I sat on my bed, unsure of the time and how the hell I was to know when another scheduled activity was to take place. I noticed an intercom on the wall to my left, toward the foot of my bed. I crawled over and pressed the red call button and waited for a response.
“Yeah?” A harsh woman’s voice shot through.
At least pretend to be nice, bitch. I responded with attempts to control my sobs. “Can you send someone please to my room? I don’t know what to do.”
“Are you ok,” the voice returned robotically.
“I just want to call my mom and I don’t know what to do, can you send a nurse, please? Anna Hubbel’s room.”
A pause was followed by, “Okay, hold on a sec.”
I waited for twenty minutes, crying all the while. Finally, a tech graced my doorway to check my vitals again. It was a young girl this time—blonde ponytail, brown eyes.
“Can I call my mom,” I asked again. “I asked for a nurse earlier, but no one came.”
The tech retained a blank look on her face. Clearly, she didn’t care. “I can check. Did your social worker come in yet?”
“I didn’t know there was one coming.”
The girl sighed in exasperation—as if it was my fault. “I’ll let them know,” she said as she unsnapped the blood pressure band from my wrist. She disappeared around the doorway, leaving me alone again.I stood up and wobbled to the tiny bathroom in my room. I turned on the light and scowled at the mirror. Greasy hair and skin, swollen eyes squinting above giant, pale puffs, and speckles of dark stubble above my lip from neglection.
And all they had given me was a washcloth and a tiny bar of soap.
As soon as I had plopped back down on my bed—after having scrubbed my armpits ferociously with the pathetic bar provided—a tall woman in purple scrubs appeared in the doorway. “Hi Anna, I’m Kara.” Kara pulled up the chair from the desk opposite my bed and sat down without an invitation. “I’m your assigned social worker. Can you tell me why you’re here today?”
I’m here because I’m a f**king loser that f**king wasted her life letting others f**k with her f**king head thinking I was a f**king good girl when all I am is a f**king puppet. “I came close to taking a bunch of pills.”
Kara scribbled on her notepad. “And why were you considering doing that?”
I’ve said this to like a thousand people already – shouldn’t my whole story be on file somewhere by now? “Basically, I was in a four-year relationship that ended a few months ago that I learned was actually an emotionally abusive one. Turns out I’ve been emotionally abusing myself my entire life, living on eggshells and never thinking or speaking for myself. The information goes over and over again through my head and I can’t stop obsessing about what I could and should have done. I didn’t want to deal with it anymore and just wanted to go home.”
“Yeah, you know… The ultimate ‘home.’” I pointed up.
“I see. Are you in a relationship now?”
“Yes. And I’m happy. Which is why I’m not. Does that make sense?” I think it’s a good relationship. But he hasn’t even called me yet. Why doesn’t he love me? What time is it?
“I see.” Kara scribbled some more in her notebook. “Well, what I’m going to do is send a psychiatrist up to see you. He will decide what medication to try you on. He’ll want to keep you here a couple of days, maybe longer. We’ll see.” She stood up to leave.
“Wait, I tried asking someone if I could call my mom. Can you see if they’re sending someone to help me?”
“Sure, no problem,” Kara nodded politely before sweeping out the door.
Not a minute after, an older fellow wearing a blue button-down shirt and large bifocals appeared in the doorway, holding a small black Bible close to his chest. “May I come in?” He seemed friendly. I nodded. “I’m a deacon. The floor nurse informed me that you were hoping to talk with a priest. I’m not a priest, but hopefully, I can be of some assistance.” He smiled genuinely, with a hint of insecurity.
I faintly recalled expressing interest in speaking with a priest the night prior. “I did, yeah.”
The deacon was notably pleased. He moved the chair previously occupied by the social worker closer to my bedside. I was sitting up, legs crossed, shoulders hunched. I was still very aware of my disgusting appearance and kept involuntarily brushing my upper lip stubble. “You can call me Tim,” the deacon said. “So what is it that brings you here?”
I was rather annoyed with having to repeat the story again and again. “Emotionally abused,” “four-year relationship with a sex addict,” “at 10 years old, lost baby sister,” “missed out on childhood,” “never had any friends,” “I’m a fraud,” “wasted time,” “almost took pills.” Blah, blah, blah.