Monday, March 16, 2015

A Sharp Pain Between the Shoulder Blades II

      I did not know what to expect the day after Caligula attacked me, but I was not expecting anything to be to my liking. Even I could not have anticipated the depths to my misfortune would. Said depths equalled the callousness attitudes Oakhaven management would stoop. It was an absolutely unreal one-two punch. The battering never put me down for the count, ut it made me wish it had. I was seriously questioning at this point whether anyone was even going to pretend to be interested in my well-being. For healthcare professional claiming a desire to save my life, they were doing a jam up of job of ending it instead.
     I assumed falling asleep was going was going to be difficult, but I came down hard once the excitement frm the afternoon's festivities wore off. So hard, I had to be awakened for breakfast. Eating is never a high priorty when I am upset. Food has been known to make a violent exit back the way it came when my stomach is tied in knots. There was some relief when I noticed there was no silverware on the tray. This sort of thing happened periodically. A resident calls for the nurse to alert her to the problem and it gets remedied. I am not eager to eat, but I instinctively look for the call button usually wrapped around the bed rail. There is not one. Period. I cannot call a nurse if I need anything. You may say they took it away to keep me from hanging myself, but you would be wrong. Had one in my previous room, and it would ultimately take two months and state intervention in order to get one. Oakhaven is a first class operation all the way.
     The combination of a jittery stomach and no silverware prompted me to go back to bed. My head had barely hit the pillow before my sitter, Ticia, called out to me from across the hallway. Paulette wanted to see me, she said. I perked up with the news. My excitement was mostly a curiosity how management would defend itself. The rest of me as looking forward to the emotional venting to which I was certainly entitled. They were going to throw me in a loony bin regardless. What did I have to lose?
     The venting did not go quite as planned. I sat down in one of the chairs in front of Paulette's desk. I shifted until I got comfy. She never said a word, not so much as a greeting, from the moment I walked though the door until after I stopped squirming in the chair.
     “I want to update you on the latest mental institutions we've contacted,” she said.
     Surely my eyes widened to anime proportions at that moment. I shifted again as Paulette detailed the three or four institutions refusing to take me as a patient. It was one o those experiences in which I wanted to laugh at the absurdity, but I fared ending the amusement value efore allowing it to peak. I simply smirked. If Pauette noticed anything awkward about my reaction to her, she never let on. When she was done, we looked at each other in silence for a long moment. I decide to break it.
     “Well?” I asked.
    “Well what?” she asked, with what I interpreted as genuine surprise I expected her to have anything else to say. Her reaction angered me.
     “Caligula attacked me last night five minutes after you put me in the room with me!”
     “I know! I'm furious about it!” she responded with the faux anger of someone who realized I was expecting righteous indignation, so she must appease me.
     “So furious you don't even mention it?” I gave her a chance to answer. She did not. No worries. I had plenty more to say. “How can you literally grovel to me two days ago over failing to protect me from involuntary commitment, and then take part in this?”
     Paulette still did not say anything, but her expression and body language betrayed her apprehension. It boggles my mind as much now as it did then, but she had no idea I would be angry over the incident. Now she was panicking as to what to do. She certainly deserved some grief for failing to advocate for my safety, but she was not one of th decision makers who paired me up with Caligula. Those were the people I wanted to chew out at the moment. I offered Paulette a temporary repreive.
     “W ho made this decision?” I asked her.
     Paulette learned back in her chair, folded her arms, and with pursed lips, shake her head no. I was about to hit the boiling point.
     “You can't refuse to tell me that!”
     “I'll take the heat for it.” Paulette offered. Either she was afraid of pointing fingers at anyone for her own sake, or she thought I would dig myself in deeper by confronting those responsible. Maybe both. It was hard to tell with her. Brock was the main culprit, of course.
     “If you won't tell me, I'll just start at the top and work my way down.”
     “You're free to talk to anybody you want to.”
     “As long as they don't think you pointed me in their direction,” I said. “You're a God-awful social worker.”
     She flinched at my words. It was the first personalnattack I had hurled at anyone since this whole ordeal began. It may have been out of line, but I still think I was pointing out a truth needing to be pointed out.
     “Well, I suppose you have a litany of things I've done wrong,” she answered.
     I tried not to snicker, but I could not resist. Paulette was articulate, but not one to toss around fancy words. The only time I ever noticed her do such a thing is when she was gearing up to spar with me. I was tempted to responded with “A litany? A plethora! A myriad! A veritible cornucopia!” but I resisted my sarcastic instincts. They were overwhelmed by paulette's conceit.
     “You're going to make this about you?”
    “You've obviously got an ax to grind with me,” she said.
     “I criticized you professionally, not personally.”
     “What's the difference?”
     Ouch. Paulette drew no distinction between her personal and professional life. Many people have difficulty keeping the two separate, but I assumed she would have an easier time as a social worker. Surely they want to keep all the horrid things they see during the day to not haunt them at night. But no. Paulette took my comment as a jab at her personally. I was not in the mood to deflate the situation, so I figured I would get more off my chest.
     “Fine. Why didn't you call denise's boss like you said you were going to do?”
     Here is some back story to the question. When Denise abandoned me the previous October, Paulette promised to pursue her aggressively. She said she would visit Denise's workplace personally. She said she would contact my brother-in-law, whom she knew on some level personally, and Denise's boss, who was out state senator. Paulette lacked the backbone to confront Denise face-to-face. I figured she would also never contact my brother-in-law. Tony is ittle more than a state trooper uniform, but enough to intimidate most people. But I did think she would call the senator. He would help on some level in the name of constituent service. Paulette kept telling me for months she would get his personal cell phone number from her brother and call for months. But she never did it. It was time to find out why.
     “I didn't think it would do any good,” she fired back point blank.
     “That is not your decision to make. At least not without consulting me and giving me a chance to make a counter argument. Insted, you just kept telling me 'I'll get the number from my brother at thanksgiving,' 'I'll call this week' 'i'll….bah. I'll just never mention it again.”
     Paulette stared at me for a long moment.
      “Fine. I screwed up,” she said.
    “No. a screw up is giving me Frooot Loops instead of Frosted Flakes. Deciding on your own to end a 36 year relationship because you don't want to be bothered with making a phone call is a little more than a screw up. I was about to tie a plastic bag over my head over it!”
     My answer ended the righteous indignation she felt over my criticism. I could only tell by the pained look on face the realization of how badly she had failed. But she did not get a chance to say anything before Ashley knocked on the door. Believe it or not, things were about to get worse.
     “Jamie, don't be mad at me, but the kitchen says the silverware didn't come back with your tray. Because you're on suicide watch, I have to search you.” she said.
     “They didn't give me silverware this morning. I didn't eat, so I didn't say anything about it.”
     “I believe you, but I still have to search,” Ashley said.
     I waved my hand in the air for her to do her thing. None of us said anything while she looked. I had experienced some odd circumstances at Oakhaven, but this was one of the most peculiar. Naturally, ashley did not find anything. She plopped down in the chair next to mine.
    “Thank you for cooperating,” Ashley said. She was clearly embarrassed over the task.
     “My pleasure,” I said a little too curtly.
     “Don't be sarcastic,” she said.
     For the first time in several days, I felt bad for someone else. Ahley had been the only person in an authority position who had been looking out for my best interests. She had been walking a fine line between appeasing management and comforting me. Sure, she had prompted Caligula's story about his zombie brother last night before leaving me to his psychotic mercies, but I never believed that was intentional. No matter how bad I felt, I had no excuse to be mean. I put my right hand on her shoulder and lightly squeezed.
     “I'm sorry,” I told her.
     She told me it was okay, then got up and left. She and Paulette never spoke to each other. I imagine Ashley noticed the tension in the air and opted to give Paulette a breather. Ashley knew from last night I was viciously angry. She also doubted a good night's sleep had simmered me down any appreciable degree. Paulette did not say anything period. I guess she hoped I was too distracted by the indignity of the search to go back to her. She was partially correct. My introverted nature, the one that insists I tell people off and leave for solitary sanctuary rather than continue arguing surfacing.
     “What is going on, Paulette? You just decide to throw me in a mental institution, Kendra mouths off about not 'babying' me, you take my laptop and refuse to give it back, move me gainst my will to a room with a psychopath who attacks me, and now you accuse me of stealing silverwre. What is going on?”
     “I...I don't know, Jamie.” she stumled over every word.
     “Find out,” I told her as I stood up. “And I want out of that room at the first opportunity.”
     “Okay,” Paulette said. She was becoming increasingly nervous at what my final words might be. I had to make them count, right?
     “I am going back to my room. I am going to get in bed. None of you re to bother me for the rest of the day. Don't tell me about the latest craphole institution yo want to dump me into. Don't move me in with another violent psychopath you'd like to attack me. Don't steal any more of my personal belongings and refuse to give them back. Make sure you don't have to search me because of your kitchen's incompetence, and don't decide on your own which family relationships I ought to have. Can you dipsticks handle that for one day?”
     Paulette did not respond to anything I said verbally, her pained expression became even more excruciating when I implied the loss of my relationship with Denise was largely her fault. I do not know how fair was being, but punctuating the meeting with the implication was enough to prevent any further arguments out of her. I waved her off with my left hand even more rudely than I had Ashley and walked out of the office.

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