A three hour stay with an involuntary commitment, pending a mental illness evaluation.
| "I locked myself out of the house," Anna called out as she stood inside of her covered deck. The smell of cat urine and feces were enough to make anyone think twice about entering. The home, built in the early 1950's, showed signs of neglect, and a lack of taste. Signs stating "Go Away" were written on cut-up cardboard boxes, and taped to various locations on the exterior siding of the home. "Are those your cats?" I asked. Three cats were scurrying around in the grass, playing with trash that littered the yard. I knew from stories told by several of my co-workers, that Anna had many cats. She was known as the "Cat Lady" at the Police Department. Six months earlier when she was being involuntarily committed, 30 dead cats were found in her freezer. She claimed that she was preserving them until she could give them a proper burial. The manner of their demise was unknown. It was also unknown how long she had been saving them, like an antique collector saves old rocking chairs and china. "I'll give you a ride to your mom's if you want, I know she has a spare key," I said. "That would be great," Anna replied, "only, I know thats not where you are taking me. You are taking me to the hospital again, aren't you? My mother is having me committed because she is scared. Scared, because now she knows that I'm onto her." I helped Anna walk to my patrol car. I took special care in dealing with her. I was warned by her mother that during the last commitment attempt, three of our officers had to wrestle her down to the floor, handcuff her, then carry her to their cruiser. I could smell urine on her clothing. Not only cat urine, but human urine, as well. She wore dirty aqua colored sweat pants, along with several layers of sweaters and coats. Every pocket of her two outer coats were filled with prescription medications. One pocket contained an eyeliner pencil. I took it away from her, in case she thought about using it as a weapon. She carried an extra large grocery bag with two or three smaller bags tucked inside. One bag contained more medication. Another bag contained what appeared to be clothing and a ziplock baggie. I skimmed through the bags looking for anything that could also potentially be used as a weapon. I put all of the bags into the trunk of my vehicle. "I feel very sick," Anna went on speaking. "I am still feeling the effects of the drug I was given." What drug could that be? I thought to myself. At a quick glance, I estimated at least 25 to 30 medications in her pockets upon my search.
"What drug?" I asked.
"The one that my mother and her girlfriend gave me last night. You see, they drug me frequently, then sell my body for sex."
"Oh my God!" I yelled. "Why would they do that?"
"They've been doing it for years," she claimed as she laid her head against the window. The smell of her clothing was beginning to nauseate me, and I had only driven one or two blocks.
I rolled down my windows and thought about where the closest dollar store was so I could purchase some orange or vanilla scented cleanser after I cleared the call.
I always liked my patrol car to smell good. It gives the passenger a pleasurable experience before I take away their freedom.
The guys in Rookie school used to tease me about my tactics. "You going to leave them a mint on their pillow too when you leave 'em in jail?"
"Kill 'em with kindness" I would reply. "That may be the only thing that saves my life, you guys should try it!"
"I was raped last night," Anna started to speak. How I wished that she would be quiet and go to sleep.
"I know it happened. When I woke up this morning, I was bleeding from my anus."
Being a rational person, I could not imagine anybody making up such a story. Mental illness or not, such a traumatic event could never be fabricated in that way. After listening to the stories that followed, I saw what her disease could do to a person, but I continued to be curious, wondering if her stories were true.
"I'll be sure to have a rape-kit given to you at the hospital," I responded. Thinking back now, I don't think I was trying to pacify her. I wanted to ease my mind and possibly have the rape investigated, if she was indeed raped as she claimed.
"They are trying to get to my millions of dollars up north. My family, my birth family that is, owned a very successful mining company. My mother and father died when I was five years old. The woman who claims that she is my mother now, is really my aunt. Evil Witch. She's money hungry. She has a birth daughter who calls herself my sister. She is in on it too. One night they drugged me and when I woke, I was missing part of my calf muscle. Oh yeah, they said I did it to myself, but I am not crazy. My so called sister is a nurse, she knows how to perform surgery. She assists doctors with operations every day. They want people to think I'm crazy so they can put me in an institution and take my millions. I have five million in the bank up north." Anna added.
"They have finally figured out that I know. But until they can get their hands on my money, they'll do anything to pay their own bills, including sell my body. One time, I was given such a high dose of a potent drug, that I woke up the following day in the woods, naked. I vaguely remember being raped by three or four men that time. You would not believe who is paying my mother to have sex with me. City officials, doctors, lawyers, and I even remember a few cops."
We arrived at the hospital. I was looking around for a parking space close to the entrance, hoping that there was a good doctor on staff that day who would make my stay with Anna as fast as possible. Some commitments were a fast process, but most take up a whole shift or longer. On some commits, I have worked a twelve hour shift standing by at the hospital with the patient, only to have to call another officer relieve me, because the doctors had not made a decision to keep them.
"I hope they hurry," Anna said, as we walked inside, almost like she was reading my mind. Although, her next statement made me realize that she was not. "I need a drug test and an ultrasound, I am pretty sure that I am pregnant. About 7 months along. Twins. I wish they would move so you can feel them." She lifted her shirt above her breasts and showed me her stomach. "I am not fat either! I am pregnant."
"Oh my god," she smiled, holding her beer belly. "I wonder who the father is. I know these babies were conceived by a rape, but it is not their fault. Oh no! What if the hospital gives me something to miscarry? I know my mother is paying off the doctors here, I saw it for myself. They are all in on it, you know. There is a lot of money at stake here, ten million dollars. They want to kill the babies."
"Have you ever been up north? I can tell by your accent that you have. Back when I was young and thin, I used to model. I worked in the city, window modeling. I would have to stand still for long periods of time. Sometimes I would play jokes on little kids. I would wave to them as they drove by and scare them. I could hear them say 'Mom! That mannequin is real!'"
"I grew up in a huge mansion near the ocean. I always wore beautiful dresses and had the prettiest hair. We had maids, paid lawn maintenance, a butler, and cooks. That is, until my parents died. That's when I went to live with my aunt."
"She never loved me. She always bought her daughter the best clothes, and I would have to wear rags."
"One time, when I was in the hospital, they trashed my house. They smeared cat crap all over the walls. They wrote things on the walls too, with a permanent marker. Things only they knew. Almost like a secret code."
"Look what else they did to me..." Anna pulled the sleeve of her dirty long sleeve T-shirt up to her shoulder. She had a severe burn scar from her elbow down to her wrist. The skin was red and blotchy. The unharmed skin looked like it was raised about three layers of skin above the scar. It was obvious that this was an arm that was set on fire. There were twenty or more scabs on top the scar tissue, where it had been picked at until it bled.
"My mother set my arm on fire! One day I woke up and saw this was done to me! Now I have to pick pieces of my skin and save it for the grafting doctor. Thats why I have so many scabs," she said as she was making a new spot on her skin bleed by digging at it with her dirty fingernails.
Then she pulled up the right side of her dirty aqua sweat pants. I was taken back by what I saw. Anna had a couple of hundred scabs on her right calf. Some were healing, some were fresh wounds. Some old scars remained, like a bad memory of years of self torture and self mutilation.
"I have been collecting skin samples for another doctor," she went on to say, "that is what is in the ziplock bag. They have been putting plankton on my skin, my mother and sister. Do you know what that is? Of course you do. I can tell that you are an intelligent person. I can also tell that you are clairvoyant like me. We clairvoyants know when we are near other clairvoyants."
I did not know how to take that comment. I just smiled and allowed her to continue talking. Maybe the doctors and nurses would hear her rambling on and come in to save me. Save me. That is funny.
"My psychic friend from the FBI speaks to me a lot. Only, when I speak back to her I have to whisper. The doctors implanted a radio in my teeth one time when I was here. She does not want the officials to know what we are speaking of. They monitor who I talk to, and keep records. She knows about my thirty million dollars up north."
"She is speaking to me right now. She is telling me to look at the wall. She is sending me a message."
Anna excitedly stood up from her hospital bed and began pointing to the wall that was covered in a beige colored wall paper. I remained seated with my guard up in case she decided to make a run for freedom or tried to grab something to fight me with.
"Look! Can you see it?"
"No," I said, "but I am one of those people who could never make out the hidden shape in those geometrical pictures that used to be so popular."
"Its right there! Ha Ha! She is so funny! W...I...F...E!"
"I'll ask her to send you another message. I like you. You seem to care. I want to you come with me when I get my ultrasound. Then you can see my babies."
"N...O," Anna laughed hysterically. "She said 'NO', she will not send you a message."
Anna sat on the bed again, then a nurse came into the room. Anna explained to the nurse all that she had told me. She liked the nurse as well, she thought that the nurse had a boisterous voice.
I had Anna raise both of her pant legs to show the nurse the old and new battle wounds that she carried. A battle that only Anna could fathom. One that her family members also suffered for years, trying to help her. Emotional trauma that they endured, the threats she would give them, assuring them that they would see a most gruesome death if they interfered. Fighting a disease that had all of the control.
My three hour visit with Anna was one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. Her eyes were genuine when she told her stories. I know that she believed every word. She was an intellectual person fighting a terrible sickness.
I do not want to know what happened to her calf muscle. I know something happened. A very large chunk was missing from her leg. Judging from the scarring, it had been done several years ago. I also do not want to know how the gynecological exam went, if there was one. I mentioned the "rape" to the doctor, and voiced my concerns about what he might find. Did she perform more self mutilation? I can only wonder.
I asked Anna to keep an open mind when she spoke with the doctor. That she may not be pregnant, maybe she was just bloated. I mentioned that I heard about a woman who had a 92 pound tumor in her stomach. I regretted saying it after it came out of my mouth, I may have given her something else to obsess over.
Her stories were so real that I was not sure what to believe. If some of them would not have been so outrageous, I would have thought her to be just as sane anyone.
Later, I learned that the rape was created in her mind. The self mutilation had to be explained somehow. Each time she abused herself, she was in another world, a world that only she understood. One where she felt like an important person, with high social status, and many admiring friends. When she "woke" from that world, she could not remember what she had done.
Passing the blame was her only defense. Because in her mind, she was not crazy. She was in denial about her diagnosis. She did not like to take her medications, she said they made her feel strange, so she would stop taking them. That is when she would start to hurt herself and threaten to kill her family.
Anna was committed to the mental ward at the hospital. She was content with the thought of being away from the horrible people who she thought were drugging and raping her. She even accused the doctor of being one of the men involved. It took five of us to hold her down while she was injected with a sedative. I can still see the look in her eyes as they took her away. She screamed, begging me to help her. To protect her. To protect her babies.