I began my illustrious mental health journey at The University of Pennsylvania Hospital in their rehab facility. I left the rehab three times to get high. I confessed once and the councilors caught me twice. I drank a bottle of Robitussin DM each time. Nothing illegal, barely a bleep on my mind already saturated with a history of drug use. This older man, who complained of his gout, Dr. Ottenburg, the one with the nude female sketches covering his office walls, he told me about my transfer to a locked ward. Relief, like a gas station in the middle of nowhere to feed gas to your beast, overcame me, because I wanted all of it to just stop. A locked door, I soon figured out, was not the ideal in my head. It became the turd in my bed.
Remember “Natalie Merchant,” the female singer? She played a show in Philadelphia during the summer I “resided” at the hospital. In fact, my brother graduated from Drexel College in 1993. I spent 6 months of that year at the hospital. The hospital bragged an indoor and outdoor swimming pool. It showed movies every weekend in its theater, had a mini-golf course and a paved track with a grassy knoll in the center. Stone walls, like I imagine in King Arthur’s reign, protected us from the gun shots the residents heard at night during the last smoke break.
I almost missed my brother’s graduation. I asked a girl with multiple personalities (14) if she eventually enjoyed sex with her father. The sick ass part (If anything is ranker than that) is her mom took her to 5 abortions, in which the father of this woman also fathered the children. Very rich, and a very rich cover-up.
She received a pass to attend a family wedding. I sat in the “living room,” when she arrived at the ward safe and sound. The staff checked her soda into their registry, and I heard her ask for the sprite, and she offered me the coke. 2 liter bottles people. She opened up the sprite quite a distance from the staff, and I caught a strong smell of vodka. A knowing smile crossed the bitches face, because she knew, if anyone, I would never turn down a stiff drink. We got bombed in front of the entire night staff, while we sat out in front of the TV in the common area. I blacked out–til the next morning.
The staff knew, and investigated our little drunken party. They told me she targeted me due to her anger. But they weren’t sure about allotting me the pass to my brother’s graduation the next Saturday. Oh, well, I thought. Due to my good behavior for the rest of the week, I in fact, earned back the pass I lost.
I attended the Drexel graduation, but I hated every minute. I wanted to go home. I meant back then, back to the hospital grounds. There, for the first time in my life, I felt at home. At the time, that did not seem too fucked up to me.