Saturday, October 12, 2013

SWATted: Part One

On January 11, I was awakened from an afternoon nap at 3:00 by a phone call from my husband.  "I'll have to call you back, there's someone knocking at my door."  I was wearing a joke Supernatural gift, a t-shirt that said "Team Sam," and my underpants. (My husband made me swear I would never wear it out of the house.) I pulled on a robe, and hobbled to the front door.  The knocking turned to pounding.

"It's the super!" my super yelled.  I opened the door, expecting to be told we wouldn't have any hot water.  Instead, six policemen, carrying tasers, came streaming into my living room.  My dog, Fletcher, barked like a mad thing. 

This was unexpected.  I knew enough to sit down and flip back the sleeves of my robe to show my hands.  My super kept saying, "Someone's worried about you!"  I was surrounded by police.  I was half asleep and mightily confused.  I was informed that they were going to take me to the hospital and commit me to the psych ward.


I tried to think of something, anything I had done.  I'd gone to the dog run, the grocery store, taken a nap.  I'm bipolar, but it's controlled by medication and therapy.  In the kitchen, I joked about my medication and "taking some more wouldn't hurt."  My brain was swimming--WHAT THE FUCK WAS HAPPENINGWHAT HAD I DONE?  My husband was called.  I was so rattled that first I gave my own phone number.  I can't remember what my super said.  Two female cops took me into the bedroom to watch me get dressed.  I pulled on a long sleeved top.  Remembering that ERs are freezing, I pulled the "Team Sam" over my shirt.  I was in a daze, trying to be friendly. Fletcher jumped up next to me, pressing his trembling little body against mine.  I hugged him.

I was marched out to the living room, and told I was going to taken to the hospital and be committed for "my own safety." 

The cops proceeded to "perp walk" me through my own lobby, in front of my neighbors and the guys who work in my building.  I had my head down, but I could see them averting their eyes.

Outside were three police cars and an ambulance.  I later learned that the paramedics were told to wait downstairs.  I'd say it was like a bad dream but I was fully conscious of what was happening.   There was an ambulance waiting to take me to St. Lukes, but I insisted on going to Lenox Hill Hospital.  They said if the other ambulance didn't come in ten minutes, I was going to be taken to St. Lukes. (It's a horrendous hospital, but more on that some other time.)

In the ambulance, a paramedic insisted on keeping me talking all the way to the hospital.  "You're very interesting," he said over and over.  My best guess is they thought perhaps I had taken an overdose and I had to be kept awake.  He took me out of the ambulance and rolled me through the emergency room.  I think a cop told the admissions desk what was going on.  There was a large, comfortable chair in the hallway, and I requested that I be allowed to sit in it.  If I went into one of the beds, I would probably be forgotten for hours.

To be gets worse.

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