Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell in America's Health Care System

St. Alexius Brother’s In HOFFMAN ESTATES, Il
(Submitted to Yelp. Almost positive they’ll yank it.)
After coming from a State with a horribly disfigured Health System, when I walked through the revolving doors at Alexian Brothers, I thought I had walked through the doors of the Hilton. OR, The Waiting Room of Heaven. EVERYONE was SO nice. No one pushed you for money at the front door, like most hospitals do now. And the service is prompt and high caliber. Some Administrative Glitches where someone obviously didn’t proofread the Information section and the Address was rendered in Computer Jumbo. However. And this is an important however.  The United States Post Office figured it out!
The diagnosis was accurate. 
I showed almost all symptoms of Concussions. 
(Curious whether Yelp will strike that last sentence.)
Oh, well. 
So there is not much to do other than rest for it to heal. 
The discharge forms had the diagnosis, but nowhere where I could, at least, see, were there specific discharge instructions. They told me (verbally) to come back if I showed further symptoms. 
As I sat around resting, other symptoms began to emerge, associated with Concussions. Mild ones, like Double-Vision (once) and Blurred Vision (several times).  
But here’s the creepy thing about concussions …
While everything appears to be functioning, they are marching silently – or rapidly – toward catastrophic damage to the Brain and can be deadly without any warning. Or, you can endure long-term damage. Or, you can heal. One never knows how one’s body will react. 

(As  can see, a few glitches here. I lifted this draft from Yelp. Who knows what they embed behind the page?)


As I said, I could literally feel the holy air wafting through the ER. The air was warm, but not too warm, and full. There were halos everywhere you looked. The staff were selected for their healing skills, putting people at ease, naturally. 
So the first visit was comprehensive. But between the first visit and the second visit, I received a letter from the hospital’s attorney, threatening to sue if I didn’t pay The Bill. 


Boots and Revolutions

“I find that every Revolution requires an excellent pair of Boots.”  (That’s what Achilles says, anyway.) And Doc Martins are tops!  For me, at least. At 100 lbs and 5″1′.  Used them once before. Tops in Comfort and Agility. Notice my new pair?  The right one has a slight scar. Probably can’t see it. 


Suicidal? Sheppard Pratt may be your cup of tea. 

Go there and come out stark raving mad?


Tough choice. 

Sheppard Pratt Asylum Is designed as a Critical CARE Psychiatric Stabilization facility for those who struggle with medical conditions such as Bipolar Disorder (like myself) or any other psychiatric “diagnosis.” It has an impressive and illustrious history as an innovative facility when it was first conceived and built in the mid-19th century – a refuge, with its concentration on humane treatment. 

However, reputation, to be sustained, must demonstrate consistency of those values and principles, rather than regression from them. 

Undoubtedly, Sheppard and Pratt are totally turning in their graves. 

The isolation we feel exhaustively, all by ourselves, ripens there. 

So there are parallels to the real world. Severe Depression, which is just a hop, skip and jump away from Death, actually spikes exponentially there. 

The Human Spirit is crushed, until we finally, breath by breath, disappear. This, my friend, is where you go to watch yourself become one of The Invisibles. 

Now when you are on the outside, you have some wiggle room. You may choose to remove yourself from the Kingdom of Ignorance, if only for a breath of fresh air, and focus on the brightness of the Human Spirit. 
We have choices. 

Smell the fragrance of a lovely flower. 


Listen to music. 


There we have no choices. We are at the mercy of Stupidity, Ignorance and Fools, and we have nowhere to go, locked between two nightmares. 

There is this clearly defined and unshakeable and raw feeling that they do not care. 

Then again, if you wanna but haven’t yet experienced depersonalization, it’s available there. Think of it as a lean, introductory course on the subject. And since I am naturally an optimist, I feel compelled to plug the positive spin here. 

First, your empathy and understanding have grown for those who do experience such devastating psychological symptoms. 

Second – 

Who knows? 
This accidental slip, for example, allows you to drift into unknown territory altogether, as you wonder if you really did, in fact, erase your memory of an entire day of your existence, because someone is insisting you did – when you didn’t. 

Luckily, there are other patients there who know that you didn’t – just as you had thought. And they are now your salvation. 

But this additional drop of uncertainty and confusion has now bloomed in your head. 

Shit happens, right?

Be forewarned, however, any heroic attempt to battle the trolls and the slugs just makes you crazier. Totally not worth it. 

They follow whatever code they’ve culled and pinned to you from the Diagnostic Statistic Manual, and we all know how that keeps expanding with each new edition. 

But that’s exactly when the epiphany occurs …

I had never truly understood what I Am Not My Diagnosis meant until I realized that that is all you are there – a code. 


Hey!  Look at me. I’m still here.  

Sadly, they do not hear or see you.  You have disappeared. 

So when the object of hospitalization is to support and help you shed the nasty symptoms of Depression, and instead you are fighting to be seen and heard – those are the exact type of challenges we do not need. 

The salt on the wound is the absolute isolation from the actual world. This is the abyss. Isolation is not good. They keep preaching that. And then that’s exactly what they do. 

So what do you do?

Well, trying to pry open their eyes is futile. They get really, really pissed at you. And that makes them more sinister and deadly, while they sharpen their ignorance from unbelievable heights, as you are fighting for your sanity …

The plus?

You are too fucking busy to be worrying about Suicide. So in that sense they have met their goal. You have shifted from suicidal ideation to absolute self-preservation. Plus, Existentialism is the only dish on the menu. 


Reminds me of a poem by Stevie Smith. An attempt to communicate with those on shore, while being swallowed by the sea …

“Not waving. But drowning.”  

Who are the Mad Ones and Who Determines Who the Mad Ones Are?

If you’ve ever voiced dissent or opposition or questioned the status quo, you are a likely candidate to acquire the title of The Mad One

Questions, which should encourage even more questions and growth – that’s what they say, anyway – are often met with what appears disdain when the Bona Fide Academics talk.  

But the notions they appear to hold – these people who want to prepare for future mental health care services – are often obtuse to the layperson and appear disconnected to the actual experience of living with a psychiatric diagnosis. And that makes me wonder how connected they actually are to the experience … 
They might say, “Well, we’re Scientists.”

Yeah …


My guess would be:  
These Academics probably have a relatively meager understanding of the disease. But if that is not the case, no one offered a link proving otherwise. 

But the language, especially, is indicative of the disconnect between these trained experts and the subjects of those abstract ideas for sale. 

And that makes me wonder about the applied value of all that pseudo-scientific knowledge – and that’s exactly where all the action begins –   

The Lampoon

I suppose it’s hard to recover from that type of attack, but someone could at least try to. In all honesty I cannot really explain it because I do not fully understand it. Not one person challenged me afterwards. NO Sense of Humor. Is it that dry up there?

Or –
Studying theory and numbers is fine …

But the subjects of that theory and its application should be in on the conversation, since they are the vital link in the equation.  Without them, the equation is meaningless. 

Plain theory doesn’t work when you’re dealing with people. And if it doesn’t connect to actual people instead of just numbers, then, that theory belongs in the trash. 

My approach is to say what I think, regardless of conclusions others make about me. 

But if you start whining and shouting but still manage to raise valid questions …  

Do you think they like you?  Highly unlikely. So rather than examine their own intellectual growth and perspective and its relevance on actual organisms, they ignore you, and behind your back, they say, 

“Oh…  Her? 

She’s The Crazy One.”  

And thus, in one swift move you are  socially demoted and intellectually isolated from others, as though something is wrong with you … 

When in fact they are …

The Mad Ones.