I had been in the psych ward for almost ten days. It was my fifth time in inpatient care and I was spending most of it getting my head back together. I was fed up with the place and had made a self-diagnosis that I was in good enough shape to leave. The doctor had different plans and was not giving me any clear idea as to how much longer my visit would last. No matter. Now that I was back to my old self I began talking with other patients and started to grow a heightened sense of my surroundings. What stood out more than anything else was a lady named Margarette. She stole the show.
Margarette had probably been in the psych ward just about as long as me. She spent her day laying in bed in hospital attire and only came out of her room for meals. She sat alone. She looked beyond disheveled. She had grey hair and was probably in her early sixties, maybe younger. She didn’t talk and was quite easy to look over. Until I fell in love with her in just one look. We were all sitting at lunch (the patients) and I had quickly finished my meal at the big main table where I usually sit. I went to return my tray and looked right down at Margarette. She was at her own table not far from her room minding her own business. When I looked down at this woman’s eating arrangement I knew I had met one of my favorite people of all time. She had food smashed on her face, there was spilled milk all over the table, her tray wasn’t even pulled up in front of her, and wrappers from food items were scattered everywhere. As I looked down at her I paused in disbelief. It was beautiful to see someone so sloppy. She looked right up at me and gave me a strange snarl. She was embarrassed at her own mess. She quickly covered up her eating place with her two hands and almost seemed apologetic. I gave out a huge smile in total approval because I was so proud of this woman’s eating habits and was glad to have finally realized who I was in the psych ward with: The Ratchet Queen
Margarette and I never spoke, but I think she got the message that I was a fan of her slovenly behavior. Again, she didn’t exit her room unless it was meal time, and continued to make a mess at meal time, but it got better. On two and maybe three different occasions Margarette failed to make it to the toilet on her own fruition. She was so lazy that she took multiple shits right next to her bed in the middle of the floor in her room. It was marvelous. When it first happened, the staff called in a really cute nurse to the psych floor. She came bopping out of the elevator with dishwasher gloves, a mask for the smell, and a bucket. It was clear that she was told to show up like this, but had no idea why. As she appeared on the floor the staff and the patients clued into what was going on all gave out a laugh. The poor girl clearly had no idea that she was about to clean up Margarette’s excrement.
So who was Margarette the Ratchet Queen? I really couldn’t tell you exactly. We never talked. We just gave each other a nod as we passed each other showing a clear sign that we respected one another’s space. Margarette was discharged before me, and she left in great fashion. They brought out a hospital bed for her in order to wheel her out. She was capable of walking out herself, but already in street clothes Margarette was given the option to be wheeled out so she took it. Lying on the hospital bed on her way back to the real world, the nurse asked if Margarette was cold and wanted a blanket. Of course she nodded in approval. For Margarette speaking is just too much work. They brought Margarette a blanket… As soon as the blanket was put around her body she started shivering to play the part… and that was the last I ever saw of Margarette the Ratchet Queen as she got wheeled off the unit… Long Live!!!