Lunch Time! Someone announces. John gives me the look of “I hope you didn’t forget your newspaper. And just like John, I wait until the coffee call comes to get my tray. If you know me, you know my peculiar eating habits. I don’t like cold meat. I don’t like cold cheese. I absolutely hate condiments, specifically mayonnaise. It is absolutely the most horrible thing in the world. So because of this outline, I don’t eat sandwiches and/ or salads. A salad just makes me cringe. It’s just too much for me to stand. In addition, I think salad dressing is absolutely gross. So what do we have for lunch…. A salad and a sandwich. I swear I am batting a 1000. At this point I just give Felonious my meal and she smiles for the first time since I have been here. I did get a pear, so I am munching on that and the staple of the “Doom Room”, graham crackers.
Carol, doesn’t come to lunch. I look around for her and I don’t see her. I assume that she has gone to “take her tests” Carol is a sweet lady. She shares just about anything that she has and she is super friendly. We talked earlier and I learned that this is Carol’s second time to the “Doom Room” I asked her why did she come in the first time? She says that she “only” took 200 Tylenol. That makes sense. This is how my conversation with Carol goes:
Carol: How do you say you name again? It is so pretty.
Me: Jacinta. (Part of me is wondering if I should come up with a fake name while I am in here, but the nurses yells your shit out anyway. Why bother?)
Carol: I have a ton of color pencils and coloring sheets. You are more than welcome to them.
Me: Thanks Carol. You are very kind. I can’t imagine you taking so many pills. What made you do it? (In the psyche ward, the deck is cleared and no questions or answers are offensive or intrusive.)
She is chipper as I don’t know what.
Carol: Well let’s see. The first time was during Thanksgiving. I had gone to the Publix this time to do my shopping. I wanted the dinner to be special and all (thick southern accent) so when you go to Publix, did you know that they have recipes right there in the newspaper for Thanksgiving?
I ain’t shit.
Me: NOOO! Are you for real? (This is without her knowing that I worked in grocery stores as a living)
Carol has this shinny glow with her blue eyes. She is so excited to telling me about Publix, she just doesn’t know what to do. As we go through her long ass journey at Publix, with a ton of coupons, she is rambling so fast that it is hard for me to keep up. I am asking questions in between to make sure that I hear her correctly. So basically, the first time Carol was admitted into the “Doom Room” was because she lost it after the Turkey didn’t look like the picture on the Publix Ad Paper. This made me hurt for her. Her chipper tone goes to a shame tone. I tell her that she doesn’t have to tell me anymore. She continues and tells me that the Psychiatrist encourages her to tell her story as an exercise to release her emotions (Hence, me actually writing all of this and telling all of my business).
Carol is very much like me. I hate the idea of disappointing anyone, especially my family. The only difference is that I don’t swallow two hundred odd so pills to show it. We talk more. I ask her was here husband upset or disappointed about the turkey. She says that he kept saying it looked fine and she knew that he was lying to her. Another thing that she and I have in common. I have never been able to take a compliment. I am well-mannered and I say “thank you” and “please”, but never to a compliment. I continuously explain why I don’t deserve the compliment. I just can’t say thank you and appreciate the kind gesture. Some of you will notice on Facebook I have said “thank you” on the many compliments about this story. In the background, I am messaging people to ask them what they really think… Still can’t take the compliment.
So here in Carol’s case is what we call Anticipatory Anxiety. I have that like you wouldn’t believe. Anticipatory Anxiety is when you get an idea or situation in your head and instead of just accepting the idea or situation, you panic. Tell me something and I am already in fix it mode. I do what they call spiraling.
Say for instance, Chico and I have forgotten to pay the trash bill. He thought I paid it. I thought he paid it. As he is leaving for work, he says that the garbage man is not picking up our garbage due to non- payment. Chico just asks me if I can pay and see if they will come back and get our trash. He is off to work like it isn’t nothing. It sounds very simple and I know that I can get the task done, but first I have to go through this. “Are you fucking kidding me? We didn’t pay the bill? This bill is in my name not your name” Nothing about the previous statement should be that difficult however, my mind works totally different. As I am getting online to pay the bill, here are my thoughts: Are you fucking kidding me? Why am I at the computer with no credit card? Now I can’t pay the fucking bill. If the garbage man does not pick up our trash, then the trash will stink. If the trash starts stinking, then we are going to get rats. If we get rats then one of them could bite Baylor and give him rabies. Once Baylor has rabies, the Vet is going to tell me that there is nothing that they can do and they are going to put Baylor to sleep. If they put Baylor to sleep, just put me to sleep because I can’t go on. This is spiraling. I am thinking about how hard I am going to be on Chico when he gets home. In fact, let me start fucking his day up now! Texts with mean emoji’s, all day. My nerves are on 10 at this point. I feel like I can’t find my wallet to get the credit card. I know that my wallet is in my purse. I actually know where my purse is located, but because I have started this spiral, my mind won’t tell my brain to let me go get my purse. I end up sitting in our closet and calling Chic to tell him I am having a bad day. Poor Chico. I know that he knows that this has to do with the bill. He tells me to calm down and take my meds (I hate when someone asks me if I have taken my meds or to take my meds). I start crying because the thought of losing Baylor is just too much. As I am typing this, I am thinking that a Xanax for breakfast wouldn’t be so bad. Breathe. Three seconds through the nose and five seconds blowing out from the mouth. Repeat.
Now here is what should have happened had it not been all of a sudden. I would have gone in the house. Paid the bill online. Call Waste Industries and have them patch the truck in to tell them to pick up our garbage. Look at this paragraph versus the one before.
My mind is just not wired like that and it is very hard for people to understand why I CAN’T HELP IT! This is the illness.
So as I am finishing up my conversation with Carol, I find out that she spiraled out of control a second time and this time she takes over 300 Tylenol. She didn’t think she could live after she gave her grandson a birthday present. Like any six year old, he didn’t like it and he didn’t play with it. Took her twenty minutes to swallow all of those pills. Her husband seems to be the non- supportive type (Everybody doesn’t have a Chico). He basically says “fuck it” when they find her in the bathroom and this time he doesn’t care. If she lives great. If she dies, great! That’s cold, but he hasn’t taken the time to understand how her brain is wired. Instead of trying to learn more of understand the illness itself, people go back to the “crazy” and “crazy” is incurable. People have a huge stigma about this stuff. They don’t even want to be seen at a Psychiatrist’s office to get an explanation of their loved one’s behavior. They don’t want anyone to see them there and assume that they are crazy. This is so not about you.
Back to the present…. Deborah yells “Group!” again. She decides to polish her gold teeth with that jewelry rag that you get at a jewelry store, while the crew is strolling in to sit down. I take this time to wonder off to call Chic. Not happening. They turn the phones on and off at the nurses station. Shit. I go sit next to Lieutenant. This time, we are going to go around and talk about how we came here. I notice a new woman with a white coat on walking in from the Matrix Room. Who is she? I want to know like yesterday. Deborah, in hood fashion, says “why you here?” The first person in the circle is John and as normal his response is “pass”. I am so curious about him. He is a super cool guy, he stays out of the way, and never has an outburst. Next is Daniel. Daniel says that he is in here because he and his girlfriend got in a fight and she called the cops and told them I was crazy. He says that he tried to reason with his girlfriend and the cops, so instead of taking him to jail, they threw him in here. He is still pissed about this because his leg is shaking. Deborah asks Daniel how long has he been in the psyche ward. He replies three months and he is worried that his girlfriend has moved on to screwing everybody in the trailer park. With this thought he gets up and calls himself walking it off. Did he say he has been here for three months? Just imagine what my face is looking like right now. Hell to the nah, Craig! NOT ON DUTY!
“Welcome to Tampa, Florida. The time is now 1:28 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. If you have checked luggage, please follow the signs for baggage claim. As always, we know that you can choose any airline, but we appreciate you choosing Delta. We hope that you enjoy your stay or wherever your travels may take you. Flight attendants, all call and cross check” Bitch I took my seatbelt off while we were landing. “Girl, open the door” Ain’t nobody got time for all this smiling and thanking me to fly Delta. I am the first one off the plane. I call my husband, then I call Chico to let them know I have landed. Again, the Loubies on my feet are clicking against the floor of the airport. There is a lady riding the escalator with me and she is so nice. She asks me if I am having a boy or a girl. And because my hormones on ten, I turn around and ask her what difference does it make. She grabs her imaginary pearls and is in awe at my behavior. I am checking my phone to set the GPS to where Chico has sent me an address. We get to the bottom of the escalator and I turn to the woman and tell her it’s a boy and my nerves are bad. She smiles like she had forgiven me on the escalator.
I am in the main lobby of the hospital. I told the receptionist that I was there to see my wife, Jacinta Daniel. She types her name into the computer and does a double take of me and the computer screen. It’s as if she is reading my mind, “Why the fuck are you here?” She asks me to have a seat and someone would be with me shortly. Shortly turns into two hours. I get up to go back to the receptionist desk and she sympathetically looks at me and says that she has called several times for someone to escort me to that floor. She tells me she will keep calling. I thank her because she really has been pleasant. I am not a patient man. In fact, Jacinta complains that I act before I think. This is true. I just want to get to the bottom of this shit and take her home. I had to call into Jacinta’s job to tell them that she was “sick” and in the “hospital”.
I know that Jacinta hates her boss. She texts or calls me throughout the day telling me things that he is doing and how he is treating her. Once she told me that he asked the entire office to go out to lunch and she was the only one not invited. I know that makes her feel some kind of way. I get dressed. I stay clean, French cuffs and all. There is an atrium in Jacinta’s building with tables and chairs. You can’t miss it while you are waiting on the elevator. When the guys got back to lunch, they found me eating lunch that I brought for Jacinta. I guess her manager didn’t know what her husband was like. He sees the two of us and decides to walk over to find out who I am. Because I am dressed up, I guess he figures that I am someone that just so happened to sit with her in the lobby for lunch. He gets to the table and Jacinta proceeds to do the formal introductions. I grab this joker’s hand, he is clearly a foot shorter than me. I squeeze that bitch until his face was red. I tell him that Jacinta has told me about him and that I am glad to finally meet him face to face. He tells me that I have a strong grip. My eyes don’t leave his and he can tell that I ready to whoop his ass. Jacinta interrupts this stare down and tells her boss that she is wrapping up and will be back upstairs in just a minute. I shake his hand again, this time harder. I tell him to have a nice day with a smirk on my mouth.
I am calling her office and asking the receptionist to transfer me to Mike’s office….. Just as I am getting transferred, Nicole beeps in. “Chico, I am here, where are you?” I tell her what part of the hospital I am in and she hangs up. I never get to speak to Mike. Fuck him! I can tell that Nicole is not far away, I hear the heels clicking on the floor. How she is wearing these heels, like they are slippers while six months pregnant is beyond me. I see Nicole and I hug her. I hold onto her. She tells me in my ear that everything is going to be ok. She asks me what happened. I tell her.
Chic looks so stressed. I am sure that he hasn’t gotten much sleep. He is very protective of the ones he love. But stepping to his wife is a whole different level. I don’t know what he is about to tell me, but whatever it is, we got it. He tells me the situation and gets to the point where he has been sitting there for a couple of hours. A couple of hours! I am enraged. I step to the receptionist……..
Yall are getting spoiled!