This is part two of the story of my second hospitalization. If you haven’t read part one yet, you can find it here.
Nurse Angie grabbed the blood pressure cuff and walked over to the bed where I was sitting. She pulled up my sleeve and saw all the fresh cuts on my left arm. The right arm had cuts too, but they had healed for a few days so she decided to put the cuff there.
“I don’t think those need stitches, but I let the doctor decide”, she said as she was squeezing the bulb on the blood pressure machine.
I didn’t say anything, I just nodded my head and went back to my deep breathing. After she finished, she took my temperature and pulse, and then asked me if I felt like hurting myself. I told her that I did indeed feel like hurting myself. Seven hours in that room did nothing to help with what I was feeling. She nodded her head and began writing on my chart.
Just then my parents walked in the room, and I immediately felt guilty because they had waited for me for so long. My dad especially didn’t look well. I told them everything that happened and said that they should go home and I would call them as soon as I had access to a phone. My mom hugged me and they stood there watching Nurse Angie writing in my chart.
“What is going to happen to him now?” my dad asked when Angie finished and looked up. She said that someone from floor five would be down to talk to me, and then I would be transferred there. My dad seemed satisfied with the answer so he said that they would go home and wait for my call. I hugged them both goodbye and they left.
I was on my own again.
An hour later an intake specialist from floor five came to see me. Nurse Angie had been in and out the past hour, tending to my wounds and bringing me water and little things to eat that she had stolen from the food cart.
I looked over the intake specialist as he was reading my chart. He was a very thin, older man with grey hair at his temples. He seemed to be nervous because I noticed his hands were shaking a bit as he handed my chart back to Nurse Angie. I found out his name was Chester.
“I’m sorry to say, but floor five and floor three are completely full right now. You will have to stay the night on floor one. Someone from that ward will be by to pick you up shortly.” Chester looked extremely uncomfortable telling me this news as he walked out of the door to my room.
Another two hours passed, during which I took a nap and talked to Nurse Angie. I asked her several times about the differences in the wards, but she always just smiled and changed the subject.
“Bill from floor one is here to pick you up.” She frowned as she walked through my door the last time.
Bill turned out to be a huge, muscle bound man in his late twenties. He strolled through the door pushing a wheelchair and nodded for me to sit down.
“You will have to wear these until you get to your room” he said as he put handcuffs on my wrists. Fresh panic rose in my chest as I looked at him and asked why. He said it was procedure for floor one and not to worry, I wouldn’t have them on for long.
As he pushed me down the hallway I did my best to hide the handcuffs so any passerby would not see them. I felt violated to be restrained in this way, but there was nothing I could do. Finally, after many twists and turns, Bill and I were standing in front of a white metal door. There was a little window with safety glass. Bill pushed a button and far away a buzzer sounded. A short time later a woman looked out the window. This time the door buzzed and Bill opened it and pushed me through.
We were in a stark white hallway lined with metal doors. Each door had a window with no glass at eye level and an opening at waist level. The patients must have heard me come in because I could see hands coming out of the openings at most of the doors.
Then there was the screaming. It was coming from several of the rooms. I listened closely and could tell that at least one of the screams was coming from a woman. They didn’t stop, they just kept screaming on and on. It didn’t seem to bother Bill at all, but I was sweating from panic and almost at the point of screaming myself.
Bill pushed me past a large glass window where people with guns were sitting around eating their dinner. One of them, a small woman in a blue uniform, pointed to the end of the hall and raised three fingers. Bill nodded and pushed me down the hallway. As we passed by each door I could see the person inside, most were yelling at me. I couldn’t tell what most were saying until we passed by a door with the number 4 painted on it. The man inside was screaming at me that he was going to get out of his cell and kill me when he had the chance. I looked away and tried to ignore him the best I could.
We stopped in front of a door with a big 3 painted on it and Bill waited till it buzzed and opened it. Inside was a small mattress on the floor. The walls were painted white except for one large bloody handprint right in the middle above the bed. Bill came over and took off my handcuffs and motioned towards the bed. He left without saying a word and the door slammed behind him.
A few minutes later the woman in the blue uniform came through the door after it buzzed with an orange jumpsuit. She told me to take off all my clothes, except my underwear, and put it on. She didn’t leave the room as I was changing, she just stood watching as I took off my clothes and changed. She put my clothes in a cloth bag she was holding and zipped it up. She walked up to the door and raised her hand to the camera bolted to the ceiling and the door buzzed again and she pushed through it into the hallway. She closed the door and left me alone.
I lay on the bed for what seemed like hours listening to the screaming coming from the other cells. After a while they all stopped, except for the woman who kept screaming “HELP ME” at the top of her lungs. I tried my best to ignore it and attempted to think about the situation I was in.
I realized they had put me in a ward with the worst of the worst. I felt I would be safe if I stayed in my room, but it didn’t make me feel any better. Fresh tears rolled down my face and before I knew it, I was sobbing uncontrollably again. I knew they were watching me, but I didn’t care. I was so hopelessly sad, and I wished I had just driven into that tree when I had the chance. Being dead was far better than being where I was now.
A short time later, the lights went out and the panic flared up again. Everyone started screaming and yelling and I knew how they felt. It was dark except for the little light flashing on the camera above the door, and a little light streaming in the window from the hallway.
After some time everybody stopped screaming, even the woman, and I was left in complete quiet. I was scared, very scared. I didn’t think I would be able to sleep, but I was so tired from crying all day I finally nodded off to sleep.
I awoke some time later by yelling coming from the hallway. I could smell food and the lights had been turned on. Then I noticed a tray had been balanced on the ledge of the opening in the door. I got up and grabbed the tray and went back to sit on my bed. I knew what the yelling was about. On the tray was what looked like oatmeal and a shriveled up apple. A carton of milk rounded out my breakfast. I realized even though the food looked hideous, I was hungry, so I ate it. When I was done I put the tray back on the opening in the door and when someone came to collect it I asked if I could use the bathroom. A few minutes later the door buzzed and the woman from last night opened it and said I should follow her. No screaming welcomed me as I stepped into the hallway so I figured everyone else must still be eating. She took me down the hallway to a door and told me to use the bathroom. I went barefoot in the door and hoped I wouldn’t step in anything disgusting.
After I was done, I stepped out and the woman said I was being transferred to floor three. They didn’t bother with the handcuffs and I took that as a good sign. We left floor one through the same door I came in the night before and a wheelchair was waiting for me. I got in and the woman pushed me down the hallway to the elevators. We went up three floors and got out and stood in front of yet another metal door with a little window in it. The unnamed woman from floor one got back in the elevator and left me there without a word.
A few minutes passed and the door finally opened and Ross the Aide came out and pushed me through the door. I found out after only a few moments with Ross that he was a real asshole. He asked how I “enjoyed” my stay on floor one, and then started point to other patients and tell me a little about each one. He was very mean in his descriptions and I developed and immediate dislike for him. Thankfully, I only had to spend a few more minutes with him. He pushed me through the thirty or so people hanging out in the common area and brought me to a room. There were three beds inside. He pushed me to the bed nearest the barred window and told me it was mine. I immediately got out of the chair, got in bed and pulled the thin blanket over my head. I was asleep within minutes.
I woke some time later to darkness. It took a few minutes for my eyes to adjust, but when they did, I could see a figure standing over my bed staring at me. I let out a little yelp and sat up in bed. The figure didn’t move, it just stood there and didn’t say anything. I jumped up out of bed and walked into the common room, looking for someone to complain to. I found a nurse sitting at a desk and told her what had just happened. She didn’t seem to care. She just told me to go back to bed. I got very angry and told her in no uncertain terms that she was to come with me and remove the person standing over my bed. She didn’t like being told what to do because I was quickly grabbed from behind by Ross the asshole and ushered into the “quiet room”. I found out that this is where unruly people would be put to cool down. I was even more angry to be treated like this, but had no one to direct my anger towards because Ross slammed the door and locked it behind him.
I don’t know how long I was in the “quiet room”, but eventually a kindly-looking older gentleman came in and told me I was being transferred to floor five. He told me to change out of the orange jumpsuit into some pajamas he provided for me and we left floor three, never to return. I glared at the nurse and Ross the asshole on my way out as they stood by the desk and whispered.
On my way to floor five, I found out that my saviors’ name was Randy and that five was much more hospitable than floor one and three.
I spent the next week on floor five and it was a blur of activity. I saw doctors for my medication and therapists. I promised myself that I would get out of this place as soon as I could and after a few days I started telling them I wanted to go home as soon as possible. I got into the routine of group therapy and medication and started feeling a bit better. I didn’t think I felt good enough to leave, but I didn’t tell anyone else that fact because I wanted to go home.
I saw my parents every day and my wife brought the kids to see me too. I could tell the kids were uncomfortable being there so I told her not to bring them again.
After they released me I jumped back, somewhat unwillingly, into my old life. I had lost my job because I left without telling them and didn’t show up for work again. I wasn’t feeling much better than I did when I went in the hospital, but being at home was far better for me than being locked up in the hospital.
The thought of trying to work another job terrified me, so I filled out all the paperwork and a month later I was put on Social Security Disability. After I knew I didn’t have to work, I started to feel better and better every day. I worked hard to get to a point where I could manage to live my life and hopefully forget what happened to me in the hospital.
That is my story and I’m sticking to it…