Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Snail Hollow: The Dark Times

There have been some very dark times, in my life.  I spent quite a bit of time in quiet places, behind locked doors.  People were trying to touch me, to communicate and understand what was wrong.  Which was ever frustrating because I was never sure myself.  Suffice it to say some kind of chronic major mental depression afflicted me.  Anyway, that's what the Doctors quoted from the DSM.  But I suspect that was mostly for insurance billing purposes.  None of them had a clue as to what was going wrong, inside of me.

In one instance I spent several weeks in the psych ward at Lakeview Hospital in West Valley.   At the time I was totally self-absorbed with my own problems.  It was as if looking at the rest of the world all the time through the wrong end of the binoculars.  Everything outside of me was much smaller than life.  I couldn't muster enough interest in the world to even begin to believe it was real.  For some reason I felt hurt and continual pain, not of the physical kind, but agonizing nonetheless, deep in my own soul.  I felt hopeless and numb, and was sure I had nothing better to look forward to.  I was surrounded by darkness.

Several of the counsellors at the hospital spent time working with me.  They attempted to get me to stop being so self-centered, and to begin to see around me again like normal.  One woman gave me old videos to watch, and I was supposed to write my impressions.  I filled a number of notebook pages with my observations about the problems people in the movies encountered in life.  I'm not sure what I was supposed to learn from this exercise, but it occupied a lot of time, of which I had plenty.  The staff nurses were watching me suspiciously, because they had apparently been told that I was so depressed that I was a suicide risk.

Anyway, one night I was trying to read my scriptures, but I didn't like the overhead fluorescents, so I was sitting at one of those little reading desks, like they have in the library.  It had a light of its own, but it turns out to be unplugged, so the reading lamp would not work.

Attempting to plug it in, I was crawling down on the floor.  Need I mention, the room was also equipped with closed circuit camera, to monitor my actions.  The nurses were watching me get down on the floor and fuss with the electrical plug.  They decided I was trying to harm myself.

Right then they decided that immediate intervention was warranted.  One of the nurses slammed the door open and demanded to know just what did I think I was doing.  Mystified, I told her I was plugging in the lamp.  She accused me of trying to kill myself, and told me they had been watching me trying to do it!  I was open-mouthed in disbelief, and unable to respond.

At that time the other nurse returned with an orderly.  He was about seven feet tall and weighing in at about the tonnage of a dump truck.  The nurse repeated the charge that I was attempting suicide, and they were obligated to confine me in a more secure room where I could be more closely monitored.  I felt disinclined to argue with the orderly-truck, so I complied without comment.

They put me in a nicely padded room across from the nursing station, and someone there was watching me all the time.  I sat there on the bed for a while, then decided that I wanted water, so I picked up the big hospital cup that I was using for ice water.  It was empty, so I flipped the lid off onto the bed, and went out the door to get more water.

Apparently the nurses had been watching me closely.  What they said they saw on camera was me emptying the container of ice water onto the bed.  They were immediately incensed that I would mistreat the bed so abusingly and threateningly that they resolved I should no longer have a bed.

This bed was not the type they keep in most hospital rooms.  It was a heavy pedestal made for psych wards, hundreds of pounds in weight, apparently designed to frustrate any insane attempts to move it from its proper position.  Undaunted, they swarmed into the room, ripped off the bedding, and wrestled that platform out of the room.  I would just have to sleep on the floor for mistreating my bed.

At that point they decided I was acting dangerously, and they called the orderly-truck to come back.  He was apparently amused by their hysterics and refused to respond a second time. 

The two nurses were so worried, they  brought out a restraining device to put me in.  It looked something like a cross between a chaise-lounge webbing and a cattle squeeze.  It rolled along on wheels, and they placed it in a strategic location where they could capture me when I ran berserk.

After they impounded my bed for bad behavior, I had no other alternative but to lay on the floor.  I went to sleep eventually, unaware that the nurses were standing vigil outside the door, all night long.

Well, the next morning, the Doctor arrived and was briefed by the frenzied and terrorized nurses.  He watched the video of the surveillance monitor, and laughed at their silliness.  After I had a chance to explain my side of the story, he told the nurses to put back the bed and stop being so paranoid.  He discharged me from the hospital later that day.

Next instalment:  Chronic Migraine

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