Mother's Day Mayhem (Pt. 4)
Originally Posted On
June 18, 2022
They took my clothes. I wasn’t allowed to have drawstrings, and Ty’s sweatshirt that I was wearing had them, along with the sweats I had on, overtop of my orange v-cut lacy silk nightgown. Since I had been taken from my home unexpectedly, in the middle of the night, those were the clothes I had to grab on my way out. At first, they asked me if I was wearing clothes under my hoodie, but when I took off my sweatshirt, they thought my orange nightly was too revealing. They made me change into a hospital gown instead, with yellow socks and white sticky grip arrows up and down the front and the back. (I still have them. I don’t know why – maybe a humbling reminder?)
Anyways, I didn’t tell them that I had white biker shorts underneath my sweatpants. They had pockets in them, and I sure as hell didn’t mention that those pockets were full of items that would definitely not be permitted into the hospital. I had a little gold compact mirror that said, “chaos creator,” that my mom and sister had given me a month before when my mom and nana flew out to visit and meet Gracie.
For those who have read my blogs before, you know I’m a big fan of mirror work. It’s something I do every day. I look in the mirror and say to myself, “Alexa, I love you, I support you, I’m here for you.” When the nurses would leave, I’d pull out my little compact, and I’d say those words, “you are strong, you are brave, you can do this. I support you. I bless this situation with love. I trust that I am divinely guided and protected, and I declare that a wonderful blessing will come from this.” I didn’t let myself cry. Not there. No way. I learned that my tears just got me into trouble. They made me seem like an unstable, emotional mess to everyone working there. In my gut I knew that “calm, cool, collected” was the way I had to be if I was ever going to get out of there.
In my left pocket, I had a packet of acupuncture needles. I had taken them out of my fanny pack when I went to the bathroom earlier because I was told they would be taking the rest of my belongings. I took my hair ties out and put my hair into a half-up, half-down ponytail. In the middle of the hair knot, I placed the pin in an acupuncture point known as “Du 20” or “governing vessel 20.” This point in Chinese medicine is known as the “human connection to heaven.” The point is used to calm the spirit and treat emotions, memory, and behavior. It’s a point that settles the “yang” energy and helps me explicitly with headaches, dizziness, overthinking, and insomnia – just to list a few of its benefits.
I knew by putting in that pin, no matter where I was that night, I’d be able to sleep. After slipping it in, I put the open packet of the nine remaining needles back into my left pocket. Then, I put what bobby pins I had grabbed from my fanny pack around the sides of my hair to hold up the loose strands and to wrap my hair around to hide the needle. “Pins and needles.” The irony of wearing them alongside how I felt definitely dawned on me. I’ve always felt that bobby pins are useful for quite a few things – especially unlocking doors. I just had a feeling to put them all in my hair and to keep them with me. If nothing else, I knew I at least looked and felt more put together.
Ty came to see me at the hospital. He had flowers in his hands and tears in his eyes. They let him into the yellow room where I was lying down, still trying to sleep with all the lights and TV on. I was so angry with him. I wanted him to get me out of there, not come visit me in there. I said, “Does this look like a place where a new mother belongs? Even if I was fucking crazy, is this their idea of helping someone? Locking them in a neon yellow room, drugging them, and stripping them of all basic needs – including their own fucking clothes?” His eyes poured out tears. “No. No, this isn’t right.” He agreed with me, and I still unloaded on him. I guess it’s sad but true that sometimes the people that we love the most and feel safest with often get the brunt of what we feel the most deeply. I couldn’t bear the emotional pain I was in, and I unfairly laid it all on Ty, as if it was his fault that I was in there. As if it was his fault that the scamming pseudo doctor who was stealing from us called me in, as if the arrest was his fault, and being torn away from Gracie was his fault, but at that moment, yes, I acted like it was all his fault.
I couldn’t bear it alone, and my husband, kind and sweet, let me grieve at his expense. He laid with me on the hospital bed and held me as I held the lovely colorful flowers to my nose and breathed them in. He promised me he was doing everything he could to get me out of there and that he wouldn’t stop until I was home. He told me that he and my dad were making all the necessary phone calls and that he had called my actual psychiatrist, Dr. T, to get help since he used to oversee that department. He assured me that Gracie was doing well and that he stayed home to be with her. Although I was nervous about him getting in hot water for missing the first few days at his new job, I was inwardly relieved that he was there with Gracie. He told me my friend Sara had come by to help as well as my neighbor Jennelle. He also said that my sister was there with Gracie with my lactation nurse Zarah while he was visiting me. It felt good to know that everyone was coming together to help me and to make sure Gracie was doing okay.
They didn’t let Ty stay long. In the privacy of that yellow room, I sobbed, and sobbed, and sobbed when he left. I laid back on the bed holding the flowers to my nose, and started to fall asleep, inhaling the sweet scent of the earth. It felt grounding to me, something real and beautiful. A touchstone of what life was like outside of the hell I was in. The flowers gave me hope. I fell asleep and was woken up by a male nurse taking my flowers from me, saying he was moving me to another unit and I couldn’t have my flowers in my room because of other potential allergies. It sounds stupid, but I couldn’t stop the tears when he took the flowers from my hands. That definitely didn’t make me look emotionally put together. I was moved around the hospital and given a few different wristbands. They each had different names on them. One said Alexa Falk, one said Alexa Falk Johns, and the last one they gave me said Alexa Johns. I wouldn’t let them cut them off. Instead, I wiggled them off my wrist so I could keep them. I guess there was some insurance problem, which caused an identity issue, which was part of the delay in them figuring out who I was, as well as me being able to get to a room sooner.
I had heard whispers and comments throughout the hospital about who other people thought I was, as well as some pretty wild stories about what I did to get there. I performed at the Parthenon in the year of the eclipse in 2017. It was in a park across from the hospital I was in, and one of the patients at the hospital recognized me from that performance. I sang that day in front of the statue of goddess Athena; it was a pretty cool experience. When I was met with my nurse Jonathan, who was to take me to an actual room, he said, “So I hear you are saying you’re some kind of goddess?” I looked at him confused, and rightfully so. He said, “Yeah, all the patients upstairs are excited for you to come up because Ronnie saw you in the hallway and said he saw you at the Parthenon.” I thought to myself, “Are these people really that stupid?” The guy Ronnie meant that he “literally” saw me at the Parthenon, playing a musical set.. The nurse reiterated it as if the patient had seen me in a vision and I was coming to the third floor to save everybody. I looked at him very bluntly and said, “Jonathan. You’re not an idiot. I’m not a goddess, I’m just a musician, and yes, I did perform at the Parthenon a few years back in front of goddess Athena. That’s it.”
“Ohhhhh, really? Well, that’s pretty cool then. I was going to say I didn’t know of any Greek goddess that had purple hair, but ahhh, that makes sense, I guess.” I was annoyed, but I also understood that Jonathan probably encountered hundreds of patients who were out of their minds telling all kinds of stories. At the same time, it also brought me a deep sense of anger (and compassion) on behalf of the patient, who was probably trying to tell an accurate story of something that literally happened, but because he was locked in a psych ward, anything he said was considered crazy. It’s still upsetting to think back to the sweet people I met there, the stereotypes they have been categorized into, and being labeled “crazy.”
Anyways, back to my wristbands. I wanted to keep them. To me, they were evidence and information. They had time stamps, my name(s), my section of the hospital, and even who my assigned doctor was at the time all printed on them. Each wristband also had a barcode to scan into whatever section of the hospital I was in, and it was the same barcode that was scanned when the nurses had to get my vitals. Oh yes, I did bloodwork, and a lot of it after arriving. I felt like I was constantly being poked and prodded. I was feeling unnerved, yes, because of the situation but also because it had been a day and a half since I had taken my medication for ADHD, and I hadn’t fully slept. I felt hyper but pissed off at the same time. The nurse was supposed to take my previous band after giving me a new one, but I used that time to ask to use the restroom and would slip the previous band around the top of my ponytail. Then, I wrapped my hair around it and used the bobby pins I already had in my hair to pin the hair over it so it wasn’t visible to the nurses. My acupuncture needle was still intact. When I came out of the bathroom and sat back down with the nurse, I’d say I threw the band away in the bathroom, fully prepared for them to check and then deny, deny, deny. Luckily, they took me at my word and never went to retrieve it.
So, with my wrist bands secured on top of my head and denying being a Parthenon Greek goddess, I followed Jonathan up to what was supposed to be my room on the third floor. It was 10:30, so the hallways were lit, but everything else was dim due to it being patient sleeping hours. It felt so creepy to me – like a really bad fucking nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from. We walked past the front desk into an open corridor with blue couches and plastic white rectangular tables in the far-right corner. The room was surrounded by doors closed to patients’ rooms. It was like an eerie commune. As I walked past the intake window, I noticed that my flowers were on the other side in an empty, half-cut Pepsi liter. I was enraged that I couldn’t have them in my room and that they weren’t in water. Looking back, I think that my rage over the flowers was actually my rage at the whole situation I was going through, finally finding expression. Jonathan, the nurse that had taken me upstairs, introduced me to Rusty, the head night nurse, and Tallan, my new nurse for the night, once Jonathan handed me off to them before resigning from his shift.
This is the part I feel uncomfortable writing. For some reason, I always get to this part, then go on to write other pieces of the night. The next part is me having to write about my absolute freak-out when I was told I’d have to strip down to do a “skin check” and body exam before I could go to my room and go to sleep in my assigned bed. And yes, I freaked the fuck out! Basically, after just meeting the head night nurse, Rusty, and demanding that my flowers at least get water if they couldn’t be put in my room, I then freaked the fuck out when I was being escorted to my room. I was about to have to take my clothes off in front of a man I had just barely met and was told I could potentially have to get fingered to make sure that I wasn’t hiding anything that could be used as a weapon in my vagina.
Fuck no. Fuck noooo! I screamed at them! I felt totally violated just by the words they used, and I panicked. I’m not going to lie; I absolutely lost it. I screamed, “NOOO,” and I also screamed that they could go fuck themselves, that they weren’t going to get away with doing that to me after keeping me PRISONER in a hospital. The two men grabbed my arms, and I lifted my legs to try to put all of my weight down on the floor. They started to drag me while telling me to be calm or I’d have to go into isolation. I put my feet out in front of me, and my socks with the white arrow grips screeched. Pulling my body down to the floor wasn’t working, so I lifted my legs up and began to kick. I forced my elbows into each of their ribs. I probably looked like a flailing maniac, but I was panicked. I screamed, “Help me, someone fucking help me! Help me, I’m not supposed to be here! Help me! I’m a new mom! They took me from my daughter! Help, help! They are trying to take my clothes off!” At that moment, all rational thinking was gone. I was in absolute fight or flight mode. I was in a full-blown “triggered” moment from a “Me Too” moment I had experienced in my past. Aside from the injustice of having been there in the first place, then having to do this in order to get into my room – it all just pushed me over the edge.
I broke into deep, heaving sobs. “Help me! Please help me!” I continued to say that over and over again. The male nurse, Tallan, released the grip he had on me, and I pulled my other arm from Rusty. I laid down on the floor, curled myself into the fetal position, pulled my legs up to my chest, and hugged my knees as tight as I could. Still sobbing, I began to rock myself back and forth. My screams, now softer, soon turned into whispers. I was just repeating over and over again, “Help me! Please, someone help me.” It was a full-blown crazy moment, but I didn’t care. I was traumatized and totally shoved past my breaking point – this was my reaction. I don’t know how much time had passed, but eventually, the two men went back to their stations. Rusty sat behind a tall, narrow, white rollaway desk that looked more like a podium than an actual desk. Tallan sat on a chair directly across from him, both men looking like they were guarding the doors. I couldn’t stop crying, but I stopped pleading for help. Between my sobs, I could hear them talking to each other about what to do with me. I heard them talking more about isolation, but then Tallan said, “No, I think she’s been through it. Something serious must be going on. Maybe we should radio for a female assistant. What female nurses are on duty?”
“None, but maybe Tyrell could reason with her. He’s always pretty good at talking patients down from their mania.”
I thought, “Mania? This is what they think mania looks like? No. Try this is what trauma looks like,” but I was too exhausted – and honestly, too scared to argue with them. Then, I noticed a pile of folded linens on a round solid gray table next to the couch. I was still on the floor, and before I could think about what I was doing, I stood up, grabbed the linens, unfolded a white sheet, wrapped it around me as tight as I could, and I laid down on the couch facing the speckled wooden amour/cabinet on the north side of the room. It had a TV in it, and it freaked me out because it reminded me of a movie I saw when I was 13 years old that scared the crap out of me – “The Ring.” It bothered me enough to cause me to get up and move to the couch next to the one I was on, where I could just comfortably cry and stare at the closed door that was in front of me instead. The two men didn’t say anything to me, so I just closed my eyes and rocked back and forth in hopes of falling asleep and waking up to this nightmare being over.
Time in that place didn’t feel like it existed. It could’ve been minutes or hours by the time I heard, “Miss? Excuse me, Miss?” I opened my eyes. ‘Hi, Miss. My name is Tyrell. What’s your name? I rubbed my eyes, which felt glued shut from crying. I didn’t say anything at first. I just looked back at him, but something about him soothed me. I felt comfortable, so once I could see clearly, I said, “I’m Alexa…”
“Alexa? Oh, that’s a pretty name.” I politely back at him. I didn’t have it in me to make my usual “Amazon Alexa” jokes. “Well, Alexa, I just wanted to come over and see if you were doing okay. Do you mind if I sit down right here?” I nodded. He bent down slowly and sat cross-legged on the floor about 5 feet from the little blue couch I was curled up on.
“So, Alexa, I see you’re sleeping. Don’t you want to sleep in a nice bed?” I shook my head. “I’m fine here. I’m not doing a skin check.”
“Well, Miss Alexa, it’s against our rules to have you sleep out here, and you don’t want me to get in trouble, do you?”
“No. I’ll go to my room, but I’m not doing a skin check.”
“Well, we have to make sure you don’t have anything on you that you could harm yourself or the other patients with. You understand that, right?” I nodded. “So, Alexa, can you work with me? Will you do the skin check? I promise it will take less than a minute.
“Only if you do it. Not him.” I pointed at Rusty. He could hear me, but I didn’t care. He gave me the creeps.
“Oh, Miss, I can’t do that. I’m not authorized to, but I promise you Rusty is a nice guy. He’s just trying to help you. We all are.”
“No,” I snapped back. “No. No one is trying to help me. They are drugging me, poking and prodding me, and keeping me from my baby. No one is listening to me. They think I’m just making things up, and they just pass me from doctor to doctor. No one is here to help me. They are here to get a paycheck. That’s it. If they really wanted to help me, they would let me go home now and would arrest the fuckers who called me in here.”
“Okay, Alexa, no need to get aggressive with me. I’m your friend here. I can’t do anything about getting you out, but I can help make you more comfortable. What would help you feel more comfortable doing the skin check?”
“A girl,” I said, already having heard that there were no female nurses on the unit at that hour.
“You want a female nurse?” I nodded yes. “Okay, so if I can find a way to get a female nurse here now, you promise me you will do the skin check so you can get into your room, and then you will go to sleep?”
“Yep, I promise..”