This post is PART 22 in a guest blogger series following author Rachael's transition from an A.M.A.B (Assigned Male at Birth) individual to that of a self-identified trans woman.
If you are just discovering Queer as me, start the story from the beginning here.
When we entered the psych ward, it look at first like a large conference room. The huge arching window that encompassed one whole wall made it look bigger than it actually was. The large room was bright with natural sun light. There was a crescent shaped metal railing that played opposite to the glass wall, giving the area nearest to the window a small yet comfortable dining area. At the other side nearest to the receiving doors was a large nursing station with the only clock in the entire room. There were also multiple people manning video cameras and due to the open framework of the room it allowed them a full uninterrupted view of anyone who was in the main area. In the middle of the room were couches and chairs at regular intervals so that it was made to look like a simple waiting room that you’d find in most medical offices.
I was on heightened alert internally, yet I couldn’t show any care on my outward appearance. My lack of any desire caused me to look bored, but I was feeling nervous and my anxiety was starting to ratchet itself up slowly, causing me to withdraw from the nurse beside me. She allowed me to sit at a table, and went to give my paperwork to the head nurse, I assume. I stared at the top of the scratched wood table, noting f bombs and the usual bored scribbles of those too angry or indifferent to care that they were damaging hospital property. Funny what your brain picks up when you are scared.
Next a male nurse / doctor? I’m not sure even to this day, came over with a empty bag and more paperwork. He apologized, but said it was necessary. I looked up and he ask for all my stuff. So, I gave him my few things, and then he wanted my clothes. I was like what? Um no, sorry. He explained that if I felt uncomfortable, (like who wouldn’t, I thought to myself) I could empty all my pockets and then once I got patted down I could change in one of bathrooms, and bring my street clothes to him. I could tell that he didn’t care one way or another if I complied or not.
A few orderlies came over and after patting me down, bade me come with them to the nearest bathroom. I mean honestly, I really had no choice, as I couldn’t physically fight them, and these two looked like they could take care of me, if I got out of hand. So I changed into a pair of hospital pants and top. I went back to the table and signed waivers and some such paperwork, not really caring what they were.
In hindsight, I should have read every detail. I could have been committing myself for life and wouldn’t have known it.
Once I had everything filled out to his satisfaction, he brought me to one of the eight doors lining the outer walls. Each one he explained had two beds nightstands and a bathroom, with a door that closed but didn’t lock. Then he said that lunch would be provided soon, and that I could choose at that time what I wished for supper. He asked if there was anything I needed, and I said no, I was starting to get tired. He left me alone in the room, and went to type up my information. As I laid down on the small bed, I finally started to acknowledge to myself that I may be in this place for quite a while. That wasn't the most comforting of thoughts. Until I could prove that I was no threat to myself or others, I would be kept where I couldn’t harm anyone, myself included.
Editor’s Note: To read Queer as me – Part 23: Trapped, click here. Or click here to read the previous blog post Queer as me – Part 21: Madness and sorrow unending, For the latest LSOP blog posts and so much more, make sure to add us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.