24 October 2009

Involuntary Commitment—Day 1, Part 2, Saturday 10 October, 1000

(...continued from previous post)
The holding facility—unbelievable. They brought me in the back door for all holding patients, rather than through the front door.  There were high fences with security patrolling the back entrance. I am “helped” out of the transport van by two of the ice cream men (the only thing missing in this picture so far was the handcuffs and shackles). After waiting about five minutes after they buzzed their arrival, someone inside finally got around to looking at the security camera feed and released the door lock (I guess retinal scanning technology hadn’t found its way there yet).

I was ushered in like cattle. They all but strip searched me and used a hand-held metal detector (as if I had a Sig Sauer stuck up my ass, puh-lease). I was so hoping they’d scan down to my feet as I have surgical screws in my right ankle. I just wanted to hear the detector go off so I could fuck with them. But, they didn’t scan that low. After all, I was Shoeless Joe Jackson here.

They walked me out into the hallway, pointed to a chair and told me to sit as a nurse’s aide came over to take my vitals. Well, lo and behold, my blood pressure topped out at 228/156. Never having had a history of hypertension, I was thinking that it was most likely situational. I mean, face it, it had been rather stressful up to this point (at least the part that I can remember).

I felt sorry for the nurse practitioner. She actually had to get off her lazy ass and do something about it. She started barking all of these questions at me and I just stared back at her in return and said nothing. The next thing I knew, someone was handing me two white pills. I told them I wasn’t going to take a damn thing until I saw them bring me the medicine over still in their own individual blister packs so I could see what the name of the medicine they were giving me. Then I demanded to read a print out about the medication to learn of its indications, contra-indications and side effects. Hell, up to this point, as far as I knew, no one had bothered to take a history on me and as far as I was concerned, they had no earthly idea of what medications I was already taking. Do I look stupid enough to blindly take 2 faceless white pills from someone who would much rather be somewhere else flexing their biceps with beer cans?

Once satisfied (each was 0.2mg of clonidine HCL), I took the pills and then they herded me into this day room with not enough chairs. I was rapidly informed of the rules (confined to the day room, if I had to hit the head, I would be escorted into the bathroom with a security guard, and a variety of other crap, which I paid little attention to). This place was a veritable prison. I wondered how long I would be in this hellhole until I was transferred to the actual psych hospital. Meanwhile, I found a place along the wall and just stood. Then they told me that they would be monitoring my blood pressure every 30 minutes (over the course of my stay, the clonidine would drop my pressure only about twenty points or so, so they kept feeding me the medicine).

Lunch and dinner came and went, neither of which I partook. At one point, when this other patient got up to go to the bathroom, I immediately grabbed his chair and sat down. I was cold, tired, pissed off and spoiling for a fight. For all I knew, he was some crazed maniac killer. I was so hoping he would challenge me for “his” char upon his return. I wasn’t disappointed. He walked right up to me, stuck his mouth in my face and yelled at me to get the fuck out of his chair (at least he didn’t spit when he yelled). I just stared at him blankly and grinned, refusing to move (I mean, I might as well be in an insane asylum, why not act the part?). I wanted so bad for him to do something even so benign as to poke me in my chest so I could stand up and beat the shit out of him, but one of the guards came over as soon as he started yelling. I just looked down at the floor and stared and said nothing…but I got to keep “my” chair.

At 2100 they gathered us all together and marched us through this maze—men to the left and women to the right (something about Nazi Germany came to mind right about this point). Oh goodie, a room full of bunk beds. We had 15 minutes before lights out (and no, up to this point, I had not even considered the fact that I would be spending the night in this five-star hotel). Another blood pressure reading followed by another round of pills. I lied down on my bed and just stared at the ceiling as they shut off the lights. Needless to say, I got no sleep with them taking my blood pressure every 30 minutes. 0600 finally came around with a start as the guards clamored in cranking on all of the lights. Yet another day to unfold in this never-ending nightmare. (To be continued…)©2009

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