Waiting in the ER was ridiculous. after leaving my primary doctors she said she would call ahead. that was the least bit helpful. We arrived 93 degrees outside. The ER was packed. I couldn’t take my sunglasses off, my leg wouldn’t stop shaking with anxiety. I gripped my purse so tight my hands turned white, while my other hand worked hard at propping up my emotionally tired and surrendered head.
“Molly Rizzuto?” the nurse called out from triage. I went in thinking this was it they were gonna take me. All they did was take my vitals.
“Okay all done, go have a seat back out in the waiting room.”
I sat down angry, strong feelings of wanting to just walk out, but my friend sat by me holding my hand and repeatedly saying “This is the hardest part.”
We continued to sit for another hour.
“Molly Rizzuto?” the nurse called out, a different one this time. We walked in and sat down. General questions were asked. A Doctor was then called in and he asked more pressing questions.
“Are you a threat to yourself or others?”
“yes,” I said looking down at the floor in a checked out daze.
“Okay, Molly go have a seat back out in the waiting room.”
By this time I’m pissed. what the fuck is wrong with our mental health care system?
The hospital’s power went out and a fire was happening in the radiology wing.
A loud and intrusive fire alarm went off.
Women yelled “Molly Rizzuto?” again to triage this time for blood work. I cringed the loud alarm was pounding in my head and a sudden prick in my arm made me want to faint.
“Okay, that’s all we need, please go wait back outside.”
Another 30 minutes later we heard “Molly Rizzuto?” A man came walking towards us ushering us to come back inside the hospital where the alarm was still going off. We followed him down the dark hallways to a small room, where I was instructed to strip down and place all my belongings in a bag.
The nurse came in with scrubs I grabbed the pants and knew in an instant they would not fit me. I looked at her and said, “these aren’t going to work.” She looked at me with a look of disgust and annoyance.
“Really? those don’t fit?”
I couldn’t even get them over my thighs.
I replied, “Yea really I must be the only person these have never fit.”
“well bigger ones are going to be a pain to find.” she stormed off.
I waited, she came back with the biggest scrubs I’ve ever seen.
“here.” she said as she shoved them towards me.
I put them on reluctantly. I asked, “do you need my bra too?”
She paused and looked at me. “Let me see under it.”
I lifted my scrub shirt and bra.
“Nope, you’re fine,” she said.
We sat, waiting again in a hot room we could hear the nurses on the other side of the door laughing, joking talking about patients and the fire inside the hospital.
Eventually, she came back in. “Come on we are moving you.”
We walked down another dark hallway to an open bed, next to a severally ill woman who kept coughing and wheezing.
This room was less private, the TVs didn’t work because the power was out and only a select important things were working off the generator. It was HOT! the air conditioning was also not working.
We sat for another two hours waiting, no nurses came in to check on us. I began to get extremely anxious, I started pulling apart my tissue box piece by piece.
I could hear my name outside in the hall, except it was being pronounced incorrectly and was being mocked. I heard them read off my chart. “homicidal, suicidal .” they kept reading but I got caught on the word homicidal. What?! where did they get that idea?
I couldn’t control my tears they kept pouring out of me with such force. my eyes burned. my skin was hot. I was sweating through my scrubs onto the bed. It was then that a man walked in and asked my friends to leave for a moment so he could talk to me alone.
I was scared. he sat down next to me.
“my name is Andre, I am with psych triage here at the hospital.”
I couldn’t even look up at him I stared down at my hands. He asked me general questions about my safety and the safety of others.
“It says here you are homicidal? you want to tell me about that?”
I panicked “I never said that! I could never hurt anyone! just myself!”
He apologized “I’m sorry I must have gotten the wrong information somewhere along the way.” He evaluated me and then asked.
“Do you want inpatient or try to handle this outpatient so long as you have a plan to keep yourself safe?”
I didn’t know? why was he asking me? shouldn’t they know? I can’t even focus right now everything is blurry and overwhelming. How was I suppose to make a major decision like that?
between being treated so poorly by the ER staff and how exhausted and defeated I felt I couldn’t even give him an answer. He stepped out of the room.
My parents finally arrived and helped me make the hardest and most uncomfortable decision in my life thus far.
They sat with me for another 4 hours until somewhere around 2:30 in the morning they came to take me to the psych ward. My mom pleaded to go with me but they wouldn’t allow it. I was terrified. tears streaming down my face as they pushed me in the wheelchair through the dimly lighted halls. My heart was racing. sweat was pouring out of me. We reached the psych floor. my parents were able to come in to say goodbye and take my valuable belongings.
As I hugged them goodbye I couldn’t control the sobbing that had started to take over my whole body, and with that, they left.
I was asked to sit in a meeting room and have all my vitals taken. and an hour and a half long interrogation of my mental and physical health.
After they finished I was escorted to a room. “you get your own room tonight.”
I felt a little bit of relieve as I was so scared and anxious about being there.
I was still in my soaked scrubs from the ER and asked for something to sleep in….they gave me a hospital gown.
I put it on and quickly climbed into the bed, they asked if I needed something to help me sleep. I did. it was 4 am and I was so overwhelmed with sadness, guilt, fear, anxiousness.
The nurse came in and brought me a pill and some water she saw the tears.
“Aw, you’re crying?”
“yes.” as I tried to wipe them off.
the nurse stroked my head and told me everything was going to be alright.
she left and I shut my eyes hoping I could fall asleep soon.