Please be aware, that if you have a trigger for suicide do not read further.
This piece is written in the hopes that someone who feels the same way might think twice and realize that they are not alone. I’m not looking for sympathy or pity.
It is now Thursday. I’m still wearing the same clothes I was brought in with but my brother-in-law is coming through Phoenix close to where I am today, so my wife packed me three outfits which will have to be washed first before I can get them. He was staying with us for a few weeks as well, while flooring was being installed in his new house.
My wife was also sending a book which is hardcover and not allowed but Vlad let me slip it through.
Breakfast, walk break (smoke break), and morning groups were uneventful. I was looking forward to seeing my BIL for some normality and at the same time terrified. What would we talk about? Would he act differently? I tried to turn it around to see if I’d act differently towards a friend or relative and it would depend on who it was. I didn’t know what to expect, and he probably didn’t either.
I finally got a call from the nurse that my visitor had arrived. I assume there would be some kind of visiting area but we met in the cafeteria with other people. Except for the lack of orange jump suits, it really reminded me of a prison visit you’d see on TV or in the movies.
He was sitting at the only open table, somehow I was the last to come down. He stood and gave me a long bear hug and I recipricated. It was good to see a familiar face. We sat down and he said, “If you didn’t want me staying with you, you could have just said so.” He was so deadpan it just broke the ice perfectly. He’s a complete weirdo anyway so it was inline with his personality, that’s why we get along.
We talked about the hospital, the schedule, the food, the kind of people I was encountering, and just anything to take up the time. He wasn’t any different, outwardly at least. I had no idea what he was thinking.
Time was up, just 45 minutes twice a week for visitation. I would be out by next visiting day. We said goodbye with another long hug. I said, “Tell her I’m OK.” referring to my wife. He nodded and left with all the others. I watched him leave and suddenly I was homesick. I hadn’t thought so much about it the last several days with so much happening but now that I physically connected with home it was all I could think about.
I got back upstairs and it was almost time for lunch. This would be the first time I’d see another patient acting crazy. Lunch was fine and calm until the end. We had an aide with us who used to be a prison guard and it showed. This made his table-side manner a bit harsher than the other aides. One of the women, Daisy, who had one child and was currently pregnant and hooked on Meth, had the mentality of a child. I didn’t know if it was her current drug detox or something else. She was friends with Tommy becasue she though he was like Superman.
Daisy, like I had seen her do every day with Tommy, was bringing four cups of beverages back upstairs with her. The rule was one cup but I had not seen it observed in the last two days. Our stricter aide reminded everyone that only one cup was allowed. Tommy complained but complied. Daisy argued with him for several minutes before she threw three cups on the floor and held the one up in triumph.
Mr. former prison gaurd demanded she clean it up. He was treating her like a child, and she had acted like a spoiled brat but there was a better way to hande it. We had to sit back down. Several people with bad anxiety issues starting cleaning with paper towels. Our prison aide went for a bucket and mop and made Daisy clean up. This all happening while the next group was waiting to come have lunch.
Daisy was not a happy camper the rest of the day and only took one cup up with her after dinner.
The first group of the afternoon was gym time. I went down with Jay and Helen and we played badminton with the gym supervisor. It was only half a gym so basketballs kept bouncing onto the court. It felt good to run around a little bit and build up a sweat. Get the air moving in my lungs, get my muscles moving, and clear the cobwebs from my brian.
Back upstairs we had Frank for second group. It was on diagnosing Bi-polar so I was interested. Bi-polar is quite diverse and fascintaing if you can say such a thing about a medical condition. Frank said some things I didn’t know and that I wanted to talk to the phsychatirist about when I was assigned one when I got home. Frank liked that I took notes.
I was settling in. For my goal of the day during morning group I said finishing the outside border of my puzzle, which I did accomplish. Having by book helped pass the time. I spoke to my wife at 3:00 after I grabbed a snack and quickly again at 6:00. This was the night I was going to call my kids. Well, my oldest at least. I was going to ask him to bear the burden of telling his siblings.
I said I have something to tell you and I was just going to say it fast. I told him in a very sanitized way but he knew what I meant. I could hear some tears on his end and I told him to let it flow, it was OK. I knew it was bringing up memories of his mom and it was breaking my heart that I was hurting him. I also felt weak that I couldn’t just get through this on my own. That was my father talking.
We talked for a while, and discussed my daughter’s graduation in Boston the next week which I was now going to miss. Another heartbreak. Ironically she was getting her Masters in social work. I wanted to believe that she would undertstand the best of what was happenning.
Phone time was up and we said goodbye. After hanging up I wondered what he was thinking about me and what he would tell his wife and siblings. I was feeling like a complete failure at this point, out of control and the world just complelty spinning. The only solace was the people around me who got it, they undesrtood. Even if I never saw any of them ever again, which was most likely, they all had a dramatic impact on my present situation and I would always remeber.
Jay asked me to play Scarbble with him, Tommy and Helen. I had no other plans. Tommy was, of course, an expert player as opposed to me who had been playing for 45 years. It was easier to use his cockamamie rules than try to correct his over active ego.
I won and went to bed. My mind was racing but I didn’t ask for a sleeping pill. I should have. A new patient came in around midnight and sat in the common area screaming all night, “Oh god! Help me!” I guessed detox while tring to fall asleep.
The next night I asked for ear plugs.
End day 3