does not mean, “Be Cured” There is no cure for mental illness and don’t get me started on what I think about a country, hell! An entire world obsessed with a pill that can cause a man to need the ER himself, but we still have people like me lying in emergency rooms at 2 AM waiting for help, ripping their lives apart before doing so.
The first part of what had led to my true journey to “Be Well had begun earlier in the summer, and had been getting steadily worse, and worse. I’d been through a medication switch, and then when that hadn’t worked, had simply gone off everything in frustration due to side effects, confusion concerning which doctors I could see and which I could not, and finally just falling through the cracks all together.
When I’d made the mistake of allowing all that, I’d once again found myself in a full-blown Bipolar Episode.
That had become normal for me over the last three years. It was the first episode in 2012, that destroyed my friendship with Drew. Looking back, I cannot blame him at all.
As I have stated many times, he did not deserve any of what happened.
He had tried to help me, had come to visit me, and although even before I was ill and confused about him, I’d made it more than evident my feelings for him, and still he had done nothing but treat me with respect, kindness and a gentle type of love.
Not a man and woman kind of love, a friendship nurturing kind.
It makes me sad that I should even have to explain, but in this world and in this story I must.
The minds of many are indeed warped, and their idea of reality-based love and friendship is marred with an ugly I don’t have words yet to describe.
Now, here I was, once again, rapid cycling. Rapid cycling for those who haven’t read my first book, and do not know is when a person has wild mood swings sometimes as much as every hour. A person can go from depressed to manic in an hour’s time, sometimes less than that. It can be awfully hard on the one experiencing it as well as those living around the sufferer. It takes a special person to love someone like me, and I have few in my life who truly do.
When I’d awakened this morning, I found myself at the end of my rope. I was upset, feeling as if no one on earth understood me, or cared to try. I’d lost my daughter and her family and one friend after another due to my constant bad decisions caused by my allowing my sickness to become and remain for prolonged periods of time to be out of control. I’d screwed up so many times now where Drew was concerned he hated me and it broke my heart, and now even though I had Bobby and he reassured me constantly it would not happen, I was terrified that at any moment he would just be done like everyone before him.
I knew I wasn’t a piece of cake to be with. I knew I could be hard as hell to understand sometimes, but it just didn’t seem fair to me that every situation I found myself in seemed to end with me being sent away by one friend or loved one after another, for different reasons each time, and with me never really being told why, or allowed to try to fix it, or gain closure from the loss.
I knew I could go no further on my own. I felt this was my last hope.
First, I tried walking to the nearest mental health outpatient center to my house, but I was told I’d have to get an appointment do an intake and wait up to a month or more for services. Although I explained to them, I was in desperate need and feeling harmful to myself they gave me no other option. I cannot say I took that news very well. Finally, after making what was probably thought to most an ass of myself by telling the waiting room full of people, “This is why no one comes to get help and why we have mass killings”
I left the center and walked home in the rain. Campbell was as always by my side loving me unconditionally without fail, not bothered at all by my sickness, only concerned with loving me and seeing me safely home, and through my troubles. Encouraging me onward every step of the way.
Once I returned home, I realized I couldn’t give up. I made the hardest call I’d ever made in my life. I picked up the phone and dialed the Crisis line. I feared I’d know the worker on duty. I couldn’t count how many calls I’d transferred to that line while working for Contact Concern.
I knew whether I knew the person or not would have to be secondary. I simply felt I had two choices. I could either go to the hospital and get help or die. I simply could no longer live with the way things were in my life, and had decided if there was to be no relief from this hell, I was calling life I would just be done.
I chose to help.
I have to say what happened next was amazing and horrifying all at the same time. If it hadn’t been so sad, I could’ve laughed about the calamity of it, but I’m sorry to say that calamity or not, there really is no humor here.
After talking with the crisis worker on duty and having her ask several questions of the facility I wanted to be placed in and making certain that Campbell would be all right to be with me there I began to work toward getting ready to go. I’ve had a few ask me why I bothered to ask about Campbell because of the law that says he can go anywhere with me.
Well, the reason is simple. 1. His equipment could be used to harm someone or myself. 2. Campbell could become upset from things such as emotional outbursts from me, or other patients.
I learned however, after having the worker call and ask questions that the hood of us running in to a patient sick enough to do bodily harm to themselves or someone else was slim. They said if at any time I felt Campbell was upset we would be more than able to find a quiet place to calm him. They more than assured me that this facility’s mission was to help people stabilize before they reached that point. I was relieved to hear that because that’s exactly what I was after.
I spent the majority of the day washing my laundry, packing a small bag, and letting my family and my dear and special friend Bobby know what was going on with me.
That Friends and neighbors was another hard call to make.
I sent him a text saying that I was simply unable to continue dealing with my sickness on my own, and that I was going to go to the hospital and be evaluated for services.
I didn’t want to do that in a text. I felt it was rude, but I wasn’t sure when I would leave, and
In my defense he was at work. As soon as he could, he called me.
Bobby Donald has so far sense we reconnected again been kind, caring, and as understanding and tolerant as anyone could be, and more so than many.
Even with other experiences with persons with mental illness. Some good and some not, he had at the time of this writing, chosen to continue to be my friend, and had even written to me that he was grateful that I would allow him to pursue me and consider me as a possible partner in life.
For that I was ever grateful. That afternoon, however, I expected the same reaction that I’d always gotten from others. I expected that either while I was in hospital, or soon after, we’d have the, “I’ve had fun, but I am really not interested” talk, or my real favorite. “I am sorry; I just really don’t think you’re my type after all.” That’s always my favorite, because I’ve usually already heard by then the famous lines, “O I cannot believe how much we have in common it’s like we’ve been waiting forever for each other.”
Bobby and I were both amazed at how awesome our time had been together so far, and his attitude concerning my mental illness had been positive and supportive. Still, something bothered me. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but every now and then there was just a hint of something lurking just beneath the surface of what he allowed me to see.
When he called, he told me he hadn’t realized I was feeling that badly. He asked why I hid it from him. He reminded me about our agreement to be honest with one another. I explained my fears to him. He told me, “I understand, but you must trust me a little. I’m not going to just stop being your friend or caring about you because you’re having a problem. If we were roommates, or partners of some kind I’d have to know about it, wouldn’t I? You recognize it; you’re going to get help. I’m proud of you for that. That’s hard to do.”
Not at all what I’d expected. Two things about it were most amazing to me. One, he’d taken time from his job to go outside, and take an early break for the purpose of calling to see what had finally brought me to this, and two the attitude with which he took, and dealt with me after hearing the problems as I saw them.
Not at any time did he show the least bit of being put off by what to him must’ve seemed like a sudden change. Again, I’d hidden just a bit too well the issue at hand.
This fear of mine was a bit of a problem but when I explained it, he’d understood. Again, to me this was a rare thing.
I felt so much better from that experience that for a few minutes I wondered if I might be making a mistake. Soon, however the old sadness was creeping up like a slow moving fog, and after a while, I was teary eyed again, and trying just to keep it together while I finished gathering my things.
Soon it was 3-PM in the afternoon, all arrangements had been made, and I’d been told I needed to go to ER see a crisis worker there, be evaluated, and then would be placed in the Crisis Stabilization Unit in Johnson City Tennessee.
I knew the process of doing this could take time. Once before I’d been in the ER for six hours while waiting to be seen, evaluated, and placed, but had I known that afternoon what would be in store for Campbell and me, I might not have gone.
I want to stop right here, and say, that would’ve been a huge mistake. I now realize that the 14 or more hours I spent in the ER, and then the next two or three hours I spent getting transferred and signed in were for sure . I am further along now than ever before with becoming stable and being as well as is possible for someone like me.
Finally, I was packed and ready to go. I’d chosen to take the bus to the ER. Many have asked me why. My answer r was not at first easy to give, but later when talking with my Niece In Law Michelle, I realized it was the need to feel empowered, in control of something and in charge of my destiny. For so long I’d felt as if I’d been tossed into a large washing machine and left on the spin cycle. I had to allow myself to make all the right choices, because I knew I’d already allowed myself to make all the wrong ones that had led me here.
Campbell and I caught the bus at 3:30 that afternoon. I had Campbell’s food, his bowl, and one of his small blankets from home.
4 days’ worth of clothes, my computer, and National Library for the Blind Digital Player. I had no idea what they’d let me use and what they wouldn’t, but I for sure knew I’d be in the ER a while, so I wanted my things with me even if I had to surrender them at the Crisis Stabilization Unit later.
After transferring buses once, it was around 4-PM and we were finally at the ER. The driver on duty was concerned for me, and so he himself walked up to the door with me and made sure I got in alright. I have told you all before just how awesome the KATS drivers are, but if that doesn’t show you nothing will. He took a risk that day with his very job because he was more concerned with my well-being than his own self.
I went inside with Campbell leading the way and wagging his tale as if to assure me. We walked up to the counter, and I said to the clerk, “My name is Patricia Fletcher, and I need to be evaluated by a crisis worker, and placed in the CSU before I hurt myself. I’m not there yet but if someone doesn’t help me, I will be.”
Their assistance began immediately.
By 4:45-PM I was signed in and ready to be seen by the nurse. When she came out to get me, I encountered a problem right away. When she called me, she stood where she was, I had no idea which way to go or what to do. A kind man there in the waiting room directed me. Then when Campbell and I walked up to her she said in a sing song voice, “Come on darling.” And then immediately took my arm, and of course as is unfortunately the way of it most of the time, she did not ask at first how she could help. This told me she, like many other medical professionals was not educated. For whatever reason this along with the way she spoke to me, like some small frightened two year old child, infuriated me. It was my emotional state, it was the fact that I am sick of encountering people who are professionals in the 21ST century who are still not educated, and it was both. I don’t know, but I shook her hand from my arm and said, “Ma’am! Please? Number one, do not ever touch someone working a Guide Dog or any other service animal without asking, and number two please? do not make the mistake that just because I am blind, I need to be babied.” She took one heck of an attitude with me. She got completely defensive and said, in an army sergeant nurse like voice, which did nothing to intimidate, but only served to further piss me off. “You will not speak to me like that. I do not like being told what to do.” I in turn said, “And you will not touch me without asking, because you are interfering with my dog’s work, and invading my personal space. Furthermore, it is you Ma’am who will not speak to me in that manner. I am a grown woman, and you are a professional who works among the public and you damned well should know better.” To say that we did not get off to a good start at all would be an understatement.
She walked me back allowing Campbell and I to follow her and you could more than tell she had her nose out of joint.
At that very moment it wouldn’t have bothered me one bit if the sprinkler system had activated and drowned her! However, once I got settled down and began to speak with her a bit more, we both calmed down, and after both of us had gathered ourselves, and apologized to one another, things began to smooth out.
Once I was registered and they had my vitals and all my insurance info I was sent back out to the waiting room to wait. It was a little after 5-PM in the evening then, and I was already feeling extremely exhausted, starting to have second thoughts, and almost ready to walk out. Just then my text alert went off, and it was Bobby asking me if I’d gotten there ok and if I was all right. I texted him back and told him how I was feeling, and he quickly called me to encourage me along. He said to me, “Baby, you must be seen, and you must get help. There’s no shame in it.” I nearly cried. I remembered all the times I’d been sick, and Donnie my EX had mocked me, belittled me, and refused to be a part of any of my treatment plan before, during, or after my hospital stays.
After talking with him a while I felt better. He spent some time just chatting with me, telling me funny stories about when he was a teenage boy and trying to keep my spirits up. Soon he had me laughing despite my situation. I loved his voice, always smiling and happy. Even when he scolded me it had a firm but gentle quality to it that endured him to me in an incredibly special way.
As we finished up I was somehow strengthened,
And by the time they called me back at 5:45-PM I was calmer and able to continue onward.
As I lie there mulling all this over, I couldn’t think what on earth could have been wrong with me earlier. “You’re just so used to everyone rejecting you, you’ve got it in your head, Bobby’s too good to be true.”
So I shut down the worry factory and picked up the flow of bliss. Even though I was in the ER and waiting to go to the CSU I was going to be ok, and I had this way cool friend who so far was walking that extra mile with not one bit of prodding from me.
He was informed, and there of his own free will. I simply didn’t have the capability of saying how awesome that truly was for me.
I’d never ever had anyone who felt that real. Never!
I was still frightened, and feeling very out of sorts, but knowing that Bobby was not about to leave me because I’d fallen ill with an episode went a long way toward helping me do what I knew I must do.
Finally Campbell and I were settled in an examination room, and a nurse was asking me a ton of questions.
After a while, a doctor came in to talk with me. By this time it was going on 6:30 in the evening and I let them know I’d soon need to feed Campbell and take him out. They were more than happy to help. First I got out his bowl, and food, fed him and gave him time to digest a bit while I gave them the blood and urine samples they’d requested. Then I got one of the security guards to take him out sense by this time I’d been admitted as a patient intended for a crisis evaluation and really did not need to leave the building. Even though they said they’d make an exception I decided to simply let them take him. I explained about telling him “Park Time! Campbell!” and gave them a pick up bag and sent him out saying, “It’s ok Bug, Mommy will be right here when you get back. After a little hesitation and a bit more coaxing from me and the guard he went willingly with him. Soon they were back, Campbell was wagging his tale, and I could tell he not only felt better for having gotten to use the bathroom but that he was understanding more about what was going on.
Once I got him resettled beside me one of the techs came in and asked me if I’d eaten. I sat for a moment thinking about it and then said, “You know? I don’t think I’ve eaten sense yesterday.” She said, “I’ll order you a tray. Do you have any diet restrictions?” I laughed despite my situation and said, “Only that I should not eat so much.” We both laughed, and it was nice to have some humor in what was becoming a stressful situation. It was after 7-PM and I was worrying about Campbell. He seemed to be tiring some and he was more than a bit anxious about all the activity around us. I’d taken off his harness and put down a blanket for him, but still I worried. I was having second thoughts about having him with me, and was considering calling Aaron, my nephew to get him, when Campbell himself let me know just exactly where he wanted to be. Just as I was reaching for my phone to call, one of the nurses stuck her head in to check on us. Campbell stood from where he’d been curled on his blanket, and came to stand beside me. When the nurse walked away, he put his mouth around my arm and began to chew gently on it, dribbling slobber down my arm. I asked, “You want to stay don’t you?” He began to wag his tale furiously round and round, and that put an end to my doubts. I realized Campbell and I were a team and we would get through this together, as we’d done with so many other situations before.
I settled him down again on his blanket, adjusted the tie-out link, and lay back to try and relax.
After a while, the nurse came back with my food, and I was happy to see it was a real meal. What with the lateness of the hour I figured it would be a sandwich from a machine, and while I’d have been glad to get it I was more than a little glad to see real, hot food on a plate. Then the nurse asked me what I’d like to drink. I asked timidly, “Could I maybe have a cup of coffee?” She was more than happy to get it for me. She asked me how I took it, and was soon back with a large hot cup of strong wonderful coffee. It too was real, and I could not help but smile as the food and coffee began to work their magik. I knew, however that while the food and coffee were strengthening me, and making me feel better physically and somewhat mentally that the feelings of stability would be short lived, and decided to continue to wait to be seen.
After I was finished eating a tech stepped in and asked if he could take away the trash left from my meal. I said he could, and he asked if I’d like more coffee, and I thanked him and said I would.
He came back quickly enough with a fresh cup and more creamer. He also showed me where the sink was, and helped me become more familiar with the layout of the room Campbell and I were staying in. It was spacious, and had a half way comfortable exam bed in it. There was plenty of room for Campbell and there were curtains all round. There was a toilet as well.
The only problem I’d really faced thus far were the patients on either side. One was someone who’d come in roaring drunk to the point that he’d passed out and wasn’t quite sure who or where he was, and from what I could tell the guy had some other ongoing health issues as well. Then there were the couple on the other side of me. Those two, I wanted to smack just for general principle. First off I named them Mr. Sad, and Mrs. Reason for being so. They started out bring in Mr. Sad, and he was in crisis like me, only once Mrs. reason for sad came in I understood why. Hell, no one could’ve stood that. I listened in amazement, and hoped they’d admit her as well. Then after the doctors and nurses left and they finished their argument with him apologizing and her bitching more, they began to make up, and I am not talking about apologetic hugging or a gentle loving kiss followed by a snuggly hug. I’m talking about making out. They also had their TV on loud. Now by this time it was after 9 in the evening and I was hoping for some rest. I decided to wait them out. I’d been told the crisis worker would see me next, and I was hopeful they’d get us transferred soon. I knew if they did not I was going to have to try and improve the sleeping conditions for Campbell. If he was to help me he needed sleep. Regardless of whether I got any or not. I knew the noise wouldn’t bother him. Hell he lived with me and my weird hours at home, but I had to see to his comfort a bit more.
Around ten or so the crisis worker came in and we began to talk. She spent quite a bit of time with me, and I thought that as far as evaluations went hers was a darned good one and in fact was a bit impressed.
She assured me she did not think there would be a problem getting me in to the CSU (Crisis Stabilization Unit) but she wanted to phone them. She told me she was not the only worker on duty and that someone may have admitted someone there from another area. I asked her how many they had on that night, and she said they had one per shift per county. I have been told sense then that was false by one mental health worker, and yet others tell me it is so. Who knows what to believe? Anyhow, soon she was gone with her paper work and still we waited. Finally around 11:30 when she still had not returned I hit my call button and one of the guards came in. He asked what he could do for me and I told him I needed to find out if they were going to accept me in to the CSU and if we’d be transferred out. He promised to check. As he started out I added, “I’m also going to have to see to my dog’s comfort a bit more if we’re to be here much longer. He needs his rest if he is to work for me when we are ready to go.” I was starting to be concerned. While Campbell never complains, he has tells that let me know when he is flagging, and they were starting to make themselves known. The biggest one? Restlessness. He was showing sign of that in a big way. He was, Up and down at every noise and every time someone came in or by the room.
After a while I checked my phone again for the time and was more than a little annoyed to see it was now after midnight and that no one had yet come back. Mr. and Mrs. Sad and reason for being so were playing their TV loudly as if they were at home, chatting companionably as if they were snuggled on their couch. Oh! How I wanted to pick them up by their collars, and put them out!
Then there was Mr. Too Drunk to Know Where the Hell He Was, and who showed up naked. I simply shook my head.
He was chatting happily with one of the staff from there in the ER, and I was truly starting to be a bit more than impatient. Up until now, I’d done everything asked, not complained at all, and gotten reasonably good care, but now it was late, my dog was tired and needing to sleep and quite honestly so was I.
Finally the guard came back; he informed me that I had been accepted to the CSU but that it would be in the morning before we could be moved. There was no one on duty who could come and pick me up. To say I was feeling a bit upset would’ve been not quite an accurate statement, but I took a deep breath and said, “Well, let’s see what we can do about making Campbell a more suitable bed.” The guard was more than helpful. He went and got some of the largest pillows I ever saw, a large fitted sheet, and made a great big soft bed for him.
Then he took him out for me, walked him a bit allowing him to go park time, and stretch his legs.
Soon he was back, and I was tucking him in for the night. I gave him gentle kisses, and petted him a while. Stroking his fur ever so softly I said “Bug, Mommy is so enormously proud of you. You have been ever so good. I promise when we go home, you are getting a big treat, diet or not.” He let out a content sigh, and began to drift toward sleep.
Soon my boy was settled down, we’d turned down the lights and he was snoozing as if he were in his bed at home. Finally I thought I could relax, and try to sleep myself. First though I needed to do something about the giggling couple watching stupid adult cartoons in the room next door, and Mr. chatty drunk bragging about how many DUI convictions he currently had and what he was awaiting next as far as charges went.
I’d accidentally let the extremely helpful tech, and the exceptionally good dog bed maker security guard get away, and now needed to get some help. Mr. DUI 101 was bragging to the lady staff member, whom I found out later was the ER Secretary although I’m not sure how much longer that lasted after what happened next.
After I got Campbell settled and sleeping, I spent some time on my computer. Writing, I thought would indeed, be the best release of stress. As usual I was right. I in fact wrote a funnier version of what I am telling you now, with much more sarcasm tossed in.
Once that was done, however, it was nearing 2-AM and I knew sleep was needed for me too.
I turned everything off, settled down in my bed, and tried to sleep, but Mr. Drunk Driving 101 was still chatting and Mr. and Mrs. Sad and reason for sad were still giggling and watching what I’d learned was Adult Swim, and while I liked that, I did not want it at 2-AM while in the damned ER.
Finally, I could stand none of this any longer, and hit my call button.
Now folks, the reaction I got was not what I expected.
What do you think I expected?
I expected said staff member chatting it up with Mr. Drunk Driving 101 to stop and come to see why I’d pushed my call button. She was standing just a few feet away it was beeping and blinking, but she made no move. I waited, and still nothing. I waited again, but still the two continued to chat. I was livid. I picked up my cell and determined if I lived to tell of this Bobby Donald would be properly rewarded for his generous gift of this phone. I asked Siri to dial the front desk of the hospital, give the name and the phone did just that. Soon the operator for the switch board had answered, I said calmly, “Please? Connect me to your ER?” She did with no question. Of course, why would she? When the ER picked up I said, “Hello, My name is Patricia Fletcher, I am a patient in your hospital and am in the ER and I pressed my call button several minutes ago, there is a staff member in the room directly next-door to me and yet my light continues to blink and beep.” The lady asked, “Ma’am, are you in the hospital?” I said, in a sarcastic tone of voice, “Yes, very observant of you. Now, can you answer my question?” She asked, “Why are you calling?” I said, in an overly disappointed voice, “Oh? Now, you’ve gone and disappointed me. I thought you were observant, but I see you are no smarter or able to see or hear than your coworker.” Then she said, “You’re calling from an exam room here in the ER?” “Yes, how very good of you to connect the dots?” I want someone back here now!”
Soon there were not one but two staff members in my room, one being the charge nurse, miraculously the staff member in the adjoining room.
Disappeared with another official lady who was speaking with her in not so friendly tones about the situation at hand as they walked away.
The charge nurse asked me for details. First, I explained why I’d called in the first place. Told of the noise from both sides. She took care of Mr. and Mrs. Sad and reason for being so and asked the Drunk Driving instructor on the other side to settle it down as well. He responded by saying, “What’s a guy got to do to get a drink round here?” I don’t even want to know what her face looked like. Her voice told me all I needed to know when she thundered back, “Sir! Go! To! Sleep! Or! At! Least! Bye! Silent! So! Others! Can!”
Campbell had raised his head up by this time to say, “Good God yall shut the hell up!” and snorted as much, giving a yawn and a sigh, he lay back down.
Now all was quiet but the roaring in my head. I didn’t know whether I’d sleep or not. It was 2:30 in the morning and although things weren’t busy, they were active, and I was more than a bit nervous about what lie ahead.
As I drifted in and out of sleep thoughts went swirling and whirling through my mind. Pieces and snatches of voices from different characters in the play I called life. Drew’s constantly encouraging me, “Come on Lady, take a chance, there’s a fifty percent chance you’ll be right.” Sick of me writing that? Guess what? I’m sick of hearing it. Want to know why it won’t stop? Cause every time you take one damned chance, whether it is right or wrong, if you are like Mr. Gibbon, and thank Goddess me, you are going to take another one, because you want to see just how much of that fifty percent you can get. “Damn! You! Drew!” I thought as sleep finally took me all the way under a little round three that Wednesday morning.
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