Sunday, June 04, 2006

Adolescent Behavioral Health Ward, Day 2.

I had trouble sleeping, of course. It was hot, I was in a weird place, I was miserable, and where is Puffy, my stuffed platypus? What about Wickett? Hello? These people don't know what they're doing.

But I guess I fell asleep, because, like I said earlier, I dreamt. Mom was picking me up, I'm going home after I see the doctor, then going to watch Henley and Prissy and cable tv at Miss Janet's until Monday...

So I woke up pretty early. I have no idea what time it is, the giant window's no clue, it's pouring rain. I made the bed, because I misunderstood (or did I?) a comment by the nurse about the beds. Then I read. And read. Good god, what time is it?

"Comegetyouvitalsigns,comegetyourvitalsigsn." God, just typing those words sends an unpleasant sensation up my spine. There's a system of intercoms and cameras connected to each room, that's how they summoned us.

I went out and lined up with the other girls, in room number order. I was practically the first person out there, but I had to stand in the back. Whatever.

First freak out of the day - a girl stumbles and complains about what medicine they give her at night. She's a zombie, and it scares me.

So they check pulse, blood pressure, and temperature. My temp's somewhere around 96 (my normal's 97 something) and they ask if I've had water. No, do I look like I drink from a toilet? You people scare me so much I ain't stopping at the water fountain outside my room if my mouth is on fire. You don't piss off authority figures.

My blood pressure was high.

They checked it again. Still high. "Well, we can't record this. Just grab your hygeine bucket and go to your room."

I asked about my medications. "Don't worry about it."

So I grabbed the pink bucket with my room number on it. It has two small towels, one tiny towel, their soap and shampoo, my toothbrush, and my deoderant.

I went back to my room and got dressed in the clothes Becky sent - the Eeyore pants and Simpsons shirt. And read Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen.


So I took the bucket back, grabbed the tray with the room number (1624) and go on back.

This is food? I ate the frosted flakes dry and poked at the 'eggs' and 'bacon'.

Knock, knock.

In walks a kindly looking doctor, the first real nice face I've seen, along with a pretty nice therapist/social worker. It's the pediatrician. Remember, the nurses expressed great shock that I didn't have one. He did a basic exam. I had to pee in a cup the night before, but that's not brought up until Monday.

"You've got abdominal pain, eczema, and you had your thyroid removed."

He doesn't know what to do. Pediatric patients don't get endometriosis. C'mon, this is bullshit, and he knows it.

He told me to eat the food, and I said, "If that's an egg, I'm a chicken." Last laugh and anything near a good feeling for a long time.

Time to take the tray back and get my meds.

Well, I remembered the girl and how messed up she was, so I grilled the nurse. "What's this? What's that? Where's my birth control? Where's my diuretic? Why does the calcium look different?"

Get this. They did not get my medication routine right until Sunday because I take my synthroid in the middle of the day, so it's not with the calcium. They can't figure that out, and I'm trusting them with my sanity? This is going well.

Time for group.

I'm going to put this down right now, and stop trying to escape it. It was horrible.

Rules for group: Don't interrupt each other, don't interrupt the guy in charge, give feedback, stay in your seat, turn off your brain.

Well, group started out great. Mr. Cliff said, "Do you think this is normal? Having to ask permission to leave the room? You're here because you screwed up!" (Not the exact words, but that was definitely the gist of it.)

Cue horror in your obedient servant. I'm depressed, I didn't do anything. This isn't punishment, Mom said it wasn't, the nurses said it wasn't, it's not.

I don't know why I did what I did, but I did. I raised my hand and said, "So I'm being punished for feeling sad?" It wasn't facetious, I was nearly bawling.

"I don't appreciate back talk."

Oh. God. I've messed up horribly, get me out of here, my pale face is on fire, I can't stop crying, and group hasn't even started yet.

Group. For real. We say our name, where we're from, and why we're here.

Then Mr. Cliff gives his feedback, and then we get peer feedback. We can't respond to either.

The peer feedback: "You need to love your mom, she's the only one you got." "You shouldn't kill yourself."

I tried to go beyond that. They know that already, they're not morons. I go out of my way to respond to almost every person with a thoughtful, possibly helpful response.

My turn, I got no peer feedback. Oh, they laughed at me, but they didn't respond to me. Why should they? My problems were so small compared to theirs. I really hadn't done anything. They knew I was a goody-two shoes. Plus, I was crying the whole time.

Mr. Cliff's feedback didn't help, of course. He started with, "I've looked at your file, and if anyone deserves to feel depressed, it's you. However, I wish you were here last week when this little girl in a wheelchair was here. The things that have happened to her, they're so awful I can't say. But she always had a smile on her face. She never threw pity parties for herself."

Me, "But-"

Him, "No interrupting!"

Face goes in the hands, why can't I stop crying?

I ask if I can get some fresh air, I'm red and miserable, but no. No fresh air for the depressed kids. He said I could help him deliver lunch later, but of course I didn't. I hate that man, he's a vindictive bully.

Anyhoo, by the time everyone's said their goals for the day and all that happy crappy, it's time to go back to our rooms, so they can set up for school.

Since it's Friday, we're going to play Bingo with the states or whatever.

But first we have to order our meals for Saturday. I don't see the point, as I'm going home today, mom said I was.

But I filled it out. I expected to get what I ordered, and I didn't. Big surprise.

Before we can begin playing Bingo, the doctor appears. "Kaitlyn X?"

Finally! See the shrink, get the fuck out of there.

That was what I expected, but it didn't happen.

I saw him and he looked over my file and I went over the same damn thing, for the third time in 2 days.

Then he told me he'd put me on Cymbalta and I could go home Monday. It was obvious I was too smart for the peer group, but he had to make sure there were no side effects, and four days is the minimum. I begged to talk to Mom, and he said later.

Somewhere in there, I threw another tantrum. My glasses got flung off, and the whole thing was, "Get me out of here, NO ONE IS LISTENING TO ME, I didn't do anything!"

That started the condescending attitude of the doctor.

"Two year olds throw tantrums, Kaitlyn, you're not two."

"But I never throw tantrums!"

"You just threw one here."

"This is hardly normal circumstances, the surroundings are so depressing, they make you suicidal!"

"Are you suicidal?"

"No! I was exaggerating. Why is it so strict here?"

"Because most of these kids need it, they just came from Juvie or another facility or they're on their way there."

Another tidbit - "Eeyore, huh? You like him because he's sad all the time?"

My response was pointless.

He let me take all my books to my room, as they are my coping tools. He even helped me carry them all. Most were MAD related, naturally.

Back to school, but it's over, because of that big blob of red on the tv. Tornados in the area, the sirens are going off, and we're on the 16th floor. One girl was upset because she didn't know if she'd get to go home today, could her mom make it? They wouldn't let her call to find out.

Then the doctors and therapists came in and we did group lite and the doctors answered our questions, including mine on when can I call my mom?

Back to the rooms to wash up for lunch. I read.


Lunch was inedible chicken fingers and soggy, cold french fries. I learned something very important at that time: you don't eat the 'food', they assume you're still depressed and keep you here longer. Ergh...

For the rest of the day, I read my book in the dayroom, while my peers watched tv or played games. Seriously. That's all we do after lunch.

Ah, but I was called to Dr. S's office again. I can call my mom. She's at home, the schools were letout early because of the storm. I'm crying and begging her to pick me up, I can't do this. The doctor talks to her and tells her I'm trying to play down my depression, and that it may not be a good idea for her to visit this evening, as I may throw another fit. I don't, I merely cry, but that's later.

Anyway, I'm stuck there til Monday, may as well suck it up. I actually felt my mood go up, because I knew there was an end in sight.

Now, normally, after lunch, we're supposed to have a structured play therapy. Not today, most of the therapists have left to pick up kids let out early.

Nothing of any importance happens.

I get my hygeine bucket, take a quick shower.

Then it's dinner time. The same rock hard chicken strips from this afternoon. Back to our rooms, but I'm called out again because I've got a visitor: Mom!

We sit in toward the back of the dayroom, and I cry, but it's not as bad as that morning, it's just tears running unchecked. I tell her everything that happened that day, but apparently, I was supposed to talk about how I felt and how I was working to feel better. Screw that. Mom knows exactly how I feel, I know how I feel, we want to know why. We still don't.

I tell Mom about the kids, even though I probably shouldn't. But she shouldn't tell me about her kids, probably, so we're even. She tells me that Mr. Cliff sounds like my dad, in fact this whole thing smacks of him, which explains why I'm such a mess. This is punishment to my subconscious, no matter what my conscious knows. Though what my conscious knows only enforces the subconscious views.

Mom tells me she knows who the smiling kid in a wheelchair is. Yes, she's been through a lot, but she's hardly perfect. And she throw pity parties for herself all the time. She was in this place because she's a difficult kid, but she's got CP, she's blonde, she's in a wheelchair...

After the visitors leave, it's back to the dayroom for everybody. I read, they watch movies.

Night time meds, my first dose of Cymbalta.

Then to bed, where I read. (Ooh, rhyme!)

Sleep came a little easier, because my room was now an icebox. I like iceboxes.

And that's day 2. Humiliation and misery in the morning, absolutely nothing in the afternoon.

This is psychiatry 2006.

Oh, and a couple weeks before, I read One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Yeah, brilliant idea, but how was I to know?


Anonymous said...

i JUST told you my oppinon of mr cliff loser face butt munch.

and um.
i packed ALL those books.

lots to carry.

i miss you kaity.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable. I can't even imagine, and only at day 2. You really do take us there, I can feel the limp cold french fries.

Anonymous said...

i am so proud of you. i love reading anything you write.i hope one day you can stand up to the "mr.cliffs"of the world and hold your head up are a fine child of mine

SarnDuro said...

Maybe you could email the web address to the "doctors" involved. (And to the cooks.) I suspect they think themselves immune to criticism because they have degrees in not listening to people. Even if they only glance at it and then turn away in self-righteous disgust, you would have the satisfaction of knowing that you can speak back to them. You will have put them in their place, even if only for a brief moment.

PS: your mom sounds smart.

Anonymous said...

Hi Maddy!

I just found out that you have a blog so I want to pop in and say hi.

Enjoy the Mads!


tess said...

Monkey, you really should write for a living. You're very concise.