HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION IN THE MENTAL WARD – pt. 1 rough draft

After the Doctors concluded that I had ingested some LSD, which was news to me, they gave me some things to calm me down, but I was still worked up from the trip and the unplanned trek through the woods.

They decided to keep me for a few days at least for observation, either a compromise for the scene I had caused at the gas station convenience store over spending time in jail, or because after I calmed down a bit in the emergency room, isolated, coming down off a panicky squeal of psychosis, I still had some twitches and pops of the fluorescent vision that had seeped deep into my overpeeled eyes laid fully open and reclined into some vision on the hard wet floor the officers picked me up off of.

They treat you, when you are in the care, or custody, if you prefer, of the professional caring arms of state and bodily solicitude, like a precious cargo. Not walked to the inpatient ward, but levitated like a lazy messiah on a rolling stretcher through the long halls of the hospital from emergency room, through corridors and up elevators to the proper repository. Once behind the locking door, signed over to the care of the mental health ward, only then do they unstrap you from the gurney and allow you to be free on your own cognizent, into the dull prison playpen of adult nursery.

“Have a seat. The nurse will be over in a moment.”

Eyeing a couple muscle bound guards in the vicinity, watching near the plexi-glassed off front nurses station, down the long open area space of common room, with doors ajacent on both sides where the denizens shuffled noiselessly in and out of the rooms like some meaningless insect hive. A TV in the center on one side and a couch across, with an errant mattress splayed near the sofa and a sorry looking long haired creature with hospital gown exposing their lower half passed out face down, legs bunched up. I looked back at one of the men standing guard and he briefly met my gaze, and a message of pure instinct between us sized me up and pulled a breath of caution from me. His look, and subsequent look away, told me at once, ‘don’t try anything.’

The group of cafeteria tables up toward the nurses station were grouped with unassuming chairs in twos and threes and I gathered this is where we were fed. Another patient in a gown was talking to a doctor who appeared to be doing a quick interview.

Then a door opened on the side of the nurses station and a woman in scrubs walked out, locking the door behind her with a key on a stretchy old phone cord style wristlet, and she walked over to my table and sat down.

SCENE WITH NURSE DOING INTAKE PROCEDURES:

She asked me some questions

Did you know you were taking something?

Fill out this questionaire

Your parents are worried about you, they want to make sure you get any help you may neeed

ONE OF THE INPATIENT POPULATION WANDERS OVER AND SITS OPPOSITE WHERE THE NURSE HAS BEEN ASKING QUESTIONS, AND STARTS CONDUCTING HIS OWN VERSION OF INTAKE – ‘Talking to the resident’

“I heard you got dosed.”
“Uh,” I looked up. “Huh? What?”
“Yeah, that’s the word. Somebody gave you a big charge of juice. And you had a real good time. That’s what I heard.”
I didn’t know what to say. My strategy of laying low was now cemented by a hefty retreat behind a wall immediately lining the personal space that had vanished to my skin and bones.
“Don’t worry. I’m not here to give you a hard time. I’m one of the inmates, see?” He held up his medical wristband with his patient id.
“Did they give you meds yet? You just got here, they will get a doctor in to diagnose you with something, prolly. But they start everyone on meds right away. To make us have a nice quiet bucolic graze behind the eyes so we can enjoy the three DVDs on repeat. You should see about having somebody get you some books sent in. If you want to write they’ll only give you the little nubby pencils, but it’s a managable devotion if that’s your vocation.”
“I… don’t plan on staying long.”
“No, I don’t imagine you do.”
“I.. Somebody gave me an LSD laced joint at a party. The cops brought me in.”
“I know. Tell me about your trip.”
“It was, I don’t know.”
I felt the need to walk away, get away, stand, run, flee. After surveying the surroundings I came back to talking with this stranger as the closest thing.
“I’m Micah, by the way. I… I would say I’m not crazy, but you’ll find out about how far things like that’ll get you pretty soon. I’m changing my meds again, and my Mom had to go out of town for a spell. Thought it might be good to just ride it out in here. I do that sometimes. It’s not that bad.”
“Oh,” I said. For some reason this was both reassuring and terrifying.
“If I’m not sure I’ll be okay on my own, I come in from the rain for a while.”
I guess he read the perplexity in my look, and continued in his tone designed to assuage my unease.
“Decent food and less to think about.”

I was confronted by a roadblock to a place I didn’t want to go, like so many mysterious eventuous times in life when things make too much sense, eerily, uncannily contrite apologizing arresting a soul between the meaning and nature of reality they understand in the moment they perceive imperfectly, potentially barely.

Like watching my Mother watching my Grandfather die. An uncomfortable spectator drawn onto the field for some last play in a dream, and as a man, who lived a long and impactful, (important I want to say) life, gives in to old age, and you wonder as the corners of the room spin to falling angles and eyes dilate to a moment of disconnect, or passage. You wonder at whether a man dies of old age because in some way, he doesn’t belong in the world any more. That he ran out of understanding for tomorrow. Something finite ran out as the infinite grew courser and grated against the choices or misunderstandings of the day, after day. Maybe this thought, even, is only a misunderstanding drawn from some hope that one can sidestep the appointment. A wish to find the formula to make oneself perfect so that their date with the last doorway never materializes, and the alternate pathways dissipate.
Looking so weak, his thin, leaving hair covering a forehead beading with the perspiration of some unquantifiable work beneath, curled up in the bleached out blankets of the hospital bed, his tired head a bird’s nest.

Opaque light drew upon my reverie, and I found myself surrounded by that stern smell of factory cleaned linens and disinfectant covering earthy tones of human misery. For a term I sat in a comforting hum of a body not currently wrecked by pain. Sublime, the simple non-pain of sitting and expecting anything.

The nurse called out for a smoke break, and I went out to breathe the polluted air, foraging at the edges near the high fence clawing with a low-tide-marking pale brown dust rim at the bottom perimeter marking an eroding hill, against the plan of wellness and institutional rehabilitation. I lurked, wondering if the likely disinterested nurses watched me for a potential escape effort, contemplating a steep fall off and mentally fighting equations of exponential degredation.

EVERYTHING IS FULL OF GODS – theme, con’t – So you were reading THALES

You think you are THALES – How far out did you predict the eclipse?

You predicted the eclipse, or just saw it?

You think everything is water?

It what way?

Everything comes from water, and goes back to water?

Or everything…

HYLOZOISM

ARISTOTLE

The Earth Floats on Water, Water is most important in that sense
Earth wouldn’t float on air, because solids don’t

But Thales, do you think he thought about what is at the end of all that water?

Turtles all the way down

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