24 October 2009

Involuntary Commitment—Day 1, Part 1, Saturday 10 October, unknown time

This post begins a sequence of events that will be followed by additional posts as I upload them. For necessity’s sake, I’ve had to resort to keeping a handwritten journal, so it will take me some time to key it all in and upload each post. I’ve written a lot, so this may take me a few days to complete. Some of what is accounted for in this particular post is third-hand information for me as I have no memory whatsoever of how this fucking nightmare began.

Officially on this date at an unknown time, a probate court judge signed papers involuntarily committing me to a psychiatric facility because I posed a danger to myself as a result of an overdose. I have no memory of how the 911 call got placed, the paramedics coming to my home, then taking me to the Emergency Room, much less anything that took place while in the ER.

My first recollection was waking up in what appeared to be a hospital room except the one entire wall directly in my field of vision was glass. Anyone walking by could see into this room; I had no privacy. The clock on the wall said it was 0500. The only evidence of what day it was appeared on my hospital bracelet.

Being rather disoriented it took me a while to get my bearings. Where was I and how did I get here? Those glass doors were closed, but I did notice that there appeared to be what looked like a nurse’s station; however, no one seemed to be around. I looked around my bed and could find no call button to summon someone to my bedside. Additionally, I noticed that there was a phone on the rollaway table, but it was too far away to reach. I saw people dressed in various colors of scrubs and white jackets, but they were all on their way to or from somewhere else.

Then I noticed the oddest thing. There was a hospital security guard posted right outside my room. I hadn’t noticed him before as he was in a chair all the way to the right of that glass wall. He just sat there and stared at me.

Then I noticed that all my clothes were gone. I was in these Tyvek-like paper disposable scrubs. The clock on the wall said 0600. Absolutely no one had even come in to see me. At this point, I felt a little more alert and oriented. I thought this “silent treatment” was for the birds.

I collapsed my right side bedrail, sat up and touched my bare feet on the cold hard tile. I felt a little woozy, so I just stood there for a minute holding on. Then I turned to make my way towards the glass wall only to realize I was hooked up to all this crap. I had two IVs, leads on my chest going to a cardiac monitor, oxygen, and a pulse-ox cap on my finger.

That just pissed me off even more. If I needed all this crap attached to me, why the hell haven’t I seen a nurse yet? I wanted answers right then and there. I tore the leads off my chest, ripped the nasal cannula off my face, threw the pulse-ox on the floor and went to grab at the IVs. But, I thought better about that one and left the IVs in place. So, I grabbed the machine the IVs were running through, unplugged it and headed for the glass. At this point, this super cop wanna-be jumped out of his chair, slid the glass door open and ordered me back in bed. What a little turd he was. I wanted to squash him like a bug. I was rudely informed that I was not allowed out of my bed and he just stood there until I ever so gracefully tried to climb back up onto the bed while wearing those stylish paper scrubs.

I shot at him a barrage of questions, practically yelling at the top of my lungs. God, I was so fucking angry. I wanted to know where I was, how did I get here, how long had I been here, where the hell was my nurse, and, oh by the way, what the FUCK is going on. He just gave me this dopey goofball stare and said I’d have to wait for my social worker. Why the hell did I need to talk to a social worker? I was in a hospital, wasn’t I? Again, I just got this glazed look from him as he turned and walked out of the room. Meanwhile, that stupid cardiac monitor was alarming, yet no one bothered coming by to check on that. Good thing I hadn’t really flatlined, huh?

OK, the clock now said it was 0745. All I wanted was to talk to a damn nurse, process whatever discharge papers there were to sign, get dressed and split. I was not in a generous mood. In fact I was itching to pick a fight with that small pea-sized brain dick outside in his chair. I yelled at him to come inside.

I made it incredibly clear that for the past three hours I had essentially been imprisoned with no one giving me any information. I told the little jerk to go and get someone with any medical authority for whatever unit I was on right that very minute or he would be very sorry. I came so close to just punching that asshole in the face. He actually got right back in my face (well, he tried—he came up to about my chin) and actually asked me if I was threatening him. Immediately, two more super cops appeared out of nowhere. It was like I was starring in my own Fritz Lang production, or something borrowed out of a Kafka novel.

Finally, about 20 minutes later, a guy dressed up in white came in and told me that I was just going to have to calm down or they were going to have to put me in restraints. Then he said (oh to my surprise) that he couldn’t discuss my case with me and that I was going to have to wait to talk with the social worker. I got the point and asked where the hell was I and why and when the hell was I going to see this damn social worker. He did verify that I was at the local trauma center in an observation area right off the main drag from the ER.

About 30 minutes later, FINALLY, someone came in with a clipboard full of papers. I was thinking that it was damn time I got discharged. However, as he started talking, the words coming out of his mouth didn’t even come close to what I was expecting to hear. The phrase “72-hour hold in protective custody” hit me like a ton of bricks. I just put up both of my hands and said, “Whoa, rewind.” (oh, yeah, and this idiot dick couldn’t have been more patronizing).

It was then that I learned that the hospital received signed legal documents placing me in protective custody for 72 hours to be transferred to a psychiatric facility yet to be determined. Upon arrival to the ER, my tox screen revealed Ativan and Ambien and my blood alcohol count was four times the legal limit. The court determined that I was a danger to myself as evidenced by my suicide attempt. I actually started to laugh, but mostly I was pissed off because I couldn’t remember a damn thing. Then this inferior prick went on to tell me that he thought my laughter was absurdly inappropriate as he scribbled something down on paper. I just laughed all the more as he shook his head, turned around and sashayed his skinny little ass out of my room.

I must have dozed off for a bit at this point. I have some foggy memory of a man sitting in a chair next to my bed, but I guess that was a dream. Eventually, three guys dressed up like ice cream delivery truck drivers (and yes, two security guards) came into my room. One of them was holding a plastic bag and I recognized my shirt, sweatpants and Birkenstocks. They were coming to “get me.” (I swear, this whole scenario could have come straight out of a Hollywood B movie, I kid you not).

As they grabbed me out of my bed, they told me I was going to be transferred to a holding facility until a bed opened up at one of the local psych hospitals (all I had was this image of a state mental hospital complete with Nurse Ratched!). As they walked me out of the room, I asked if I could at least put on my sandals and they told me I wasn’t allowed to wear shoes because I was deemed a flight risk (“Crazed woman, last seen in the vicinity of County Hospital, escaped today clad only in blue paper scrubs…film at 11.”). This was so fucking surreal. (To be continued…)©2009


  1. The first days of processing are ever so trying, and confusing. Being through so many different hospitals and psych units; each had it own admissions procedures.

    I DID escape from my first ER. No nurse, no guard - walked out of the ER and took trails and back roads away from Hell.

    I think SC had the worst holding area waiting for a bed. A dark room with a TV, confined to a reclining chair.

    I think my worst transports were in Prince William County VA - it seems every deputy or police officer who transported me between ERs and Psych Hosp all knew my Dad - how embarrassing. Can't even "enjoy" not being known, getting twenty questions - does your Dad still work on the force, does he still live in town....

    If it wasn't for the restraints, and the paper suit, you would think I was in a taxi.

  2. Jesus Christ Alix! This is awful! What is the most distressing element is not so much that they were sectioning you per se (as if that's not bad enough), but the way these absolute bollockbrains spoke to you. Yes, folks, what a fabulous way to behave towards someone they deem a suicide risk. Pricks!

    Going to read on now...