I have just been invited to a bloghop. I think this might be the equivalent of being invited to a blog prom. I mean, I don’t (yet) know the other bloggers that well, but one of them said I was funny, and so naturally I agreed to this hop thing, even though I don’t really know what it is. Like I usually do.
You will see in my sidebar and right below the link to the lady who started this thing, Victoria of the blog Angst, who I think is maybe Satan’s girlfriend. (Being Satan’s girlfriend would be totally cool – I bet she’d get ALL the good stuff). Or maybe she just likes wearing devil horns. Anyway, here is the neat-o badge that she made. I chose the pink one, of course.
So if you click on the link you’ll see my funny blog listed! On October 31st, we are supposed to write a post and give something away. You may remember how last time I had a contest I gave away a glitter dunked pony, so I’m sure you are all salivating at the prospect of another of my prizes.
This year I’ve decided to give away autographed pictures of me, Alice, that the girls and I drew our very selves. Without glitter, though we could always add this if needed. Thing One has a great reproduction of Alice she drew just from looking at a picture. Thing Two drew me as an anime my little pony. And I drew myself – as Alice – with a 50 shades book in my pocket (what good is a book without any sense?) These pics will be on real paper that we’ll scan so it will actually look like something besides a flying turtle (unless you prefer the flying turtle). I’ll show them as soon as they are ready.
Did I mention I just spent several minutes doing nothing but unraveling a scarf?
Oh wait, I am supposed to mention a contest for these fab prizes. Lately my latest obsession seems to be buying Disney dolls for the sole purpose of torturing them with families and jobs and stuff. It’s a great mother-daughter bonding experience.
Anyway, I want YOU to write me a caption for this picture (created by the Things and me with my Disney crew). Pictured is Pocahontas talking to Merida from the movie Brave. If you don’t know who these ladies are (seriously, you don’t know who Pocahontas is?) then Google it. It might make it funnier. Or it might be funnier if you have no idea who they are. Either way, go for it.
I know you guys can come up with twisted, bizarre, er I mean totally Disney friendly captions for this picture. I’ll post the winning caption with the picture on my Halloweeny post.
This is also your chance to tell me what to write about in my Halloween post. Let me know in the comments below. And remember, you gotta put this picture and your caption on your blog and link to ME so that
I get hits so all in this hop thing may see your proud work. Good luck!
My kids and I were reading what has to be List of X’s funniest post yet. It’s about Ebola of course. Yes, even my ten and fourteen- year-olds hear about this stuff constantly, because it’s never too early to scare the crap out of children.
You might be wondering what Ebola is, since we never hear about it or anything. Except for every five minutes on the news. Nope, otherwise, not a PEEP. Thing is, the Ebola virus is not new. It’s been around a long time. But it didn’t affect a handful of Americans earlier so NOW IT IS IMPORTANT. We must ask, though, that people keep this in perspective and remain calm and OMG RUN IN TERROR SCREAM AND SHOUT! Fumigate! Don’t go anywhere! Certainly not Texas! (Good rule anyway, and I even live in Texas).
But since I do live in Texas, it’s even worse here. I’m about 6 hours away from Dallas, where an American recently died of Ebola and two nurses were infected. People are so panicked that they shut down the emergency room of one of hospitals here for hours because someone came in with flu symptoms. No, seriously. Turned out it was – wait for it – the flu.
Now, normally I avoid the regular news (and certainly Fox News) like the plague. I prefer to get my news from more reputable sources such as the Daily Show and blogs like List of X. They are a lot more accurate, and funnier too, in a slap yourself in the head and laugh cause otherwise you’ll be planning a mission to the moon with no helmet sort of way. But I was recently sick and had to get antibiotics then had reactions to the antibiotics that made me sicker causing me to need new antibiotics and nausea pills to counteract what they “cured” earlier, before finally they decided to take me off of all medicines because maybe it wasn’t a bacterial throat infection to begin with (I love our medical system). This necessitated going to several doctors at one clinic several times. And of course, they play Fox News. And on Fox News was info about the Ebola virus!
What better thing for sick people to watch, am I right?
At least Fox isn’t like, a fear mongering kind of news. With rabid weasel reporters who get extremely angry when the people they interview don’t get angry also. Nope, they are always fair and balanced and totally calm.
Here’s an example of one blond female reporter (shock!), who might have been pretty if her face weren’t twisted up like a Pitbull’s, interviewing a scientist they clearly didn’t screen properly before letting on the show. I’m paraphrasing some, but honestly, this is how it went.
Reporter: So I guess the government and “Big Pharma” are going to try to block new vaccines for Ebola.
Scientist: Uh, I don’t think so. I mean, they want this cured also.
Reporter: (madface – did he not read the script?) But don’t you think Obama and his people are not doing a good enough job of protecting us from the Ebola virus?
Scientist: (looks a little scared and confused) I, uh, don’t really get into politics but it seems like they’re doing everything they can at this point.
Reporter: (even more madface, foaming at the mouth possible soon) So when do you think there will be a cure? Like, say, if you started today, how long would it take for you to have a vaccine?
Scientist: (now he’s just realized she’s insane and is looking for any exit) I don’t work directly with the vaccine itself – I mean there’s no way to tell for sure anyway . .
Those scientists -what a bunch of maroons. Can’t tell you exactly how long to find a cure for Ebola? What is WITH them? Jesus turned water into wine in seconds. He totally would NOT have a problem at all solving this, if it weren’t for the liberals and gays. I’m sure this atheist, communist scientist is in cahoots with Big Pharma, Obama, and possibly the virus itself.
Obviously I don’t want to get Ebola. I also don’t want to get Diabetes, Cancer, Heart Disease, or get smushed by a semi-truck, all of which are much more likely to happen. At least the U.S. is finally doing more to help Africa, because while starving people and evil dictators who keep food from their own people are not likely to affect us Americans, a disease from the starving people can, so we better get over there and help these people by closing all their airports, ships, and any other form of transportation. Get the jet skis too, just in case. Oh, and uh, maybe do a little doctoring while you’re at it.
And, most importantly, keep your eyes and ears on the news stations so you can lie awake in fear every night. This will cause bonding with your elders who lay awake at night years earlier waiting for the nuclear bomb. So you know, it’s not all bad.
* Note: this post is chock full of satire, sarcasm, and probably multiple inaccuracies. At least I’m being honest about it. Oh and you’re probably not going to die of Ebola unless you like sharing spit. It will probably be a heart attack from all your worry about Ebola. You’re welcome. Also: don’t share spit.
So last time, I spoke to you guys about my first few days back at Camp Loopy which is not that fun cause they don’t even give you t-shirts. I think unit t-shirts would be awesome, you know, like in Harry Potter. I could have been in Schizoloren if the magic hat I talk to daily said okay. I’m getting off topic already.
Anyhoo, last I left you they’d just decided to transfer me from the geriatric unit to a new unit (bye bye Huffledafts) because clearly my anxiety was getting better too fast. One thing I’ll give them – the head nurse fought for me to stay. They like to hoard the “good patients”. I didn’t fully understand what that meant until I got to the new unit.
I know a lot about mania. My brother has bipolar depression, which can cause a person to swing from lows to wayyy too highs. Not that he can’t be annoying (he is a brother), but he does take his meds so he’s usually okay. I hadn’t actually witnessed a person in full blown mania who did NOT need meds thanks so much. Then I met Mandy (names changed to protect the looney). Or rather I heard her before I even got there.
Oh. My. God.
Mandy talked. And talked. And talked. I don’t think she ever shut up except for the rare times her entire body gave out and she slept for a few precious minutes while we tiptoed around her and said “She’s kinda cute when she’s sleeping.” But otherwise, she was talking – loudly. Yell-speak I call it. Every single word was shouted. Try to imagine this for a few minutes. Now imagine it for 2 days. Yeah. They don’t usually send you somewhere with the apparent intention to drive you even MORE insane.
She was also very active, like a child who had just downed 5,000 pixie sticks and a few dozen Monster drinks. She danced, she sang, she ran around the room, she swung her head around like a head banger. And if that wasn’t enough, Mandy was religious, so we also got mixed-up Bible thrown at us every few seconds. “Amen,” she said. “No Ah-men. No, A-men. AMEN!!!”
Mandy was a pretty young woman. She reminded me of this ice skater who was so beautiful, graceful, and mercifully silent. But not Mandy. She was as active as a speed skater on speed, if said speed skater yelled Bible verses. Come to think of it, some of those street corner preachers could have picked up some tips from her.
I’m pretty sure I lost more hearing from her in those two days than I did from the infancy of my each of my two children. Occasionally a nurse would yell “Mandy! Shhh!” and she’d sit down, hold up two fingers in a peace sign, and yell “Sorry, sorry! Peace out!”
One might think I could have escaped from her by going to my room and closing the door. But nope, because I roomed with the Grinch. The Grinch was mad. Always. About absolutely nothing. And boy did she let you know. She slept with a glass of water in her hand, and both nights woke up cursing and howling, shocked that there was water in her bed! This usually happened around 1 AM. No sleep for YOU, Alice!
At least I didn’t room with Mandy. God have mercy on that poor woman’s soul. Her roomie seemed incredibly laid back. Maybe they dosed her with a lot of meds. I hope so. Mandy’s completely unidentical cousin was also in the same unit. She looked apologetic a lot. We felt sorry for her. I can only imagine the family reunions.
Now why didn’t they make Mandy take her meds? Cause they can’t. They can’t force you to take anything, nor can they restrain you unless you are an imminent threat to your life or someone else’s. No, for the real stuff you gotta go to a state facility. Our hospital is a holding pen for these people – for up to six months. Yup. Six months with psychotic people who can barely be controlled. She’d already been there a few weeks when I got there. How those nurses, techs, and counselors stayed in their jobs I will never, ever know. I think I’d be shoving pills down Mandy’s throat. After tying her to some railroad tracks.
But I digress. Group meetings were completely useless since she could not stay down for more than a few seconds and was constantly interrupting then saying sorry and interrupting again. Also the Grinch was always griping about all us annoying Whos and how she was HANDICAPPED and couldn’t walk (though she’d walked into the room) and that the staff were total jerks. She couldn’t figure out why no one leaped up to help her.
At one point, the Grinch and Mandy got into a shouting match and I shamefully admit I was waiting for them to duke it out so maybe we could call the police to take them away. Also it would have been entertaining. We had little entertainment since they never let us go outside or get exercise in spite of telling us in Group that this relieved depression. No fresh air for you!
I reached my breaking point about 1 AM the morning of my release day. I was up waiting for them to change Grinch’s sheets and dose her with enough stuff to make her go back to sleep. Mandy was shouting, as usual, and I turned and yelled “MANDY! BE QUIET! I NEED TO SLEEEEEEP!” She blinked at me, shocked. “Oh, I didn’t know I was being loud!”
One of the nurses must have seen the deranged look in my eye so she sat down with me. She asked me the usual questions.
Nurse: Do you feel suicidal?
Nurse: Do you feel homicidal?
I looked right at Mandy.
Nurse: Moving on . . .
She finished her checklist and helpfully talked me down from my tree. Mandy was headed for state lockup – they’d luckily found her a spot. Maybe because the staff threatened to quit in mass? I would have. I still don’t know why they couldn’t have found her a nice padded room of her own somewhere far, far away from the rest of us. But then, her presence did tell me that there is no real escape from life. The crazies are everywhere.
So Mandy left at 4 AM the same day as my departure. Hello, Silence, my old friend. So that gave me about five or six hours of actually enjoying myself a little before being unceremoniously booted out of the ward. But I did make friends. They say in wartime, soldiers become very close. It’s the same in the crazy ward. I met one woman in particular that I still text. We and a few others laughed a lot while we were there as we talked about all the patients and their quirks. One of them pointed out:
“Hey – I just realized we’re the mean girls of the mental unit.”
Why not? You take your perks where you can. This crazy story has a happy ending. I got a pill – a teeny, tiny little pill that has been an absolute miracle. I also experienced a little bit of the old Jewish tale “It could always be worse.” I have true compassion for those with mental illness, even Mandy (when she’s far away from me) and frustration at the lack of decent care for them. I hope one day we can build more and better facilities around the country, because it’s not just a few of us out here. There are more than you know, living day to day, undercover.
It’s time for us all to be able to come out into the light.
“Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
SHOW ME HOW BIG YOUR BRAVE IS!!”
– Sara Bareilles
What is brave? Is it the firefighter who rescues the child from the burning building? Is it the soldier who fights in a foreign country? Is it the policeman who takes a risk every time she responds to a call?
But it’s so much more too. Brave is anybody who has overcome adversity, who hasn’t let it turn them to the dark side, who takes one step forward every day despite chronic pain, sick children and relatives, mental anguish, abuse, or even just the stress of everyday life.
Brave is me.
I didn’t used to think this, and sometimes I still scoff at it. I’d never climb a burning building, or volunteer to fight a war, or try to bust a drug ring. When scared, I tend to run in terror, scream and shout. But then, so would many people. But all of us, deep down, have bravery. It’s just not the exciting kind found in the movies. I think Sara Bareilles says it so well in her song “Brave”.
“Everybody’s been there,
Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy
Fallen for the fear
And done some disappearing,
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue”
Brave is the kid who goes to public school, who struggles with subjects that are hard, with teachers that are sometimes cold and harder, with fellow students who unleash cruelty at anyone who is different. Who do these things even home life gets tough as well.
Brave is the husband who goes to work everyday even when he hates his job. Who does his work even when his boss does nothing, and does his best. Who fixes his wife’s car, goes to get her prescriptions, and takes care of their children, his job, and everything else when she has to be gone. Who supports her when she cannot support herself.
Brave is the mom who recognizes when she can’t do it by herself anymore. Who risks the stigma of mental illness by admitting it. Who leaves the husband and children and goes into a scary hospital to get medicine and counseling, though it breaks her heart and her wallet to do so. Brave is the mom who writes about it on a public blog.
I am that mom.
“And since your history of silence
Won’t do you any good,
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?”
When I got home from the hospital, Thing Two and I talked.
Me: I only went away so I could be a better Mom.
Thing Two: You already were.
Maybe so, because my kids sure are amazing. But now I hope to be even better. I have another chance. I’m giving it all I have.
And if I can, so can you.
“Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave”
So I had a problem with my meds. Again. Let’s just say Fetzima (new depression drug that sounds like Princess Jasmine’s pal) and Xanax (no, not the Scientology god) and I are not pals.
Back to camp! I wasn’t so scared this time cause like I’d totally done it before and I was in there with a bunch of grumpy people but no one all that bad. Relaxation! No responsibility! Someone monitoring my meds so I don’t have major meltdowns at dinner parties! What could go wrong?
I went through the tedious process of getting admitted. It took so long getting admitted I started to cry but the guy talking to himself stopped long enough to go get me a kleenex box (honest to God truth). They told me I was going to be in the geriatric wing cause they were all full up everywhere else. Full moon brings out the crazies. And I was like, hey, kindly old people. No problem!
I’m an idiot.
There are a lot of rocking chairs in the geriatric wing. There are also a lot of people OFF their rockers. Really off. And not all of them were that old. There were a few like me that they were like, eh, put her here, whatevs, kindly old people. But mostly they were old. And nuts.
First person I met was Lulu (names changed to protect the looney). When they tried to get her vitals, she decided to lie on the floor and do the backstroke. Lulu was a very large old lady, and they were already short staffed with more patients being assigned all the time (one nurse basically threatened the life of whoever tried to dump another one on her without going through the proper channels, before politely introducing herself to me). Anyway, they just let her hang out on the floor most of the day. This was apparently not the first time.
But they had help! Enter Dr. Patient, who decided she would help Lulu by talking to her about how they used to know each other (no idea if this was true) and she could just stand and walk. Sadly Dr. Patient was not Jesus, so Lulu stayed on the floor, though she did add in some jazz hands to her act. Dr. Patient gave up, turned to us all and announced “Just ignore her everyone! She only wants attention.” I wanted to know where her stolen clipboard was, because I was pretty sure I was in the middle of the movie Dream Team.
I got assigned to a room with a sweet lady named Ruth. She pulled me over to whisper some important information.
“Hello, I’m Ruth. What’s your name?”
“You should know, Alice, that there are people who are not right in the head here. I don’t know what’s wrong with them.”
“Uh, mental illness?” I guessed.
“I don’t know where their brains are. You seem like a sweet girl. I like you.”
So at least my roomie was okay. And I was pretty popular. I wasn’t there fifteen minutes before another elderly lady told the staff “My roommate is violent. I want to room with her.” She pointed at me. Because clearly one look at me said I wasn’t violent. By the end of my stay this would change.
At first I felt really awkward here. All my fellow inmates were – well I’m not really sure where they were, though the bodies were taking up all the good rocking chairs. Because I concentrate on what’s most important.
I found out that they give meals to the old people last, which was odd. I mean these guys get senior discounts and everything, so shouldn’t they go first? What do I know? When we finally got to supper I was excited. I don’t know why so many of the healthy patients don’t go to supper. This is your only chance for freedom here. I had a cold corn dog, but the rest of the food during my stay was fantastic. That’s one thing I can give them. Food: A+
I found out there wasn’t a whole lot of structure here. Not even a written schedule that wasn’t followed. On the plus side, they helped you with your laundry while saying you really don’t need help with your laundry, and there were hospital beds you could move up and down. Whee. At bedtime I headed for my room and Ruth asked, “Is this where the women sleep?” Well, uh, this was where these two women slept, but whatever. Then she smiled at me pleasantly.
“Hello, I’m Ruth. What’s your name?”
My first night I had a hard time sleeping even with extra meds. I really wish I had slept that night, because that was the ONLY night I would not get interrupted.
The days sort of blurred together. I saw my shrink who is notorious for not looking or listening to people and he was sympathetic and patted me on the back and said “Hello Sunshine” while I was there and WTF did my shrink get new meds? Who cares, I liked it. He put me on a very small dose of abilify to activate the lazy meds. I tried this before, but he wanted to try it again and monitor it closer so I didn’t gain weight. I was willing to be a very fat happy person at this point. Like Santa.
I did meet another younger person I’ll call Susan. She had a walker with a cushy chair because of MS and we clicked right away. I can’t remember exactly when we started talking – it might have been around the time of the rumble. No, really. We got this new older lady who was like part Wolverine cause she bit the heads off of all the staff for losing – something. And wow did she shout about it. And shout. And shout. Oh, and if you didn’t catch it, she was in pain. PAIN!!! Not sure if she really was or not, but way to go motivating the nurses to help, lady.
She took off on her walker and another patient was in her way and I didn’t see the good part, but next thing I knew Miss Manners was on the floor howling that she’d been pushed and insisting on cops and lawyers and possibly Satan himself to punish the other patient. The other patient mentioned the “f” word and the nurses had to break it up. And here I was ready to get the popcorn.
Ruth left that day. Guess who they made my new roommate?
At night Miss Manners woke me up around 1 or 2 AM. She had wet the bed and needed new briefs. I got the nurses. I did feel some compassion for her – obviously we’ll all be there one day if we live long enough. But then I could not fall back asleep which meant it was hard for me to tell the docs how well I was sleeping. Um, well as you can with an incontinent woman?
We had some awkward times in Group after that, with both MM and her evil attacker there. Let’s just say Relaxation Therapy was a bit more difficult. Especially when the teacher shouted “GET OUT OF MY SPACE!” at me right before the lesson.
But mostly I was bored. I even went with my new normal pal Susan to the chemical dependency group because I figured I’d better know now what to do. We met with another unit. A girl tried to steal Susan’s walker by dragging it back to her unit. Twice.
But still, I got used to where I was. I started to enjoy most of the people, and the nurses were awesome. I had to stay extra time because of the weekend (no one is discharged on the weekend . . . because) and I cried a little (my shrink was like oh no, don’t cry! Really, wtf with this guy) but then I decided, hey, it’s not that bad. I can hack it with a little help from my friends.
So of course they decided to move me to another unit. Much like getting moved to the worst level of Dante’s Inferno.
To be continued . . .