Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Quality of Mercy

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:.

--The Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Scene 1.

     My day was not over yet. I was presented with two additional encounters. If you want to classify them, cal them a split. I had to be on guard for both, but for different reasons. The first turned out well. The second smacked me around some more. The bullseye which had apparently been painted on my back was becoming a serious sorce of aggravation.
     The first encounter was in the late afternoon. Christie came by to visit her father. Christie's daughter, Whitney, had been my nurse at McLeod Darlington. It was a fortunate break her father happened to be a resident. She visited him frequently, as did whitney, and they often dropped by to see me, too. Christie had visited numerous times since I had been assigned a sitter, but I suppose the situation was not that conspicuous since this was the first time she expressed curiosity about it. I was still sitting in the hallway with Ticia's replacement, so I took Christie into my room to tell her everything.
     I knew she would be sympathetic. Christie is a caring person. But I was embarrassed nevertheless. I had celebrated Christmas along with her family when they visited, and she gave my some extremely nice presents. It was firmly in my mind as I told Christie everything I had done Christmas had been thirteen days beyond the day I had planned to commit suicide. I felt a sense of guilt, presumably because I was still hiding what I had nearly done and was still keeping the means to my suicide stashed away in case I changed my mind. It would be another two weeks after Christmas before I gave those two secrets up.
     But Christie was understanding. She did not scold me for keeping these thoughts to myself, as others had, and just told me she was glad I had changed my mind. She hoped my institutionalization was going to help me sort things out, and requested I let her know where I was going to be.
       Ouch.
     The idea of being institutionalized still burned. I did not have any mental disorders beyond depression. I had also confessed what I was planned to do and gave up the means to do it. I had had cooperated with everything asked of me since. But now I was being tossed carelessly without without anyone even discussing the issue with me. These thoughts came pouring back At least the anger over Caligula's attack were displaced. I sat on my bed facing the window, bummed. I only wallowed in about twenty minutes of moping before someone walked up behind me and introduced herself.
     Her name was Nikki. She appeared to be in her late thirties like me and soft spoken. In spite of her being soft spoken, she still startled me when she said hello. Nikki had not made her presence known before she was right beside me. Considering the verbal sparring in which we were about to engage, I reflected later she must have been hoping to throw me off. An aggressive stance is not the way to get me to open up, but whatever. He was the professional, not me.
     Nikki was the social worker at another Wilson Senior Care facility. Sonya, the Chief Clinical Officer, had asked her to talk to me. Nikki's previous job was counseling at home for troubled youth. The type of kids who figured they had no future because of their personal issues, emotional problems, and what have you. Sonya thought we would be a good fit. I assumed Paulette had told Brock all about our meeting that morning, and the chain of command needed some way to defuse the situation. Considering the timing, and some strange comments regarding some of my complaints regarding my treatment, this felt more like a soothing my ruffled feathers deal than working through any emotional issues.
     I was on guard here. It seemed more important for me to size up her intentions than to open up. Yes, the fruitless encounter between us was probably due more to my defensive behavior than than Nikki's attempts to put a smiley face on WSC/Oakhaven. But they were going to toss me into a mental institution anyway, so what difference did it make?
This was an admitted evauation from the get go. Nikki told me she had rushed from work to see me, and we were not going to have a continuous, therapeutic relationship. We then discued the better part of the last decade's travails, from leaving law school because of my retina detaching to my colon rupture, living with Denise, and how an underlying death wish finally manifested in a suicide plan which fizzled out. I was careful not to twist any of it into anything more sinister sounding than it already did. Her assessment? I was an arrogant manipulator who sabotaged relationships, most likely by deflecting my true feelings, what little feelings my sociopath mindset allowed me to have, through sarcasm. She was also certain I had not gotten passed the anger stage of some grief, but it was difficult to tell because I was eaten up with self-loathing. To hear her describe me, I suspected there were no lack of volunteers wanting to rid the Earth of the pustule known as me. Or something like that.
     I assumed Nikki's bluntness was a product of her tough love experience dealing with the worst of teenage angst in her previous job. She admitted she did not know what to expect before meeting me. It was understandable. What kind of shape would yu expect a 37 year old nursing home resident to be in? I do think she went a little overboard, ut there you go. As noted, my guarded attitude probably did not help any. My fate appeared to be sealed regardless.
     As for those two points I mentioned above. Nikki spoke highly of Sonya, whom I knew vaguely, and Brock, whom I was quickly wishing I did not know at all. Sh confessed to not really knowing Paulette. I found this a bot odd. Did WSC's social workers never connect with one another? it would appear not. Nikki assured me they were all concerned about how to help. I asked her how having me committed without speaking to me and moving me into a dilapidated room room with a violent schizophrenic who attacked me fit into their plan of assistance.
     She asked how I felt about being involuntarily committed to a mental institution. She was, oddly enough, unaware that was the plan for me. I figured my opinion on that was obvious, so I pointed out the involuntary part precluded me from having an opinion. Either she agreed, or took my response as sarcasm. Whichever the case, no answer. From her. She described the no nurse call button, broken light, and jamming bathroom door as part of a lot of little things which will always be around to bug a person. As for Caligula, she asked if I believed we were paired up on purpose. I did, but I decided to label it a reckless decision instead. Nikki sort of grunted in response. The sound reminded me of the one Marge Simpson makes when she is annoyed. She did not actually say anything. I guess being strangled by a schizophrenic s another of life's little annoyances. I should not allow such a trivial matter to ruin my day.
     There was one saving grace during our talk. My Janice, entered at one point to give me my evening medication. As I was gulping down pills, Nikki asked janice what she thought of me. Janice gave her an odd look. So did I, but I was curious was janice might say, so I told her niki was a social worker, and being honest with her was the only way to help me. Janice described me as a quiet, independent person who liked to keep to himself, but was still friendly and approachable. When Nikki asked if Janice liked me personally, she said she did. Neither of us expected Janice to be anything but complimentary regardless of how she really felt, but it was an uncomfortable moment for both of us. We both laughed about it later that night because it was so strange.
     I tried to offer some explanations or excuses—you decide—for the aspects of my personality Nikki had pointed out. I considered myself more of how Janice described me. So I went into some details about my family and health issues whch surely had a profound effect on me in my formative years. She admitted, even though a devout Christian, if she had lived my life, she would doubt God's existence. I told her Dr. Hiatt, who she knew, an I had been going back and forth over God's status. In short, it was easy to doubt his existence emotionally, but not intellectually. She left the issue for Dr. Hiatt and me to wrestle.
     We talked for about an hour-and-a-half. Suddenly, she sprang up and said she had to go, but she was going to talk to sSonya, Brock, and company. I asked what she was going to tell them. She only told me not to worry about it. She never stopped or looked back at me while answering me. She just kept on walking to the door. It seems to be a moot point, though. No one in charge brought up any issue we had talked about or changed their care plan. I nevr saw Nikki again. I did not want to, mind you. Even if her intentions were only to make me feel better about things, she failed miserably.

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