The details of what happened next needed to be told to me. My own memories kick in about a day and a half later when I finally awoke. I had a hospital robe on and I was laying in a single cot, in a room with some empty beds, with light coming through giant glass blocks in the wall, along with the florescent tubes above.
However, what happened to get me there was just short of a miracle. As it so happened the wife had decided to stop by the home for a moment around 3pm. She was just under five feet tall, I was six feet. Whatever she weighed I weighed substantially more. This is significant to note because apparently she found the strength to throw me over her shoulder in an effort to hoist me out of my room, outside to their suburban, and into the backseat where she then proceeded to race to the hospital.
She had described the scene in which she found me. She found me lying on the floor, face down, with some vomit beside my face. My note was on the bed and the phone’s receiver was dangling down on the floor. This scene has always bothered me. Who called? How was it that the phone ended up that way? To this day I have no answers but the imagery remains quite strong.
When she arrived at the hospital a team took me and wheeled me into an emergency prep room. I would now refer to this place as a triage room. Only long sheets divided each cot, with various medical professionals and equipment being raced around the room in a chaotic fashion, treating one momentarily before moving onto the other. Apparently my role in this holding area was to consume many containers of a black tar like liquid, which, I am told is more effective then doing an evasive stomach pump. The black tar like liquid – not unlike drinking straight molasses, acted as a bit of a sponge and in due time would work its way through one’s system, resulting in a rather uncomfortable bathroom time. This, of course, was forgiven quite quickly, considering they had just saved your life.
And so here I was in a new strange place and not dead. I suppose I was thankful for that in the moment, although I do remember thinking that my unsuccessful attempt has now further complicated the situation. A nurse came by shortly to have a conversation with me, gathering some specifics. I was not done hallucinating and had convinced myself that I had driven myself back to that valley city, where my brother and his girlfriend had visited me. I could look out the imaginary window and see my van parked in the parking lot. It was snowing lightly.
But none of that was true according to the nurse’s chart. She left briefly so I grabbed her clipboard and was flabbergasted to read the address of the coastal city. I was still there. This was only the next chapter in my nightmare. All I could think about now was getting out. She came back in and I knew that it began with her. I explained that this had all been a big mistake and that everything was fine. She acted like she had heard all of this before and off she went.
I had woken up in the psych unit of this hospital. A place where each of us were under a watchful eye, and where meals were had in a group, under close observation, and with plastic cutlery, although no plastic knives were handed out. We all sat together, each with our own sad story of why we now found ourselves in this place. Each of us taking turns to try and talk ourselves out of this place, some to go and try again, and others to try and find a new beginning. I needed to just get out.
I had a short stay. Apparently my words were convincing to the staff psychiatrist, but in reality they needed the bed. A young male had just slashed his wrists after his relationship ended. I could relate and given the medical complexity of his situation, a pill-swallower could be released to make space.
I first had to face this family who had brought me into their home, free of charge, and with no strings attached. I then needed to face my employers who had given me a job on the strong recommendation of my past employer, only a short few weeks earlier. But, what was going to be more difficult was facing what was next.
It was clear that I could no longer stay with this family so I gathered my belongings and placed them in my van. My employers also made it clear that I could not longer stay employed with them so I cashed my last paycheck and put gas in my van. There was no reason to stay. No-one to say goodbye to. I made the awkward phone call back home to my parents, and without a lot of detail given I asked if I could come back home for awhile. They obliged.
So I hoped into my van and turned it back toward the valley city. It would be a long drive back up through the coast and then through the snow-filled mountain pass and into the valley. I was starting over again. I had nothing. I was nothing. But I was alive. And that was something. That was a significant something. I shouldn’t have been alive. It shouldn’t have happened that way. That lady should not have been able to do what she did and yet it did happen that way and I was alive.
I drove back home, a flicker of hope now re-ignited.