Anxiety, Mental Health and Real Pizza

 I worked half a day on Tuesday, so that T.A. and I could go visit Ma down at the nervous hospital. Visiting hours are 11:30 to 1:00 and 7:30 to 8:30. We had to shoot for the latter, so we had some time to kill. We piled in her little hatchback and headed to Big City.

The first stop was the grocery store to get some prescriptions filled. $60 worth of prescriptions. Why isn't vitamin D on the $3 list? Seems kind of redunkulous that it's the most expensive thing.

While I waited, I scoped out the near-death mark down foliage. I've been working on making my office mine. Since I moved to the former manager's spot, (just the office and most of the responsibility, none of the pay or benefits,) I've kind of felt like a squatter. Comments have been made, mainly by The Groper, not to get to comfy because eventually they'll hire a new sales manager and I'll have to move.

Well screw that bullhockey.

The other day, I brought in a lamp for my desk, a little $7 one from the dollar store. By the way everyone acted, you'd have thought I'd trucked in a purple crushed velvet living room suite. I can't wait to see what kinda brouhaha I'll stir up with a half dead philodendron.

Anyhooters, after I picked up my drugs, we headed out to the far side of Big City. We found a little hole-in-the-wall pizza place, family owned, fading paint on the outside, just up the road from Shirley the Psychic. It has been years since I've had a real pizza. Here in the holler, you can get one from the Grab n' Go (and go and go) made with frozen crust, gross, salty sauce and whatever lunchtime leftovers they can find.

When our waitress sat the pie on our table, honest to gawd, I had to wipe drool off my chin.

Sometimes I miss civilization.

We also stumbled upon a brand new bead store with great prices and a huge selection. I really miss making jewelry, maybe if I can find a good magnifying glass on a stand or something I can get back in to it. I'm good for about 30 minutes before all those little seed beads get blurry and start to run together. 

As we pulled in to the hospital parking lot, ominous clouds formed and everything turned gray. I debated whether or not to swallow a nerve pill before going inside, then decided against it. I've not had to take an emergency anxiety pill in a long time, I could tough it out.

Bad call.

We passed a large family of Hispanic people in the waiting room who were muttering comments about the two fat people passing them and giggling amongst themselves. I damn near launched my fat ass from the elevator like a heat seeking missile. I stopped putting up with that shit years ago. No longer do I bow my head and scurry past in shame. I will straight up put the truck in park and get out in the middle of the street if I catch anyone flapping their pie hole at me and especially my child.

The only thing that stopped me from possibly being arrested and being admitted down the hall from Ma was the quick closing elevator doors.

On the second floor, I had to ring the bell at the locked steel door and give Ma's security code to be let in. They took my purse, our keys and cellphones and led us to Ma's room. She was sitting up in the bed, restrained at the waist, her feet twitching, face dripping with perspiration, her expression one of confusion and agitation.

Ma took one look at me, tears filled her eyes and she pleaded, "Don't you leave me here."

That was pretty much the gist of our visit.

She cried and begged. She told me not to come up there again if I wasn't gong to take her home. She went from sad face to angry mom face, making demands and threats.

I had to step out in the hall and get the tears out once or twice. I didn't want her to see me cry.

Forgive me if I sound like a drama queen, but to me it was a horrific experience. I am not emotionally prepared to be the adult in our relationship.

When our hour was up, she cried and clung to us both. We finally had to just walk away. In that moment, I wanted to die.

The chubby little nurse with the perma-smile kept insisting that I tell her why I was crying, asking if there was anything she could do for me. Inside I was thinking, "If you don't open that fuckin' door I'm going to knock you in the head with my over-filled purse." Eventually she did and I fled.

The Amazon, bless her heart, was the voice of calm throughout the whole ordeal. During the two hour ride home, she had to listen to me babble, a nervous verbal diarrhea, all the way back to the holler. I jumped from one topic to the other, from my dad to my aunt's alcoholic rants to shit that happened with I was in kindergarten.

I'm not even sure what the hell I went on about. It's an anxiety thing.

The next day, I called the hospital to speak with Ma's nurse. She told me that Ma was going through classic drug withdraw, that she'd been that way since she got there and they'd started weaning her off all the medication the nursing home had put her on. I made comments about Shady Pines' inability to manage her mental health issues and implied that maybe that wasn't the best place for her. The nurse assured me that the doctor and possibly a social worker would be in touch with me to discuss other arrangements if that were deemed necessary.

It was possibly a mistake to make this call from the office.

I started worrying about what the nurse meant. I mean, it had taken me a long time to find a nursing home that would take Ma. The ones here in Hee-Haw county don't accept patients with mental health problems, other than those associated solely with aging.

What if she meant she'd have to go to an actual like... asylum to live? There's only one in the region, the state run facility in Morganton. The thought filled me with that gut churning doom feeling. Morganton is about two hours past Big City.

I decided to Google it. This has been the week of bad decisions.

If you want relief from anxiety about a loved one going in to a state run mental health facility, DO NOT do a Google image search. 

It took me 'til bedtime that night to convince myself that the nurse never said Ma was going to the state asylum. Over the span of a few hours, I had myself worked in to frantic state of panic, guilt, sadness and hopelessness.

This is my brain on anxiety.

It's important to note, I didn't tell anyone, not The Amazon or Lulu, no one, about the phone call to the nurse or the resulting downward spiral of mental garbage. Having allowed one's own mind to turn against them is embarrassing. T.A. would have simply said, "Stop that!" while Lulu would have just looked at me like I was crazy, that sad look you give old people who've finally gone off their rocker.

So today, I slept. I made my morning coffee at 3 o'clock. My brain is tired.

I've got crap to do. I'll probably come to life at bedtime. Right now, I'm just fighting the urge to go back to sleep.

We'll talk again soon, ya'll take care. Thanks for listening.

Later Taters.


Travel said...

Don't panic, what will happen will happen and worrying about it won't do you or Ma any good. It is not easy, but it is the adventure you are on. Sleep, cry, and laugh as you need to. Take Care, DG

kenju said...

I hope it will all turn out okay. I am so sorry that this is your path, but you seem to be able to handle it. DO take care and do not blame yourself for any of it.

Teressa Welch said...

I'm good at scaring myself, too, if that makes you feel not quite so alone. Clone T.A. and send her over here, please.

We're here to listen. My green light is on unless Google is having a really bad day; use it if you need to.