Camp Loopy Revisited: Geriatric Fight Club Edition

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!

The Elderly are all so sweet and adorable!

The Elderly are all so sweet and adorable!

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.

Think the guy on the far left.  I soon became the Micheal Keaton guy.

Think the guy on the far left. I soon became the Micheal Keaton guy.

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.

Alice, the before picture

Alice, the before picture

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.

Always take your meds,  kids!

Always take your meds, kids!

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 . . .


13 responses

  1. It amazes me how you can write about your experience with such humor and wit. I know how hard it is to be surrounded by “crazy” people, when all you really are is sad. And I am glad that you are back. xxx

    1. ME TOO! Wait till I get to part two. Still, it was all worth it – my new teeny tiny med is so far out. I ran out the door today and I think my neighbor thought I was drunk.

      Oh, and you do a pretty amazing job of keeping up the humor through the crazies, too.

      1. Some days, that’s all we have to draw from. x

  2. It must be difficult Alice to find a tranquil space in your head when in an evironment like that. My thoughts go out to you.

    1. Thank you, Paul. Wait till you meet Mandy Manic in part two.

  3. I can’t wait to find out how the group Bingo game came out…

    1. We actually DID play bingo! In part two – with the highly manic girl who wouldn’t take meds. “BINGOOOOO! Bingo!”

  4. I always ended up in the “special care” ward which is code for “seriously deranged fuckers.” And our meals were brought to us in the ward, no escaping there. But I’m glad you got home again and it sounds like maybe you’re ok? I hope so.

    1. That’s the one ward I haven’t hit yet – well except the children’s which I hear is where no one wants to work cause it’s apparently worse than the special care one. I have no idea why they didn’t put people in that special care group I came in contact with – I can only imagine what is worse than some of the weirdos there.

      I’m ok for the first time in a LONG time, thanks. 🙂

      1. You wrote:

        “I’m ok for the first time in a LONG time, thanks.”

        YAY! 😀

  5. It sounds like one of those “if I don’t laugh I’ll be crying” senarios to me. I’m glad you can see the funny side of things now. How much of the time in there were you thinking “this is going to make a great blog post when I get back to my computer”?

    *love & hugs & prayers*

    1. Oh, man, from like the first five minutes I was like “Oh, crap, this is gonna be an awesome post. You can’t make this crap up.”

      1. That’s the Alice we know and love!

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