Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Day Two in the VIP Room from Hell

     By the second day, I was much closer to being myself again, which was a big relief in terms of  my fear that the drug had taken me to places that would leave permanent scars on my personality.
     That doesn't mean I became the model patient, however, because the return to reality brought a lot of anger to the surface about my situation and how I got there. Every time my frustration began to show, I had to consciously tone it down or else the psychiatric team would have an excuse for extending my confinement period.
     I could express my anger but only in the ways a rational, sane person would while trapped in a room, semi-clothed, with wires attached to her head and someone watching her every move. My volume needed to remain low.
    It was essential that Pam stay in charge, the one who knows the right shoes to wear to interviews so she'll land the job. The Rebel needed to keep her mouth shut, or at least that was my attitude as I headed into Day 2.
     The rage I felt at realizing I had missed Election Day in Virginia wasn't worth mentioning because I doubt the medical staff could relate to my insistence on voting in every election, even if I don't like the choices on the ballot. There is always one candidate I believe will do less harm than the other, so I pick her or him in the privacy of the voting booth and hope for better choices next time.
     Fycompa robbed me of my opportunity to vote in the Virginia primary; but I held in my anger. Doing so is supposed to lower my seizure threshold, so becoming an internal raging inferno would be a good thing, I figured, as long as I didn't let the inner rage leak out where someone might notice.
     Remember, their goal was to "catch" a seizure on the EEG machine. Once that happened, I thought I would be free to go home.
     There was a really helpful nurse who deserves a mention here. A small woman, like me, she somehow blocked me, physically, at one point, when she thought I was going to make a run for it. Once I explained I was only going to the bathroom, she moved.
     I didn't event want to punch her when she calmly stood between me and the door, which shows how good she was at her job.
     She also talked me into eating vegetables that first night, when I still trusted the people taking care of me and was trying to be "a good patient" for early release. I'll give her extra points for that, especially because they were some version of  beans that were no shade I recognized...not green, not yellow, just blah.
     To test whether I was being delusional when I thought she resembled a certain actress, I asked her, "Do people ever say you look like someone famous...and who?"
     "Yeah. I get Emma Stone sometimes," she said.
     "Yes, you do! Oh God, take it as a compliment; she's gorgeous," I told her.
     I'm sure it made things a bit easier on my son, Tommy, to see a kind nurse who resembled his favorite actress taking care of his loony mom. When they finally released me the following day, he commented on the way home that he suddenly realized women in uniform are kinda sexy.
     My frustration mounted once I realized there was no set time or day for my release. Plus, if having a seizure during an EEG was my ticket out of there, it was less likely to happen with someone watching me all the time.
     As noted in earlier posts, I tend to "do my thing" alone, in the morning, as my dreaming thoughts and waking thoughts mesh into one exquisite world.
     The doctors knew that already but insisted on doing it their way, as usual.
     Even the bark of my dog helps bring me back to this world. So a constant babysitter, wiggling bed and machine hooked up to me, preventing my wandering ways, was NOT helping the neurologists in their goal of capturing the spikes and waves on film.
     Quite the opposite, it was keeping me here, in this world and preventing me from going there, to the place I love so much.
     At some point, I realized I wasn't getting any of my meds, not even the anti-inflammatory I've taken for decades to control arthritis. "Were the doctors trying to cause me pain and put me in such an extreme state that I would have a grand mal seizure?" I wondered.
     Were they trying to torture me into having a seizure? What exactly was going on?
     I told one of the nurses that I had almost taken my arthritis medicine, (I always keep a few in my purse.) but had decided not to because when you're in the hospital, they deliver all your meds. This confession, along with my admitting to having a knife in my bag, led to yet another degrading experience.
     They insisted I dump the entire contents of my pocketbook out on my hospital bed for "an inventory" while the staff and my husband stood over me. Out tumbled the mess that my life had become after nine months of actively seizing.
     It was one of the most humiliating moments of my life, and trust me when I say there have been plenty. No longer could I hide my diseased state of mind inside an over-sized Michael Kors purse. It was all there for them to see...the silly keepsakes that mean nothing to anyone but me, the junk mail I had yet to go through, my journals, etc.
     I let them know just what an absurd decision it was to put me through that and did so in a way that wasn't pretty at all. We dumped the mess back into my purse, and it was locked away until my release.
     Once I mentioned the knife, the psychiatric team began accusing me of being suicidal in addition to the earlier suggestions of being a bipolar victim of childhood sexual abuse. "No, I do not want to kill myself," I assured them, again and again; I just want to get out of this room and go home.
     It was absurd to think they could prevent me from hurting myself anyway, and I did something to prove it. Hanging from my wrist was a silver bracelet I've had for 17 years with charms from our three years in San Antonio.
     I took the Texas longhorn charm and scraped it down my left arm, just enough so a tiny bit of blood would show through from a long pink streak. It was my way of saying, "Don't mess with me; I'm a pro at this shit!"
    All around me were sharp objects and cords. If I had been suicidal at any point during my stay at Walter Reed, you wouldn't be reading this now.
     There's much more to come. It gets even better...or worse, depending on how you choose to look at it.