Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Mad Doctor - a true story not for the weak of stomach. (Part 4 of 4)

` And here we come to the final part of my true story, The Mad Doctor (which begins here).
` So, you may be wondering how I got out of the institution. Well, it wasn't so much my own doing as it was my mom's, but... oh, you'll see.

` Luckily, after begging to see a doctor as many chances as I could, Doctor Carman finally agreed to see me. I figured, all I had to do was not tell her how much I constantly had the feeling that I didn't belong there, which I prided myself in not saying at all to anyone - that's usually a big mistake.
` This time, she was much nicer, though when I finally tried to tell her about when I was tortured, she merely interrupted me with; "You know, you are really so much better today than last time I saw you. Your speech isn't slurred anymore, and you seem so alert!"
` I don't know how she could have expected any different: Last time, I had been drugged to the extent that I couldn't even walk, much less speak or think clearly.
` "Do you remember that?" she asked.
` Thinking hard, I nodded.
` "Well, I'm thinking of letting you go upstairs soon," she said. "Maybe tomorrow."
` While she didn't want to discuss my being tortured, or even acknowledge that it had happened, I did manage to complain about the way the Abilify she had prescribed was causing me to constantly rock back and forth - even when I was trying to sleep.
` Seriously, the only way I could make it stop was to concentrate on it, much in the way breathing can be controlled. If I stopped thinking about it, the rocking started again, and because one cannot fall asleep without thinking of things like holding one's breath, it was almost impossible for me to sleep. At all.
` It was also making me very confused about where I was at times, I told her, and I kept doing strange and annoying things I had both never done before and had no control over. On top of this, I was shaking to the point that I could barely walk.
` Carman's solution? More drugs!

` Even so, that was an exciting night for me. To think, I wouldn't be considered 'dangerous' anymore! Though I became less and less coherant the more Abilify I was given, I still managed to write down many more observations, including the last of Christina's incessent all-night ramblings. Go ahead, read them for your own sick amusement:
` "When. When will you?" "I'm affecting your magic. I am. I'm affecting your magic." "Hgh! I can do a deal, Christina. This is Armageddon and Nostradamus." "No, don't do it. Take the eyeballs." "And you can have that." "I feel your Reiki. I see her every single lifetime. 'Cause this is your name. Vinny's gonna try to convince everyone they're God, you gotta wake them up. This is your name... except Nathan." "I'll come. Nathan? It's me. I'll come. Just pitch yourself out of your body. Go outside and hurl your soul." "Where are they?"
` She was interrupted by the other raging hallucinator, Vicki: "What'd she say? I'll kick her!"
` "I see 'em, Christine. Nothing is working out good. Nothing. No - all the angels aren't taking care of things. I'm looking at the night stars." "You're not. Nostradamus said the right year. But Satan has the scissors." "Hgh! Hgh! That's where they are. They're right here."
` "Onyx, you're hurting me. Let go of my mind... Reiki is really pissed. She is. I don't want to wake them up. And tell them their names. Be gods, be gods. Especially you, Christine, especially you. Especially you. Especially you. Especially after today."
` "Okay, alright." "Dammit, David, you still got dusted. These eyeballs. They're still purple. Make them purple with your time machine." "They will be. They will be. They will be. They will be. They will be. They will be. They just turned purple. They did. They did. They did. There, they are purple. They are. You are supposed to say you are Christina." "Didn't all the other galaxies get really pissed when you called yourself a god?" "I am. I'm a Reiki, too. Put your eyeballs in. The right one first. The right one first."
` Christina mimed putting an eyeball into her right orbit. "They are supposed to roll back in your head. Now your left one. Just stick it in there, not like that. Just stick it in." Abruptly, she looked down at her feet. "I'm splashing it, dude, I am." She bent down and picked up the eyeball, which of course, wasn't there. "Now, open your left eye."
` "Hey, you sleepy?" Vicki yelled from her room. Then, Vicki went on to curse and scream at her bathroom and called Christina a bitch for not ever shutting up.
` This type of thing went on until about three in the morning. At about five, Vicki was still awake, saying something like; "Your mother is being tortured by my son being alien intern. I didn't kill your grandma. Vicki did." She seemed to be talking about sons and aliens and 'dinotopia' for a while, from what I can tell from my notes. At one point, she was sitting on one of the lobby chairs, saying; "One of my children's gonna kill 'em." Then she mumbled something about veal, and stood up. "I think your mother..." she sat down suddenly and said innocently, "I'm just Ginger, Roger's daughter."

` And after the sun had risen, nothing had changed. Vicki was going on; "Excuse me, but you said not to talk about that shit - I am 49 years old! I should know better than you!"
` Christina, on the other hand, was speaking in a very deep, vibrant voice, slowly moving her arms above her head; "I held up the sky. Ommmmmmmm. I held up the whole sky. Ommmmmmmm. Cosmic earth."
` I made my way past Vicki, who said; "Am I watchin' you? Don't walk with me!"
` "Ah, demons," I snickered to Jennifer.
` "Some people are just prone to them," she said, shaking her head. Well, we got to talking, and it turned out that I wasn't the only one being moved upstairs soon. Both of us were quite excited about this prospect.
` Jen was telling me how the old woman who had slept in the other bed the first night I was here had said; "I don't want no bible beatin', smokin' people. I'm sick of it. Go back to the hospital you came from! Drop dead!" Jen had actually been this woman's roommate before I had.
` I told her about the other day when I thought the Milk of Magnesia had finally kicked in on my intestinal blockage - after taking it for three days - and rushed into the bathroom. No sooner had I pulled my pants down when my only roommate, Theresa, opened the door, thrown a towel across my lap, and started whispering hysterically about how she thought we were going to be killed: Apparently, someone in the hallway supposedly had said; 'She knows,' just after she had stuffed the phone number down my mom's sweater, a clue that she just couldn't keep it to herself any longer.
` Actually, later on that day, I really did think the Magnesia might have kicked in for real, however Theresa was in the shower and the orderlies would not let me into the other bathroom. That surely was another thing to complain about, although at least it was a false alarm - I was only beginning to bleed in a new and different way.
` Gee, I guess that made three bleeding orifices for me - a record that I have thankfully not bested myself at. I really was in horrible shape, sleep deprived with a whole-skull migraine and jaws that were only just beginning to unclench. Not to mention all the cramps and bleeding and whatnot.
` Truthfully, we were both very miserable down there because we were having all these problems and the orderlies just disregarded us. That, and we weren't crazy! ...Well, I wasn't anyway. Anyone could tell you that, but for the time being, I was the only one in the whole place who knew that I didn't belong there at all.

` As far as what had happened later that day, I don't clearly recall, as the drugs were quite overpowering. All I remember is being on the other side of the glass wall and climbing some stairs. I took down these notes:

` Now I'm in the upper unit. I can barely see because I didn't get much sleep. [Or so I had thought.] I'm listening to the Jerry Lewis Special on PBS. The new guy, Travis, totally hit on me and said 'I'll be ready when you are.' WTF?! [Yes, and he constantly sang my name over and over whenever he saw me.]
` This place is not like jail. It's got a bed so firm and not plastic with stuffing in them [sic], so I sit on it with no crackly, springy noises. My roommate, Kim, is ill so at least it's quiet here. [It turns out that Kim was about eight months pregnant.] My supposedly life-threatening double-period that's really bad is fading finally. [I was severely white-complexioned at that point.]
` We have a flatscreen TV, a [very out-of-tune] piano, foosball, and a shower that isn't flush with the floor so that I don't have to put in any towels on the floor to sop it up. I was lucky that the water was hot! There's actually two TVs here in two different rooms.
` Seriously, I have it made, all because I was acting like myself with Dr. Carman, and successfully navigated a group therapy thingie. Then I moved my stuff and went to lunch (Open Pit-type barbecue!!) and another meeting, and then forced my jaws open enough for half a hoagie. Getting sick of these Resource drinks!
` In other words, I am well. And I actually DIALED Phil's cell phone and he called back on the nearest pay phone from where the phone was. They also have an exercise bike and a water cooler. I think I'll have some [water] and eventually I'll get a blanket!
` Yes, all of this was truly a big deal to me as I had been deprived of regular food, water, and orderlies who would pay me any attention. In fact, twice a day we even got to go outside into a large fenced-in area with picnic tables, a basketball court, and sometimes, deer. We also had a laundry room and a kitchen, so we always had clean clothes and snacks to eat.
` And, 'blankets?' - no idea why I'd written that. Perhaps because I still had a chill and needed to wear one in order to stop me from shaking too much.

` But the extra medication I had been prescribed was already doing that to most of an extent. I could walk almost normally, and my perpetual rocking was a bit easier to control.
` Unfortunately, this medication also made me go nearly blind for a while. As a result, I had to stop writing about anything that had happened for the rest of my stay. In addition, the Abilify had really begun to affect my memory, so half the time I didn't even know what was going on, though at least I can remember more clearly now.
` For example, I remember that I had been in some kind of group therapy twice a day and had actually gone to a cafeteria to eat real food three times a day. It was really good, too!
` Unfortunately, the staircase on the way down smelled strongly like burnt margarine and chlorine - to everyone's dismay - and so it didn't help much with my appetite. Strangely, though, all of the orderlies were so used to it that they assured us that there was no such smell.
` The chefs were really nice, too. They were always making the greatest food, from pancakes to pizza. However, one day I couldn't possibly make myself eat lunch. Afterwards, one of the chefs asked why I wasn't eating much and I said I was sick. He said; "Oh, but you'll eat tonight, I'm sure!" I insisted that I could not, and he insisted that I could. So, my face burning, I said; "I've been constipated for a week and a half! So there!"
` However, even though everybody who worked there seemed to know this about me, if I was ever in the bathroom for more than a minute, someone would come around and knock at the door at intervals of thirty seconds, calling; "Are you alright?" I'd say; "I'm fine." Thirty seconds later, they'd knock again, asking about my well-being. This got old real fast. I was like; "I might be better if you'd leave me alone!"
` Eventually, I did get better, too; after that point, only one orifice was bleeding. And it was not my mouth, either, which had healed up sufficiently after about a week from being torn up.

` I recall, mainly, being very confused a lot, especially in group therapy. I was always speaking as much as possible and saying things I wasn't sure were true or not because I couldn't remember. It was around this time where I kept thinking to myself about my strange and hyperactive behavior; 'I can see the light! I really am crazy! I just can't sit still! How could I not have noticed before?'
` The truth, of course, was that I was normally a human lump, no matter what there was to be done, and I generally had very little energy for anything. Having such a short memory, however (It had seemed like I'd lived in that hospital forever!), I thought that this was somehow the way I'd been my whole life.
` I remember meeting this conflict when I volunteered to talk about something I knew nothing about - the other patients. I said; "I'm sorry I don't know anything, but I was just saying this because I usually am so shy around other people and just can't talk to a group of people."
` Strangely, they all applauded my effort. And yet, what had I been doing each group? Constant motormouth, my mind racing. It didn't make sense, but my perception was colored by the Abilify - plus everything else going on around me - and I just could not remember who I was.

` One day, Phil and my own mother dropped by. I don't really remember this, but my mom recounted later that she'd said then that she'd left something on the top of the microwave oven and I'd began to run off to get it. Then I'd stopped and turned around and looked at her strangely, saying; "Oh, the microwave's at home, and I'm not there."
` I do remember, however, that I could
not stop pacing in my free time - I couldn't sit still at all! - so in order for Phil to talk to me, he had to keep up after me around the corridors, of which I had three rather than one! I don't really recall what he'd said, other than the fact that he was about to be forced to leave on family vacation and I wouldn't see him for another couple of weeks. I also remember that I'd kept stumbling every so often because my inner ears had a tendency of randomly going out on me: I would suddenly feel as if I were falling and lurch forward in order to try to catch myself.
` After the fact, however, Phil told me how amazingly lifeless I had been that day - I had no spirit whatsoever, seemed to be perfectly contented with life at the mental hospital. Really I didn't even care if I lived there for years! It was like I didn't want my old life back.
` Of course, I couldn't even remember my old life.
` While Phil was talking with me, however, my mom was speaking to Doctor Carman about my situation with the Mad Doctor torturing me and all. She said that earlier on, Carman did think I might have had schizophrenia - thanks to my know-nothing psychiatrist in Medina, Dr. Kwak, who had told me earlier that year that she couldn't help me because she didn't know what was wrong with me. (Try Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?) Well, it is no wonder that a lot of other Medina mental health professionals called her 'Dr. Quack."
` Anyway, Carman realized from what my mother had told her that I was not at all delusional about what had happened to me, and didn't even seem to be psychotic one bit! She said she'd let me go pretty soon, in fact.

` But when, exactly, I didn't find out until eight hours after I was supposed to have left. I was in my room, attempting to read alternately by using one of the nurses' reading glasses and waving my hands in front of the paper. Yes, my eyeballs were beginning to work because I had stopped taking the medication that prevented me from constantly rocking. And that meant that I was constantly rocking. All the time. But it was better than being blind.
` I looked up to see this blurry shape in my blurry doorway, with a blurry something in her hand-like blurs, telling me that I was supposed to have been discharged at noon. Excited as all heck, I got up and called my mom straightaway.
` Naturally, her response was; "Aw, do I have to come get you? It's eight o'clock at night!"
` No, it really, she said that!!!
` Nevertheless, I made her come right down and get me. Afterwards, I was packing up the clothes and things she'd brought me, when another blur entered my room. Or maybe it was the same one, I couldn't tell. Anyway, she asked me about my intestinal blockage-thingy and I said; "Oh, it's been over two weeks and not much luck."
` She said to hang on and left for a little while. She came back with a glass bottle of Citrus of Magnesia, though she made me drink it right away in case someone raged into my room and smashed it against something.
` It tasted very, very good, actually - just like fresh-squeezed lemon and lime juice, though it was carbonated. I can barely sip those things they sting so much. But, as I was about to leave soon on an hour-long car ride from Chagrin Falls back to Medina, you can guess that it had begun working profusely before I'd gotten home. I'll say no more, other than the fact that my mom's car was perfectly clean, thank you.
` And then, I finally did arrive home. I finally got to do so many things I'd missed; first, using my own bathroom, then holding my Katie-cat, sleeping in my own bed with my Katie-cat, and getting on my computer - though I had about three hundred e-mails waiting for me.
` That Mad Doctor Benninger had called a couple of times while I was gone, asking about how I was doing, but this was little more than harrassment. Soon after, I was able to open my mouth wide enough to have my stitches removed with nice, cool scissors by my dentist, Dennis Schirippa. He said he wasn't surprised at this kind of behavior from Benninger. (Actually, so were a lot of people I'd heard from who described the guy as an asshole who didn't care about how they were feeling or whether or not they were bleeding when they left his office.) In fact, he called Benninger to verify my story, and Schirippa's conclusion was that he now had thorough reason to stop sending his patients to him at all!

` But that's not the end of the story. I would like it to be, but there was still much to come - not the least of which was the two hours I spent crying because Schirippa later told me he didn't believe that Benninger was capable of changing someone's consent form. My orthodontist, Dr. Fuller, also had the same opinion, despite the fact that many of his patients didn't.
` But I'm getting ahead of myself: The first thing of all was getting off of Abilify - a.k.a Aripiprazole. After being home for a few months and not being able to stop rocking back and forth, constantly getting into fights with Mom and her eponymous-brewery boyfriend Tom Burkhardt, being often told that I had lost my sense of humor, and doing hundreds of very alienating things such as going up to complete strangers and talking to them in a funny voice (because I was actually failing to not say anything at all and squinching my throat up as tight as I could), I realized that I had something very wrong with me that wasn't there before.
` I think, though, that it was more the panic attacks which were what finally broke the straw. Really - have you ever been so afraid that you feel sick to your stomach, yet so frightened that you can't vomit? Like you're up against a wall and there's some horrifying, monstrous beast that's just about to do something you know will be unspeakable, and you just wish that you'd spontaneously die before it got to you?
` Have you ever been terrified that you'd swallowed broken glass for days, even when you knew you hadn't? In fact, I remember once being horrified that somehow I had gotten pregnant, even though I was (and am still) a virgin (for obvious reasons), plus my boyfriend had been on his dreary vacation all that time. Really, I didn't actually believe these things, but I couldn't get rid of the awful feelings that seemed to come from nowhere!
` About every day, I'd be having panic attacks, flashbacks, and panic attacks with flashbacks. They were really quite something. Sometimes, I'd scream agonizingly at the top of my lungs - *ahem*, you'd think that someone was cutting my very flesh and bone! - and of course, if my mom heard me, she'd come over and tell me to be quiet.
` Well, that wasn't very nice.
` And one night, I actually screamed so loud near a sneakily open window I didn't know was there, and someone who was outside heard me and called the police! I was quite interested at first for some reason, but then I had the awkward fortune of trying to explain to Mom and Tom just why they were there.
` Anyhow, after another night terror caused my mom to come into my room and restrain me from thrashing around and getting all bruised (a rather strange behavior of her), I resolved to stop taking the Abilify. A few days later, I began to notice that I had some control over myself, although the shaking took a few more months to wear off. (It was really interfering with my driving ability, too, as putting on the brakes without pumping them involved standing on the brake pedal.)
` Later I learned from two mental health professionals that this bizarre behavior - completely uncontrollable impulses to do things against my will, panicky feelings from nowhere, and the inability to stop rocking - was caused by the fact that I did not have the thing wrong with me that the medicine was supposed to correct. Normally, its effect goes the other way around, you see - people who think and do strange things and rock back and forth are supposed to stop doing those things!

` And then, of course, let's not forget the fact that the part of my tongue that touches the roof of my mouth as well as part of my genitals went completely numb at one point. It started getting better over the course of a couple of months, then worse, then better, then it plain spread throughout my body in February.
` Since then, it's been steadily getting worse, though the pattern of empty spaces in my brain does not reveal a neurological basis for this particular problem. After CAT scans, MRIs and an EEG, it's clear that this is caused by a type of mental blockage they call 'conversion disorder'. And supposedly, the Ancient Egyptians called these related phenomena 'the wandering uterus'. I have no idea why.
` Anyway, I know that I will, at some point, break myself of this strange mental habit of making oneself feeling not like much of anything on the outside; I just have to be untroubled and unafraid enough to do so.

` However, it was still a mystery to me why I had been sent me to that mental hospital in the first place. Apparently, my G.P., Doctor Madrilejos, who I'd talked to in the ER, didn't believe my story at all and thought that I must be delusional if I thought Doctor Benninger would have done such underhanded things to me. You see, they were friends, and Medina wholeheartedly supports the 'Good Ol' Boy' system.
` And yet I didn't know he thought I was crazy because he didn't tell me at all! Sure, he told me other things, such as the fact that I had strep throat twice in two months, and that I'd never stop having problems unless I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, but he didn't tell me he thought I was off my rocker! Instead, he told my friend, and Phil's mother, Rhonda! Apparently Madrilejos doesn't think much of that doctor-patient confidentiality thing.
` Of course, I didn't find that out until this year, because Rhonda is one of those people who can't seem to not keep secrets from other people - not even ones they'd like to know about! She explained she didn't want me to find out because I already had enough law suits on my hands.
` I should also mention that Madrilejos is also friends with that Dr. Kwak, who really never did find out what was wrong with me. Neither did I, until I came to Everett and began attending PTSD classes.
` Anyway, there's much more to the story, really, though I'm sure you're all quite tired enough of reading of my ordeal, and so am I, frankly. I am going to go and have a nice, sane day with some nice, sane and considerate people, in a nice little city about 2,400 miles away from The Mad Doctor of Medina.

` I'm also sure you will all be pleased with the ceasing of this horror story and the beginning of a new era, of my blog anyway. Aside from writing about these events here, I have also been obsessively working on digitizing some artwork for your viewing pleasure.
` In fact, I have it all ready to go!


Galtron said...

You are such a brilliant writer! That was fairly well-done. I like your strange wit.

Also, sketches? Hooray!

S E E Quine said...

` Thanks, Galtron. ^^ And yes, by now, I guess, I've already put my sketches up. I'd have done it earlier but I was very busy today...

cassie d said...

yes yes! brilliant writer! LOVE IT!!!!
i couldn't wait for the 4th installment of your story! And what better place to write it than your blog?!!!

Do you feel any different now that it's all out 'on paper' so to speak? Relieved, contemplative, pensive?

S E E Quine said...

` Relieved and cleansed most of all. It was kind of therapeutic writing the three other parts after the first one, because they weren't about Benninger - in fact, they were about very slowly and agonizingly escaping medical wrongs.
` I guess. Whatever. Glad someone actually took the time to read them.