24 October 2009

Involuntary Commitment—Days 4 through 9, Tuesday through Sunday, 13-18 October

(...continued from previous post)
The day-to-day routine got old really fast. So far I have been able to hoodwink my psychiatrist and primary therapist (the two responsible for reporting back to the court) that I am indeed improving. However, and this is where I think the healthcare industry has a fine racquet going on—I was told on Day 5 (remember, my minimum legal hold was five to seven days not counting weekends, so Day 5 in real time was only actually Day 3 legally) by both of them that they were still unwilling to sign my release papers for at least two more days. That would bring me through Friday forcing me to stay another weekend. Their chief concern was that I lived alone and had no visible support structure to return to (OK, here is where I sorta fucked up…no one knew I was here and I had no visitors or phone calls). Translation: I needed to stay on until they felt I had sufficient time to develop and practice those oh so cool coping skills (a decided subjective scale I was being graded on).

So, for each of these days I towed the party line as best I could. During this time on Day 6, my roommate was discharged and for the first time I enjoyed having some actual privacy—well, as good as it got if you don’t count all the nurses and techs constantly sticking their heads in to make sure I was doing “fine.” Of course I was!

On Day 7 (legal Day 5), I was told that it was a reasonable expectation that I could be discharged on the 20 October, next Tuesday, followed by two weeks of outpatient therapy and one additional week just regrouping at home before I had to return to work. So I called my manager back and left a voicemail indicating that 9 November was a potential return to work date. I also gave him the fax number of the hospital to give to the medical disability company (thankfully, an outsourced function due to HIPAA regulations—my employer does not get to know where or why I am here) so that FMLA paperwork could be filed and I would continue to be paid. It was nice to know I still had some time before I had to go back to my incredibly stressful job.

Days 8 and 9 (the weekend) was not so bad. Yeah, there were still groups to go to, although the schedule was pared back and not as rigid. A lot more down time for me. The weather was autumn beautiful and with the extra smoke breaks, I got to spend a lot more time outside in the sun. My privacy/solitude bubble was burst Saturday night. There was a new female admit and they assigned her to my room. Boy was I pissed. And I thought I was getting royally screwed. She was only 17 years old (she should have been in the adolescent unit but there were no beds, so I was stuck with her until one opened up). Geez, all I needed was some whiney, needy teenager to share my breathing space.

By the time she had processed her admission paperwork it was already late in the evening. I purposely took my evening meds earlier than usual (we had a one-hour swing on when we could take our 2100 hrs meds…any time from 2000 to 2200 hrs). I turned off the lights in my room (but I did leave the bathroom light on with the curtain drawn), hit the sack and pretended to be asleep when she came in, hoping that she would be too intimidated to turn the lights on and “wake” me up. It worked beautifully.

This morning, when we had our 0530 vitals taken, I said absolutely nothing and simply walked out the room to catch the first smoke break of the day. When I came back to the room still saying nothing, I went into the bathroom and took a long enough shower so she would be gone for breakfast by the time I got out. The rest of the morning was busy work with group therapy, and during the lull before lunchtime, I sat on my side of the room at my desk writing in this journal. She picked up the hint. She said nary a word.

(later) Well, it’s 1945. Time for the last, although most informal, group meeting for the day (a la “what new things did I learn about myself today” bullshit). It’s run by one of the techs and mostly we had to fill out this required check sheet and turn it in (how many times could I word the same bullshit in different ways each night surprised even me). My roommate has continued to stay quiet. Now, mind you, I haven’t been ugly or mean, or even rude to her by a long shot. I’ve simply shown no interest in wanting to get to know her, much less have a conversation.

As soon as group is over at 2000 hrs, I will spend the rest of evening outside until I have to take my evening meds at 2200 hrs. Thank God for such beautiful weather. I would go stir crazy (no pun intended) if I had to stay indoors for the entire weekend (yeah, even in the rain we still take our smoke breaks as there is a covered patio we can sit under aside from the rather nice back yard they have here). The campus is fairly large as each unit has their own “back yard.” Ours backs up to the detox unit’s, but, believe this or not, while inside the building each unit is locked separately apart from each other, we are not allowed to interact through the fence with the detox unit patients while we are outside. Crazy rules for crazy people.

Tomorrow is Monday, back to the weekday grind. Hopefully, only two days to go. (To be continued…)©2009

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