It all started last Saturday night. I was feeling horrible and wracked with paranoia. I got my father to drive me to the hospital and voluntarily admitted myself. This distinctly surprised my father so he knew then, that I was in dire straights. My parent’s showed a lot of empathy and concern during this ordeal which surprised me even further.
Psychiatric hospitals are an interesting place to be for sure. It is kind of like jail except with decent food. Much of the people that are patients are court ordered and are under strict lock and key. You spend much of your time just pacing the floor of your room or endlessly walking the hospital halls until the nurses get tired of seeing you and state and ask you, “You sure are pacing and walking a lot. Should I let the doctor know you are not feeling well?” That was their way of saying, “You’re getting on my nerves. We will sedate you if you don’t stop what you are doing.”
I will start with a simple cast of characters followed by many tales as the days unfold this weekend.
1) Silent Peter – Silent Pete was a great guy and my favorite of all the patients I spent time with on the ward. He was in the hospital because he had tried to commit suicide a few days earlier by overdosing on his anti-psychotic medications. He rarely said a word and when he did, it was profound. He was a voracious reader and I think he consumed a good shelf of books in the dayroom while we were there. Pete usually hung out with me as I can be kind of quiet and reserved as well in real life. Pete also suffered from schizophrenia and extreme social anxiety so we had a common bond.
2) Endlessly Talking Bi-Polar Dude – This guy got on everyone’s nerves. The only time he quit talking was to sleep and he didn’t sleep much. Last night, they finally put him on continuous watch which gave us all a kind of collective sigh and revenge. He couldn’t even take a shit without a male nurse standing there and watching. He had been hiding his xanax under tongue until he got a sizable dosage saved up to get “high.” He forgot that they thoroughly search our rooms at random while we are there. His favorite saying was that he could “break three hundred bones, three hundred ways in a man’s body,” and “I am fluent in three martial arts.” He was full of shit. He was so fat, he couldn’t move a few inches without getting winded.
3) Gentle Giant Ben – Giant Ben was an interesting character. He looked like your stereotypical hillbilly out of the movies or TV. shows. He was also deaf so talked like a deaf person does in a Down’s syndrome kind of way. He had wild hair and an even wilder beard. I never once saw him take a bath the whole week I was at the hospital. He was the most amazing lip reader for being totally deaf. As long as he could see your face, you could carry on a fluent conversation with him although he was hard to understand sometimes. Gentle Giant Ben was famous for his projectile diarrhea and flatulence experience that explosively rang and echoed through the halls of the hospital one evening. To bad he didn’t hear it.
4) Streaking Kenny – Kenny was this tall and lanky African American dude that was there on court order. The police had found him walking down his neighborhood street completely stark naked. Kenny had a penchant for playing pocket pool and was uncomfortable to be around because of it. Pocket pool is where you masturbate via the pocket of your pants. Kenny also snorted and grunted like some wild animal the whole time I was there and it got on my nerves.
5) Rowdy Rodney – Rodney’s role within the group was flirting with all the nurses which he did with aplomb. He was a handsome dapper of a man. He was waiting to be transported by the local sheriff to the state mental hospital in Montgomery, Alabama. Rodney was a tiny little Italian looking guy, but a voracious eater. He would order two of everything on the little menus they would give us everyday to choose our meals. He would boast at mealtime, “I have the heaviest food tray out of all of ya’s!”
To be continued…