I went to the emergency room yesterday after a trip to urgent care. The past three weeks I haven’t been sleeping well, if at all. I’m guessing I’d slept maybe about twelve hours over that period, several nights no sleep at all. Having gotten no sleep at all Thursday and Friday nights, on Saturday morning I “set my affairs in order”, composed several notes for friends and family, bought a fresh box of ammo, test fired my g*n, (it works) then, for whatever reason, went to urgent care. (He doesn’t want to die, but he also doesn’t know how to live. -editor)
I’d been experiencing a sleep apnea thing. When I started to fall asleep, I’d stop breathing, waking up gasping for air. So I’d just get up and remain occupied, knowing that much later, my body would crash and I’d get maybe an hour of sleep, before it happened again, and at that point I’d just get on with the day, fatigued and running on caffeine.
This wasn’t a sustainable solution, and it only got worse, some nights I had only a ten or fifteen minute nap before I gave up and went on with the day. I now understand why sleep deprivation is a torture method. (We do not recommend anyone torture anyone else. -editor)
At the ER, a team of three initially engaged me, a doctor, nurse, and someone else. I’m in the reveals-your-ass hospital gown (he was wearing blue boxers, it was hilarious! -editor)and socks,lying on that hospital bed, with three strangers focused on me. The doctor asked what brought me in today. (She already knew, urgent care doctor briefed hospital staff prior to his arrival. -ed.) So, I reiterated my story, including the juicy details of my master plan. (Love how he fails to mention that as soon as he began speaking, the tears started flowing. A veritable Niagara Falls of emotion. Blubbering is more like it. -ed.) I didn’t want to become so emotional, thank you editor, but there was no stopping it. I lay there, in socks, boxers and ass gown, three strangers staring at me, bellowing. Just bawling. (Snot and tears falling. -ed.) All the gory details of the notes I’d composed following nights of sleepless insanity, (He failed to reveal the test firing of his g*n, smart move. -ed.) everything just came out, and suddenly I pictured myself being led into a psych ward setting for a three day observation or something similar. What happened was very different.
Michael came in, he’s one of the mental health staff. He’s around my age. He sat on a stool, ten feet away, wearing some sort of helmet and visor thing. (Apparently there is a nasty bug in the air and we’re all at risk of catching it. ((WILL YOU SHUTUP AND LET ME SPEAK, EDITOR??)) ok, sorry. Jesus. -ed.)
He introduced himself, we chit chatted briefly, then he asked ” So, Once, ……..what’s going on?”
“What’s going on.”
For the first time since it happened, I told a flesh and blood human “what’s been going on.” I told him that the love of my life, my cat, died May 1 2019. I told him that the second I gazed down at his dead body following his euthanasia, something inside of me died. I told him that the next day, I started abusing drugs again. Not using them, abusing them. I told him that my days began with drugs and ended with drugs. I told him that losing my job in April 2020 gave me the opportunity to spend my days in a drug induced coma, walking around the house in my boxers, high as a kite, watching tv, looking at porn, eating junk food, then going to bed and doing it again the next day, day after week after month. Thank you covid for making me eligible for these wonderful unemployment benefits. I mean that with a dark sincerity – I don’t approve of what I’m doing, I’m physically capable of working and could have found work immediately – several of my co-workers did, but it turns out I’m in much worse shape than I thought I was, and this is one gift horse whose mouth I’m not looking into. I’m fortunate to receive these benefits.
I poured my grief into Michaels lap. I told him that Hooks never had a chance, that by the time I realized he was sick, his liver had almost completely stopped working as the cancer ate him slowly. I told him that as insane as this sounds, Hooks was my son. I told him that I stood there, on May 1st 2019, and watched my furry son die while I held his paw, telling him “Its ok, daddy loves you, you’re my heart and soul, my life and my love, you’re my world” over and over. I told Michael that the second the vet pronounced his death, she and the nurse exited the room to leave me alone with Hooks.
For the first time since his birth, which I missed by about one hour, I gazed at his limp, lifeless body, and that was the moment the “something ” inside me died. Hooks lived 7 years, and he and I were together every single day of those years. I alone provided his every need. He was the best thing to ever happen to me.
Michael sat, and patiently listened, as I poured all this vile shit into his lap, all the while feeling so stupid for telling a stranger that I had a cat that I considered to be a son. When I finally stopped, and began wiping the tears and snot off my face, Michael says “Yeah, man, I get it.” He told me of the five cats he owned over the years, and how during a particularly dark time, Willow, his first cat, kept him from doing something to himself. He “got it.” He understands that some people can only bond with animals. He spoke on their unconditional love and lifetimes of loyalty. He removed his space helmet covid shield and wiped away a tear. I stopped doubting his sincerity when I saw that. He knows what it’s like. (Can I jump in with what a bizarre mental picture this makes, a grown man in an ass gown, socks and blue boxers and another one in a space helmet sitting in an ER exam room crying about their dead cats, or must I continue to shut the ((KA-BOOM. There. I told you my g*n works. Should’ve keep your mouth shut, editor.))
Michael left the room, and told me I’d be discharged soon. I had to convince him that I would not harm myself, he said the hospital has a legal responsibility to ensure my safety if they feel its needed. Before exiting, he explained how to turn on the TV if I wanted, said a nurse will be in to check on me in a bit. I lay there, drained. And I napped for a while. I fell asleep. Maybe only ten minutes, probably not even that long. And there was no waking up, gasping for air. It was an announcement over a the hospital public address system, “Level 3 trauma, room 27 is pronounced 2106.” At six minutes past nine, in ER room 27, someone who experienced level 3 trauma, died. I awoke to this message, and realized that I’d slept, and that someone just died.
Michael returned, with news that he’d set an appointment for me for some grief and suicidal ideation counseling.
Ok. I’ll go. I can’t say suicide will ever be off the table – at one point, Michael asked me when these suicidal thoughts began, and I had to pause to think before answering “1980, maybe?” Its not like I document my thoughts for quick reference. His eyebrows both shot up at my answer. He said “Oh. Hmmmm.”
Tomorrow at 10 am, I’ll sit with another human who is paid and trained to listen to strangers pour out their hearts. I despise humanity most days. We’re self centered destructive toxic parasites with a penchant for art, music, humor, love and hate, and I firmly believe that if pigs had opposable thumbs, they’d make better stewards of our floating rock.
I left the ER and went to McDonald’s for two McDoubles. (Do two McDoubles comprise one McQuadruple? -editor, as I lay wounded, thank you very much for that, really appreciate being shot. (( YOU HAD IT COMING!))
I went home, fed the cats, took the sleeping pill they gave me, and slept fourteen hours straight.
I can’t say counseling will change anything. I’ve been counseled before with less than stellar results, but I’ll rest my sad head on a professional shoulder for a bit and see what happens. Maybe it will help. Maybe it will only delay the inevitable.
There’s a sign on interstate 5 announcing the presence of Taco Bell, Subway, and the Pilot truck stop at an upcoming exit. The sign is where I briefly parked to test fire my g*n at 3 a.m. Friday morning, and yeah, it’ll do the job if I ever need it to. Boy howdy will it ever, as the softball sized hole in in that sign will attest.
You will ALWAYS be my life and my love, my heart and my soul, my WORLD, little boy. I love you so much.