Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Frequent Flyers

On Friday they put me in 5B next to a Vet with PTSD and other mental health traumas. He was articulate and intelligent but distressed. He was on the phone with VA hospital when I arrived. He had been arrested the last time he went to the VA hospital, because they had interpreted his words as “threatening” when he went to second floor to speak to admin. He was trying to procure a promise that he would not be arrested if he returned there. He would have to check in the with police first before proceeding to VA admin on the second floor. He has been trying to get admitted on an inpatient basis. Even the police have been helping him by detailing the VA's response to his need for inpatient care. They won't let him in. “You have no idea how dirty they done me” he tells the person on the phone at VA. Apparently he had put out his eye with a pen and stabbed himself in the chest in the past due to unbearable mental distress. He requested a 10-day supply of the meds-that-keep-him-alive (300 mg lithium, 20 mg sequelia) and then went on his way. I wanted to hug him and tell him how brave he was. It's not possible for me to feel sorry for myself; my syndromes are genetic and have always been there in some form or another. I did not give up my useful years to fight an unneccessary war only to enter hell upon returning.

My next roommate: a suicidal, delusional schizophrenic homeless man. He was upset because his leg, which he said was operated on 5 months prior, was infected and had not been properly administered to. He seemed quite lucid to me, though I don't know whether he really had had an operation or if he just thought he'd had an operation. He kept registering surprise at seeing the tech at the foot of his bed, though she didn't move. He wanted her to stop using her laptop (“It's giving me a stomach ache. I can feel it”) He kept asking for food. They gave him cereal and a bagel. They gave him shots to calm him down, then pills after he threatened them and threatened to kill himself if they discharged him without treatment. He wanted to be admitted on an inpatient basis. They weren't having it. Over the course of an hour a series of perhaps 5 very large male nurses/techs were sent into the room. He was given a printed page of “resources” by an admi and finally they were able to escort him out. I started feeling manic because of his increasingly frantic yelling. But I didn't feel afraid of him. I wanted to hug him and wish him good luck. He is so tired of being on the street. He feels he just can't take it anymore.

They had a single med tech facing us in room 5. At the same time she was tasked with keeping an eye on a delusional schizophrenic man who sat upright in his hospital smock on the edge of a gurney in the hallway facing her. He kept up a running diatribe for four hours uninterrupted. He seemed to be resistant to the drugs they administered to calm him down. Only his pitch changed over time.The speed of his delivery was impressive. How does he think of so many things to say? He should be a professor.

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