Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Adolescent Behavioral Health Ward - Day One.

I was committed, Thursday, April 6, 2006 in the ABHW at a local hospital.

Why? Depression, probably caused by the illnesses, being stuck at home, being kicked out of school, being stuck at home, etc.

Also, that week my darling little sister was at home with pneumonia and bronchitis, hacking up a storm. I wasn't exactly Little Miss Healthy 2006, and my nerves were shot. After snapping at her for something slight, I'd hide out in my room. My emotions were a mess. I was crying all the time and I didn't know why.

I still don't.

So. I'd been wondering if I was depressed, and if we should do something about it. Finally, on the 6th, we did. First we went to our Primary Care Physician, who said, "Yes, you are depressed, here's a referral for a shrink."

And away we went. Mom spent a while on the phone, telling everyone it was urgent, but the only one in town who accepted our insurance didn't have an appointment until May.

So we finally went out to the hospital that took our insurance, over in Southeast Memphis. I was questioned by a receptionist after being jostled around for some time because it was shift change time.

So, we talked to the lady, she asked me if I'd be okay with hospitalization. I said sure, knowing it was the quickest way to get seen.

We waited some more, and I finished both my books and called Becky, begging her to pack me a bag with more.

Finally, the lady took us to the elevators. She told us my shrink was the best, oh, everybody loves him, he's great.

Here we are. 16th floor.

It was a little disorienting, and we went over the same stuff again, with the nurses there. Mom, the nurse, and I checked out my room, and yes, it was nice to have a window, but could it be more spartan? A bed, a desk, a chair.

After Mom filled out paperwork, she left to go get my books. I had to go to my room.
I gave Mom my books, after all, I didn't need them, I'd finished them.


The room.

Somehow, something broke down, and I began to pace, crying, asking, "Why me? I didn't do anything!" I eventually cried myself to sleep, only to be awakened by a nurse coming to take a lot of blood.

After that, I was sent to the day room, and I could see Mom in the nurse's station. I didn't know what was going on, I was sure when I talked to her she'd let me go home.

This time in the day room was 'free time' or 'tv time', whatever. I begged the attendant to let me see my mom, he acquiesced.

I hugged her (I rarely hug - I hate it) and begged her to take me home, it's awful, I can't do this. Naturally, I was blubbering away.

Mom said yes, but the nurses told her no, I need to stay here, I need to get help.

Mom left and I was sent back to the dayroom where I cried some more.

There were snacks available, underscoring the weirdness of the place, because I'd been told while waiting that it was a long time till breakfast when I said I wouldn't eat dinner.

Before going back to our rooms, we had to sit in a circle and state our name, where we were from, and why we were here. I was supposed to learn everybody's name, a Herculean task, because half were going home the next day. We went back to our rooms, and the nurses let me take some of my things, like my soap and poof.

But I had to go back, I didn't have my precious hygiene bucket. I got it, and the change of clothes sent - fleece Eeyore pants and a black t-shirt with Homer and the Glimmer Twins - and went off to take a shower. Since I didn't know how long I'd have water, I just stood there and cried.

Well, I can't keep the bucket, heaven forbid! So I walked back up there, barefoot, because, c'mon, I'm in my PJs.

But no. The bitchy nurse, I still hate her, told me I can't go around barefoot, this is a hospital, you don't know what's on the floor. She told me it was "part of the deal."

That's it!

I threw the bucket down, shouting, "I didn't sign any deal! I didn't do anything! I want to go home!" The whole time I'm saying this, I was backing up, shaking, and crying.

The other nurse came up and said, "Kaitlyn? I can't believe it was you shouting. You were so together earlier. If you don't calm down, we'll have to restrain you."

Of course, what shit-for-brains doesn't realize is that this is good. I never throw fits. I always bottle it in. But no, we never get to that, the entire time I'm there, and they use the fits to justify treating me like an idiot. You have a lot of time to work on conspiracy theories in a place like that.

The SOP for pitching a fit involves sitting in the nurse's station until you calm down. The bitchy nurse tells me I need to stop "doctor hopping" and that it's impossible for the endometriosis to hurt me so much at 17.

I demonstrate my great maturity a few minutes later when I try to take all my books back to my room. But no, I can only read one at a time, buzz us when you need another. I never want to see these people again, I'm buzzing nobody. Finally I'm allowed to take a few back.

I read for a long time, because there's no automatic lights out, thank God!

Finally, I laid down. It was hot. Of course, why shouldn't it be?

I had trouble getting to sleep, due to the strange surroundings and super-bright hallway light showing through my door.

I couldn't even call up my silly little fantasies I use to entertain myself at home when I'm trying to sleep, walking the dog, riding my bike, or just away from intellectual stimulation.

That scared me more than anything. I couldn't even put the silly little characters into loony bins. Probably because I feel affection for them, but what can you do?

I guess I finally fell asleep, because I know I dreamt. I actually had a dream related to my desires. Mom told me earlier that she'd pick me up after I talked to the doctor, and that's what she did. In the dream. In addition to a lot of other weird things I don't remember.

Another thing - during the interminable time in the day room, I was called out for an EKG. It was weird, because the nurse kept telling me I'd find Jesus one day, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.


What happened after I woke up, will come sooner or later, depending on how much people care, and my emotions, I feel awful bringing this up, though I know I should sort it out.


Anonymous said...

That's just day one? As our English friends would say...Crikey!

Kaitlyn said...

Ith - that's just the first evening. I didn't get out until after five on the following Monday.

Anonymous said...


you never explained HALF that when you came home.

it makes me sad.

the chicken here had babies.
2 of them.
tasha cut her head on barb wire.

i miss you guys back home.

i love you booboo.
[tell mom i tried to call]

Anonymous said...

Crikey indeed.

If she'd said that "part of the deal" thing to me, I'd have smashed her face in.

So you're saner than me, if that's any consolation...

Anonymous said...

hi kaitlyn. i might work in a bar. hows that for exciting, ehh? i love u!!!

SarnDuro said...

I keep meaning to tell you that this sounds like a first draft for a sequel to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Except yours has a happier ending (or so the best testing indicates).

PS: I've decided to post under my real pseudonym and stop making up crazy names. Your good friend, the Maine Marauding Samurai Lobster.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like it was bloody awful.

All this stuff shouldn't be happening to you.

Oh and a bit like Kristin, if a nurse said anything about to me about Jesus, I would have chinned her on the spot.

Keep writing, it must be doing you good.