This is the fourth installment of this story. Click the links here if you missed Chapter One, Chapter Two and Chapter Three. The following story is part fiction, with non-fictional events included. This story is strictly for entertainment purposes only.
CHAPTER 4: THE HOSPITAL VISIT
Grandma and I made it to the hospital at noon. The only visiting hours were from 12:30 – 1:00. It seems that the psych ward has a pretty rigorous schedule and they prefer to limit how much outside influence their patients get. As we made our way up to the 9th floor, Grandma suddenly remembered that she had forgotten her wallet with her license in it on the counter in the kitchen. She had taken it out to give the hospital admissions secretary Grandpa’s medicare information.
“Oh dear John, they aren’t going to allow me in to see Samuel.” The lady I spoke with on the phone said that any visitors would have to present ID to be allowed in the ward. I don’t know what to do. I don’t have time to go home, get it and make it back before visiting hours end.”
I thought about it for a second. “How about I go in to see him and I can just tell him what you want him to know and I’ll let you know how he’s doing?”
Knowing there wasn’t really any other choice, Grandma agreed to it with much dismay. When the elevator stopped I stepped out onto the 9th floor and Grandma stayed on and rode the elevator back down.
“Sir, how can I help you?” asked the lady at the check-in station.
“I am here to see Samuel Scott.”
“Okay, and are you a relative?”
“Yes, I am his grandson.”
“Alright, if you would, please sign in right here on this sheet and I will need your ID to hold at the desk until you complete your visit. I will need you to leave your phone and any personal items that you may have in your pockets in this cubby. It will be locked so that no one can access your belongings. Visiting hours will start in a few minutes, precisely at 12:30 and will end at 1:00 with no exceptions. Do you have any questions?”
“No ma’am,” I said, shaking my head in acknowledgment. I took all of my crap and put in the cubby and waited for the guard to come out and get me as I was instructed.
This was an interesting setup. When you get off of the elevator, you are in this small lobby with a counter for checking in. There was one door to the left and one to the right that appeared to be made of steel. There were no chairs to sit in like a traditional waiting area. It was very cold and bleak. All of the walls were a stark white and there were no windows. I would be depressed just working here.
As I was continuing to examine the shithole of a lobby I heard, “Mr. Scott.” I turned to see the guard at the door on the left.
“You can come with me.”
I nodded and followed him through the steel door.
“Mr. Scott, I am going to have to ask you to remove your shoes, pull your pants pockets out and step through this metal detector. Did you remove all of your belongings with Rhoda?”
“Yeah, I put everything in the cubby.”
Shit, this is worse than prison. As I walked through the metal detector, the guard checked both of my shoes and looked to see if both pockets were pulled out. He then asked me to open my mouth and looked inside. For God’s sake what have people brought to the patients in the past?
“Okay you’re good. Please put your shoes back on and follow me.”
The guard walked me through another steel door that you had to have a card key to enter. Beyond that I could hear noises resembling the Discovery Channel shows… strange sounds coming from rooms, people yelling and cursing. Once we entered the main hallway, I was able to get a better idea of what I had been hearing. Some of these people weren’t even contained in their rooms. They were wandering about the halls. I saw one man licking the wall and another one was making some sort of eating gesture and I realized he was pretending to eat me. These fuckers were nuts! Now I know what Grandpa did was less than kosher but he sure as hell didn’t belong with Hannibal Lecter and Jigsaw over there.
We walked for what seemed like a mile before coming to a large day room that had a few windows. They had bars on them but at least you could see daylight. There were about 10 large, round tables with chairs and a few pictures scattered about on the wall of Mother Teresa and Gandhi. I guess this was supposed to promote some sort of solitude or peace.
“Have a seat at one of these tables and I will see if your grandfather is ready to come out.”
I took a seat at the table next to Mother Teresa and waited. A few minutes later the guard that walked me and a young pretty nurse in maybe her late 20’s escorted Grandpa in.
“Why the fuck is he in shackles?” I muttered to myself. Though from the look on his face, it was probably a good thing. He had a scowl that just screamed “I’m going to fucking pull you apart with my bare hands.”
“Hey Grandpa, how ya doing?”
He waited for them to seat him and walk away before unleashing hell’s fury on me. “Now I’m going to make this real simple Johnny! When I get out of here, I am going to kill all of ya!” I tried to interject but Grandpa kept going. “What kind of low down family commits their old man to a fuckin’ nuthouse? Have you seen these lunatics? Do you know that I haven’t slept a wink because all night long all I could hear was the son of a bitch in the room next to me squawking like a crow! And could you sleep restrained to a mattress that smelled like God damn piss? You know they won’t even give me my fucking shot! They claim that’s the reason I’m here! Well I’ve got news for you and all of the rest of you ungrateful shitbags, I’m not givin’ up the juice and you are all going to pay for what you’ve done to me!”
“Look Grandpa,” I said, shaking a little. “We weren’t the ones that called the cops. The neighbors did after they saw you shooting at everyone in the pool. You’ve gotta admit, you took that a little too far. You could have killed someone. All because of a squirrel!”
“Yeah, speaking of the little bastard, did I kill him?”
“You didn’t shoot him but we think he drowned. I fished him out of the pool for Grandma this morning.”
“Good. Serves the little fucker right. You know I would have got him had my sorry ass sons not attacked me.”
“Grandpa, I’m sorry all of this happened but please don’t blame us. We love you and don’t want to see you hurt yourself or someone else. Maybe giving up the Tren isn’t a bad idea. It seems to turn you into someone you’re not and frankly it’s scaring the hell out of everyone. Grandma is really worried about you.”
I might as well have sucker punched grandpa in the gut. Just as I thought he was starting to calm down, Grandpa jumped up and grabbed me by the throat with the shackles on his hands clanging against my chest.
“I will never give it up, you understand me, never!”
I immediately heard an alarm go off and within seconds three guards came running to my rescue. When the three of them realized that they were no match for Grandpa, they called code red for back up. I couldn’t tell how many more came in because by this time I was on the ground and everything was starting to go black from lack of air. Just when I thought he was going to kill me, they managed to sedate him and the last thing I heard before he went to lala land was a groggy, “You son of a biiiiiitch.”
Several nurses came out to check on me and the young pretty one brought me a cup of cold water and an ice pack for my throat. I was fine, just embarrassed. I knew that concluded visitation, so there was no point in hanging around. I checked out, collected my wallet and keys from Rhoda and took the elevator back down to the first floor. Grandma was reading a Better Homes & Gardens magazine and making small talk with the little old lady sitting beside her.
“Alright, ready to go?” I said, while still holding the ice pack to my throat.
“John what happened to your neck? Are you okay?”
“Yeah just a minor mishap, I’m fine.”
“What happened?!” Grandma demanded.
“Grandpa got a little agitated but it was no big deal. He’s doing fine. I think he just needs a little more time Grandma.”
“Did he do that to your neck?”
“He did but he’s not in his right frame of mind right now. This isn’t him and we know that. It’s that damn medication that he’s on. It’s like the doctor said, as soon as it’s out of his system, he will be his old self again.”
Grandma began to cry. “I just want my husband back.”
Later that evening while I was eating dinner with my parents and brothers, we heard a knock at the door. Mom got up to see who it was and found Grandma sobbing on the front stoop.
“Gertie, what’s wrong? Come in!” Mom said, holding Grandma by the arm.
“The hospital just called. Samuel got into a fight with the man in the room next door to his,” Grandma said as she continued to cry and hold her head in her hands.
“A fight?” Joey yelled out. “I saw a fight on the playground at school today! It was really bad! Tommy Polaski kicked Bryan Wilson in the balls!”
“Come on Joey, go to your room and play for a few minutes.” said Mom, scooping Joey up.
“Mom, what the hell happened?” Dad asked.
“I don’t even know. Something about a crow and Grandpa barging into his room and hitting the man in the face with his bedpan.”
“Oh my God.” Mom whispered out trying to prevent Joey from hearing her.
My other brother Jamie stood there laughing. “Grandpa kicked a man’s ass with a bedpan?”
“Shut the hell up Jamie!” Dad screeched.
“They have prohibited any visitors for 72 hours, while they try to contain his behavior. Right now is too much of a risk to himself and anyone around him.” Grandma continued.
For a minute there was an awkward silence.
“Here’s the thing Mom, the problem is this Dr. Stevens. Who even is he? We’ve lived in this town all of our lives and I’ve never even heard of the man.” My dad made a good point.
“He’s new in town. Your Grandpa was referred to him by someone at Tony’s hardware store a while back. I never agreed with him switching from Dr. Kanitkar after seeing him for so many years but he claimed this doctor was a lot more thorough and listened to him.”
“I would certainly be looking into this man’s credentials.” I never take at face value that a doctor is good. I research where they went to school, where they did their residency and what they have specialized in” explained my mom who was meticulous about who she even allowed to fill her prescriptions.
“Well what do we do in the meantime? I mean your dad is in a looney bin, he’s fighting other patients, choking out his grandson and so far I see no sign of his old self returning!” Grandma continued to cry.
“We just wait,” Mom chimed in.
Over the next several days we had no contact with Grandpa. Grandma would call twice a day to check on him and every time it was pretty much the same. He had either fought the staff or another patient. The day before yesterday, they found him trying to do curls with two gallon jugs of water that they have no idea how he even got. They let him keep them. I guess they figured it was easier than trying to wrestle them away from him.
When we were finally able to go see him, we were a little nervous. Grandma nor I knew what to expect since the last and only visit so far didn’t go well. After checking into the prison (might as well be what it is) we waited for Grandpa once again in the day room. This time, things looked a little more promising. He actually looked happy to see us. Grandma jumped up and ran to hug him. He wasn’t shackled this time, which put me a little on edge.
“Samuel, I am so happy to see you, I miss you more than you can imagine!” Said Grandma as she held on.
“I miss you too Gertie! You know I love you and wish I were with you.” “Johnny.” Grandpa nodded in acknowledgement.
“How ya doin’ Grandpa?”
“Ah you know, I’m coming along. I feel better every day. Doc says I’ll probably be out of this dump by the weekend.”
“Ah, no kidding!” was what came out of my mouth but I was thinking, “Are they fuckin’ nuts?”
“Oh Dear that’s wonderful news!” Grandma smiled.
“Hey Gertie, you mind going over to that lady at the desk and asking her to get three ginger ales for us?”
“Sure honey. Grandma said, while patting his hand.
As soon as Grandpa knew that Grandma could no longer hear him he leaned over towards me.
“Hey Johnny, I need you to do your old grandpa a favor. I’m feeling really weak Johnny! I’ve noticed I’m not able to go as heavy on the weights, I’m tiring out more during cardio and I don’t like it. I need you to bring me my meds.” Grandpa said winking.
“I can’t do that!” I said kind of harshly.
“Come on Johnny, I need it!”
“This place is locked down like a maximum security prison! They search you when you come in here. They even look in your mouth!” I grunted out in a low time so that no one could hear me.
Grandpa got this serious look on his face. “You know I saw this show one time, I think it was called Locked Up Abroad where this guy smuggled drugs in his rectum.”
“Are you seriously asking me to stick a vial and syringe up my ass? NO!” I blurted out.
“Shhhhh! Listen, I need my meds. You gotta get em to me somehow. I can’t go another few days like this. I’m losing it Johnny. I’m losing it!”
Thank God Grandma walked up with the three ginger ales that Grandpa asked for. At least this took the heat off of me for now. Realizing that we only had about ten minutes left of visitation, I left Grandma and Grandpa alone to talk. I stood over by the window looking out envisioning my life before Grandpa lost his shit.
“John we need to go now before they kick us out.” Grandma smiled as she grabbed my arm for me to walk her out.
“Hey Johnny, don’t forget what we talked about,” said Grandpa while pointing to my ass.
I just kept walking like I didn’t see him.
I was going to sit out the next visit but Grandma called and said that she had been up all night with a stomach virus. She asked if I would go up and check on Grandpa. What I wanted to say was “no, he’s expecting me to transport gear in my asshole” but I just said, “sure.”
As usual, they brought him out into the day room. This time I chose to sit by Ghandi since it was closer to the nurses station. I figured this way Grandpa couldn’t talk so freely. The conversation started out pretty normal. You know, the regular “how is everyone doing, do you mind mowing the lawn for me tomorrow” and then as I’d feared, “Did you bring me my meds?”
“We’ve been over this. There is no way that I am going to get that shit in here without getting caught and besides, you need to stay off of the damn shit. You have turned into a damn lunatic!”
Now, I couldn’t believe that I was actually speaking to my Grandfather like that but I had genuinely had enough.\
“Let me ask you something Grandpa. Who told you about this Dr. Stevens?”
“No one told me about him,” said Grandpa.
“Grandma said someone at Tony’s hardware store referred you to him.”
“No no no! I got his name and number off of the phone pole outside of Tony’s Hardware.”
I was at a loss for words. “What? You have been seeing a doctor who’s information was on a phone pole flyer?” I asked in disbelief.
“Johnny, he’s a damn good doctor and a hell of a guy. A war hero like myself. He served two tours in Iraq.”
“Oh, well that makes it all okay then!” I said sarcastically.
I hurried up and changed the subject. I didn’t want to go any further with this. I now knew that this guy was likely a con artist who had swindled some old man into some horrible shit just to take his money.
“Alright, so you want me to mow the lawn? Anything else?”
Surprisingly, that was all he wanted. What? No painting the house while I was at it? I was shocked since it was Grandpa’s life mission to work me to death. More so I was just glad he didn’t ask me to be a human transporter again.
Grandpa was right, they discharged him this morning after just seven days spent in the nut ward. Grandma and I went up and got him. He seemed happy to be home. Of course he went out to inspect the work I did in the yard, nitpicking every little part of it. I didn’t stick around very long. I had other things to do and my friend Eric was having a party this evening. I needed a little fun after this bullshit week. As I was leaving, I whispered and asked Grandma what she had done with the meds.
“Shhh. They are long gone. I put them in the dumpster the morning after he went into the hospital and the trash truck already dumped the cans.”