Saturday, August 22, 2009

Journal Entry Two

October 11, 2006

*Excerpt from Journal*

Everything here is strictly regulated. If you forget what you're supposed to be doing, you're kindly (or sternly, depending on which nurse you encounter) directed to look at the dry erase board. It militantly lists hourly activities, with subtle daily changes, as if to remind us that we are a mere Ford "Model T" on an assembly line, with interchangeable parts. Efficiency.

We've finished breakfast. Normally we wake ourselves and do whatever it is civilized people do in the morning... except we have to wheedle and entreat the staff to give us basic necessities each morning. Today, however, we were woken by Bertha. I don't know what's wrong with her (I pride myself on knowing or having diagnosed almost everyone on the ward). She wears a pink helmet. Bertha was screaming. The nursing staff had to do something to get her under control, or surely we would all start screaming. Surely.

I hate breakfast. By the time it gets up to us, the pink plastic hospital dome cover has humidified everything and my food has turned into the Florida Everglades. I look over at the Eating Disordered table, glad no one is timing how quickly and meaninglessly I can pretend to eat. At the same time, I know they're the clique on the ward. This time, that's not why I'm here. I'm stuck with the crazies.

Casually, I passed my bread and butter pads to Patty, calculated what I was going to eat, and walked over to Bertha. She has a thing for sugar. After this morning, she was a little dopey. Usually, someone helps her eat, but not this morning. Upon close inspection, I can tell they aren't taking care of her. Bertha smells like old laundry and wears a stained hospital gown. Still, I tried to smile and hand her my sugar.

I don't know if I was being nice, or if I want to keep them from finding out I'm not eating my food.

They're about to give us our medication, according to the careful time table. I don't know what they're giving me. When I ask, my nurse asks "Why is it important?"

It's hard not to feel paranoid here. I've already lost a pair of pajamas. And I don't think any of the patients took them.

The dry erase board would be so easy to completely destroy. Why haven't any of us wiped it off, crossed the synthetic border? I miss chaos.


Anonymous said...


stay strong. you'll make it.

Pasco said...

How funny. I can totally relate from the opposite perspective. My consultant will say "Pasco, go talk to the suicide attempt in room 3, she's about your age, she'll relate to you". And it's like "shiiiit, do I have to, she's going to think I'm just some other moron asshole trying to manipulate a therapeutic relationship out of her". So I trudge over there and try to seem blunt and as honest and normal as possible. "So, wanted to die hey? Yeah, sounds pretty shithouse. Still want to die? Mmm, me too sometimes. If they let you out are you going to try again? You say no but I reckon you're thinking yes. So, are you going to disclose some sordid tale of sexual abuse to me and make me the hero who was finally able to crack you? Hmm, didn't think so". It sucks to be an inpatient, but it sucks to be staff too.

Yum said...

A good reminder of why to stay the hell OUT of hospitals...

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