Tales of the Mental Hospital (Chandler) – Part 2

This article is a continuation of Chandler’s Tales of the Mental Hospital. For Part 1, you can go here:
http://queermentalhealth.org/narrative/tales-of-the-mental-hospital-chandler-part-1/

The worst person on the ward though was a small little guy named Rafael. Rafael demanded to be called Obie, and would
randomly scream out things like “I did not take her panties off!” Rafael also had the bad habit of hiding in the women’s shower room, trying to catch a peek at various butter-troll patients. One day, Rafael was caught hiding behind the door of a patient named Cebris. Cebris was a loud and angry woman from Guyana. She would constantly rave about Wayne Brady, of all people, about how he was anti black. Cebris was also widely ignored. Anyway, she found Rafael hiding behind her door watching her through the crack. She flipped the fuck out. She ran over and grabbed the knob and began slamming the door open and shut, effectively fucking Rafael up rather well. Cebris was thrown into the quiet room, and Rafael ended up being transferred to Trenton State, which is a horrible place and I’m glad I was never sent there.

Jeff was with me in Muhlenberg during the stay that landed me in Runnells. He was loud, obnoxious and generally annoying. He was 19, and a complete baby. Every time he had a visit he cried and threw a fit about he wanted to go home. While I understand wanting to leave, I tried on many occasions to explain to him that acting out was not going to get him out of the ward faster, and that it would only prolong his stay. He, of course, refused to listen, stating that I “had no idea what the fuck I was talking about”. From that point on, I simply observed Jeff and laughed at his stupid antics. One day, as his parents were leaving after their visit, Jeff decided to try his first of many escape attempts. He bolted towards the door and refused to let his parents leave without him. Escape attempts in Muhlenberg call down the thunder on the escapee. The door was locked, and visitors were not allowed off the ward. Jeff then decided to literally dive onto the floor and latch onto his father’s leg as the security guards attempted to drag him off to the quiet room. Needless to say, it was a funny ass scene that had patients and visitors alike laughing hysterically. After I was sent to Muhlenberg, who arrives 3 days later? Jeff. The first thing he did when they took him off the gurney was try to run out the door. The front doors to the wing automatically lock, so Jeff first attempted to push, then pull the doors open, screaming and cursing like a sailor about how he was leaving while the staff came tearing ass from around the desk to help the poor EMTs, who were standing there with a “what the fuck” look on their faces. Every visiting day, Jeff would throw the same fit as his parents attempted to leave. And every time, he would be sedated and put in the quiet room or his own room. It got to the point where the staff asked his parents to stop visiting. The best Jeff story I have though, is the time he actually made it through the first set of doors during a new patient’s arrival. The payphone was about 10 feet from the doors, so when the EMTs came through with the gurney, Jeff bolted. What Jeff didn’t know was that the main front doors also locked automatically. So now, he was trapped in between two sets of doors. Seeing that he was trapped, he freaked. He started trying to kick through the Plexi-glass doors. When he realized that wasn’t working, he started bashing his forehead against the doors, screaming and crying “Let me out! I’m going home!” It took about 5 staff to eventually capture this 5’6, 120 lb screaming lunatic.

Jeff continually got worse, and since I was getting better, I could see just how bad he was getting. He paced the wing, wouldn’t speak to anyone, and barely slept. The only time I ever saw him in anyway responsive to anything was during his parent’s visits, when he would throw his daily fit. I always wondered what happened to Jeff.

The story of Ricky and Lisa started well before I arrived in Summit. Lisa was a 22 year old married mother of two, in the ward for yet another suicide attempt. Ricky was your typical fat, greasy fucked up looking mama’s boy: 40, living at home, no job, no chance in life. He was discharged 3 days before I was brought in. He apparently fell in love with Lisa. I’m guessing she was the first girl who ever was nice to him, because once he was discharged, he spent literally ALL DAY calling the payphones asking for her. From the time the phones were turned on after breakfast to the time they were turned off for lights out, like clockwork almost every call would be Ricky asking for Lisa. My first day into this stay I picked up the phone and Ricky (I had no idea who he was at this point) asked if Lisa was there. I put the phone down and went around the floor looking for someone named Lisa. Once I found her and told her she had a call, she went over and picked it up. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone turn ghostly pale so fast. After about 20 minutes, she hung up and came and found me. We talked for a few minutes, exchanged names and whatnot and I was soon told the story of Ricky. “Please don’t ever give me the phone for Ricky again” she said. “He’s fucking scary in love with me and I don’t know how to handle it”.” Just tell him to fuck off and stop calling” I told her. “I can’t, I’m too nice” was her rather feeble reply. “Ok, no problem” I replied. “Can I fuck with him when he calls then?” I asked. “He’s not very stable, just tell him I’m in group or sleeping or in the shower whenever he calls” was her answer. Now, I’m not the type of person who follows silly instructions like that. If someone is avoiding phone calls from someone, I feel it’s my duty, no, my God given right to fuck with them in anyway I see fit. About 45 minutes or so later, one of the phones starts to ring. I had a feeling it was Ricky, and I was right. “Hi, is Lisa there?” “Is this Ricky?” I asked. He warily answered ” Yeah, why?” “Well Rick” I began “The thing is this. You’re fucking creepy and scary and she doesn’t really want to talk to you ever again” “Bullshit” was his response. So I hung up on him. The phone rang again. I put on a Jamaican accent.”’Ello?” “Hi, is Lisa there?” he asked. “No mon, Lisa dun wanna speak to you ever again mon. Stop calling” and I once again hung up on him. I had a feeling he was on to my pathetic excuse for an accent, so I decided to enlist my new friend Sherry in my battle. Let me tell you a little bit about Sherry. Sherry was about a year younger than me, really cute, and really evil. She had about the worst temper I’ve ever seen on a girl, and an even worse mouth, much like my truck driver father, so it was almost guaranteed that we would get along. “Sherry, you up for a little phone fun?” I asked her. ” What do you have in mind?” she replied. “Do you know Ricky?” “Ricky the asshole who just got discharged and keeps calling for Lisa?” Apparently Sherry knew Ricky. “Yeah that’s the one” I replied. “I fucking hate that guy” was her response. “What’s the plan?” Right then and there I knew this was not going to be a boring stay. And I was sooo right. “Well, every time he calls, let’s fuck with him” I said. She agreed it was a good idea. The next time we heard a phone ring, we ran like hell to be the ones to pick it up. She beat me to it and picked it up. “Hello?” she answered. “Lisa? Let me check, is this Ben?” she asked. “Lisa’s husband? Oh Ricky, hi it’s Sherry. Yeah I’m doing well. Listen, she hates you and wants you to die you stupid motherfucking asshole”.

At this point I started cracking up laughing. “No, really, stop calling you fucking retard. Why don’t you go slit your wrists you cocksucker?” and she hung up. Sure it was mean, but it was also funny as hell. So, the rest of the evening goes by rather uneventfully. Me, Lisa, Sherry and some dude named Fred played spades until lights out. The next day after our first group, we hear a new patient is coming in. New patients are always a big spectacle, just for the fact that we want to see if they’re cool, hilariously fucked up, or total dicks. In this case, it was worse than I could have ever imagined. “Oh my God” Lisa exclaimed as the wing doors opened. “What?” Sherry asked. Then she turned to look. “Holy fuck, that’s Ricky” she yelled. She started running around the room laughing her ass off until one of the MHA’s yelled at her. Ricky saw Lisa sitting next to me on the couch with her head on my shoulder and freaked out. He was taken behind the nurse’s station for his check in, when we heard a lot of commotion and yelling. Ricky, in his rather desperate grab for attention, had decided he was going to kill himself in front of the staff and Lisa. He proceeded to attempt to strangle himself, right there at the desk.

Now, just about everyone knows this is impossible, as even if you were able to make your self unconscious from this, as soon as your hand fell away from your throat, you would start breathing again. But not Ricky. Ricky tried to strangle himself about 5 times during the check in alone. He was put on 1 on 1, and prohibited from even sitting in the same area as Lisa once Sherry so helpfully informed them that he was a crazed stalker who came back just to see Lisa, and that Lisa was afraid to tell them. They had known something was up, between all the phone calls we hung up on, and the look on Lisa’s face when she saw Ricky. Lisa was actually discharged a day early, just because Ricky was there. Now, Ricky was stuck there with just me and Sherry. Sherry mercilessly harassed Ricky until the day I left, pretending to choke herself every time she saw him. I almost felt bad for the poor bastard. Almost. It’s hard to have much sympathy for someone who fake attempts a suicide just to get back into a hospital because he’s in love with another patient after a week of meeting her. The worst part of this story comes the day before I was discharged. Ricky, now off of 1, decided he would kill himself again. With a pillowcase. In the day room. Which is directly in front of the MHA station.

Of course, he was seen immediately and tranq’d and put back on 1 on 1. About 20 minutes later, I see Sherry walking past the MHA desk and they’re trying extremely hard not to laugh. I get up off the couch and walk towards her. She had also taken her pillow case and wore it around her neck, but she was singing “My name is Ricky; I have a pillow case gack gack gack” After a few minutes, they made her remove the pillowcase, but it was till god damn funny to me.
The rest of the night and morning I was there, nearly every sentence we said ended in “gack gack gack” ” Well, I’m going home today gack gack gack” ” You lucky bastard gack gack gack” And so ends the story of Ricky…gack gack gack.

Rosemary was the Christian fundie from hell. She was a butter-troll, and annoyingly loud and opinionated about everything. She never had a kind word about anyone or anything, so it was natural she was quickly given the nickname Roller Pig by Sherry and myself. Even the staff hated her, although they couldn’t flat out say it, it was fairly obvious. For some reason, she felt she needed to take control of the TV in the day room every morning to watch church. If she had simply watched it and kept her always open pie hole shut, perhaps it could have been a tad more tolerable. But oh no, not Roller Pig. She had to repeat every sentence word for word and sing every song…terribly off key. Still, if she wasn’t such a vile bitch to everyone, this too could have been ignored. Roller Pig had the horrible habit of sticking her snout into everything, from patient arguments to ratting patients out to their visiting family members. My parents, while less than thrilled with some of my antics in there, hated her. “Mike was acting out today and got in trouble” she said to my mother, as soon as she entered the wing for a visit. “Ok, who are you? A patient? Go away. I’ll talk to the staff in regards to my son, not you” was her reply after about the 5th time of being told all about me. After a few arguments with Sherry and me, she dubbed us “the devil children” and told the staff that we were “performing satanic rituals in my room” She also told them that we were going into her room and putting voodoo curses on her.

The staff has to check out every complaint, so we were separated and asked what was going on. A look of “what the fuck” came across my face as they explained to me what was said. “You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me” was all I could say. ” I know, I know” Friday replied. I don’t know his real name, because he’s from West Africa and apparently it’s hard to pronounce, so he took the nickname Friday. I didn’t bother to get into why with him, because I’m sure it’s a rather weird story, and I really didn’t care much at the time. Though now I kinda wish I knew. Anyway, after our little Q&A sessions, me and Sherry went into the dayroom and stood by the phone while we plotted. The first thing out of her mouth was ” I’m going to fuck this cunt up” While I wanted to agree with her, I knew it would just get her in trouble, so I told her to let me come up with something else. Needless to say, she was less than thrilled with that idea, but promised she wouldn’t hit her. If I had known what she was really up to, I probably would have agreed that just punching her and getting it over with was a better idea. The next day in group, Sherry made sure to say something that would trip the angry fundie alarm in Rosemary’s head. It was something like “So, I was talking to Satan last night, and he told me not to worry about Roller Pig, because he’d take care of her for me”. Rosemary flipped shit and started screaming at her. “You and the other one, you’re devil children and you’ll both burn in Hell!” I immediately started cracking up because she had to bring me into it right from the jump. Sherry followed, because she knew it was pissing Roller Pig off that I was laughing at her. “How DARE you laugh at me?” she screamed.”

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