The Things He Shattered

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 18 (v.1)

Submitted: April 12, 2013

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Comments: 16

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Submitted: April 12, 2013

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54

I see Gary often, and he always asks me if I would like to use the computer. In the computer room I begin talking to a volunteer. She’s a young girl from India and tells me that her grandmother has come to visit and brought some Indian sweets with her. She shows them to me and asks if I would like to try one. I tell her that I would love to and she brings them closer to me, and then stops,

"Wait... are you on a special diet?"

"No, I can eat anything I want." She looks very doubtful and I do not blame her. After all I’ve been grouped into the crazy pile for some reason.

"Well... do you mind if I just go check.... I really don’t want to get into trouble."

I completely understand. I would do the same. I expect her to ask because about 90% of the patients on the 4th floor seem to be clinically insane. She is told I am allowed to eat whatever I want. She hands me a dessert. It looks like a small doughnut. It tastes like one too, but one that has been deep fried several times. I like it, so I tell her and she gives me another one. We continue talking and she asks me how my stay in rehab has been. I tell her that I have not really benefitted from anything, except for when Frankie helped me put my student loan on hold, and helped me with my disability application. She listens and frowns,

"That’s unfortunate. I guess they’re just really worried you’ll hurt yourself more."

"I realize that, but if that is the case I don’t know why they feel the need to hold on to me for so long. They are not letting me do anything, and I know there is a very long waiting list. Someone else should take my place. I’ve been here for a month. Honestly, this place is starting to feel like a prison.

"Oh come on. Prison would be a lot worse than this."

Of course you say that because you have the luxury of leaving this place every night. That right has been taken away from me.

"Yeah."

 

 

55

In the evening Loupe sends me a text. She lets me know that my father had come to visit her, but before he could even get to the front door the police arrested him.

I call my mother. I feel terrified. She tells me that a while ago he decided to go speak to the downstairs neighbors in the apartment I fell from. The ones who called the police, and that is all she knows. I text Loupe telling her this. Loupe responds back saying that the police had told her that my father had come in ‘severely intoxicated’ and they felt that he was a threat to her, so they arrested him and took him to the station. She tried to explain that he was a family friend and he was more than welcome to come see the family, but the police felt it was better for her own safety if he was taken away. They are very caring and helpful like that. I spend the rest of the evening worrying myself sick.

Finally my mother calls late at night. She tells me that the police finally contacted her and told her she could pick up her husband. No buses run this late at night. But they are letting him go home. The prescription sleeping pills have done nothing for me. I am a little bit relieved that he is at least released and allowed to go home. I toss and turn all night.

The next day I call home. My mother tells me that my father and her will visit me tomorrow. He is staying home today to recover from his injuries. Injuries. The word plays over in my head and my heart breaks. It is Friday. I do not go to any of my appointments. I wait for the weekend with great anticipation.

The next day arrives and my mother calls. She tells me they will come by tomorrow. My father is really not feeling well enough to make the journey. They will on Sunday. I wait. I do nothing. I just lie in bed. I hardly slept the night before, so in the evening when I am given my sleeping pills, they work almost instantly. I sleep.

 

Finally in the morning my parents come to see me. I am sitting up in my bed, and when is see my father, my heart crashes down to my stomach. The left side of his face is completely swollen. His eye is black and blue, and is swollen shut. I tell him that Loupe had texted me that night to say he had come to visit her but the police intervened. My father begins to tell me the story.

"I didn’t go to see Loupe. There was no mention of Loupe. I wanted to speak to the neighbours who called the police on you that night. I knocked on their door, and a man opened up. The woman, from what I could see, was standing in the living room. I introduced myself, and told them I was the father of the girl who fell that night from the 7th floor. Well... the woman began to go hysterical! She kept saying, "Oh my God! Oh my God! It’s him!" As if I was some sort of criminal. I was very calm, you know how I am. I told them I just wanted to talk. The man told me that I would have to get permission from the building superintendent first. I asked why. We were all adults after all. Why would we need permission? After some hesitation the man let me in. He told me he had very high blood pressure and I gave him a reassuring pat on the back. I know all about high blood pressure. Mine was well into the 200's last time I checked. The woman was becoming more hysterical. She kept pacing around the living room. I realized right away she was not mentally stable. So I decided to talk to the man, because he seemed to be somewhat coherent. I asked him about that night. He told me, ‘well your daughter was just standing on the balcony throwing bottles of beer at us.’ I knew right away that that was complete bullshit. I was also recording this conversation on a small tape recorder I had, to listen to later. Maybe find something that I had missed. Bottles of beer are expensive. Plus I know you. I know you could find something a little better to do then to just stand on the balcony, aim and throw one bottle of beer after the next at people you didn’t even know. Of course it was finally concluded that no bottles even existed. It was 1 beer can. But these people were still sticking to the ‘beer bottle’ story. You were guilty and they were victimized by you. Even though you had absolutely not been involved, the police just had to be called. I realized I would not get anywhere, so I thanked the man and got up to go. At that exact moment the superintendent came into the living room. I’m guessing that hysterical woman went to get him because I was obviously posing so much danger to her and her husband, being all calm and reserved. The superintendent was talking into his walkie-talkie, then he started yelling into it, ‘Stop! Stop! Don’t come at me!’ I told him I wasn’t doing anything. I just came to talk to these people and that I was now leaving and I pointed to the door. His response, ‘Stop pointing at me! Don’t move! I’ve called the cops!’ I wasn’t even pointing at him, but he was making it sound like he was in grave danger. I had enough. I walked past him and out of that apartment and down the hall. I was almost out of the building, walking past the mail slots when I heard someone say something, but thought nothing of it. Maybe some people having a conversation. I was almost out the door. I was then grabbed with incredible force and my face went crashing right into the mail slots in the wall. I heard a man count to 3, and the back of my legs were then hit so hard I fell right to my knees. I right away grabbed the tape recorder in my pocket. After all, it had some of the first things you said to us when you came out of a coma, telling us what happened. It was the only recording I had. I had to protect it at all costs. My head was grabbed and slammed to the ground. My glassed flew off. I could see they were now broken. I could not even process what was happening. I tried to turn my head and look up. From what I could tell the people who were overpowering me were police officers.

And there he was Karina. It was him! The young man who tried to kill you that day. The way you described him. The photographs in magazines you had searched through and pointed to a picture of a man who had the same features. Just the way you described him. It was him. I am 99.9% sure it was him. He was there. I could not take my eyes off of him. I was in pain and they were trying to handcuff me, but all I could think about was him. I did not even notice the others. Oh Karina... the satisfaction on his face! He lived for moments like these. I could not take my eyes off his face. Your killer... he was right there. And I could do nothing. They tried to handcuff me but had trouble. I refused to let go of the tape recorder in my pocket. They had so easily broken my glasses already, I knew they would brake that to. So they had to use two handcuffs. Then two other police officers came and took over. Your killer left. I now understand why the investigators kept telling you that you were wrong. There were only two police officers not four. They swap shifts like that. The first shift does the damage, the second shift steps in and says they never did anything. The police are innocent. That’s what they did with you. You remember 4 because all together there were four. They were swapping shifts. The cop threw you off the balcony and then went home, so there were only two left, and you were looked at as a complete liar when you kept says all together there were 4.

They took me to the station and a Doctor was called because my eye was badly damaged and would not stop bleeding. I remember in Russia, as backwards as we thought things were compared to North America, when police officers were making an arrest they would first have to ask you to stop, then present a badge as proof of who they are. Apparently that is not done in Canada? As civilized as I thought things were here, no warning was given. Instead I was beaten and tackled to the ground. My glasses destroyed. Those things are not cheap. And why? Because I am a father of a victim, I deserved this kind of treatment? I pose no threat to anyone. I am not a young man that I can quickly recover from their physical abuse. They handcuffed me and when I told them I felt like they were cutting off my circulation and were causing pain, I was told that they are supposed to be like that. That explains why Loupe’s arms were covered in one big bruise when I saw her after this happened to you.

At the station, a Doctor tried to stop the blood pouring from my face. Another police officer came to speak to me. I told him he was young enough to be my son. How would he feel if his father was beaten for doing nothing wrong and then arrested for absolutely no reason. His reply was, ‘I’m not that young, I’m already 30.’ I told him, ‘Well I’m in my 50's. Is this how the police deal with the older generation? I could have been killed.’ He said, ‘Oh... you looked younger than that. We didn’t know you were in your fifties.’ I’m guessing this was a compliment. He then told me that I was the one who fell because I am ‘severely’ drunk, and the police were merely helping me, because I was so wasted I fell down on my face. I asked him for a breathalyser test. After all, I could hear some people down the hallway who had been accused of drunk driving. They were getting breathalysers. I demanded one. He told me he’d be back.

Another police officer came to see me and looked at me and called the Doctor again. I was still bleeding. He acted like I should feel lucky that the police came to rescue me, considering I was so drunk and fell. I told him I had been requesting a breathalyser test. I had nothing to drink. Not a drop. I told him if that was a problem, a blood test could be taken. I pointed at a vein in my arm. And he nodded, and I could see he was uncomfortable with this thought. After all, he could tell I was very sober. So I said, ‘in any case, if you don’t want to do that, it’s good that in the lobby of the apartment there are security cameras. They will clearly show how I was tackled and beaten by your co-workers.’ I won’t forget the look on his face. He was not expecting this. He called for the Doctor and I did not see him again. I asked for a breathalyser test or a blood test only to be ignored. They knew it would only prove their story wrong. I was still bleeding and the Doctor kept dabbing at my eyebrow trying to get it to stop.

After several hours it finally did. I have a strong feeling that God was watching over me. The force they used to ‘restrain’ me, even though I posed no threat, would have killed me. If they killed me they would get away with it no problem. After all, they are above the law.

Another police officer came to speak to me. He told me that I could go home. He asked me how I planned to get home. I said ,‘Good question. How will I get home?’

He said ‘No, no. I am asking you. How are you going to get home?’

I replied, ‘And I am asking you... how am I going to get home? I was brought here completely against my will. I have no way of getting home. Look at me. My face is destroyed, and I am in pain. I no longer have my glasses. At 3am most public transportation no longer operates.’

He then said, ‘Oh, well can you get your wife to pick you up?’

I replied, ‘And do what? We do not have a car. She does not drive.’

Someone to drive me home was quickly found."

My mother says, "I know what their philosophy is; ‘Shoot first asks questions later.’

The conclusion is this:

If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in a physical police confrontation, and end up badly wounded, you will most likely be accused of ‘Severe Intoxication’, and the police officers were only being too kind to help your clumsy drunk ass. You should be very grateful. You only think you were attacked because you were so wasted, even though not even a drop of alcohol was in your system. You were still ‘Intoxicated.’ ‘Severely.’

 

?

 

56

It’s Sunday evening , and I realize I have not yet done my homework that Elizabeth had given me. I decide to look it over. I do and feel confused. Not by the homework itself, but by the fact that she seems to believe it will benefit me. I have about a week and a half of rahab left. I have been here for about a month, and this is the level she thinks I’m at. The first page is full of sentences. For example:

I went fish___ on the weekend.

I have to pick something to fill in the blank.

a) ed b) es c) ing

Yeah, I went fishes on the weekend. That makes a shitload of sense. I roll my eyes in response to the rest of the sentences. I feel extremely insulted by Elizabeth. If she gave me this assignment to complete in the first week I had come to rehab, I would understand. I would think she needed to do an evaluation to see what I needed to work on. But I have been here for a month, and she is giving me these assignments now? Does she think I’m a complete moron? I admit, I have some trouble remembering things, and I pay less attention to what is going on around me, but this? If I didn’t know any better I would think she was the one experiencing severe brain damage, because in this case, I have found her reasoning to be extremely idiotic. I am very annoyed. I do her assignment out of spite. I want her to choke on it. She actually wasted paper and ink to frustrate me. It is three pages long. There are more stupid sentences. I write. I finish the assignment very annoyed. My father being attacked mixed in with this, leaves me in a horrid mood.

Not only has Elizabeth not helped me, but she managed to insult me all at the same time. I think that may be the exact opposite of what she is paid to do.

I lie in bed and try to read my book. I get through 2 pages and lose interest. I miss my walker. I decide to just get up and walk to the washroom without any help. I get up and realize my head spins a little. I become scared that I’ll lose my balance and fall, so I sit down right away. I guess it’s back to the wheelchair. No progress in that department. When I came to rehab I used a wheelchair, but after a month in rehab, I’ve progressed to... using a wheelchair. I’m pretty sure that this is not how it’s supposed to go. When I had started rehab, I was sure that in four weeks I would be walking like I used to. I did try when no one was looking. I feel it is ridiculous that I had to hide my progress, but now I can’t even hide my progress. I have nothing left to hide.

I decide not to chance walking to the washroom. I tell myself that only a week and a half of this remains and I will finally be allowed to go home. That is the only thing that keeps me going. I spend the rest of the day watching TV until the other patients begin to return. Then I go back to my room and count down the minutes until it is 8pm and I can call the nurse and ask for sleeping pills.

The time comes. I call. I get my sleeping pills, and I take my sleeping pills. I wait, and I sleep.

 

I’m not sure what wakes me up during the night, but I feel startled. I open my eyes, and they adjust to my surroundings. Someone is sitting beside my bed. It is very dark. It is still night. From what I can tell, this person is a man. I have no idea who he is.

"So... I’m guessing my son let you in. Huh?"

I have no idea what is happening. The man seems to be annoyed.

"He’s always doing this! He always invites people over, and doesn’t even tell me about it."

"I’m calling a nurse!" I can hear Mary yell from her side of the room.

"Did my son invite you too?! I need someone to explain to me why I have all these strangers in my home!"

I have no idea what’s going on, but I can see that he is getting annoyed. He goes over to Mary’s side of the room.

"So my son invited you over as well?"

It is nighttime, so the nurses are not busy dealing with patients, and they come quickly.

I am still attempting to process the situation.

The nurses ask the man to return to his room. He refuses, and becomes outraged by the fact that there are now even more uninvited strangers in his residence.

The two nurses physically attempt to move him out of the room. He is just angered further. A nurse threatens to call security. He looks at her as if he can not believe she has the audacity to come into his home, uninvited, and threaten him.

More nurses come into the room, and the man becomes exasperated, and has had enough. He leaves the room because he has grown tired of this.

For a long time, I cannot fall asleep. I take half of a sleeping pill I have been hoarding. I read from a book. The sun starts to come up.

"Karina?"

"Yeah Mary?"

"You know how you told me before that this place was an insane asylum?"

"Yeah."

"I didn’t agree with you at first. I felt you may have been overreacting. I want you to know, that now, I completely agree with you Karina."

 

 

57

In the morning I go through my usual shower routine. It is a hassle. I hate it. Then it is time for breakfast and Mary asks me to read to her what is on her menu, because she is not sure what kind of bread she was given. I’m glad to help because I feel useful. I go through the usual routine. I work on my arm strength. The physiotherapists avoid focusing on my legs as if they were avoiding rape. Obviously I am very annoyed by this, considering that is the only physical problem I have, and it is the only one we are avoiding. There is nothing wrong with my arms. I am moved to the home gym and instructed to do arm curls, because this is the only useful physical thing they can find for me to do.

A nurse comes into the workout room to find me, and tells me not to go to my next appointment, because a space has opened up in the St. Frances’ Hospital for me to see a psychiatrist . I am kept in rehabilitation completely against my will, and they are doing me a favor by making me see a psychiatrist to talk about my feelings, as if they can actually go back in time and stop the young man from throwing me off of the balcony. It isn’t enough to have these two psychologists bug me in this rehab. I have to leave the premises and travel to another place to see someone else. All I have been doing in rehab is wasting time and aging. We can put as many pretty spins on it as we can, but in the end it all boils down to one thing;

I’m a cripple. I can’t walk like I used to, and any attempt to re-teach me to walk like I used to is avoided.

 

I expect the psychiatrist to do the exact same thing that the rehabilitation ones have. I see absolutely no point in putting me through this. I prepare myself and I wait for the porter to come get me. She comes on time. She is an older woman, with a very long braid. Her hair is gray, and her braid reaches her upper thigh. I envy her.

I imagine that if she went through what I went through, all of her hair, just like mine, would be chopped off while she was in a coma . I imagine she would be devastated, because it looks like she has been growing her hair out for decades, and if it was buzzed off like mine, estimating how old she is, she would die of old age before it ever grew back to that length.

We make small talk and I like her, and she takes me to St. Frances’.

We get to the psychiatrist’s office and I am asked to wait inside, and she is asked to wait outside. I wait. I spot a dish of chocolates on the table, and help myself to one. They look like they are there for the patients. I chew and I wait. He comes in. Of course he comes off as being very friendly as every psychiatrist has to do to gain the patients’ trust.

He asks me how I am doing and what has landed me in the hospital. I tell him that a young male police officer attempted to kill me, so he threw me off the balcony I was standing on. He asks me what floor. I tell him it was the 7th floor. He nods, then looks confused and repeats his question. I repeat my answer.

"You really don’t look like you fell from the 7th floor."

"I’m not making it up, but thank you."

"So this wasn’t a suicide attempt?"

I sigh because I feel that this is now the five hundredth time I have been asked this question.

"No it was not a suicide attempt. If I was very intent on committing suicide, which I wasn’t at all, believe me I would not use my friend’s balcony to do this. I’m not that selfish, and I intend on leaving behind a good looking corpse. Falling down 7 floors does not result in anything looking good. If I wanted to commit suicide, which I in no way was, I would chose a very different method."

"Have you tried to commit suicide in the past?"

"Not exactly. I overdosed and called my friend, and it was treated as a suicide attempt by medical staff, but it was not."

"They have to stay on the safe side."

"It happened years ago. Basically I had mixed some pills with alcohol. I realized I wasn’t feeling well so I called my friend. When I got to the hospital, this was treated as suicide attempt, but I was only kept for a couple of days and then sent home."

"Have you spoken to any psychologists recently?"

"Yeah, in the rehab I am at. I think by now they have realized I am in no way suicidal, but still feel the need to come around and check on me."

"Well basically I have just met you, but I can tell right away you shouldn’t be on this antipsychotic medication you are on."

"What? I’m on antipsychotics?"

"Oh yes. For a few months now, from what I can tell. You didn’t know?"

"What!? No, I had no idea. When did they begin giving them to me?"

"As far as I can see in your file, they were given to you since September. They are usually given to patients at bedtime, every night."

Suddenly I remember the nurses’ answers every time I asked what the pill was that accompanied my sleeping pills. "It’s to help you sleep. It’s so you don’t get nightmares." And all this time I assumed that it was just another sleeping aid. The psychiatrist sees my disbelief.

"I can see in your file that they have recently decreased the dose of this anipsychotic. What I do not understand is why they kept you on it for so long. I can understand in the beginning they wanted to stay on the safe side and make sure you didn’t have any suicidal tendencies but... I can’t understand why you were kept on these for several months. I have been doing this for many years, and am familiar with how strong this medication is. I can see right away that you shouldn’t have been taking it." He does some light paperwork. I thought this appointment would be a complete waste of time, but I see now that it was actually very useful.

I replay everything through my head. So technically I wasn’t just seen as a ‘suicide case.’ I was also labeled as being ‘psychotic.’ And why? Because I was saying a police officer tried to kill me. I’m obviously ‘psychotic’ because every police officer in this country is an angel. I curse the man who was responsible for all of this. I wish him all the unhappiness in the world. I know that if I ever even get to court this alone would work against me. His lawyer could simply say,

"Well Karina was suicidal. She had to be kept on strong antipsychotics for months! And now she is blaming my client, when she was the one responsible for the fall."

I think about how much money was wasted on these pills, since I received them every day, week after week. That was money I could have actually used, considering my dire financial situation.

Another blow. I thank the Doctor. I am sincerely grateful. He smiles and tells me that Doctors mean well, but there are so many patients to attend to, sometimes they do not have the time to get to know their patients personally.

My porter takes me back to rehab. I do not have any desire to carry on a conversation. When we arrive back, my porter hands over the note the psychiatrist wrote to a Doctor. I thank her. I hope I will never see those antipsychotic pills ever again, for as long as I live.

 

?

 

58

I look at the clock and realize it is almost time for my meeting with Elizabeth. I wheel myself to my room and grab the offensive ‘homework’ she had given me to do over the weekend. I look over it again to make sure everything is filled out. It is, and I already feel steamed that I had been force fed antipsychotics for such a long time. The reason I say ‘force fed’ is because that one nurse had always requested for me to open my mouth so that she could check to see if I had swallowed all of my pills.

I get everything ready and make my way to Elizabeth’s office. I knock and wait for her to invite me in. She tells me to come in and I do, and I try not to show her that I am in a very unpleasant mood. She asks me how my weekend was, and we make small talk. I tell her that I did her homework.

"Oh great. How did you find it?" She sits down beside me.

Aside from insulting?

"Well, it really wasn’t challenging... at all."

"Well that’s good. So you got through it without much trouble?"

"Yes, I didn’t have ANY trouble."

She flips through the pages. "Well it looks like you did them all correctly." She looks at me and smiles.

"You do know I can speak English... right? I’m actually doing it right now."

She can tell I am not in a good mood and quickly goes on the defense.

"Well Karina, I understand you attended university, but you experienced severe brain damage." I can tell she has had this conversation before, probably on more than one occasion. She now begins to speak very slowly because she believes I will have a hard time understanding her wisdom.

"Because of your brain damage, that was very severe, you no longer have any problem solving skills..."

"You’re serious? If my problem solving skills are as bad as my English speaking skills, then it’s really not that much of a problem Elizabeth. I think I’m gonna be okay."

"Please do not interrupt me while I am trying to speak to you Karina. It is not polite behavior."

Oh wow, this woman is not only set on teaching me English grammar, but also good behavior skills. I can see she is not sure how to continue this conversation.

"Elizabeth. Why do you think I have made no mistakes on this homework you gave me? This is actually something you should have given me to do on our first appointment, so that you could have a better understanding of what you should help me out with. I’ve been here for over 4 weeks. In that time you have not given me anything that would challenge me. Instead you give me an assignment where I have to figure out if a sentence is a past tense sentence or a present tense sentence. You really believe that I am at this point? Really?"

"Okay Karina, I understand you feel frustrated, but we are only here to help. You have a long road ahead of you. And I know that you were once good at doing these kinds of assignments, but now with all of the damage your brain has sustained... that your brain has experienced, you will now have to re-learn how to do many things."

"I was ‘once good’ at doing these assignments? You were unable to find a single mistake, but you are suggesting that now I am no longer ‘good’ at doing this assignment. Please look over it again and try to find just one mistake. I know you will be unable to find one. Theoretically it would not be possible for me to score a higher mark, so I cannot see how I was ‘once good’ at doing this assignment. You are basically suggesting that at some point I would have gotten better than perfect on it. It is not mathematically possible to score more than 100% considering there were no bonus questions."

She doesn’t seem to know what to say, so I continue without pausing,

"So now according to you I have no problem solving skills? At this point in time, I consider this class to be my problem. It takes effort on my part to come and see you 3 times a week. For what? This monkey work? This class is my problem, so I will not be coming here anymore. Problem solved." I say this very calmly, but Elizabeth replies,

"You do not need to get so upset Karina. If you need a break, you can take one, but I strongly suggest that you continue coming back. You need this class. The frustration you are experiencing is brought on because of your brain damage."

"Okay. Thank you Elizabeth. I will see you another time."

I can see there is not point to continue. I can reason all I want, and my reasoning will be dismissed and seen as being idiotic and blamed on my brain damage. I roll my way out of the room and I know I will never make an effort to return.

So all in all I got two things out of the way today. No more antipsychotics, and no more pointless speech therapy classes. It is a relief, but I’m not happy and I’m not sad.

Now I only have 2 classes in the morning. So when the morning ends, the classes end. I no longer have to wait around for 2pm to attend speech therapy.

 

 

59

I give my mother a call at home to ask her how everything is. She tells me that a man called her. He is from some disability organization, and is concerned about how I will manage with everything when I come home, from what she could understand. She tells me that because she had trouble understanding what he wanted he began speaking Russian. He insists that when I am returned home, I need an expert to visit me, and show me how to get around, considering I am now disabled. He told my mother that this appointment usually lasts two hours.

"You’re kidding! We live in a popcan. There’s not even that much space for the three of us to move around in. It already feels crowded with the three of us living there. Having a fourth person is not going to work."

"Well I told him that I didn’t think that him coming by would be a good idea."

"Good, it’s not. Our place is the size of a trailer . What could he possibly do in a crammed living space for 2 hours?" I also hate the idea of a stranger coming into my room. I already feel violated knowing that those incredibly ‘special’ investigators were digging through my underwear drawer looking for a suicide note or God knows what. Enough.

"Well I told him I didn’t think it was a good idea, so he told me that he would speak to you in person. He will come by today."

"Oh nice. I’ll have a visitor." I’m not excited.

I imagine that the help that is being offered is meant more for people who live in houses. People who have a lot of living space, and need to be shown a way to go about things. My parents and I had people over to our apartment only a handful of times in the past two decades we have lived in Canada, mostly because it is so small and feels crowded if there are more than 2 people there at a time.

 

I try to kill time, so I watch TV for a while. It’s the afternoon, and most patients have appointments, and no one needs the television so I have full control of it.

I hear my name, and turn to look. A nurse points to me and says something to a man. I guess he is the one my mother was telling me about. I’m surprised he came so quickly. He approaches me and we exchange polite greetings. He is the one my mother was telling me about. He tells me that I will be sent home next week, and the organization he works for wants to help, and will send an employee to my apartment to help introduce new ways for me to go about things. I want to tell him that I basically live in a large box, and that when I do something like turn around or take one step, I find myself in another room. I really do not need their help, so I say,

"Thank you for your concern, but I am really not interested. I live in a very small crammed space, and there is really nothing anyone can do to introduce new ways for me to get around. It’s a very tight living space. I need to only take a couple of steps to get to the washroom or kitchen."

"Yes, but now you are in a wheelchair. You will now need to learn how to move around your apartment in the wheelchair."

"I will not be using my wheelchair in my apartment. It will not physically fit if I go down the hallway or into the bathroom. I will have absolutely no choice but to walk."

"Well that is where we come in. We’ll help you decide how you can remodel your living space to make room to move around in your wheelchair."

"No it won’t work. You see, the only thing that will help me move around is if a couple of walls are torn down."

He nods. "Well yes, we can help you decide what the best approach to that will be."

"The thing is, we absolutely cannot do that. We rent the apartment space. We do not own it, so therefore we have no right to remodel it like that."

"Oh. Well I still suggest that you allow someone to come by and take a look at your place. We do offer a drug card."

That gets my attention.

"Oh, well that’s good. I could really use that, considering I will have a list of prescriptions when I leave, and there is no way I can afford them."

"Okay. Then I will set up an appointment."

"Wait... can I just get the drug card? I know it will feel like an intrusion on my family if a stranger comes into our home."

"Well, no. You can only get the card if you agree to an appointment."

"Okay. I will then have to say no, and get no medication."

"Well think about it." He hands me his card. "Give me a call incase you change your mind."

"Okay." I take the card, but I know I will not call.

It was very considerate of them to find a Russian speaking person to speak to my mom though. That was very thoughtful.

He leaves, and the social worker Jessie quickly finds out that I had rejected the help. She is actually one of the few people I have grown to not dislike in this rehabilitation. She is really not happy with me and finds me wanting to discuss, what she probably feels, is a very thoughtless decision on my part.

"Karina, you need this. A representative came all this way to speak to you. They are only here to help you. And they give you a drug card. You’re going to need that!" I can see that she is very upset, so I lie and tell her that I will definitely call the man and set up an appointment. I just need a day at home first and speak to my parents to make that decision. She smiles. Good. I have absolutely no intention of doing this of course. The only reason I would allow a stranger into my home is if I had very important drug prescriptions. ‘Stool softeners’ are in no way important drug prescriptions. They have been doing more bad than good, plus I have a collection already that I’ll take home. And the antipsychotics have thankfully been discontinued. The only thing I would need is the prescription sleeping pills, but I have over the counter ones that work just as well, and are in my room somewhere. If they were in my underwear drawer my mother probably has them now considering the investigators handed over all of the pills I had for stomach problems and headache prevention. I still look at it as complete disrespect and violation of my privacy made by those two men. 2 grown men digging in my underwear drawer while I lay in a hospital bed. There is something disturbing about this. I know I will feel this way for the rest of my life. I do not feel comfortable enough to invite any stranger into my room, but I tell Jessie that I certainly will.

I know if I do not, she will probably let the speech therapist know all about the ‘stupid’ decision I made. Elizabeth in turn will probably come to the conclusion that just as suspected, my ‘problem solving’ skills no longer exist. It may be best to keep me in rehab a little longer. I am obviously not fit to be sent back into society. I do not want to chance it, so I tell Jessie what she wants to hear.

 


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