“Are you going to harm yourself?”
“I don’t know.”
“Have you seen your psychiatrist?”
“Have you had crying spells?”
“Have you harmed yourself?”
Yes. I cut this last Tuesday.
“I’m moving to Hawaii in a week. I’m about to finish treatment here in California.”
“What are you in treatment for?”
PTSD anorexia nervosa depression selfharm. What am I NOT in treatment for?
“Do you have someone to talk to?”
“Do you want to talk to someone?”
“I am going to call someone to come take you to the emergency room and have someone talk to you”
I asked if I could at least use the bathroom and the nurses were so nice after they called 911. They were kinda rude but the same lady who had been kind of stiff because I had been called by Chandler Police Department right before the appointment was nicer.
The medics show up and first thing I ask is are you going to stick me with a needle. They explain that they need consent to take me to the hospital (I’m calling him Enrique and the girl Mika. Mika was super nice. Both young. And their first 51-50) and explained that I can come quietly or I can be escorted by the police. They asked me if I had any suicidal ideations. I said no but if you lock me up in the hospital I will definitely have suicidal ideations. I had to show them the selfharm cuts. I got in the back of the ambulance and notice all these fun toys. They offer me an IV of benadryl because I’m having a severe allergic reaction to SOMETHING. Just my luck I’m on two medications that could kill me and give me a rash ha. Ha. ha. So as I am escorted out and I see the sixperson squad of scary fireman with equipment and shiny badges and matching little boyscout badges I ask “Are you going to turn the lights on when we go? Because I have a bad enough headache already.”
I get into the ambulance and I get strapped down and they stick the heartmonitor and bloodpressure cuff on me AGAIN. Which they did seconds ago. And the doctor did before that. Twice. And as soon as I’m in there strapped to the “fully supported hospital recliner” and the door shuts I think “If I didn’t have PTSD before this, I definitely have it now.”
So then he goes over a bit of my history and I told him about deciding to come into treatment here to get help and I can tell this conversation is going well. And then I ask, as I’m sitting in the back of the ambulance “I know this is a strange question but are they going to feed me? I’m hungry.” Mind you I had been waiting to see the doctor for HOURS. And bleeding through my clothes because I had no pad on me to change into. And I was running a fever and I have hives and a rash over my entire body. AHEM.
So then Enrique and Mika we arrive and they don’t let me get out of the gurney even though I can walk just fine even though I’m a wee bit dizzy. And they’re telling me don’t get down we’ll slide you out and I took one look at the drop to the ground and said “That, is a drop.”
“No we’ve got you, we won’t let you fall. There’s these arms that come down so we can wheel you in. “Oh so I’m going on an adventure?” “Yes you’re going on an adventure.” And then they slide it off and I imagine I’m on a cloud. A floating cloud. There was no jolting nasty bumpses but rather a glide off of the medical vehicle onto the pavement. The first thing I said was “Ohmigosh I’m so tall.” And then they laughed and said yes.
As I am being wheeled into the ER I realized I was tall enough to reach the stop signs on the ceiling. Now, being a vertically challenged *ahem… SHORT* person I have never been able to touch those. So as I’m being wheeled into the hospital by EMD’s I am smiling really big because I reached up and I could finally touch one of those stupid signs that has plagued my secret fantasies for several years. I get wheeled into my room and I’m like “It’s so colldd!” And Mika says “I’ll get you a warm blanket. They’ll probably have you get into a gown.” So I get unstrapped and get this- the handicapped room. That is the room. I am the chosen one. It has a nice roomy bathroom with a toilet and handshower and a bar to catch yourself on if something happens AND a little pulley thing that says pull in case of emergency… Right next to the throne of porcelain. I don’t want to know what that emergency would even look like but I was VERY tempted by that button not gonna lie.
They told me to put on the hospital gown for the 400lb sumo that they had given me and right away I have an epiphany.
I am on my period. Without a pad.
So I tell them and one doctor says I can leave my underwear on. Then a lady comes in and says everything off and as I stand there behind the curtain I ask her “Everything? Are you SURE?” And she says “Yes everything.” And I said “Fine. Hope you don’t mind when I bleed over y’alls sheets.” So then I tied on the pastel gown of shame. And I miss tying the top knot. I don’t notice this until AFTER I have flashed the doctor. Not my finest moment. NOT MY FAULT THERE ARE STRATEGIC HOLES IN THIS WANNABE CHILD’S CASPER COSTUME THANK YOU. IF I flash you just remember you GAVE this to me. I did not ASK for it. I did not WANT it. Therefore if you see somewhere the sun don’t shine well you poor baby. boohoo.
So I’m laying there on this uncomfortable hospital bed. I’m out of water. I’m waiting for the police to arrive so I can say “yes I did it, I tried to kill Clouseau!” but unfortunately the most exciting thing that happens is that someone pops in who I will call Doctor Brock because he reminds me of a rock. He has big brown bushy brows that flatline a horizon over his deepset eyes. He’s wearing old man glasses. He’s dressed in blue like everyone else except the occasional fancy pants with the cute bejeweled flats (I kid you not.). He just pops his head around the door and says “Hey we need a urine sample so tell us if you need to pee so we can get that.” And then he’s gone.
And then a blonde woman with an amber ring you might expect to see in a dragon’s treasured hoard, a German accent, and very well coordinated professional monochromatic black and purple clothes- and I will input her brows were on FLEEK comes in. And she starts typing. And typing. And more typing. It seems she is writing a novel- La Vida de Hannah. I didn’t know my life was that interesting to get my own personal medical novel! And while she’s typing I am very anxious so I start to think very sassy thoughts about this hospital which will be revealed later on. She gets a basic history and overview. Do you selfharm. Have you had a history of suicide attempts. And I have to answer with the truth and nothing but the truth and EVERY medical personnel has a tell. I don’t CARE how good they think they are hiding it, that is exactly how you catch ‘em. Because they are HIDING their reaction. You can watch their face do this magical reset. It’s like a tic. It’s hard to catch unless you are, like me, a rainbow sparkle unicorn who does mystical things like reading people and finding all their intimate secrets, weaknesses, wishes, buttons, and also sadistically enjoys pushing said buttons. But I AM the rainbow sparkle unicorn and I really enjoyed the variety of personalities that were on exhibit at the zoo today.
Then we check my blood pressure again. It’s a softspoken mild-mannered HIspanic man with the usual facial cabello and he- like everyone else including the nurse, Mika, and the list grows longer as I meet doctor after doctor, loves my henna job on my arm. I let him do what he must and have just enough time to hear the person in the room next to me crying her eyes out and vomiting violently and moaning and nod my head and say Way to go. You put the anorexic person in the room next to someone throwing up. Trigger. Trigger Trigger. She was so sick I wanted to get up and help her but alas the subtle breeze beneath firmly suggested that I stay right here with this blanket that was kind of warm at first but has now succumbed to the frigid environment the doctors prefer in order to keep their personal doctors lobby full of polar bears and penguins. They also all knew I was anorexic and hungry but didn’t FEED me. ‘SCUSE ME my peeps, that is unacceptable.
When someone walks In wearing latex gloves my first question is “Are you going to stick me with a needle?” And in order to approach her royal highness without losing a hand, the answer needs to be somewhere along the lines of “No.” Doctor comes in. Checks my temperature which somehow my fever vanished magically without the fever actually vanishing? It was magical guys! Sparkles and rainbows! Miraculously cured within 2 hours of initially having had a fever as of 2 hours ago. Despite the fact that I’m wrapped up and my skin is burning hot and red spots and hives are all over my body and I’m sweating and I’m so cold I’m shaking. Yep. Magic is real.
And then a woman came in to teach me how to do a urine test. Because someone had FINALLY filled my water. I rather enjoyed being petulant with the help. “Bring me water, slave.” and so on. My sixpack got felt up 6 times today. Oh and flash to the past- between the initial vitals done by Zorro Valdez (because I feel like giving him that name) he remembers protocol all my wonderful pills, medical papers, daily planner, phone, charger, earbuds, clothes- all gotta go in a bag. It came to my mind suddenly, that my underwear of the subtle hues of spring grass- which Hawaiian airlines had already bestowed with a marvelous permanent black ink blotch- was glowing resplendently atop my black clothes. Stained like the blood on the window I had seen in a serial killer horror film I had seen at an LDS outing years before (don’t ask) when he stabbed the lovely lady he had been chasing with a knife- blood spattered the windowpane, and then proceeded to make her body into a creepy taxidermy doll and put it in his collection. And that was when the kid got a clue that a man chasing a woman around with a knife was not romantic foreplay but rather a sign of and extremely disturbed person. Go figure teenage idiot who nearly got all his friends killed and totally would have deserved to be grounded for the rest of his natural life. AHEM. That was what my clothes looked like and not all of them were black.
You know those women on magazine covers for being sexy? I could be the coverpage queen of traumatic events. No wait, a book series. A series of traumatic events that is later rehashed into a telenovella called Hannah La Vida.
And Jose being very brave, picks it up and puts it in the bag with my other clothes and says not a word. I am sitting idly by pretending like I’m not screaming in my head “Dishonor! Dishonor on you! Dishonor on your cow!” And beating myself up over it. It was like oh. Finally. My period makes a mess I don’t have to clean up until I get home. And then when I realized this is no In-n-out trip to the ER and they will keep me here in Rapunzel’s hospital room 8 forever, my clothing will be destroyed and I have to go BACK to Victoria’s Porno to replenish my stock of lacy, frippery, dignity, and pure “confidence” in clothing form.
The woman from before when she was in she asked me this question before all this bustle occurred. She asked me “What coping mechanisms do you have? What keeps you wanting to live when you’re depressed? Do you have pets?” THANK GOD someone walked in right then because I completely froze. Thanks lady, for reminding me of my dead dog and making me cry. She walks out after that and I don’t see her until much later.
Dr. Brock comes back in and explains what 51-50 is and I nod my head and smile and as soon as he leaves I look up at the ceiling and say “Lord Jesus, I’m coming”. And then my next thought “You want me back on that plane? Fine. Then fix this. No this is not having attitude, this is being assertive.” And then my conversation with the heavens is rudely interrupted by the ever-ongoing rotation of helpful peasants with beeping machines and sinister intentions.
Another person comes in to take my vitals and I say “You know that just happened right? Someone else was just here to do that” “Well let me check your chart.” He checks the chart and I will call him Edward but if Edward was a blue-eyed mortician you will understand that this man’s face bore the marks of eternal hard work and not enough caffeine doubleshots in his life. He’d be a good face for the IRS with his twin, the Undertaker. He puts on the cuff and admires the henna (I will stop and say yes Hannah you’re soo talented because I am.) and then the thing TIGHTENS. And I feel the boa constrictor tightening its grip. A woman comes in because she wants to explain to me again how exactly to pee in a cup- which I found amusing for two reasons. The first is in the hospital the cup they give you to drink from has an arrow pointing to the top and the label “sip hole”. I can see that being useful for someone being high out of his mind and the helpful nurse trying to explain “Sir you’ll see labeled on the cup that that is the *sip hole*. If you place the *sip hole* to your mouth you will be able to drink the water inside the cup.” For me, however…
Next time someone is being a petty little porcupine I’m not gonna use tact with my words. I’ll just hollah “Ay, shut your SIPHOLE.”
I imagine that the use of that word would shut up most people because I did not even find this nugget of golden wisdom in the tomes of the allmighty Google.
And I decided to tell the person who had introduced me to the blood pressure cuff of death that I had noticed a label on the wall that read “MAYO STAND” and below that “KICK BUCKET” I thought the kick bucket label was kinda morbid…
And I said “It might just be me but I don’t think mayonnaise belongs in the hospital.” And he said
“You’re absolutely right. I don’t know why this is but these machines are called MAYO. And the kick bucket is called a kick bucket because it has wheels on the bottom and you kick it to move it.”
At this point I was highly impressed by the scintillating sense of humor within the medical profession and had to comment
“You know the MAYO looks like a creepy WallE.”
“I’ve always thought they were haunted.”
I give the WallE apparatus an appraising look
“I can actually see those being haunted, wandering the halls at night.”
If you saw one of those you would agree with me. They are totally sentient. They’re just waiting for the opportune moment to take over the medical profession from the clumsy, warmblooded humans.
The servant who had brought the WallE to my room said
“Thank you, for being a patient patient.”
“It’s no problem. My last dentist had an urn on his desk that said *ashes of problem patients*. I learned my lesson.”
The woman in the room came in with the cup and the biohazard plastic bags and sage moist wipes. I finally figured out why the word “moist” makes people so uncomfortable. So then she starts to explain and I said “Don’t worry I went to the right high school. I rock at drug tests.”
At this point I have not been fed and yes I am feeling very traumatized. I had a brief visit from a very kind and helpful senior missionary couple and am nursing the waterbottle because they say I can leave after that test. I ask them to leave so I can deal with the test. They didn’t want to leave but I told them I was being highly entertained by the doctors bustling in and out and that this was great fun.
The test is it’s own ordeal and of course someone walks in and wants to talk to me and I say “Uh, I’m kinda busy.”. Noone had stopped by for a long time but as soon as I gotta go someone magically appears??
It took hours to get out of that place. And part of it was definitely miscommunication. I told the same story to so many curious people. Doctors just cannot keep their nose out of your business, can they? No. So I tell a short version of things and say “I could keep going but I could talk for hours so Imma stop now.” And then one doctor says something to another doctor and says “We must lock her away in the tower!” And the other one says “I think her other doctor was just not used to this type of case and overreacted. I don’t think we need to lock her up in the tower.”
Which seed of thought I had planted in his mind half an hour before with a very clever and carefully crafted appraisal of my interaction with the urgent care doctor who had called it in. Which information I slipped into this doctor’s mind mere hours before,, the story as I saw it. How I, the victim, had fallen ill to the stereotypes against people like me who are labelled “mentally ill”. I will also note that at this time I particularly appreciated his reaction to the word post traumatic stress disorder. Before all this ER madness there I was sitting on one of their birthing chairs (for real that is what it looked like) and then I spit out the labels. Depression. Anorexia Nervosa. PTSD. And the eyebrows move. And he leaves the office. And comes back. And leaves again.
Those TV shootings be makin’ me look bad, bruh. As soon as he sees PTSD I see the switch go on in his head that omg this girl’s dangerous. And I’m sitting there thinking wow. .that’s hella messed up that a 19 year old girl with so much to offer is sitting here admitting she has the wounds of a warrior. And this old man has to run. Her doctor. Can’t stomach it. Oh and then I mentioned the word rape.
I really like watching men run. It’s one of my low-key hobbies. You knit hats, I knit people into knots and watch them try to run once I’ve pulled a string.
Hold up Sheelob’s spawn has moved from my shower to follow me to my place by the fireplace. I must relocate.
Okay I’m safe.
So then I complete the tests and whatnot and I wait. And wait. And wait. And by this time I had realized there was another tie on the sheet of eternal shame and heckling and had tied it. But it was still a better fit on the sumo wrestler who obviously had it before I did.
They don’t give me any meds. Or any advice. Dr. Brock walks in four times and says the same thing the first doctor said “Stop taking the medication. And if you aren’t better in two days come back or the medication will kill you.”
Of course I’m putting what he said my way, because my way has the flair worthy of a queen.
I am not gonna lie. When I was ordering around the peasants I laid back on the pillow and laughed good and hard about my inner Maleficent making an appearance in the telenovella that is my life.
So then the other nurse comes in and pops her head in at the same time as Dr. Brock looking pretty unhappy and asking if I had had suicidal ideations and I answered and then the heads disappear. Another lady in a velvet blue women’s tailored suit with a regal red,white and gold pin (I thought she was from Gryffindor) on the lapel and some perfectly matched pocket square. She comes in and starts asking more questions. That I had just been asked. And I kept saying “I already told him that, he wrote it down, why don’t you know it?”
I am not my most polite when I’m traumatized. Okay. Sometimes I laugh really really hard at horrific accidents and events because I appreciate just how crazy my life is and yes I did think I had finally lost my nut when I was crazy laughing like Dreyfus in the hospital room alone by myself and talking to myself. If they locked me up I would definitely talk to myself. I like talking to me. She’s quite friendly. She tells me I’m so amazing and all the reasons why and reminds me of all my best moments. Hitting that bully in the face with a door. Going to a dance and playing with the boys minds like clay in my hands. Wearing a tiara for a month at the end of senior year to remind everyone who they are dealing with and from then on refusing to fetch ketchup or answer to the name princess cause hon, I was BORN to rule.
Anyways so they tell me they aren’t going to put me away and as soon as we finish the test you can go. That is doctor code for no we aren’t going to feed you, stay right there for another hour and watch the lady at the computer who looks super intense towards the screen with this concerned tight face, break character and say “Yes. Praise Jesus. Praise JESUS!” and put her hands up. I think she was watching the last episode of the Bachelor but I could be wrong.
They finally free me from the hospital and I figure out how to wave my hand over the magical black box very far away from the exit door and come through and I find the way out into the sunshine! I call a good friend and talk and buy a tuna salad from the vending machine (don’t do it). And then my ride shows up.
And my bishop calls me when I’m in the car being driven home from the ER with my impressive bloom of rash and hives, he says that he knows my body is hurt and sick but I need to strengthen my spirit. UH no. We saw what happened last time I was too stressed to give my body what she needed. She nearly snapped my leg in half. HELL NO.
And then I came home and my roommates gave away all our PIZZA. Of all the traumatic series of events of this week that was the worst. I came home wanting pizza. Just one luscious slice of everything I shouldn’t have. And it’s gone.
I thought they loved me? 😦
So then there I am just out of the hospital and I try to scrub my clothes clean and then put them through the dryer. And I look in the fridge. Whole wheat tortilla. Tomato Sauce. Canned tuna. Coconut chips. Lindt chocolates. A Ghiradelli Brownie. Frozen chicken. Peanut butter. Yogurt I froze. Raspberries I froze. Granola. Honey. Almond milk. And chocolate that was given to me today which my period demanded that I have. She’s a witch sometimes.
And I made a raspberry vanilla bean yogurt wrap with chocolate. Warmed up the raspberries and put them with frozen yogurt, some pb, and chocolate on a heated wheat tortilla and feasted. I also chugged all the almond milk to try to get the neon pink pill down. And I’m sleepy.
My life is a neverending series of traumatic events. But I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way. Other 19year olds don’t go around wearing tiaras and demanding to be addressed as Her Royal Majesty or identify strongly with battered warrior women and not at ALL with the sweet mild-mannered doe-eyed wife chattle princesses usually are made out to be.
And that was just 5 hours of my week. The sister missionary. I told her that this was the worst day of my life and she said “I’m sure you’ve had worst ones.” And I told her “If I think about that I’m going to cry. There’s too much competition for the top spot.”