Do you know what it's like to spend five days locked in a building with several strangers, all of whom are paddling around wearing those socks with the non-slip grippy things on them?
Again, I should back up.
Picture it: I've been deposited at the detox center/rolling nutball portion of the loony bin, just hitting the portion of withdrawal where you start shaking and getting ready to grab people by their shirt collars and screaming, "Ativan! Valium! Something! I've just watched 9 hours of John Wayne!" directly into their faces.
Of course, this is where the paperwork starts. Then there are verbal questions, followed by more paperwork. At this point, a new person comes in and asks you the very same fucking questions you just answered and then they want you to sign more paperwork. Just when you think you might start kicking over chairs and saying stuff like, "For Christ's sake, how many people do I have to tell that I don't have cancer, the god-damned mumps, or a fork sticking out of my dumb face before I get some help?" they bring in a doctor who wants you repeat the same bloody shit you just told the other guy behind the desk who wrote it all down. He can't just hand him the stacks of existing paperwork, oh no. This guy's a doctor. He's gotta get in on the opposite of streamlining the process, too.
So, you slump shakily into the chair and pray for death until they finally send you to a nurse who asks you - wait for it ... many of the same questions you just answered. But she's said something about giving you a shot that'll make you feel better, which it only sorta does. Because now you have to be strip-searched, and they take your nose ring, which makes you want to cry.
Then they try to send you to bed in a room where a woman you have never met is already sleeping, somewhere around 5am.
I use the word "bed" loosely, but I did try to treat it like a bed and laid on it. My temporary room mate was alternately snoring and thrashing wildly, so I pulled a "fuck this shit" and went to the day room, which was stuffed with books, games and craft supplies, all clumped together in disorganized, teetering piles. I was able to spend about 30 minutes in that room before I went to the nurse's station and begged her to let me fix it. She was like, "as if I care, god, you are crazy."
Morning came, and I was finally transferred to the proper ward, which was much smaller and shabbier - but at least I had my own room (and I got my nose ring back!) Unfortunately, the reason for having a room to myself is that where I was now about to spend the next five days was one of the worst sausage fests you've ever been invited to, because all of the sausages were crazy and in various states of detox.
There was one other woman - however, this is how our first conversation went:
Me: Where is your accent from?
Her: Everyone has an accent. ~stares at me~
Me: I suppose that's true.
Me: ~stands up~ You're tough. I like that. ~leaves room~
(Incidentally, this was one of husband's favorite stories from the inside. He just loves an awkward moment.)
She and I never did become bffs, but we spent a lot of time sitting in the same room, at the same table, not saying much to each other - just sorta politely existing in the same space - so we did form the sort of bond a lot of men do. The day I left, I gave her a big hug and she told me she wished me the best. Life is really fucking weird that way.
As for the the guys, there were a few cool ones. I kinda formed a triumvirate with a couple of them, and had I stayed there a couple more days, I think we might have taken over the whole joint.
Actually, I think everyone there was likeable, even and especially the staff. Except for that one nurse or "tech" or whatever she was. Which brings me back to this:
When you're detoxing from alcohol, at any indication of vital sign distress, they throw drugs at you, hard, because as painful as other types of withdrawal can be, alcohol withdrawal can actually kill you.
So, for the first three days, I was definitely a "fall risk". On the very first day, I was at risk of falling any time I wasn't already on the ground.
Once I had been given my own space, all I wanted to do was settle in and nest. I also wanted to find out what was in every drawer, see if there were extra blankets, pillows, or a Gideon's bible or some shit, like I was at a hotel. However, skulking around alone behind a closed door while you're full of benzodiazepines and hallucinating that there is always another person (or two) in the room with you hiding just at the edge of your peripheral vision is kind of a knuckle-headed thing to do. So, I'll take a little blame for this one.
I was squatting in front of a drawer, checking it out (empty. they all were. devil!) and when I went to stand up, I did this rather unnecessarily acrobatic fall backwards onto my ass. Not understanding that it was probably safest for me to just stay there until someone found me, I chose to try to get up, which sent me on an even more acrobatic adventure where I careened halfway across the room and landed - painfully - on the foot board of the unused bed, before I crumpled at the foot of the bed, cracking my head on the hard, hard floor.
I couldn't move. So I called for help. I could hear some staff talking right outside my door, yapping their fool heads off about shit that couldn't have mattered as much as me being too bird-brained to be left to my own devices. I shouted. I even cupped my hands and bellowed. If I could hear them, why couldn't they hear me?
They must be deliberately ignoring my cries, I decided. Well, fuck them - now I was angry enough to move. I crawled - literally - to my door, and found some way to stand up without falling right back over. I gripped the handle and flung the door open against the wall as hard as I could manage and was met with two shocked faces of women who were having the time of their lives not doing their ding-dang jobs.
My face was a mask of rage as I flung my wrist into the air, tapped my "fall risk" bracelet and hissed, "Hello!? I just fell!" For some reason, this seemed the perfect way to castigate these ladies, but trust me on this, I've done much better in my life.
When I showed that loathsome individual the nasty bruise that had already started enthusiastically forming on my ribs, she had the unmitigated big balls to say to me, "that looks like an old bruise." I almost bath salted her face.
Keep in mind, dear friends and strangers, this photo was taken after five days of healing time. You tell me what you think.
Thus ends my tale of going in-patient. I hope it's a lesson to you. I'm a fucking idiot. Learn it!