The Emergency (Part 2)

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After a 72 hour hold in the hospital, I was committed to a mental institution by my husband.  You can read part one here.

During my 72 hour hold, I was introduced to a psychiatrist who promptly diagnosed me as bipolar.  I called him Dr. Teeth, because he had the largest, whitest teeth I had ever seen up close.  Of course, me being psychotic wasn’t helping my visual self any.  He brought with him a red headed assistant who stayed silent and made sympathetic faces.  Then they left and I continued on my 24 hour a day suicide watch.

Finally, I was being released from the hospital!  Yay!  I still didn’t completely understand what had happened to me, but I was excited to go home.  Then, Dr. Teeth showed up.  My husband, my mother, and Dr. Teeth ganged up on me, saying I needed to go to his (Dr. Teeth) hospital to further my treatment.  I was upset.  I was pissed.  I started to cry.

Everyone reassured me that I was going to be okay.  “They will take good care of you, and you will be home in no time.”  So I thought, okay, rip another band aid off.  I’ll take a short ride over to his hospital, kiss my family good bye and get on with things.  That’s when a stretcher pulled up outside my hospital door.

They didn’t trust me to not jump out of the car on the way to the new hospital, so I was being transported by ambulance.  I was perfectly capable of walking, but they strapped me down on a stretcher and we started moving.  It was humiliating.  I thought, “Use this for someone who actually needs the ambulance, this is not an emergency!”  I am not an emergency.  Plus, I was too drugged up at that point to even THINK about escaping a car ride to the mental hospital.

In the ambulance, there was a lady EMT.  She had a clip board and she was talking to me.  Not taking notes, just talking.  She had 2 tickets to the New Orleans Saints game clipped to her clip board and we talked about football.  For a second, I thought she was going to give me those tickets if I was good and did what I was supposed to do at this new hospital.  Ummm…did I mention I was drugged?

We finally get to the mental hospital and they wheel me out of the ambulance into the lobby, then they unstrap me and I’m told to say goodbye to my family and follow an aide to this elevator.  The lobby was very small and there was an armed guard sitting at a desk.  I say goodbye, yet I don’t remember doing so.  I am not entirely sure that happened, but I’m told it did.  They wouldn’t just lock me away without saying goodbye, would they?  I believe my husband was left in the lobby to fill out the paperwork and sign my life away to the care of these new people.  He was officially having me committed.

Once I got upstairs to my unit, I was taken to the nurses station where they asked me a bunch of questions, weighed me, and took a picture.  I am curious to see that picture now, but I’m sure it wasn’t very flattering.  I was taken to a room in the corner of a wing that contained two twin sized cot beds, a desk, a toilet and sink, and a closet to put my things.  I was then told to go to the day room and join the rest of the patients, as they were having relaxation time.  I remember not knowing what to do with myself, but I had found a box of markers and some blank paper, so I sat down and started to draw.

Looking back, it feels like I was taken back to elementary school – the coloring.  When I sat down, no one was at the table.  After a few moments, a few of the patients came over, introduced themselves, and started coloring with me.  I was terrified that someone would get up in my face and start screaming.  That didn’t happen, but at that point, I had no idea what WAS going to happen.

Dinner had already been served at that point.  I hadn’t arrived in time to eat.  No big deal, I wasn’t eating at that point anyway.  We were taken downstairs to have a smoke break/outside time and were shuffled into a courtyard.  This lasted for about 15 minutes, then we were taken back upstairs where we had a little more downtime, medication was distributed and were sent to bed.

I was so thankful that I didn’t have a roommate.  I didn’t want to have to sleep with another person in the room with me.  I put on my pajamas and went to bed, after being informed that we were to be awoken at 6 and breakfast was at 8 a.m.

I had just scratched the surface of what was to be the longest week of my life…

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The Emergency (Part 1)

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As I mentioned in my previous post, I dropped my basket on a Saturday.  Not only did I drop it, I slammed it down, hard.  I called my brother in Austin and was talking to him about nothingness and I heard dogs barking.  I thought they were in our backyard here in New Orleans and I asked him if he was here.  He said, “No, I’m in Austin.”  That’s when he asked to speak to my husband and it was decided that I should be taken to the emergency room.

I stayed on the phone with my brother the whole drive to the hospital.  As soon as we arrived in the parking lot, I told my brother I had to go, dropped the phone, grabbed my wallet and made a bee-line to the emergency room.  I was really scared about what was going to happen to me, but I treated it like ripping off a band aid.  Rip it off quickly – that’s the best approach.

When I arrived inside, I walked up to the clerk’s window, handed her my wallet and said, “I need help”.  The helping gods were smiling down on me at that moment because she immediately recognized that I was not in my right mind.  After taking my insurance, I was rushed back to have my vitals checked and into a room.  I had to wait a while and my sister ended up coming to the hospital.  We joke that she busted in there like the Kool Aid Man and wasn’t going to take anything from anyone.  My husband was busy with the doctors, so she stayed in the private room with me and tried to help calm me down.

I kept talking about the New World Order and how 9/11 was an inside job – all those strange conspiracy theory documentaries I had been watching had seriously warped my sense of reality.  She soothed me but did not agree with the jibber-jabber I was spewing.  At one point, I tried to run.  I was so anxious and paranoid that I thought the hospital staff was going to perform science experiments on me and I would get in trouble.  When I ran, a very nice security guard came after me.  She said, “It’s okay, baby.  They are going to take good care of you.”  I started to cry.

You see, what had happened was, I had taken Tylenol PM in an effort to sleep.  I was so very out of my mind that I have no idea how many doses I had taken prior to ending up in the emergency room.  They did blood tests – my Tylenol levels were through the roof and could have seriously damaged my liver.  Because I had taken so much Tylenol, the doctors thought I had tried to kill myself.  I was to receive medicine intravenously to counter act the damage I had done.  But first, they had to calm me down and put in the I.V.  That was an ordeal and I fought them hard for access to my veins.   The phlebotomist who inserted my line was awesome and patient.  That’s when I passed out and didn’t wake up until I was in an actual hospital room.

BOOM!  Mandatory 72 hour hold in the hospital with an attending nurse monitoring me 24/7.  I hadn’t tried to kill myself, merely sleep, but from the outside it looked that way.  People can lie.  I wasn’t lying, but I also wasn’t the best person to trust at that moment.  I had to give up control and was having a hard time doing so.

My mom showed up.  From Texas.  I woke up one of the mornings and my husband said, “You have a visitor”. My mom walked in and for a moment I smiled.  Then I got mad.  I was so angry she was there.  I was mad at her, mad at my husband, confused, drugged, and still not sleeping or eating.

When I was finally released from the regular hospital, I felt relieved.  Then I was informed that I was being checked into a mental hospital.

My husband had committed me….

You can read part two here.