Intensive Care

sad bride

She woke up in an unfamiliar place.

She saw what resembled silhouettes.

Blurry outlines hovered over her.

There were six of them.

She closed her eyes, then quickly opened them, anticipating what stood before her would appear different.

She squinted and could only piece together parts of the whole.

Whatever that whole was, she didn’t know.

Blurry, yet serious faces and white coats hovered over her.

A man with a clipboard spoke.

She suddenly sensed she was a lab rat.

She couldn’t identify her surroundings.

She looked around in a panic.

Her eyes crazily scanning everything in their path, trying to make sense of what was happening.

She tried to listen, to make out his words, to understand why he was invading her space.

He must be in charge of something… the other five?

The leader of some purpose?

He asks her a series of questions…

She could not understand as she was occupied with her struggle to find herself.

Disoriented… drugged perhaps?

His voice was just as blurry as his face.

 

She suddenly became aware,

A hospital.

The man with the clipboard was not a nurse.

He did not resemble the doctors who had been invading her curtained cave.

He seemed out of place.

She hears the word Psychiatrist.

All of them?

Except for the man with clipboard, the others must be interns.

All five of them.

Why her?

Was she some kind of case study?

Her memory was coming back in pieces.

She remembered what she did.

 

A relapse.

His new job.

His first paycheck.

They were only married 1 month.

It was her voice this time that spoke out in the car after cashing his check.

“What if we only used a little?”

Usually it was his suggestion.

Hardly subtle… He never asked.

He just did it… made the deal… She was in the crossfire. Always.

But, occasionally it was her idea.

She romanticized the drug… the high… the ritual…. the escape.

She caused this this trip to the ICU.

She nearly died from the shame of suggesting a fifty dollar high that turned into an entire paycheck.

She had always known when to stop.

That was the difference.

She honestly only wanted fifty dollars of dope.

Just a taste.

For him, every high ended up leaving all they owned up in smoke.

She lay In a hospital room drenched with shame.

She couldn’t stop what she had started.

Would she ever learn?

ambulance

 

She was severely disappointed when she looked over at the monitor to see she had a heartbeat.

Some people attempt suicide for attention, a cry for help.

She truly wanted to leave this earth… her existence just a cloak of blackness.

She still wants to disappear at times.

Drive off the freeway.

Into a river, a ditch, oncoming Mack Trucks.

It would be so easy.

Maybe too easy.

However, this girl is a fighter.

She does not take the easy way out.

She clawed herself out of the darkest hole, the fire burned her fingers into blood… now scars.

She will never forget the pit from which she crawled.

 

The psychiatrist’s monotone voice somehow awakened her from her spiral of introspect.

“Were you trying to harm yourself?”

No, you fucking morons, I always swallow an entire bottle of Seroquel to help me sleep.

“You had cocaine in your system…did this cause your suicide attempt?”

Did medical school offer a one day lecture on addiction to lead you to this conclusion?

Yes, clipboard man and your servants, when I come down after a 3 day crack binge I always attempt to kill myself.

 

In reality, she has tried to die many times, crack binge or not.

The desperation, the doom, the depression and the shame were unbearable.

She told her first grade teacher she wanted to die.

Apparently her formative years created this longing to separate herself from the world.

As the group of psychiatrists asked her questions and diligently scribbled their interpretations of her responses on their clipboards.

She answered as she always did.…

She told them what they wanted to hear.

“No, I do not feel like harming myself at this time.”

This is the only way to walk out of a hospital without taking a trip to the psych ward.

You must convince them you are okay.

Lie, so you can leave.

Looking back on those 3 days posted up in a Motel room smoking crack followed by the 3 days hooked up to a breathing machine.

She knew the anguish, but still longed for the immunity of life.

 

She couldn’t breathe on her own for 3 days.

She almost succeeded this time.

She thought for sure this time she would fly away from her earthly body and be free.

Free from the self imposed prison of drug addiction.

Free from her mother, from him, from herself.

The doctors had just removed the tube from her throat.

It hurt to talk.

The doctors discouraged talking,

But apparently the psychiatrists insisted on questioning her.

Either she was a mystery to them or they were on a mission to gather conclusions and move on to next crazy person.

 

As the psychiatrists opened the curtain to leave her bed, she felt violated.

She had just woke up from a nightmare.

She was expected to answer generic questions from students who just wanted to hear her say she was all fixed and able to be discharged, to save them from more research and paperwork.

She wanted to scream… “No I am not fine!  I want to die!  I hate that I have failed again!”

But they were gone.

She was alone with herself,

Her worst fear,  yet her favorite place.

Nurses had been coming in out and of the room.

She was now aware of the immense pain.

Physically and emotionally.

Of course she was not going to tell them she wished she were dead.

She would have been placed in four point restraints.

A memory from her Harborview visit at 14 struck her in the brain.

The ICU was enough.

She needed to process that she had nearly died.

 

She laid there and slowly regained strength.

She struggled to breathe on her own.

People came to visit her.

Like ships passing through heavy fog, She couldn’t remember who they were.

She heard voices pray for her.

She felt her hands being grasped by the hands of others.

She slowly faded in and out of consciousness.

Shame and self loathe oozed out of her pores.

“I am so sorry,” she screamed inside her head, wanting someone to hear.

 

It was her mother who found her barely breathing.

She was laying right next to him…

They were taking a nap, coming down from the high.

He didn’t know she had taken the pills.

She knew he wouldn’t notice.

But her mother…. she came in the room.

A mother knows.

 

There she was again.

Starting over.

With him?

Should she run?

 

He was by her side when she could open her eyes.

His eyes were red and swollen from crying.

In the parking garage,

He had been screaming and begging for God to keep me alive.

At the top of his lungs, with all the strength he had left, he begged.

He didn’t care who was watching.

He swore on his life,

He promised he’d never pick up a crack pipe again.

He promised to always protect her.

She knows he meant those loud cries with every fiber of his being.

She saw it in his eyes.

He wanted God to hear him.

He knew God heard him.

 

She believed in his belief.

Just not her own.

She didn’t believe in God.

She still doesn’t.

 He hurt her…

They both did.

man crying out

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