A Partial Preview of 'A Chosen Journey'
Entering room three twelve Bree found a young girl with purple hair lying uncomfortably in the hospital bed. Her eyes appeared to be two dark holes in her sallow little face and her lips were two thin dehydrated lines. She looked quite like a sad little cartoon character. Bree walked in smiling, and said, “Mia?” Mia warily said “hi” to Bree, and slid down in her bed even further. Bree felt such a deep compassion for this disheartened little girl that was running from life. She looked at her chart and saw that she was a substance abuser, and had voiced her desire to die. She was only seventeen, and Bree wondered why she had chosen this life of misery. She must have experienced much sadness in such a young life to look as if she had been through the war of addiction.
Bree sat down beside her, and introduced herself. She told Mia that it hadn’t been too long ago that she had been in this hospital for the same reason. She told her that she had almost died a few months ago, by trying to end her life with a drug overdose. She felt like she couldn’t go on another day, and that she had hated herself and everyone else in her life. She told Mia that the pain of wondering where she would get her next fix, or her next meal was too much to bear.
She explained quietly that while she lay waiting for death to overcome her willing soul, she felt, or sensed a total stranger come into her room. She had no idea who she was, nor did she care. Her coma had enveloped her in a darkness of unknowing, and she had given herself to it fully. She was ready to leave the chains of misery that she had allowed to bind her to this Earth. She thought that she would be glad to be rid of life's heartaches. She was surprised to feel that an entity of love had entered her room of darkness and despair. As this beautiful person came near her bedside, she appeared to have a glow about her that she could sense with her eyes closed. This person laid her hands filled with love on her forehead, offering up a prayer to God. She pleaded with her to give life one more chance, and a miracle began unfolding. She felt as if a small part of her was listening, and wanting to hear more but her spirit was broken. She couldn't bear to give life another moments' chance to wreak havoc within her soul.
She felt herself leave her body, and felt an indescribable grief for the girl she had left lying in that bed. Yet, somehow she had felt a stirring inside her soul, and a renewed attraction to life. She came out of her coma with a renewed love for life. She couldn't explain it to anyone, and she didn't understand it, but she felt the need to share her hope and love with this small frail child. She knew in her heart that her guides had led her to work on this floor to help these poor forlorn young people. She wished that she could remember more, but it seemed that it kept fading slowly out of her mind the more that she accepted the new Bree for who she was. She told Mia that she immediately felt like another person and couldn’t wait to begin living again. That’s how I ended up in this very room with you, instead of leaving my life behind. The stranger that prayed for me, is now my best friend. Her name is Jen. You must know her because she is your Nurse’s Aide on first shift. Do you know which one I mean? I have so much to share with you and I promise I will do my best to help you out of your agony and anger. Mia was listening with her head bowed. She couldn’t believe that this perfectly manicured young woman had ever been that low. She looked down at her hands, hands that were so busy picking at her nails and the skin around her fingers. She needed a fix so badly that she thought she would go crazy. She could feel the very essence of her being begin to tremble inside.
She just wanted to be left alone. She needed to make a telephone call, right now. Surely, she could find someone who would come help her out of her misery. She glanced briefly at Bree with her head down, saying, “Could you come back some other time to talk? I really need to make a telephone call. I can't talk right now.” Bree handed her the telephone, saying, “Please listen to me Mia, before you make your call. I would like to help you, I know how you are feeling, I have been there. I know what you think you need. If you let the Doctor help you, the craving will go away. Please don't call anyone for a fix.” Mia started crying and said, “What are they going to do, put me to sleep forever, I can't quit!” Bree told Mia that she would stay with her as long as she wanted her to. Mia pushed the telephone away, and began to cry softly. She felt too nauseated and weak to fight, besides that, it felt good to have someone to care about her again.
Bree had the feeling if she left Mia alone too long that she would find someone to sneak drugs in to her. It was so easy to get anything you wanted if you knew the right people, and they had no scruples to whom they gave it to, or where they delivered it as long as they received their money. She decided that she should pull an overnight vigil with Mia. She told Mia that she was going out to call her Doctor, cancel her lunch plans, and come right back to stay with her for a while. Mia shook her head okay, and wondered why she cared about her. Mia picked up the telephone as soon as Bree closed the door. She might like Bree, but she didn’t have to do what she said. She could get better if she could have just one more fix. Then she promised herself that she would try to quit for her father's sake. “That’s an improvement just thinking about my father's feelings,” she thought. She had never even thought about quitting before.
Bree must be getting to her. Still, she found it a little hard to believe that a woman like Bree had ever been a drug user. Who knows? They probably sent her here from Mental Health to give her an assessment and that was her line to get to her. Her paranoid was about to get the best of her, and she didn't think anyone could ever care about what happened to her. The telephone must have rang fifteen times before it quit. Screaming, Mia threw the telephone across the room. She got out of the bed and started pacing. Who could she call to help her? How could she get out of here? Her dad had brought her here to the emergency room and left. He had to go to work, and he said he was fed up with her antics. He said he didn't know how much more pain he could take. He looked crazy with worry, and angry with whom she had become since her mother's death.
The emergency room accessed her condition and took care of her immediately. The Doctor admitted her to the third floor for drug abuse, and suicide prevention. He did say they would send someone up to talk to me about drug abuse. “Good job, Bree. You got to me for a moment there,” she whispered under her breath. She cursed under her breath for being so stupid to think that anyone cared what happened to her. After all, everyone called her an alternative brainless freak. They didn't even try to find out about the Mia she was hiding inside. She dressed and acted out because she couldn't bear the loss of her mother. She didn't understand why no one could figure that out. She stayed high most of the time so that she didn't have to remember when their family was happy and together. She needed to keep her mind empty of all that was before her mother left.
Bree went out to the Nurses station and called Mia’s Doctor. He said he would order Haldol for Mia, and that should make her rest easy for awhile. She told him that she would like to spend the night to keep an eye on Mia. He said that was a wonderful idea and that he really appreciated her caring so much. He also asked if they could call her on any other similar situations. She said she would be available anytime they needed her, and that she would be honored to sit with anyone that needed her.
Next, she called Jen and filled her in. Jen said she would buy their lunch and bring it to Mia’s room. Maybe a little company would be good for her. She would buy something sweet for Mia, and see if the three of them could talk for awhile. Mia was one of her patients that she cared for and she knew what kind of kid she was. She acted withdrawn and alternative but Jen knew that the act was all from a broken heart. The loss of her mother was nearly destroying her. Perhaps, Mia would be one of the first teens to enroll in the 'Harmony Home Youth Program.' They would discuss it with her tomorrow to see if she would like to enroll. First they had to get her through a few hard days of withdraw before they could really begin to reach her. They could only help her with medication now, and a lot of tender loving care.
The next telephone call she made was to Mia’s father. Bree told him that Mia was doing fine and was trying to adjust to her new environment. They expected a little anger and would be able to handle her with patience. She had a good feeling about this little girl. She introduced herself as the in-house Drug Abuse Counselor. He asked Bree if Mia had confided in her about anything. Bree said no, that she had just talked to her for a few minutes but she would be sitting with her through the night. Mia’s father said that they had lost her mother to cancer three years ago, from then on Mia’s life had gone downhill. In the beginning she stayed locked up in her room, and he understood because she was grieving the same as he was. As time went on they grew apart, and she had changed.
He didn’t know what to do because she wouldn’t talk to him. She would only say everything was her mothers’ fault because she had left them. He tried to explain to her that it wasn’t her choice to die. Nothing mattered to Mia anymore. Her grades dropped, and she started skipping school. He would come home and find her in bed just laying there, staring up at the ceiling. He tried to get her to go to counseling but she wouldn’t. She seemed to close herself off from the world, and wanted nothing to do with him. When she turned sixteen, he began getting calls from the police, because she had been arrested for shoplifting. He would pick her up, and try to reason with her. She would only scream at him to leave her alone. She said she needed to steal, and that it made her feel alive. “I just don’t understand her at all, and now she's taking drugs. I don’t know if she really wanted to kill herself or not, but that is what she was saying. That’s the reason for her being there at Madden Hospital,” he told Bree.
I promised him I would do what I could to help her. I told him the Doctor was going to give her something to sedate her. He said that he would come in tonight to see her before going to work, and we could meet. He was willing to do anything to get his little girl back to normal. I thanked him for enlightening me with some of Mia’s history. I could see why she feels so desperately alone, every child needs their mother. I couldn't imagine trying to grow up without a mother just as I was becoming a teen. I was heartbroken for her, and I was sorry for her father. He was also going through a lot himself, it was as if he had lost his wife and his daughter.
Mia’s door was closed, but I could hear her throwing things, and cursing on the other side of the door. I knocked quietly, and asked if I could come in. She said, “Why not, you said you’ve been here before. Didn't you ever feel like you were going insane? I hate everyone!” I told her I had, and I had acted the very same way. “But it doesn’t help, and it doesn’t make the pain go away,” I said softly. I began picking the sheets and pillows up off the floor to make her bed again. She bent down to pick up the telephone, and began crying. She crouched to the floor in the smallest heap, and sobbed. She tore my heart out. I stooped down beside her and held her in my arms. Tears were flowing down both of our faces. I didn’t know if I was crying for her, or if I had just remembered the pain of using drugs and needing them so desperately, and of losing Jake forever. But, it felt good to cry. I could feel the hurt washing away, and the love welling up in my heart for this poor child. I knew she was crying for her mother, her life, her need for drugs, her father, and her sanity. Jen pushed the door open softly with her arms full of food. She looked shocked to see the room in such an upheaval. She whispered, “Should I go?” I told her to come in that we needed a change, and, we needed someone to help us clean up. Jen didn’t know what to think. She had never used drugs and didn’t know what to expect. I motioned her over to us.
We gently picked Mia up off the floor, and lay her in her bed. She had drained herself of all emotions. She just lay there, not looking at anything. The Nurse came in and told her she was going to give her a shot of Haldol to get her over this hump. She promised her she would feel better, and that we are all pulling for her. We sat quietly by her side, watching her as she closed her eyes. She was ready for a rest. She needed to sleep off the craving, and the shakes. I whispered to Jen that we could go eat in the lounge, and then I would come back to sit with Mia. She seemed to give into the drug quite readily. We tiptoed out, so that we wouldn't awaken her. We sat together and ate in silence. Both of us were lost in our thoughts for these children. There were so many lives to touch and it couldn't happen too soon. Our minds were running in the same vein. Jen said, “Bree, are you up to this?” I told her that surprisingly, I was. I didn’t know where my inner strength came from, but I felt capable of caring for these young adults. I thanked Jen for being there in my greatest time of need, now it was my turn to repay the favor to some lost soul that had taken the wrong path.
I told Jen about my meeting with Aaron, and how he had tried to pull me into his bed. She got a good laugh out of that. She asked if I was okay, and if I could handle him. She said that he likes to control the situation and was quite the boss. He ordered her to straighten his bed, and bring him a soda. She said she did, and then he wanted her to empty the trashcan. She laughed and said that wasn’t her job, but she did it anyway. They both agreed that he could be a nice looking man if he took care of himself, and if he cleaned up his life he would probably hold an important job. Bree said she would see him again tomorrow and give him another chance. She would be a little wiser this time and have the upper hand. Aaron was going to find out that not everyone would follow his orders.
Bree went back to Mia’s room, and sat quietly by her bedside. Mia was restless, and talked in her sleep. She was talking to her mother, and begged her not to leave her. She cried some in her sleep, and tossed and turned. She woke up once, and saw Bree sitting there. Sleepily she said, “I can’t believe you’re still here.” Bree said, “I told you I wouldn’t leave. I’m here for you Mia, as long as you need me.” Mia smiled at her, and closed her eyes. It felt good to know someone honestly cared for her. She seemed to rest peacefully after she knew someone was sitting there with her. Mr. Hays came to see his daughter like he promised. He was a large man with dark brown hair, thick eyebrows, and a large mustache that hid his smile. Still, I could see the worried look in his face for his daughter. He seemed to be truly interested in Mia’s welfare. I think he was overwhelmed by her actions and her drug use, and didn’t know where to turn. He did the right thing by bringing her to Madden Hospital.
I told him that I knew we were going to be able to reach her. I could just feel it. I told him that I needed to go to a meeting, so I would leave him alone with Mia. I asked him to tell her that I would be back by ten o'clock. He shook my hand and thanked me for caring for his little girl. Jen and I crossed paths in the hall, and we agreed to meet in ten minutes to walk home together. She had to check in on Aaron one more time, and then she would be ready. She teasingly asked me if I would like to do the honors. I declined, saying that I would see him tomorrow which was soon enough for me.
Written by: Tamara Lesley
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Last Updated FEB 2007
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