I was instructed by the folks at the hospital to check in with Wellness within the week, or I would be pulled from school. And so I did stop by to explain the misunderstanding that had taken place some evenings before, but it seemed as though that there was no interest or validity in what I had to say, as though I had concocted the series of events. Perhaps it was because of the amount of time that I’ve spent at the student health center (after all, there are so many more in need of help), but it was decided there that my SAFE evaluation for this incident would be dealt with anywhere but here.
And that was that. I was somehow left to fall between the proverbial cracks with no one seeming to pay much attention as to what had transgressed. Sifting through old emailed appointment reminders, it would look as though my appointment with The PhD was scheduled in light of my recent trip to Bellevue, but that wasn’t the case – it was simply coincidental. In retrospect, though, I’m not quite sure what I should have expected as an outcome of being locked up, with regards to my interaction with the health center. All of which being a rather difficult field to traverse given scheduling and availability; however, the feeling of being left stranded (re: dropping the second SAFE evaluation) and subsequent reaction of the Cat Lady were certainly not expected.
It was almost two weeks later when I sat down in the Cat Lady’s office. I went on to explain the story of how I found myself spending ten or so hours at Bellevue, as I had outlined here and here. The response to what I had told her was anything but favourable. The Cat Lady took an opposing stance, explicitly stating that everything that had happened was my fault and no one else – there was no misunderstandings or anything of the sort. I tried to contest, but I was quick to realize that the argument would go nowhere. To add, the Cat Lady, who had somehow convinced herself over the weeks that the root of all my problems was my drinking, proposed an ultimatum for me – I either attend several meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous (quite tangential there) or go six weeks without a drink. Quite frankly, it’s difficult to go to meetings when you don’t have an addiction to alcohol, so I could only opt for the latter choice. And of course, the usual banter about the somnolence resulting for the Lexapro was entertained with little done about it.
The following week I found myself receiving a reminder via email for an appointment with the Intern that I had not scheduled. Believing it was an error, I called the health center so as to cancel my appointment. After all, I only really had one more session with the Intern (each student is allotted ten sessions per academic year for short term counseling). Several days after, at around noontime, I logged onto my computer to find a message from the Intern detailing that the following session would not be counted for hours:
I just wanted to reach out to you and see how you are doing. I have noticed that you canceled the last session scheduled with me. I would like to see you next week, if that is possible. I know that a cocnern was the number of sessions and at this time, I would like to follow up with you and it does not need to be our last session. I will ask the staff to schedule you for next Saturday and I hope that you will be able to make it. If you can not make it at that time, they can also work with you to find a better time that works for you.
Have a great day,
It’s funny, I hadn’t expected that anyone would be checking up on or reaching out to me, especially after my experiences with Wellness, Cat Lady, and the Specialist. But since the message was sent and received through the clunky “secure messages” system, I had trouble explaining what I had thought to be a mistake. The Intern could only send me a message, but I couldn’t reply since the Intern was not an official member of the health center. And so if memory serves me correctly, when Saturday morning rolled on by, I hurried out the door to 726 Broadway so as to clear up the misunderstanding in person before booking an appointment. The student worker, who was the Saturday third-floor receptionist, had probably thought that I had lost my bearings in asking that I wanted to have a quick chat with the Intern. After double checking with the Intern via phone, I was told to weave through the halls to meet with the Intern.
In the style of yours truly, I greeted the Intern by immediately commenting with intent and reasoning, “I wasn’t ignoring you, the secure messaging system is only for the official people, and you’re not one of them.” Perhaps it was because the setting wasn’t formal or that my statement really was that funny at the moment, but the Intern simply burst out in genuine laughter. I proceeded to quickly explain the circumstances leading up to and series of events at the mental ward, with characters and all. And with that, I felt for the first time since being locked up at Bellevue that I could be believed and not feel judged/dismissed at the health center.
Image courtesy of flickr.com (user: montine)