"Oh, It was terrible!" my neighbor, Joyce, exclaimed. "They wouldn't allow me to smoke and they withheld the patch."
"Oh, I would have died!" I replied, giving her a hug of support.
My neighbor, Joyce, just spent a week in the psychiatric ward of a hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. She awoke last Friday night screaming at the top of her lungs and the police were called. Neighbors paraded out to the street to see what was happening. I somehow slept through all the excitement.
"I've missed you so much," Joyce said as she hugged Maggie, rubbing her back vigorously. "I feel you are my dog, too!"
"Well, tell me what happened Joyce?" I then asked.
"I had one of my manic attacks and paranoia," she replied. "I've been dealing with this for 25 years."
"I am so glad you are home. I was worried sick about you."
"I knew you would understand," she said. "That is why I came to see you. I need a favor."
"What's that?" I asked, an eyebrow raised.
Joyce's hands were trembling violently. She couldn't sit still. She was supposed to stay in the hospital for two weeks, but her insurance wouldn't pay any longer. Our health care system is beholden to the almighty dollar to the detriment of its patients.
"I want to tell my story and sell it to Reader's Digest," Joyce continued. "Will you write it for me? Your father told me you were a writer."
"Oh Joyce," I replied. "I am flattered, but I doubt I would do your story justice. Why don't you write it?"
"Well, if I write it on paper will you type it out and burn it to DVD so I can mail it in?"
"I would be overjoyed to do that for you," I replied.
Joyce left and moments later returned. Out in my yard were bags and bags of groceries awaiting to be carried in.
"My church bought me enough groceries to feed me for months since I am going to be out of work," she said. "I want you to have these."
I thanked her profusely. God works in mysterious ways as I was down to a loaf of bread and a brick of ham to eat. Mysterious ways, indeed! I'm just glad Joyce is okay although she is still very, very manic. I hate to see her driving and she has drove by my house countless times today. I know I can't drive when mentally ill. I am an accident waiting to happen. C'est la vie!