I wake up to one of Junkiemind Jerry’s alarm clocks going off. Daylight has begun creeping in from the window, making diffuse, ominous shadows from everything in the room. We have an early house meeting on the Sunday schedule and then we’re supposed to go down to the Day Hospital auditorium for something called “spirituality.”
Isis-Aphrodite Metropolitan Museum of Art
I go back to the big auditorium for the next event on my folder: DBT SKILLS. Class has already started. A very tall woman with a long mane of chestnut hair is standing at the front of the room. She has dark eyes and a flowery dress that ends just above her tasteful brown wedges. I wish she was my case manager, but who really cares at this point. I sit in the back, temporarily exempt from the Cuntface’s ‘last row’ tyranny, and pull out my Rilke book instead of Cuckoo’s Nest. The cold-fire blowtorch of withdrawal is bearing down on my neck and back. My liver hurts and I’m scared of what that might mean. Worst of all it’s confirmed that no one loves me or cares that I’m even here.
["Cured" is not the medically correct term, since it implies it's never coming back. The correct term would be "remission" but I don't imagine many people are searching for "How I put my seb derm into remission...", so I think I can help more folks by using "cured". ] I've had problems with sebborrheic dermatitis since I was a teenager. The symptoms (scaling, redness) would come and go, but were gradually getting worse. When I was first diagnosed I used dandruff shampoo, which helped some, the the coal tar stuff, which helped more but stank to hell. Eventually I was prescribed Nizoral which was great in the beginning but lost its effectiveness over time. This would be the way with everything I subsequently used: wonderful at first, then almost no effect after extended use. Things I used: Head and Shoulders, Coal Tar, Nizoral OTC, Nizoral RX, Ciclopirox ($$$$!!), Ketoconazole foam, Elidel, Protopic. All of the above worked to varying degrees but eventually stopped working and they all had concerning side effects. Though I tend to be skeptical of internet cures, I was getting desperate, so I started Googling "natural cures for seborrheic dermatitis." A lot of folks recommended apple cider vinegar. It did help some but smelled weird and required a lot of maintenance. Finally I found a post that recommended eating garlic. This sounded like bullshit to me, but it was cheap (like 1 dollar) to try and what did I have to lose? The garlic worked! I peeled…
When the lecture is over I check my folder again. I’m supposed to go to GROUP THERAPY in ROOM 112 with my CASE MANAGER, XXXX. I’m guessing this is the rehab version of Jessica from Detox. I remember Connor saying this woman was a bitch but patients are always shit-talking staff, just like the ladies did with sexy sexy see-through-shirt Jessica. I’ve never heard anything positive about a staff member except for Eddie, but everybody liked Eddie. I wonder if my new case manager will at least wear a translucent blouse and have a weakness for men like Jessica did. She can’t be worse than the fire-breathing man-killer from this morning.
“What’s ‘aggravated perjury’?” I ask. He smiles his crazy smile. “That’s just like regular perjury, only the judge was real aggravated.”
Before anyone can get up, there is a total eclipse. Emanuel’s hulking figure has emerged from his office and is now standing in the door like a blackhole sun. All the guys are silent. There’s no horseplay. The football is no longer being tossed in the air. Even crazy Baz looks as clear-eyed and respectful as a deacon.
The Day Hospital is not really a hospital. Not even a ‘hospital.’ It’s just a large one-floor building like you might see on any college campus. Having cleared the last step of the staircase, I’m standing on new ground, facing the entrance. The first thing I notice are the doors—normal glass doors like any office building would have—not the heavy locking double-doors I’ve become used to. Inside there’s a long hallway with a desk at the far end. I roll along with my stuff past closed doors with little signs that say things like “Anna’s Group,” “Claire’s Group,” “Drea’s Group,” then past what looks like the entrance to a large auditorium. It reminds me of the first day of elementary school, walking through the long hallway looking for a room with my name on the door and feeling lost. I guess hearing ‘hospital’ made me think of zombies hooked up to some kind of anti-junkie machine, calibrated perfectly to eradicate each one’s particular longing. The only piece of medical equipment I do see--sitting unused on a battered old thrift-store table--is an automated blood pressure cuff, like the ones they have at pharmacies. There’s a woman behind the desk, older, but with large red-framed glasses and a warm, open smile, and a lush paradise of platinum curls flowing around her head. Probably nice shoes too. She stands up and comes around the desk toward me. Tasteful weathered-brown slingbacks. I knew it. It’s a gift I have, you see.
I’m feeling completely hopeless and sorry for myself when I hear a noise from the hall that sounds like someone choking a goat. Bleeeeee-aaaakkkk, goes the sound. BLEEEEEEEEEEEE-AKKK. I wonder if Angel has gotten loose from the quiet room and is trying to kill someone. It’s too calm out there though. No Dr. Hush on the intercom, no staff running down the hall. The sound comes again louder. --BLEEEEEEEYAKKKKKKKKKKKKKK--
“I have to go to a discharge meeting with my wife and the social worker so I may be leaving you this afternoon,” I say, with the certainty of all delusionals. I can tell Bo hasn’t processed anything I said after books. He’s high out of his mind and still living on junk-time, which is to say, no time at all. Sometimes you say about a guy who’s high “he’s feeling no pain” but what you really mean is he’s feeling no time. I turn and leave him sitting there, still pawing through his shorts. I need to go get some coffee so I can be razor sharp for my parole hearing.