The next morning I wake up and Nurse Suzen is there by my side. “Good morning! Are you ready to get out of those restraints now?”
I agree and she removes all my restraints.
She then removes something from the table besides me as she explains. “I’m going to put this device on you. It allows the nurse assigned to you to give you a little electric shock when you act out. Throughout the day you will always have a nurse assigned to you for your care.”
I don’t respond, though I did hear her.
She then asks me to lift up my leg so she can put it on me. I respond by bending my left knee a little so my leg is lifted up but my foot is still resting on the gurney.
It is a small electronic device no bigger than a deck of card. It has two electrodes like the kind used in a TENS unit. The electrodes are connected directly to the back. It has two Velcro straps on each side to secure it on my leg. She puts the device on the front of the upper part of my left leg and secures the straps snuggly to hold it in place.
She then tells me she has to give me a shock to check to make sure it is working right.
I respond with just, “OK”
She takes the remote and presses the button. “Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!” I grunt for the whole two seconds that the electric shock surges through my leg.
“That shock is very strong!” I exclaim.
“It will only be used when you act out.” She assures.
She then explains that breakfast is coming in about an hour and that she is letting me out of the seclusion room and giving me a tour of the place.
She lets me out and I can see by the clock it is about 8 AM.
She first shows me my room, I have the bed closest to the door in bedroom 3. There is two beds; one next to a wall with a huge window all across it, the other bed is by the wall with the door. The room is very spars with just two night stands, one next to each bed. There is also a small bathroom off the bedroom for me and my roommate to share. It just has a toilet and a sink.
She shows me the nurses station where we get our meds and can see the nurse if we get hurt.
She then shows me the game room which is a big room with table tennis, air hokey, and other games. There are two patients playing the table tennis both wearing nothing but johnnies and hospital socks like me, we say hi to each other. There is also a nurse in the game room, he is standing near the cafeteria and watching the patients play from a distance.
Then she shows me the exercise room “exercise is good medicine” she tells me, it has exercise bikes, skiing machines and other exercise machines. No one else is in there now.
Then she shows me the cafeteria, there are a bunch of patients hanging out there. There is also a couple nurses there too both female. All the patients wear the same outfit, just two hospital gowns (which people refer to as johnnies) and hospital socks, they all look the same, a white background with a blue design. They have snaps instead of ties.
Lastly she shows me the TV room. This is where most of the patients are. There are a few nurses there some male some female. The patients are all in those hospital gowns.
The patients turn to me to great me and I see one of them is my wife Jena.
She walks over to me and we embrace in a big hug, then we sit down and talk.
She starts by saying with a laugh, “What are you doing in johnnies? I thought you were coming to visit, not stay in here with me.”
So I explained to her the crazy story about how I tried to visit her both they ended up admitting me.
She then asks me what room I am staying in and explains that our bed is on our bracelets. Mine is 3A and come to find out hers is 3B. “So we’re staying in the same room together!” she explains happily. She then explains that normally they do not put male and female patients in the same room but she figures they’re making an exception because we’re married.
She then explains that most psychiatric hospitals let patients wear their regular cloths the next day, however this hospital never allows patients to wear their own cloths.
I respond, “How many mental hospitals have you been too?!”
She explains that she has had to be admitted to inpatient psychiatric hospitalization many times in her life even going back to when she was around 12. She tells me that she has been to psychiatric wards by at least 3 other originations in the past, but this is her first time at Rockford Care Hospital.
I then told her about the shock device they put on me. She said they put one on her to but she has never even heard of such a thing.
“This is a really weird hospital.” I comment to her.
“Well at least you got admitted to the same unit as me.”
“Well yea that’s good, at least if I have to be hospitalized I get to spend it with you.” I reply.
Just then they announce the food is ready so we all pile into the cafeteria.
I sit down with my food across from my wife. It is blueberry pancakes with sausage, eggs, orange juice and syrup. It is really delicious. They are real whole blueberries in the pancakes. “They sure have great food here.” I comment to her, and she agrees.
After breakfast I go and talk to my nurse, they haven’t changed shifts so it’s still Suzen.
“Hay nurse Suzen”
“Hay Patient John, what’s up?”
“Why do you say ‘Patient John’? I see calling a nurse ‘nurse’ or a doctor ‘doctor’ but I have never heard of calling a patient ‘patient’.”
“You are a patient.”
“I know but I’ve never heard of doing that. Do all the doctors and nurses do that here?”
“Yes, that’s how we normally great our patients. But I can just call you ‘John’ if you like.”
I change the subject by asking what I came over to talk to her about in the first place, how long I have to stay here. I do have a job to get back to after all.
“You can talk to the psychiatrist about that.”
“When will that be?!”
“You have to wait till Thursday.”
At this point it is only Saturday so that is a whole five days away!
I yell at her, “I have to wait five days just to talk about when I can leave, that’s bull shit!!”
She grabs the remote and presses the button.
“Eeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!” I yell out as I fall to my knees.
I then ask her, “Can you at least give me an idea of how long you are going to keep me here. I have a job I have to get back to! I have bills to pay.”
She explains that she can’t give me an estimate and that the only thing for me to do is wait to talk to the psychiatrist.
I yell, “I can’t even get an idea of how long I’m going to stay here!”
She shocks me again, and once again I grown out and drop to my knees.
I just walk away and head over to the nursing station, “I need to make a phone call” I tell them. I explain that I need to call my boss but I don’t remember the phone number.
I have worked at New Again PC for years doing computer refurbishing, that is all the company does. But I am so bad remembering phone numbers that I barely remember my own number.
The woman behind the counter looks it up for me, I thank her and go over to the phones and call up my boss, “You wouldn’t believe this.” I say. My boss is very understanding and tells me to take all the time I need and get better.
A little while later they do a group. They ask us what types of things we can work on while we’re here. I get called on and I explain that I have no idea why I am here. “Well there must be something that we can help you work on while you are here.” I don’t have much of a response so she tells me to think about it.
Nurse suzen then calls me over and gives me a journal and a pen to write in. “I meant to give this to you, you can use it to write your feelings.”
“Thanks” I reply
“I hope you’re not mad at me.”
I explain that I am not mad at her and I think she is really nice and understanding.
She explains that her shift is ending so I will have a different nurse assigned to me, but I will see her again tomorrow.
I tell her, “Take care” as she switches off and gives the other nurse the shock remote.