Mother's Day Mayhem (Pt. 2)
Originally Posted On
May 16, 2022
My handcuffs were pulling tight as I tried to wiggle my way out of the back of the cop car. Police officer John had come around the back side of the car and opened the door for me. His face showed compassion, and although he wasn’t exactly smiling, his expression was that of a concerned father rather than a domineering authority figure.
“I’m supposed to keep these on you till you get checked in, but ahh. Come on then.” He unlocked the cuffs, and my wrists were free. “Just promise me you’ll be compliant now, mmmkkay?” I nodded.
“Thank you,” I replied.
“Sure thing, Mrs. Johns.” I smiled back at him.
“By the way, what’s your name?” “It’s John,” he said rather shortly.
“Oh. Well, thank you, John. I appreciate it, and I’ll remember your name – because I’m a Johns girl.” He sort of smirked at me and then I felt awkward. “You know, because my last name is Johns?”
“Yeah, I got it,” he said. I felt myself blush with embarrassment, but it was outweighed by the feeling of hope growing within my heart as we walked into the hospital. I thought to myself, “Finally, I’ll get to explain myself, do this damn test, then I’ll get to go home.” I was certain that someone would have to listen to me, and I’d likely be home with my Gracie girl in a couple of hours. Wow. Was I wrong…
I didn’t immediately get to take any test as I had imagined. Instead, I sat on a rollaway bed in the hallway while they sorted out why I was there. The song “Amazing Grace” kept popping into my head. I just sat there thinking, “amazing grace, how sweet the sound,” while waiting for a psych doctor to evaluate me. Another cop named Terry was there, and I overheard John (the cop who had driven me to the hospital) tell him to go ahead and go home. He said he was going to sit with me until everything got sorted out. Terry left his post, and John sat in the chair that was directly across from the check-in, horizontal to my hallway bed… that I was using as a bench.
I watched him stand up and walk to the lady at the desk across from me. “About how much longer until Alexa can get her mental health assessment done? She has a 4-month-old baby at home and has never been away from her.” I felt like he was in my corner, and waves of relief came over me with the sense that he was someone who was advocating for me.
“Officer, we haven’t been able to verify the doctor who ordered the mental health mandate yet. We are trying to get in touch with him in order to be able to schedule her.” I wanted to scream out, “YOU CAN’T GET AHOLD OF DR. CHESTER BECAUSE HE ISN’T THE ONE WHO CALLED! HIS WIFE DID, USING HIS NAME BECAUSE I CALLED HER OUT FOR STEALING FROM ME!” I literally bit my tongue to stay quiet. I was just grateful not to be in handcuffs anymore, and I wanted to honor my promise to policeman John to be compliant. So, compliant Is what I was…
John left the desk and turned toward me. “Do you have your phone?” he asked me very discreetly. I nodded and mouthed “yes” to match his quiet delivery, and I pointed to my see-through fanny pack so he could see my phone. “Okay, good,” he replied. “Why don’t you get all the numbers from your phone that you need and be sure to contact anyone from your family, any of your friends who can watch your baby tonight, or check in on her and your husband while you are here?”
I looked at him, concerned. “I thought I just had to do the intake assessment and then I’d get to go home?” I asked. He could hear the nervousness in my voice.
“Well, yes, that’s the ideal outcome, but just in case you are here a little longer, you’ll want to have those numbers on hand. These doctors can take a while sometimes,” he replied. I didn’t mention that I had overheard his conversation with the intake nurse. I knew that they were having trouble figuring out why I was there. They couldn’t get ahold of the doctor who petitioned the order, but instead of saying that, I said, “Okay, but I don’t have anything to write with."
“I’ll find you something,” he said. He walked back to the desk and then made his way further up the hallway.
While he was gone, another patient was wheeled into the corridor. He was shouting, and I turned to look over because I thought he was yelling at me. Quickly, I realized he couldn’t even see me because he was sitting upright with the blankets over his head. My eyes then met the woman’s sitting at the front desk. She gave me an expression that said, “just ignore him… we do.” It was uncomfortable, so I just counted the gray speckles on the white flooring beneath my dangling feet.
“Her. Oh, yeah. Her… she sings. Yep, I know. I know. I already TOLD you that!”
It was easy to make out what the man under the sheets was saying because of how loud he was talking. He sounded upset like he was confronting someone – who wasn’t there. After listening to him for a little while, I realized he was talking to many “imaginary people.” At least three because he was using their names.
“Yes. I already told you I know she sings. You said that like a thousand times.”
He kept saying over and over, “I know she sings.” It made me squirmy to hear because I do sing, and it felt like I was being talked about. However, the blanket was still over his head. I looked over again and noticed a heavy-set male nurse sitting to the right of him, playing on his phone, totally tuning him out. I wished I could tune him out, too, but I was unnerved.
Swish! He scared the shit out of me!
Before I turned my head to look back at the speckles on the floor, he had pulled off his blankets and said, “YOUUUUUUU!” His finger was pointed right at me. It freaked me the fuck out! Before I could react, he threw his blankets back over his head.
Then, from underneath the covers, he yelled. “Hey! You! Girl…with purple hair! They want you to sing. This guy Jack says you should sing Amazing Grace.” My eyes instantly filled with hot tears, and chills ran up and down my spine. When in doubt or distress, I sometimes recite song lyrics in my head because it soothes me. For some reason, ever since I had gotten to the hospital that night, the song “Amazing Grace” had been continually coming to me. It was just “stuck in my head.” I’ll admit, though, that it did make me feel better to recite those lyrics. I had been repeating to myself, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,” and I’d imagine Gracie. My amazing Gracie. Her laugh, her cry, her smell, her sweet blue eyes. Oh God, how I ached for her! I longed to be home.
My inner mind trance was broken when I heard, “Hello, purple lady??? Hellloooooooooo! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Helloooooo, purple head! I know you can hear me! Jack says sing amazing grace! Sing, sing, sing, sing, sing! WILL YOU JUST SING SO HE STOPS FOLLOWING ME AROUND? JEEEEEZ!”
Waves of goosebumps ran up and down my body again. My grandpa had passed away in October two years prior. His name was Jack, and I sang Amazing Grace at his funeral. My mind was blown. “Is this possible!?” I thought to myself. “Is he actually communicating with my Grandpa Jack? Can he communicate with spirit? With people that we just don’t see?”
My thought stream was interrupted when I heard, “Hey, stop bothering her. You don’t want to go back to isolation, do you?” The male nurse was standing now, and the man who could talk to dead people said, “but they want her to sing,” in a much softer tone. The male nurse snarked back, “NO. ‘They’ want you to be quiet and go to sleep.” Out of the corner of my eye, I could see he was lying back down, and then I noticed cop John walking toward me down the hallway.
John came back and sat a coloring book down on the left side of the bed. Then, he placed a red and blue crayon on top. “Sorry,” he said. “This is all they would let me give you.”
I wasn’t a patient there, technically, but I wasn’t allowed to write with a pen due to hospital rules. “Thanks! At least they are sharp.” I smiled meekly. I reached for my phone very subtly so that the nurses didn’t see that I had it, and I began writing down names in red on the inside of my coloring book, continually browsing through my contacts.
I had Ty’s number memorized, along with my immediate family. I scrolled through to write down my friends Jenelle and Sara’s numbers, my attorney’s, as well as my doula, who also functioned as a night nurse for Gracie.
Interrupted, I had to use the restroom and was surprised to find that I couldn’t go alone, nor was I allowed to close the door when I did go. I had to have a male nurse assist me. He turned away, but it still felt like such a violation of privacy. Also, due to COVID, there was no running water, so I couldn’t wash my hands or flush the toilet. Apparently, they had turned off the water in that section of the hospital due to COVID. Thank God they at least had an ample supply of hand sanitizer.
I had been pretty freaked out about COVID with a newborn. When Gracie was born, I took every precaution necessary and rarely left the house, yet here I was, maskless with other mask-less patients walking about with only the doctors, nurses, and staff properly protected. This pissed me off! I thought it was so irresponsible for a hospital, of all places, to not be protecting their patients, even their “non-patients” like me, from potentially contracting COVID. The last thing I wanted was to get the deadly virus and take it home to my family.
At that time, I had a bigger issue. When I got back from the bathroom, I realized I was feeling dehydrated. Due to the “no running water thing,” they didn’t have any in that section of the hospital, and nurse after nurse promised to be back with some – but never did. I had asked to have water dozens of times from the time I arrived, and I needed it desperately because I was nursing. I felt so dehydrated. I had also asked for a breast pump. I naively thought I could still pump, refrigerate my milk, and bring it back to Gracie, but I wasn’t given a pump, food, or water. I was getting really concerned because I had heard horror stories about women having clogged ducts and getting mastitis from not nursing. “Letting down your milk,” etc., but by this time, I was so engorged it was painful. (Sorry- TMI)
It was embarrassing to ask the cop John to ask AGAIN to find me a pump, water, or at least something to drink. The nurses rotate out about every 12 hours, so the set of people that I had already talked to and told what I needed were gone. I felt like I was telling my story in circles – with the new nurses who came through to introduce themselves to me and ask me why I was there.
My story was the same. “Hi, I’m Alexa. I’m here by mistake. The woman who called in the mental health mandate on me did so because I caught her stealing from me, and I threatened to report her to Cigna. She called under her husband’s name, who actually is a doctorate in psychiatry, and I think she did so because she is trying to buy herself time to cover her tracks – since I discovered she was not only stealing from me but also engaging in insurance fraud. I have a four-month-old baby at home; I was taken away from her against my will. Mentally, I’m completely fine. I just need sleep, food, water, and to go home. Please let me know when I can take this mental health test so I can get back to my baby Gracie.”
I was always met with the same response: “We’re trying to sort this out as fast as we can. Why don’t you lay down and try to get some sleep, and we’ll come to get you when we are ready for you to take your mental health screening?”
Physically, I felt miserable and emotionally drained. I did lay down but couldn’t sleep. Instead, I just turned towards the wall in the fetal position, pulled the sheets up enough to cover my eyes, and silently cried. I cried and cried and cried. The whole situation was devastating. I was shocked and traumatized, but I was just trying to keep my composure so no one would think I was crazy. I just had to keep it together long enough so they would let me leave and I could get back to my baby. Crying was relief and release all at once. Just a moment to myself to just be.
I laid there for another hour or so, and I thought about the earlier experience with the man who was potentially talking to my grandpa Jack. In my mind, I said, “Grandpa, if you really are there, please help me, please guide me, please protect me, please let me know what to do. I love you.” I started to quietly sing amazing grace to myself in hopes of soothing myself to sleep.
“Mmmm, that’s nice. You were right! She can sing!” The man (who could talk to dead people) said aloud.
I thought to myself, “Wasn’t he sleeping?” Then I thought, “How the fuck can he hear me!?” After the nurse yelled at him – for yelling at me – he laid back down, put the covers over his head again, and didn’t move or make a sound. It had been hours. Yet, right when I started singing Amazing Grace, he decided to open the seance again and talk about me to his imaginary audience.
“Mrs. Johns? Hi, I’m Dakota, and I’m just going to need you to verify some information for us before we begin.” A nurse had rolled up with what looked like a portable computer/television screen. While I was reciting my name, birthday, and home address, I noticed cop John in the hallway still next to me.
I found it incredibly kind that he waited with me to make sure I was okay. He made a gesture towards his phone, and I got the hint. I unclasped my fanny pack as quietly as I could when the nurse Dakota turned around. I pulled out my phone and laid it on my lap, facing the ceiling. I put it to record mode and pressed the red button. I knew what I was doing: Gathering evidence. This whole thing had already gotten too far, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to let this mental health evaluation go undocumented. I’m grateful to John for the idea to record that whole evaluation. It’s come in handy recently as it relates to the current lawsuit. I wish this story had ended there.
I wish I had been able to go home to Gracie, but you’ll never believe what happened next..