After the doctor visit, I made phone calls to every number I had written down in that coloring book that the policeman John F gave me. I called my sister Natalee who was watching Gracie at the time while Ty was on the ice. She put the phone on speaker so that I could talk to Gracie. Tears filled my eyes as I talked and sang to her. I told my sister what had happened while meeting with the doctor, and she tried to calm me down. Ty was supposed to be back within the next two hours, and she told me when he got back, she would see if she could bring me some clothes or any of my belongings. The thought of having to stay in the hospital longer was agonizing, and I was grateful she was trying to make it better for me. I still couldn’t believe that the doctor wouldn’t listen to me at all about being stolen from and having the fake Ph.D. call me into the Telehealth crisis line when I told her I was going to report her to Cigna for insurance fraud etc.. I was angry but mostly scared that this whole thing had gotten so far out of control. None of my family could get me out because it was a mandated doctor order that I was there, even though the mandated part came from a fake doctor (none of that had been double-checked by the hospital yet, but it was confirmed when I was finally released.) I was just relieved that my family was on the outside, trying everything they could to get me out.
After I hung up the phone with my sister, I was hysterical and didn’t know how to soothe myself. I didn’t know what to do but pray, call my loved ones to see if they had made any progress on their end, and write. Usually, when I am this upset about something, the emotion tends to purge out of me and pour into music or art of some sort, but I was locked in without my belongings. I didn’t have my guitar or anything – but there was a piano.
I was already stuck there; the doctors already assumed I was crazy, so I didn’t try to “fake being perfect anymore.” My soul longed to be inside of a song, and I was pissed off enough to piss off the hospital staff. I didn’t ask for permission; I just marched through the cafe room, opened the wooden keys cover, and began to play the piano. Before diving into something new (created from what I was feeling at that moment), I just started playing a song I had written and was still working on (before the hospital crap happened). It was called “Recollecting Me.” It’s an ominous ballad about re-collecting the broken parts of yourself that are scattered throughout your past pain and putting them back together, kinda like making peace out of your pieces.
I rolled into the low-tone minors and inversion chords. The melody I had created was intricate and something I’m still very proud of making myself. Out of the corner of my right eye, I could see not one but three nurses. They were walking towards the doorframe that led to the room I was in. I thought they were coming in to stop me, but instead, they stopped… just inside the room, in front of the door frame. They just stopped, stood there, and listened.
“Excuse me, excuse me!” I heard Joseph, the young man I had met before my terrible meeting with Dr. Y, come through the door. He was squeezing past the nurses and walked right up behind me. I could feel his energy, and even if I couldn’t, I could definitely hear his loud footsteps, and he was just wearing hospital socks! Haha. He pulled out the chair from behind me, sat on it backward, and just listened. I only know that because I saw him sitting that way once I was done playing.
As I played, he made sounds of “Mmmm’s” and “Mmmmhmmmm’s.” He was really getting into it, which caused me to start really feeling more of what I was playing. I went into a piano solo and wrapped it back around to the chorus. I finished the song’s intro/turned outro – a beautiful interval melody. My fingers stilled, and I began to hear applause. A nurse named Rosie, who I had not met yet, was wiping a tear from the corner of her eye.
“Wow, bravo. That was really beautiful… bravo,” she said and then asked me who that piece was by.
“Oh, that one? Well, It’s my own original. I was in the process of finishing it before coming here.” She looked startled.
“YOU wrote that? Wow, Hunny, that is something. Wow… just wow. That really moved me.” I felt myself blushing.
“Awe, thank you so much. I’m glad you liked it. I hope it’s okay that I just started playing?” Their reaction to my music had softened the anger that had risen from finding out that Dr. Y had wanted to keep me there a few more days and shove me full of unnecessary medication. Because of my softened attitude, I felt a little remorseful at not having asked to play. “Yes, Hunny, she replied. Please, dear, play anytime you want.” I felt relieved.
“Ya, please do!” Joseph piped up, and I turned back to see him give me a wink. He leaned in towards me and said, “That was awesome, Alexa! Will you keep playing?”
“Ummm…?” I looked at the nurses to see if they had any opposition to me complying with Joseph’s request.
“Yes, girl, play. Play another!” Rosie exclaimed. I began to turn towards the piano, then I heard a loud “Wait!” Joseph had stopped me before I had started into another song. “Can I come sit by you and watch you play?
“Uhhh… sure, but this bench is kinda tiny, so we’ll have to squeeze.”
“Oh, that’s okay, I just like how fast your fingers move, and I want to see it close up.
“Hahaha,” I laughed. “Well, alright then, come on over.” I scooted to the left and patted the open area next to me, motioning for him to sit there.
I started into a sweeter song I had written when I was nine years old called “My Sweet Someday.” (No pun intended! Haha) The melody was happy and whimsical. That song had been a #1 platinum hit in Brazil, but I didn’t mention that. The nurses stayed to listen until they were beckoned by Rusty, the lead floor nurse, who urged them to get back to their duties. When they left, he lingered. Joseph chuckled under his breath and said, “He just booted them out so he could be the one to stand there and listen. Haha! He just wanted this beautiful music all to himself!” I smiled back at him, nodded in agreement, and kept playing.
Joseph had a boy-like wonder to him. He was endlessly curious about everything and was particularly fascinated by music. He asked me to play song after song, then he wanted me to show him how to play a C chord. He had long, thin fingers, making the note’s chordal stretch look effortless. I taught him how to roll the C chord, which he then practiced over and over and over again. He probably drove the nursing staff and the patients nuts, but it made me smile. Joseph practicing piano brought a sense of comfort to my heart. I loved to listen to him play when I was locked away in my room, missing my Gracie girl and dreaming of being with her.
I was midway through a song Joseph and I were improvising on when Rosie walked into the room. “Miss Alexa, I’m sorry to interrupt your beautiful piano playing, but you have to get back to your room to talk with Rusty. It appears you will have a roommate and will need to let him know which twin bed is yours.”
“A roommate?” I confusingly looked at Rosie.
“Yes, Hunny. She’ll be here in about an hour,” Rosie said.
“Well, Rosie, is there any way that I could have the room to myself? You see, I’m still breastfeeding my four-month-old daughter Gracie, and even though they haven’t brought a pump to my room, I still have to “express my milk.” S
he raised her eyebrows and voiced, “MMMMHHMMM..” She knew what I was referring to. (Hahaha. Having to “express your own breast milk by hand gives a whole new meaning to “Self-Expression, hahaha.)
“I still have the containers from when I was in the ER in my room. I’ve just been dumping and re-filling them since they won’t let me refrigerate my breast milk.”
“Ahhh, that’s a shame, Hunny. All that liquid gold?
“Ya,” I nodded. “You get it! Do you have kids?
“Oh yes, Hunny. I have four girls, but they are all grown now, and I have one grandbaby a little older than your young one.”
“Oh really, what’s her name?”
“Tabitha, and she’s gonna be eight months later this week!”
“Oh, that’s awesome, congrats. What a sweet name! I’d ask to see a picture, but I know you guys can’t have phones in here.”
Rosie gave me a soft smile and said, “Well, maybe I’ll sneak you a peek. It will be our little secret!” She chuckled!
“Oh, that would be wonderful. I’d love that!” I cooed. “Oh, and last thing.. Sorry to bother you about this, but I’ve been waiting on a breast pump since I was assigned that room,” I said while pointing to the door that opened to my hospital living corridors. “I’ve asked Rusty a handful of times, but he still hasn’t gotten me one. Is there any way you can pass along that I need privacy because I’m breastfeeding?
“Sure thing, darling,” she said as she scribbled down something on her notepad. “What’s your room number, Miss Alexa?” It’s 212**. Thank you, Hunny. Yes, I’ll be sure to put in your request, and I’ll also track down that damn breast pump for you, sweet girl. You just keep playing that piano, ya hear?”
“Yes, ma’am, and thank you so much!” I reaaaaaaallllly appreciate your understanding and helping me with this.”
“Anytime, sugar, now get back to them keys.”
“You got it,” I said.
Rather than returning to playing piano immediately, I longed to write. Although it was nice to play with Joseph and his eagerness/interest in my music, I really needed alone time to write and process what had gone on. There was an art table on the far side of the room, pressed against the wall, directly across from the cafeteria room. It had three chairs around the opening table edges, which was an absolute mess. I thumbed through a box of markers and crayons and tested them out since most were dried up. I gathered the markers that still had ink and a few crayons with a sharpened tip, and I tucked them into my pockets and headed for my room. To my surprise, when I got to my door, a post-it note was stuck to it saying to go see Rusty for my belongings. I found out that my sister Natalee had dropped off a white Lulu lemon bag filled with some of my clothes. She also brought my mandala coloring book and a fresh pack of soft tip markers of 12. I was ecstatic. “Thank you,” I nearly said out loud while looking up. It was a manifesting moment for me, and I was so grateful to have my mandala book and beautiful supplies to write with. It got better. Rusty informed me that a pump was on its way to me and would be there within a half hour. He also mentioned that I would have the “luxury” of my own room and would not need to have a roommate due to my needing privacy to use the breast pump. I sighed in relief.
“Ahhhh, thank you!” I didn’t really like Rusty, and I doubted he liked me either, especially after the night I screamed at him, but at that moment, I was so elevated I could’ve hugged him anyways! Hahaha.
I scooped up the bag and headed back toward my room. With the door closed, I sat on the far right twin rollaway bed and dumped the contents of the bag onto the blankets. I had socks, t-shirts, Lulu leggings, purple Nike shoes, and my mint green hoodie. I noticed all forms of “strings” had been removed. I rolled my eyes to myself, knowing that they removed the strings to prevent anyone from hanging themselves with shoelaces. I instantly had a flashback to the night of the “skin check.” The memory gave me a visceral sick body feeling, like a flash of hot nausea. I realized I hadn’t really processed any of this shit. I needed to write. So I opened my mandala coloring book, with black and white mandalas on each right-hand side of the page and a fresh open blank page on the back. I started on the blank page and started writing from the top – from the night the cops came to my house after Dr. Ann _ had called the Telehealth mental health crisis line after I found out she was stealing from me. I began to write the date in purple marker on the top right corner of the page. I then picked out two other colors I would use for my first entry. Dark royal blue and electric lime green. I wrote, and wrote, and wrote. I couldn’t stop. Deep heaving sobs poured out of me as I recapped what the fuck had happened the night of May 5th, 2021, all the way to that very moment. I got so into my writing that I lost track of time. I heard a knock at the door and realized that over 40 minutes had passed. My breast pump had arrived.