Reunited, the doc and I, and no, it doesn’t feel very good at all.
She asked for my name, date of birth; where I thought I was, and why I thought I was there. She was making sure their method of sedation hadn’t loosened any screws already hanging by a thread.
“Excuse me doc, you start off with that? Not even a, ‘How are you sport? It’s been a while. I hope your head feels better soon. How about a tissue to wipe the shit from your eyes?’ ”
I put an emphasis on “Shit”. She detests vulgarities. At least, that was my theory (patients too can have their own theories about the white-coats doing the majority of probing) I just looked for the tick in her face. Just in case it got to her.
She looked at me with wide eyes, giant emerald gems they were, though they looked worried. Then she glanced down at her sleek, polished desk-phone. As if she were deciding whether or not to call in security.
“Did she have security now?” I thought.
Her earlier jovial manner dropped dead. Very clinical. There’s that word again; clinical. Gives me the shakes.
“I’m sorry Francis, I should have been more…”
Queue lengthy pause. “Clinical” perhaps?
“…accommodating. You weren’t exactly taken in under the best of circumstances this time around. Do you remember anything?”
I, a little upset with the wording, fired back.
“Last time, this happened in a cozy duplex where I came in semi-willingly. On this occasion, for all I know, some brute dosed me and dragged me in here like an animal.”
“What the hell happened doc? And why exactly am I waking up in front of you covered in what looks like dirt and… is this dog crap? Is this standard procedure?!
I began breathing heavily. I could have handled that… differently.
She was uneasy, I could tell; apprehensive to continue. Her brow furrowed like a concerned parent after learning a beloved child just committed their first petty crime. I didn’t know what I had done to justify special-delivery to her new office, or someone’s office. But it had to be a doozy.
She started to explain the details… They were pretty grim.
“Okay, Francis, fair enough. We brought you here, please, allow me to explain why.”
“Your mom called 911 when you were unresponsive during a phone-call. She said you were frantic, screaming about your dog’s death. And the line went dead.”
She looked at me in a way she never had before: genuine concern, truly worried with what came next. Possibly disturbed even, though I remain the only clinically disturbed person at present. She continued.
“The paramedics found you in your back yard, digging a hole several feet deep. You put your dog next to it; and you, in the trench digging “with purpose” is how they described you. When the crew attempted to get you out after refusing a verbal request, you became cross. You wouldn’t let anyone near the dog or the hole. They told me you were swinging away with the shovel gripped like a baseball bat in your hands. You exclaimed, you insisted on having a proper burial for your dog. All the while taking swings at anyone whom came within arm’s reach. Realizing they may have had a mentally ill person at hand…”
I’m not sure what was broiling inside of me at the time, but it was getting worse.
“Excuse me, again, but, ‘Mentally-ill’ is the best you can come up with? I know I’m fucked, Sam. I woke up imprisoned.”
“You are not in prison, Francis, we are in a Psychiatric Ward….”
“…And you are sitting in my new recliner. Don’t you like it?”
I nodded in agreement. It was actually nice. She cleared her throat and continued.
“Now, as I was saying, the paramedics realized they had a sensitive case on their hands…”
“… As fate would have it, by this time your mother had arrived and immediately suggested that I be contacted. Twenty minutes after I got the call I arrived with my new team. Full disclosure: we had to subdue you in a safe manner, Francis. For both you and my team. That meant my new colleague, Dr. Lark, and I had to order and administer a tranquilizer”
“Dr. Lark, the Chief Psychiatrist here offered me a position working along-side her. She was also responsible for your safe transport to this facility”
Safe, safe, safe. All they were worried about was me not croaking so they had something to poke at and still get paid.
As if she had been standing stage-left all this time, just waiting for her cue, Dr. Lark barged in and leaned against the desk next to Dr. Stuttgart, they smiled at each other genially, almost flirtatiously, then Dr. Lark’s focus darted towards me; studying the limp dud in the recliner. The two seemed a tad chummy for colleagues. But lark looked familiar. As if I’d seen her picture somewhere.
“Good evening Francis, it is a pleasure to finally meet you.”