This is the second part to the entry that I had written in January
There have only been two times in which the pounding on the door has awakened me; the first being when the person frantically knocking was inebriated, and the second being when I had quite a few too many drinks on Valentine’s Day. It had been perhaps an hour or two after I fell asleep talking to the Occasional Gauloise when the thumping on the door awoke my sobering self. I wasn’t exactly too thrilled opening the door to find two RAs and two EMS (emergency medical service) team members in my doorway.
So began the awkwardness of the EMS asserting that a Professor Occasional Gauloise had reported to NYU’s Wellness hotline that I had had intent to “hurt myself.” Me being one for details began to counter the argument by stating the fact that there was in fact no such professor; the Occasional Gauloise was in fact an administrator. And so I continued on correcting the error each time the EMS attempted to discuss with me the matter, as well as hand me the phone to talk with the Wellness hotline, who quickly decided that I was no danger to myself and that I ought to go back to sleep. The RAs, unsure of what to do, could only be heard discussing amongst themselves that it was meant to be an easy night. I handed the phone back to the two RAs, who were ready to let me go back to bed. But then, one of the EMS decidedly took a couple of steps into my apartment and said, “I recognize this apartment, you’re coming with us.” For the record, it was the same EMS as the one in one of the previous entries. And somehow I wish that there was an ellipses that I could insert between those two clauses so as to illustrate some kind of logic, but really there wasn’t. The idea of letting me go back to sleep was somehow turned over, in spite of the RAs who saw me fit and the Wellness counselor who declared me all right, by the EMS’ whimsy.
Riding in an ambulance isn’t as fun as it seems on television; perhaps it would’ve been had I been able to get strapped up on the gurney and had a live film crew follow me, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. On the contrary, I was seated next to one of the RAs (the other one was free to go to bed) and my professing an apology since I had overhead the “easy night” comment. Quite nice of her, though, to reassure me that it happens and that I wasn’t dreadfully drunk of any sort, so it wouldn’t be a long stay at the hospital.
And I honestly believed it wouldn’t be either. In a matter of fifteen minutes, my finger was pricked for blood and we were ushered to another room – unbelievably quick, eh (no sarcasm intended)? This room, however, reeked of a different aura than the emergency room downstairs. There was an eeriness to the “other side,” whose access was restricted. I had a look of unease on my face; the RA shrugged off the next procedure as nothing big, stating that it would just a be an interview and a couple of questions since I had acknowledged that I was depressed during intake. To ease me, she recounted that her and other RAs this year had taken a suicidal girl a couple of times here, and she was in and out within half an hour. Perhaps the RA hadn’t expected it to be a long wait either, she told she would hold onto my wallet and keys for me until I came out.
I was led to a sofa chair in which I uneasily sat as I listened to the loud snoring of one of the other patients. The thoughts of “I don’t belong here, and it won’t be long” calmed me down as I sat in the dimly lit area waiting for me to be called to sit down and have a chat with the doctor. It felt like ages before that happened, though. But when it finally did, I was somewhat elated. There was the casual talk about my depression and some skill-testing questions on math and just general lucidity. After about ten minutes of talking, I was told that I would be out within the hour, but in the mean time, I ought to take a seat. Under this impression, I sat at the benches with the nurses who chatted with me for a while so as to kill time on their end, as well as mine.
The hours passed slowly. It was 4AM when I was admitted and it had barely struck 7AM. I grew incredibly angsty and would try and check in every now and then with the doctor who said that he would get to my file soon. But when 7AM had passed, I asked the nurses if they could check what was up with my file since not only was I concerned with picking up friends that were visiting from the train station, but I also had a show to attend (yes, fashion week really was on my mind in the midst of all of this). At this point, the RA had left to go home since it was far longer than she had expected in terms of wait time, and left a note for me that she had taken my things with me since the holding compartment looked “sketchy.” One of the nurses came back outside and told me that because it was a changeover in doctors, there would have to be a re-briefing on every case – it meant that I would be stuck here for at least another two hours. It was only then that it finally hit me: I was in the mental ward.
I continued to sit with the nurses, but eventually others began to wake up. There was the woman who awoke and asked for the television’s volume to be pumped louder because the country from where she was from was hosting the Olympics. Another Canadian? We started chatting, and it turned out that she only wanted the volume turned up to silence the voices of the nurses who spent much of the early morning gossiping. It turns out that the other Canadian had been an alcoholic and had been drinking with a friend of her’s who was interested in her. Knowing that she had a date the next evening, he took advantage of her lamenting about her day of work, saying “it makes me want to kill myself,” as a “literal” threat and ushered her into Bellevue. Quite the dastardly thing, and what one may perceive as a contrived story, but through talking with her more, it seemed as though that there was perhaps truth in what she said. After all, she, the yoga instructor and real estate agent, was the most sane person here that I could be friends with for the duration of my stay here.
And with that, there came a loud thumping from the bathroom. The one who snored incredibly loudly during the night had awaken and made her way to the bathroom. I turned to one of the nurses to ask what the noise was, and the reply was stated so simply, “oh. That’s Thelma. She’s stamping out the devil.” Pairing with the exorcism was the man who believed that he was a member of the CIA and would frequently pick up the telephone to call them and to “report.” Really, the phone had been hooked up an hour earlier for me so that I could try to contact someone, but it turned out that only NYC numbers were contactable.
Some reason as to my delay, as one of the nurses found out for me, was that the doctors were trying to get a hold of NYU Wellness as well as the Occasional Gauloise. No wonder, I hadn’t been let out earlier – everyone was sleeping. In any case, they did manage to contact the Occasional Gauloise and decided that it be best not to talk to me because “I did not want to,” when in fact I had tried calling thereafter not fully understanding the circumstances.
After ten hours of being held in the mental ward that I was finally released, along with the other Canadian. I walked home, since I had no keys, wallet, or phone on me. And in my lobby, I found my guests who had wondered what had happened to me. My reponse to it all was “I have the best excuse ever – I was locked up in the mental ward.”
And so it turns out that I was pretty lucky, especially since it has become an unofficial mandate that anyone with an NYU card coming into the mental ward is locked up automatically for twenty-four hours. So how I got out in ten hours is a bit of a mystery to me.
Several hours after getting out of the mental ward, I texted the Occasional Gauloise to say, “thanks for getting me locked up.” The response was almost immediate in confusion and a need to address it in person.