You could say matters escalated quickly after my revelation. Paulette immediately escorted me back to my room, all the while assuring she had my best interests at heart. I expressed doubts about that. In terms of outcome, at any rate. If I wanted anyone to save me, I would have asked for rescue. The matter appeared to have been taken out of my hands as far back as December 12th. I like to plan ahead. Entering uncharted territory in which I clearly would not be in control in the first place is always an unsettling prospect.
“Don’t go anywhere!” Paulette told me after I parked the Rollator against the wall opposite my room.
She went off to inform the floor supervisor, Ashley, of my new one-on-one status. Henry, the second shift nursing assistant who frequently tended to my roommate and me, was in the room working with Mac. He later told me he took note of Paulette’s expression and wondered what could possibly have gone that badly.
Paulette returned with Ashley. While Paulette nearly ransacked my room for any and all suspicious objects I might use, Ashley kept watch over me. Ah, so this was going to be serious business. Caroline walked by in the middle of it all and stopped to gently rub my forearm as I was sitting there. She did not say a word. According to Ashley, she did not know anything yet. But she always suspected.
When I got the all clear, I went into my room and sat on the bed. Paulette sat in the chair between mine and my roommate’s beds. We stared at each other in silence for a long moment. I really cannot explain why I burst out laughing. It might have been relief just as likely as nervous fear. Whateverever the case, it came from deep in the belly.
“You had no idea I had something to use, did you?” I asked.
“I fail to see what’s funny about any of this, Jamie!”
“That is because you are not as screwed up as I am,” I told her. I guess I was not completely done with honest revelations for the evening.
Paulette stayed until my first sitter arrived. I was still fuzzy about the do’s and don’ts of this whole sitter thing, so I asked if my first sentry would wet her pants if I grabbed a hanger to hang my shirt up. She laughed and assured me should would not. Well, that a relief. No pun intended. My relief was short lived, however. My first sitter was only a temp until my actual sitter got off shift. Oh, dear.
Her name was Debora. Not pronounced Deb-or-AH like most people, but Dee-BOR-ah. She turned out to be aptly named. She was De-bore-ah. Not to mention De-annoy-ah, de-aggravate-ah, and de-pain-in-the-behind-ah. She talked for nearly five solid hours as I laid in the bed staring at the ceiling. At first, she patronized me by asking questions like my favorite colors. I could only take about thirty minutes of that before responding with philosophical ramblings to change the subject. It was a bad move, really. She had years of experience in hospice care, so had discussed life and death issues extensively with he3r patients over the years. I realized this whole sitter thing was going to be even tougher to endure than I thought. The idea was to push me away from suicide, not towards it!
The only break I got was when caroline came in after a couple hours wanting to talk to me. Debora took a breather. I needed one myself. Oh, well. Caroline sat in silence. I decided to break it.
“You know, huh?” I asked.
“Of course, I know! I’m your CNA Of course, they told me. And when the next shift comes in, I’m going to tell the next person. But it doesn’t matter. I knew you was thinking about it, anyway. All those nights you’d sit in that chair staring off. I’d ask you if anything was wrong. You’d say you were fine, but I knew you was thinking about. I knew you were thinking about it when you were on A hall. I knew you were thinking about it back when you were on B hall.”
“You had to be really astute then. I was just venturing out to find out what I could do and where I could do it.”
“What was you going to do? You going to shoot yourself/”
“I do not have a gun.”
“There is no where to do that.”
“Well, what was you going to do?”
“I was going to asphyxiate myself.”
“I was going to tie a plastic bag around my head.”
“Oh, Lord,’ Caroline said, recoiling in revulsion. “You were going to suffocate yourself? Where did you get the plastic bag?“
“It was a patient’s belonging bag from McLeod,” I told her.
“Lord, have mercy.“ Caroline looked down at the trashcan near my bed. She picked it up, eying the trash bag inside. ‘why do they still have these in here/”
“I tested those first. They are too thin to use.”
“What are we going to do with you?’ she asked. “We are going to put you up at the nurses’ desk and keep you there all day long.”
She was kidding, but it was enough to cause my mind to wander just how bad this whole sitter thing was going to get. It had only been a few hours. I had not even seen a therapist yet. I had no idea how I was going to handle all this. While I was working through those thoughts, Debora returned. Yes, this was going to be difficult, indeed.