“Text me as soon as you know what’s going on,” was the last thing Craig said as I peeled out. The caregiver had called and informed me that something was really wrong with Nick. I had to drive the twenty miles into town from our farm, for the second time that day. Dammit. Dammit. Dammit. It never ends, I was thinking. Most of the time it is nothing, but you never know. I had to go.
So. It was something. Nick appeared to be totally psychotic. He couldn’t answer a simple question and he was stumbling around. He had the crazy eyes: the gone astray gaze that could make you believe he was listening to God’s voice. I took one look and called 911. There is no PET (psychiatric evaluation team) division of the police department out here in the country, just cops and paramedics. The police beat the ambulance there. That was not good. With the police comes the possibility of misunderstandings, conflicts, tragedies. The big shot, small town cop was guardedly moving in on my son, hand on his thigh, near his gun. I walked directly between them.
“Officer, my son has schizophrenia and seems to have taken too much medication. He is not violent, or dangerous. He has never hurt anyone. He needs to go to the hospital.”
“Tell it to the paramedics, lady.” He looks past me.
“Well, you are the guy with the gun, and that is why I’m telling you,” I say. “He is not a threat to anyone and needs medical care.” I stand in mountain pose. I don’t look past him, I look him right in the face. He looks down.
The ambulance arrives. The paramedics talk kindly to Nick and persuade him to get on the gurney. The woman takes his vitals and then calls the guy over to the side and they whisper. A slow line of sweat moves down my back to the top of my jeans, moistening the entire edge.
They tell me his heart rate is dangerously high. He could die. How many times in a short lifetime will I hear these words? They slap an IV into the crook of his arm, slam the door, and take off into the wail of their own siren. I follow in my car, as I have learned to do.
At the hospital I text Craig that we are in the psych ward. I see that the phone has auto corrected psych ward to cycle world just as I push send.
I’m sorry, but standing in the dim hallway, I can’t help but chuckle. I mean, it is funny.
Cycle world: fun. Psych ward: not so fun.
Once they have gotten Nick’s blood pressure and heart rate down, he becomes lucid.
“What happened?” he asks.
After I tell him the Reader’s Digest version, he asks if he can go home. The doctor discharges him. As we drive the miles from the hospital to his small apartment I notice the sun ducking behind a cloud on its way to another continent’s morning, leave my boy and me to the night.