Emily Rae Robles

the paradoxymoron

Instability (Flash Fiction: Day 6)

Prompt: “Can’t be”

They wheeled me in on a gurney.  I was excited about the gurney.  ”Look at me,” I had exclaimed to my mother when the ambulance arrived at the student health center.  ”I feel like an invalid! This is awesome!”

It wasn’t so awesome when I spent nearly twelve hours on that gurney, being shifted from the health center to the ER and then to here, the mental hospital.  Those hours are a blur in my mind.  It’s now five in the morning and the nurse is signing me in.  She can’t speak English very well and talks with a bit of a speech impediment.  She keeps eyeing the laptop in my backpack and grunting “Eh, wealthy, wealthy.”

“Don’t take my stuff!” I want to say, but we are not allowed any electronics or potentially dangerous objects in the facility.  They want to confiscate the only book I brought because it’s hardcover and could be used as a weapon, but I resist until they give in.

The nurse leads me down a barren hallway.  I think she says “room over here,” but I can’t be sure.  Pounding in my head is the thought “You are in a mental hospital.  You are a patient.  You are one of the crazies.  You are a patient.

I don’t understand how this is happening.  I’ve always been the one wanting to help.  I’ve always been the one without issues.  Some have called me “crazy” in a “Wow, you’re really weird” sort of way, and I welcomed it, but this is completely different.  I should be the one helping patients, not the patient myself.  How am I to show God’s grace to others when I can’t even handle my own humanity? I shiver under the thin blanket, and fall asleep to the ground-shaking snores of the roommates I will meet tomorrow.

The next day is a blur.  I am woken up two hours later to get my blood drawn and vitals taken.  I go back to bed.  I wake up two hours later for group and a breakfast that I don’t eat.  I survey the room, noticing that everyone looks completely normal, and break down.  The nurses come take me away when I start hitting myself until I bruise.  I go back to bed.  I wake up for lunch and another group and have another anxiety attack.  The social worker sees me crying and hitting myself and decides to use me as an example for the class.  I decide I hate him.  Up and down the single hallway the nurses walk me, until I calm down.  I go back to bed.  I don’t remember dinner.

The next day, I feel human again.  I am still a patient. I am still in a mental hospital.  I will not be going back to school for another week.  But when I step outside of my bed, I see the smiling faces of the patients who have suffered so much more than I, and I think, This is goodness.  This is hope.  They will help me.  God is in control.

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February 5, 2011 - Posted by | flash fiction, hospital stories, writings | , , , , ,

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