chapter 5 I NEVER COULD GET THE HANG OF THRUSDAYS

Standard

I was taken to Saint Frances Hospital

I mumbled out the basics, name former address, insurance none and babbled incoherently about a fire.  That done I retired from further active participation with the world around me.

The nurses took my temp blood pressure, timed my heart beat.  It was decided I was dehydrated and I was put on an iv.  Dehydrated was I figured a nice way for the nurses to say I was drunk.  After not too long a time a doctor came looked at me for a moment and he left.  A nurse returned waving a set of papers.

The nurse informs me that there is nothing wrong with me and the doctor had signed my discharge papers.  I could go.

I lay there meditating.

She flutters the discharge papers in front of my closed eyes.  “The doctor has discharged you, you can go.”

I continued my meditation.

She shoved the examination bed upon which I lay, snapping the papers frantically in front of my closed eyes.

I lay there meditating.

They decided to leave me alone for a bit.  Hoping I would gain enough sense to sign the discharge paperwork and get out of the way.

A nurse comes into the room, pretending to be putting away medical supplies.  She is slamming cupboard doors open and closed like an angry house wife.

I feel bad for her I really do.  There she is a busy woman with way to much to do and real sick people to care for and there was this perfectly healthy person laying there like a big old lump.  How very irritating.  I want to explain the situation to her, but it would take too long and she wouldn’t believe me anyway.  So I lay there meditating, waiting for the wheels of bureaucracy to turn.

About an hour later a nurse returns and say they have decided to transfer me to the San Francisco General the Psyc ward.

I open one eye and say, “That would be fine, thank you.” I return to my mediation.

First stop, the three day hold.  It’s a big room with uncomfortable reclining seat/beds  I am given a tasteless turkey sandwich, and a sipping box of juice, (hmm, juice).  I haven’t eaten in a couple of days, the sandwich goes down well.

The three day hold is mostly for allowing druggies and drunks to sober up enough to be not too great a nuisance to society at large upon being released.  I eat my sandwich and listening to the mutterings and snoring of my fellow patients I pull up my thin blanket and sleep.

Day two I get pudding with my lunch,( hmmm, pudding.)

Then the interview.  A very bored man begins asking me the standard questions, medications allergies, blah, blah, blah,

“Why are you here?”  He asks me.

“Well, I set fire to my apartment because my landlord is trying to kill me.”  I said.

He looks up from the form on his desk and blinks at me, twice.

“Excuse me, I’ll be right back.”  And he scurries from the room.

He returns with a nervous shuffling of forms.  You see I am now a problem for which a solution must be found.  A danger to self and others.  Now honestly society doesn’t really give a tinkers damn about the danger to self and very little about danger to others ahh but endanger property?  Now that’s something that needs attention.  They can’t just sober me up and send me on my merry way, just imagine the law suits if they released an admitted fire bug and she, one out sets another property to blaze.

I’m sent upstairs to the hospitals official pscy. Ward.  This is intended to be a two to three week holding pen for the inconveniently unstable.  Quite a few teenagers here.

Another interview, he’s a tired looking man in a suite that needs pressing.  It’s a dull beige room, behind him silk plants that look wilted.

He sits, forms in front of him, pen in hand.  Ahh yes let the games begin.

“Allergies?”

“None.”

“Medications?”

“None.”

“Do you hear voices?”

I have been asked this many times and they always seem so disappointed when I say no.

“The year?”

“2002”

“Who is president?”

“George Bush”  (And they call me mad)

“The day.”

I pause thinking.  I haven’t seen a newspaper in a while and it’s been a busy few days, counting back in my head, and then it comes to me.  In my best English accent.  “Thursday, it must be Thursday, never could get the hang of Thursdays.”

“Oh? Why is that?” He looks up pen pausing.

I laugh.  “oh never mind, classical reference.” (The Hitchers guide to the galaxy)

He looks confused but decides to forge ahead.

“Could you count backward from a hundred by 7s?”

“Hu?, now what exactly does my mathematical ability have to do with my sanity?” I ask. “I mean the mathematically gifted among us have always been more than a bit twitchy on the sanity scale.”

“It’s just a question I have to ask.”  He says looking down at the form on the table.

“Really?” I shrug. “Poor you.  Well as the designated mad person in the room I am under no such obligation.  How about we do prime numbers?  Hmm lets see backward from a hundred  97,89,83,79,73,71,67,61,59,53,47,43,41,37,29,23,19,17,13,11,7,5,3,2

Or, I know how about a nice Fibonacci sequence,  Hmmm backward from a hundred,  89,55,34,21,13,8,5,3,2,1,1.

“Ahh, what’s a Fibonacci sequence?”

“It’s the mathematical proportions of a spiral.”  I smile and flutter my eyelashes at him.  Always good to have a few clever things tucked away in your memory.

The preliminaries done with he brings out the big guns.  A deck of cards. I groan inwardly and slink down in my chair.  Roche cards.

“These are called Roche ink blot cards.” He explains to me.  “Just look at them and say the first word that pops into your head.”

Bullshit is the first word that pops into my head but I don’t say it.

The idea here is that the images one sees in the ink blot will give the interviewer an insight into the interviewees state of mind.  Only one small problem with that idea,  There are no symbols that carry a universal meaning.

A persons internal symbolism is unique to each individual to their history, their back ground, their experience.  The Roch test?  The meanings of the symbols are all set forth by a very uniform group of people, highly educated upper-class white males from a western background.  They are so arrogant that they blithely assume the whole world sees things the same way as they do.  Or at the very least should.

If one were to look at a card and see a sail boat, to the interviewer such a symbol might mean peacefulness, pleasure, calm.  To a person who say traps lobster for a living, such a thing might represent for him irritation (as at rich over fed tourists getting in the way of their business). To a person raised in a desert or to one who had almost drowned. Even symbols that are universally recognized such as a Christian cross, would it mean the same to a Jew? A Muslim to one who had been molested by a priest?

Ahh well, let him have his fun.  Eene Meany Chilly Beany the id is about to speak.  He turns the cards over, I barely glance at them.  Giving him answers I read in books.  Sailing boat two ballet dancers, a dove, violets ect.   He turns one over I instantly recognize.

“Ohh, that’s the bat.” I laugh and wave my hand at it.

“Why do you say it’s a bat?”  He looks up, his pen pausing, he thinks he’s hit on something significant here.

“Because, that particular ink blot was used as a prop in one of the Bat man movies.  The female lead in the movie, playing a criminal psychologist, had this ink blot as an enlarged framed print on her wall.  In walks Bat Man in his daily disguise as Bruce Wayne.  He looks at the picture and says. ‘Ohh a bat.”  She says, ‘ohh now why do you say it’s a bat?’

“Now if you ask me if I think I’m Bat man I shall be really annoyed.”

He looks slightly put out, but decides not to comment and he continues with the cards.  I’m not even bothering to look at them any more.

A falling pot of petunias, a confused looking whale.  He doesn’t ask why the whale is confused which is for the best he wouldn’t have understood the answer.

We reach the end of his cards and he takes a moment to tabulate the results.

“Well Doc, how’d I do?

“Well, it shows that you are mild to moderately depressed.”

Give me a set of tarot cards and I could do a cold reading of considerably more depth and accuracy.

Being officially diagnosed as somewhat depressed, I was promptly put on a course of anti psychotics and adivan Jolly good fun.

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