I never knew – until almost 10 years later, that Mom had gone to the bank that held the mortgage on my big blue barn, and arranged to pay for the mortgage until I was able to do so myself. I only found this out last night when I was chatting with The Man. He told me that he knew my Mom had walked down to the bank and made the arrangements and that he never heard another word about it. I am amazed.
In the hospital my doctor was stepping up my psychological care. I was sent to a psychologist who came into the hospital and we bonded instantly. I felt she was more helpful to me than my psychiatrist had been so far and I looked forward to seeing her every week. Unfortunately those visits were terminated before I left the hospital, but she helped me immensely.
My psychiatrist wanted me to join in a group therapy session he was holding in his office in the evenings. To get to his office there was a tunnel between the main hospital building and what had once been the nurse’s dormitories. On my first attempt to use this tunnel, I panicked and ran back to the hallway. The (now nondrooling) girl walked with me through the tunnel and down the hall and promised she would be there when I got out of my session so she could help me on the way back.
The group session involved nine of us and we sat in chairs and faced the psychiatrist in a semi-circle. The other eight were patients that had been on the hall and had been discharged. Each of us had our own stories, phobias and anxieties. I sat and listened to the others while I wrung my hands. When the doctor asked me the next morning at our regular meeting what I thought of the group session, I told him that I just wanted to take a shovel and smash in the heads of all the whiners who were in that little circle. He nodded his head and then told me that he didn’t think ‘group’ was something I needed.
Instead, I went through the tunnel in the evenings three times a week, and the doctor and I had our private sessions. The fact that I could go off the hallway by myself was a good indicator that I was either getting better, or adapting to my collapse. Most of my days were taken up with some kind of ‘session’. Every morning I met the doctor in his office on the ward. Every afternoon I went to a ‘group session’ with the other residents of the ward. When this was done I went to a ‘craft session’ where we made little dolls out of cans and other ‘crafty’ type stuff. In the evenings when I wasn’t seeing my doctor I went swimming or to the exercise room with the group.
After nine months of living on the hall, the doctor thought I was to the point where I could go home. A nurse spent a morning with me and together she helped me apply for AISH – Assisted Income for the Severely Handicapped. I was still quite nervous and afraid of everything and didn’t know half of the answers to the questions on the application and I answered ‘single’ to the question of whether I was married or not. As far as I knew – I wasn’t married. It was a very long and drawn out process and if I was approved I would receive a monthly income of $857.00. While we worked through this application, it dawned on me why there were so many homeless people in the world. They were people like me who had been unable to take the weight of the world on their shoulders any longer. I had lived with them for the last nine months on this hallway and I had known of some that didn’t make it. Now the government wanted me to pay my mortgage and utilities and feed and clothe myself on this paltry amount, because I was unable to work. When the impossibility of this loomed in front of me – I shut it out instead of shutting down. I knew my heart and mind would break if I thought of all my hall-mates who had to deal with this in the future and what it might do to their lives.
Instead – I went home. And I stayed home this time.