Chapter 5 A memoir. Trigger warning: Trauma
|PART V: FADE TO BLACK
I glance at the clock. Oh fuck me it’s 10 am and that means that if I am staying on this ‘I’M WELL!!!’ kick then I have to go to Art Therapy. No………….all these people are nuts!!! I don’t want to go and make some stupid crafty piece of shit. Well, even if I DID try hard it would come out looking like shit because I am no where near being artistic in any way. So the doctor should have asked me that, ‘Could you be an Artist if you want to?’ ‘Well, no, because I KNOW I suck at that. It’s plain to see!’ I get out of bed and wander down the hall to the nurses' station.
‘Where’s Art Therapy supposed to be at?’
They looked surprised and stumble over their words while telling me which room it will be held in. I thank them and ever so slowly make my way towards the door to hell on earth. I stop at the threshold.
‘Hi! Mr. Hunt….right?’
‘Well come in and take a seat. I’m so happy you’re here!’ She’s an older woman who definitely does look like she’s happy I’m there; ecstatic as a matter of fact.
I study the room and the table. There’s five people sitting there already working on their ‘masterpieces’. I notice one guy there who looks to be halfway sane though so I decide to sit about two seats away from him. I’m a people watcher; and I realize he could be a possible person of interest. He looks…well…normal! And he’s only talking to the therapist but talking as if he has some sort of intellectual ability. Hmmm…..I’ll have to continue to watch this one closely. After taking my seat the therapist goes through a myriad of things I can do while I’m there and it’s just all so annoying and I really don’t want to do any of the suggestions; but I know I have to. So, I tell her I want to color. She gives me a sheet of paper with an intricate mandala on it and I start to slowly shade in the shapes. The more I color the madder I get though. I have an hour of this bullshit!!! How the hell is this helping me get better? Oh sure, it’s better than ECT, but what the fuck! Instead of picking up another crayon I grab a pencil. On the edges of the mandala I start to write.
‘This place is stupid. You’re supposed to be helping me get better and I’m doing this crap. I want a cigarette! I want a Mountain Dew! I want my computer access! This hospital is hypocritical! You won’t let people go to smoke because it is unhealthy and yet you have a fucking McDonald’s right down on the first floor! There’s a heart attack waiting to happen! Dumbasses!’
There, done with Art Therapy…time is up. I put the pencil down, leave the paper on the table and head back to my room. Mental note to self: The ‘normal’ guy’s name is Steven and his therapist is also Dr. Lall.
When I get back to my room Mom is sitting there in the chair waiting for me.
‘Honey…….how are you?’, she says while giving me a big hug and kiss.
I start to cry and tell her everything that has transpired while I’d been there for three days; choking back the tears through my sentences. She sits beside me and listens with her arm around me. I feel so helpless, but now not so alone anymore. We get through my initial upset in about 15 minutes and we start to talk about other things that are going on outside of the hospital; my family, how her trip was, did she sleep well at my house, just everything we could think of that didn’t have to do with this brackish mental ward. She stays the whole time allotted for visiting; comforting me and assuring me she would be back that evening. She’s brought me some clothes from home which I am oh so thankful for and I put them on; but she said that they wouldn’t let me have my shoes back yet and that they are holding them at the nurse’s station. She’s also brought me a book, candy, a magazine, and a beautiful card. I walk her to the door and tell her I love her as she persuades me not to forget to eat my lunch because it looked good. I assure her I will and she leaves.
Walking back into the room I turn on the TV and stare at the tray with my food on it again. What kind of mystery meat do we have for today that I will undoubtedly not eat? I pick up the lid and am ecstatic to discover that it is soup and a sandwich!!!! They finally got my order right!!! Wooohooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!! That means the soup is easily flushed!!!!! I take it to the toilet, dump it, and flush the commode. Now, for the sandwich.
What to do. What to do. What to do. What to do.
My brain is empty. It will definitely cause a possible toilet clog if I try to flush the sandwich…even in little pieces…too much flushing involved in that. I’m going to have to eat a few bites. ARGGGHHHHHHH. The best thing to do is to eat it like ripping off a band aid. I pick up the ham sandwich and take three huge bites.
Oh man….I did it. I down the apple juice to make sure the sandwich doesn’t get stuck in my throat and I gag it back up. It worked. Okay…..now save the brownie because I DO like those and will eat it. There….lunch is over and I repeat this process at dinner time because I always order the same thing; sandwich, soup, and a brownie. Luckily, for breakfast I ordered flushable cereal and fruit!
‘Mr. Hunt! How are you today!’, asks the Spanish male nurse who is apparently responsible for me in the afternoons.
‘I’m fine!! Feel good.’
‘Great great great..that is good to hear. I need to take your blood pressure and get your vitals today okay?’
I hold my arm out and say, ‘Sure…why not?’
He gently places the cuff on my arm, pushes the button on the BP machine and it starts to whir.
‘Good…good. Your blood pressure is in a good range. Now just let me get your temp and we’ll be almost done here.’
Almost done? That’s usually it isn’t it? He finishes taking my temperature and asks me to walk with him to another room so he can get the rest of my vitals.
Weird, but I comply. When we get to the room it looks like an abandoned gym.
‘Mr. Hunt would you step up on scale for me?’
‘HEY!!! WHY ARE YOU WEIGHING ME???!!! DID THAT DOCTOR TELL YOU TO DO THAT!!!!’. I start to sob like a little girl.
‘Mr. Hunt……’, he puts a hand on my back and rubs in circles, ‘Please don’t be upset. We don’t like to see you like that……..come on. Let’s just get your weight and we’ll be done. No more vitals and you can go back to your room.’
I step on the scale sobbing my ass off.
‘Mr. Hunt…it’s okay…you can step off now. Come on let’s just go back to your room and you can watch some TV .’ , and with a flash of brilliance says, ‘Hey maybe you could read that book your mom brought you. She should be here shortly to see you…right?’
We walk back to my room and I flop down in the chair. The scale read 93 pounds. My lunch has already arrived and I stare at it from the worn, ugly blue, vinyl chair. I can’t do this anymore. I just can’t. I get up, pull my cart over to the chair, sit down, and pull the lid off. A sandwich, soup, pudding, banana, brownie, milk, and apple juice. For the first time in three months, I eat a normal meal and I eat it all. I take a shower, get dressed into my jeans, t-shirt, hiking boots (they finally gave me back my shoelaces today), get my book out to read, and wait for my mother to arrive.
As is usual for my mother she is right on time; early in fact. She spots the lunch tray, smiles at me before we say our greetings, and she tells me how much she loves me and how much better I look today. I feel a true smile come from deep within my soul. I shyly look down and thank her. She has come bearing gifts as is the other typical thing with my mother. I got another magazine, a new baseball cap, a bag of ChexMix and Reese’s cups. She also comes bearing another gift I was not expecting and that is a cheeseburger from the McDonald’s on the 1st floor. Oh mom…..how ironic.