Getting Out of Lakeshore Hospital:
I knew the drill far too well to end up being put in inpatient care. Was I manic? No, but that’s neither here nor there. They still needed my permission, my signature if you will, to admit me into a mental institution. I had been in and out of my doctor's office six or seven times in the past two weeks. I was getting my blood drawn everyday. I couldn’t figure out why. I just acted complicit. Why was my doctor calling me into his office so often? I knew my mom had to be behind it. The constant worrying she does had finally rubbed off on my doctor. He was listening to her and not me. Everyday I went into his office and told him that I was okay. He still wanted to do labs; he still wanted to schedule a surprise meeting in the upcoming days. My mom had convinced him that something had to be amiss. I had to be manic. He was committed to getting to the bottom of it. Finally, he called me into his office for our last ever meeting.
My psychopharmacologist started the meeting off like any other. ‘How are you feeling?’ ‘Good’, I responded; the same response I use in all of our meetings. Not more than five minutes into the meeting, my doctor came clean about what exactly he was plotting. Unbeknownst to me, my mother was waiting outside the doctor’s office to take me to Rush Hospital’s emergency room for a psychiatric evaluation. I was livid. No way I needed to check myself into a psych ward. I was two weeks away from starting work and in plenty good spirits. The argument of my mother and doctor was that I was experiencing mania. Total bullshit. Neither had a clue as to what was going inside my head. Both were playing a guessing game that nobody should ever play. If I needed help there would be clear signs not abstract opinions of my mental state, which is my business and my business alone. It didn’t help that my psychiatrist was taking my mom’s side. He should never be adhering to the wishes of one of his patient’s family members. Especially as it became clear that the family member in question was really just projecting her own crisis on to me as a way of coping with the hard times she was in fact going through. There is a reason why this was my last meeting with this doctor for the rest of my life.
The evaluation at Rush Hospital went awry. They too listened to my mom as she conspired a storyline that made it seem like I was really insane. I was admitted to Lakeshore psychiatric ward against my will. The psychiatric evaluation at Rush was biased because my doctor recommended that it take place, and my mom and I were on opposing sides. They didn’t listen to a word I said. I stayed cognizant and stable the entire time. I was not a harm to myself or any others, yet still they made the ruling that I was to go under impatient care. I was under the assumption that something like this was actually illegal. If it isn’t already, it should be. More confusion only followed once I was admitted.
After they injected high amounts of anti-anxiety drugs in me at Rush to put me to sleep, I awoke at my new temporary residency at Lakeshore Hospital. I was admitted against my will... … Could I sign a five day? What rights did I have in this place as a patient if they already stripped me of my right to willfully admit myself into their care? Did I have the right to be heard in court if I found myself to be sane? Nobody in the psych ward knew the answer to these questions. I’m not talking about the other patients; I’m talking about the social workers in charge of your discharge plan, the nurses and social workers listening and taking notes on your health. Even my doctor was befuddled over the legality of what was taking place. It got scary. I made the most of it. I participated in all the group classes and made friends with many patients who were my age and shared similar stories for how they ended up in Lakeshore.
A time of departure was set, and I was getting out after six full days and seven nights in a place that is hard on just about everyone. It’s hard being boxed in in these psych wards with other crazy people. It can give you quite a hopeless feeling. For me personally, I am driven in all these places for the inevitable freedom I am happy to work for and earn. 12:00 o’clock. That’s when I was to get out. The doctor had signed the paperwork. Not sure he even had to as my admittance was seemingly done covertly. I made jokes with the other patients and the staff, of whom I had made friends with, about whether or not they would serve me lunch, which of course was at 12:00 as well. In perfect psych ward fashion my lunch was prepared and set for me on a tray at the time I was supposed to be let out. I sat down and ate every last bite -- who really knows whats going on; all I know is if I end up having to stay longer than expected, for God knows what reason, I’m not going to miss a meal. I finished lunch extra fast and went over to the hospital phone. I made one call -- the only call I made in the past six days. I dialed up my brother. He was waiting to pick me up right out front of the hospital. That’s all I needed to hear. I marched into the mess hall and in front of everyone said, “It’s 12:10, my brother is waiting for me outside, we are no longer on my time”. One social worker gave a look to another social worker. They were on my side. It was time to get me the hell out of this place.
One of the social workers who knew her business pulled me toward the elevators and asked what I needed. Told her my sheets were already turned in and I just needed my clothes and shoes. She went looking for the belongings most every patient comes in with. Mine weren’t there. Apparently the hospital had lost my attire when they transferred me from Rush Hospital to Lakeshore. Of course, I had no clue where the clothes could be as I was stripped down after being injected with anti-anxiety medication to make me sleep once they determined I was to be admitted to a psych facility at Rush. Anyway, the nurse looked at me and asked me if I cared. I told her I was happy to walk out in hospital socks as long as it got me out of the place I was in. We rode down the elevator, the social worker handed my discharge paperwork to the front desk, and I strolled into my brother’s car in all-out hospital gear. I had made it through yet another visit to the psych ward. I lost my nice pair of Pumas in the shuffle, but a victory nevertheless.