I did not leave the room much over the next two weeks except to sit outside. The early fall weather was more comfortable than even the late summer, so I often sat outside all day long. People tended to keep their distance. Visitors would often ask other residents sitting outside if I was okay. I seemed so alone. The residents would tell them that was the way I wanted it. Considering a visit from a stranger was the catalyst for my current morass, who could blame me?
Ellen, Lesley, and Taryn visited one afternoon in the middle of October to invite me out to a buffalo wings restaurant in order to watch one of the World Series games. It was sweet of them to offer spending one of their weeknights with me after a long workday. While ellen was a Detroit Tigers fan--they had already been eliminated from the playoffs--Lesley and Taryn could not care less about baseball. In fact, Taryn had once described watching the sport as less interesting than watching grass grow. I had not left oak haven since returning from the hospital in august in spite of frequent efforts to get me to join in activities. But I loved my girls and missed socializing with them since being released from therapy, so I happily agreed.
They made a big effort to make me not feel like a nursing home resident. We Lezley’s car rather than the activities fan. I did not even have to take the Rollator oak haven required me to use in order to get around. We met up with one of the nurses, Jonathan, and his wife at the restaurant. It was a fun evening, and one I hardly pictured happening. I never went out with Denise and her family. My friends from college and law school were all scattered to the wind, so going out with them was impossible. I lacked the will to go out with the 70, 80, and 90 year olds on activities now. So life had been small for quite a while with no end in sight, save for that night.
Nevertheless, I remained fairly quiet. I listened to them talk shop while constantly worrying if my general silence was mistaken for me not having a good time rather than a combination of social anxiety and melancholy over nights like this in times past when my friends and I would talk about our shared lives in school or the political trenches. Those memories seemed like a lifetime ago. They were inarguably in another life never to be lived again.
I did have a good time, even if my mind did seem a million miles away. I did have my mind going in several different directions. I was enjoying the present company, missing the old company, and trying to hide my irritation that just before we left, I had the best opportunity I had yet to grab a roll of tape sitting near the sign out book, It would have completed my suicide kit, but ellen was standing over my shoulder, so I could not get it. This was the first of two times Ellen would stymie me from taking an unattended roll of tape..
While all this was going on, Paulette was enjoying the ordeal of finding a counselor for me. Most were wary of working with a 36 year old man living in a nursing home. Surely someone fitting that description had brain damage from narcotics use or an accident and would be beyond psychiatric help. In spite of assurances I was mentally fine aside from dealing with the abandonment of my family, the red tape simply could not be cut through. I finally landed a private practice psychiatrist who specialized in counseling from a Christian perspective. The arrangement was ultimately for the best.
But not at first, as far as I was concerned. I was not only on guard, but quite blazen. I had two therapy sessions with Dr. Hiatt. I kept the conversation on family abandonment and future fears issues rather than my suicidal intentions. I even carried my suicide kit hidden in the Rollator into his office on both occasions. When Dr. Hiatt asked at the end of the second if these sessions had been helpful, I said yes and took that as a way of cutting off any further meetings.
It was no lie dr. Hiatt had been helpful. He realized quickly what had dawned on me at Buffalo Wild Wings the previous week. Life with Denise was miserable. What I really missed was life before my health problems hit back in 2004. Certainly, I was angry over Denise at her betrayal, but it was much like being cheated in a business deal than a familial split. I just could not live in her house anymore. What else had I lost? Nothing. Well, other than my personal property, but I will get to that particular knife between the shoulder blades later. The takeaway for now is, if I continued to be angry at Denise, I would be giving her power over me she did not deserve to have. I expressed the realization to all parties interested in my counseling. It got everyone off my back like I wanted.
The real issue--my life was destroyed and had been for a long time--was such an insurmountable problem, I kept it to myself to avoid listening to any sort of platitudes, with good intentions though they may have been offered. I had to solve my own problem. It still appeared as though making a permanent exit to escape the pain was the best solution. It was not going to take much more for me to risk discovery or failure in the process of killing myself for me to go ahead and do it.