I have been to the mental ward before. It is a foggy place, fog in the rooms, fog in the brain, slow motion. First, in the ER, you are ushered to a special room for the suicide watches. After a short interview, you are transferred to an ER room with only a bed – no tv, medical setups, nothing that could be used as a weapon. The walls are an old chalky white, with a camera on the ceiling. They make me change into hospital gowns in front of the cameras. Outside the door, someone sits opposite me and watches. Other patients and staff look at the nut in the crazy cell. There you sit for four or five hours with an army in your head; no food, no drinks, no medicine. I can no longer change my mind and go home.
Twelve year old medical students come down, one after another, to practice doctoring. Big security guys jump up and holds you by the arms when you walk to the bathroom without asking permission. Finally, a real doctor arrives with an entourage. He asks whether I think I could be a danger to myself or others. Well then, up you go. Someone whisks me away on the hospital bed like in Bedknobs and Broomsticks. I am locked in the unit.
An exhausted nurse with highlighted blond tendrils falling all over her face asks about my history and meds. She seems nice, just tired. I will never see her again. She has to check for signs of abuse by making a thorough examination naked. Funny, that’s kind of how I got here: The powerful wanting me naked.
The staff all will only speak through bullet-proof glass, and only about meds. MSNBC is on loud. I can’t cry because of the anti-depressants. My roommate is obviously special in some way, and can’t decide between her husband and her boyfriend.
After a long time, MSNBC is turned off and it’s time to sleep. Every fifteen minutes, an aide points a laser at my face in the darkness to make sure I’m still alive . I can tell the time by counting the number of times I’m poked by the laser. My back starts to ache on the dippy mattress. If I’m lucky, after a couple hours I get some Haldol to get the voices to stop.
I am animated and witty with the doctors.