I am on fifteen-minute observations.
Or ‘1 in fifteen obs’ as they say in the business.
This is because I have a history of self-harm and am currently seen, during the settling in period, as high risk.
Red alert!! Amber warning!! Mentalist moose on the loose!!
This essentially means that every 15 minutes no matter where I am or what I am doing, a head will appear from around a corner, under a sofa or behind a door, nod at me, check a tick box and move on.
I have no idea what is written on that tick box but I imagine it to contain the following;
Dead/not dead. Delete as appropriate.
The person, whoever it may be, will then piss off for another 15 minutes before returning once again like a turd on a bungee rope to repeat the same action.
I do wonder on occasion if as their shifts plod by they grow ever so slightly fatigued with the same monotonous task and have to resist the urge to write;
Lexy Ellis. 1.20pm – Not dead but found crying in the bath, left her to it.
Lexy Ellis. 1.35pm – Lexy located in room 42, bent over her armchair panting and scratching like an overworked Alsatian with a nasty flea infestation. (My eczema is really playing up.)
‘I unearthed Lexy in her chamber decorating a noose she had fashioned out of a mangy old dressing gown cord; I have therefore removed any object from the room, including her dressing gown, which could potentially be used as a weapon. The bitch can walk around hiding her bushel with a hand towel as punishment for making me late for the next 15-minute obs. In fact, I may as well just stay here and annoy her for the next 9 minutes. I am then, in effect killing (the happiness) of two birds (me and her) with one stone. (I have no stone.)’
Do you get the gist?
It is tres tres bothersome. And they are tres tres useless anyway.
It isn’t like there is anything in this godforsaken padded cell I could attach a noose to anyway! Which was why I was actually, and pretty innocently just decorating my dressing gown with blue-tac. Honest.
There are no light fittings, not that I have been looking, the light just seeps in from the ceiling through pot holes and there are absolutely no prongs, knobs or spikes protruding from anywhere that I could do any damage with even if I was intent on doing so. Even the bloody shower is electric, meaning there are no taps and as with the lights, the water just magically appears through a hole in the wall.
(Just to be clear here, the lights in my room do not magically shoot water through a hole in the ceiling. They shoot light. Which is a relief as I would undoubtedly flick the wrong switch in the dead of night and end up accidentally exposing my self to some pretty horrific electric shock therapy on a very regular basis…. And think about the carpet. It would be soggy. No. The water is out of the hole in the shower, the light is out of the hole in the ceiling. Are we clear?)
So yes, my attempts at exposing myself to any kind of injury would be pretty futile.
Which does make me wonder what the point of ‘1 in 15 obs’ is actually for other than to create a situation of complete and utter frustration and annoyance for everybody involved.
Having to condense each and every action in to a 15-minute slot has actually resulted in me having to speed me up a notch, when I am sure the point of being in here, in the first place, was to slow me down a few thousand notches.
I am now officially known (by the plants and shrubs dotted around my room) as flash Gordon.
Shower in 15 minutes? With hair as long and greasy as mine? NO PROBLEM!
- Get naked
- Press button on wall 15 times so water heats up.
- Climb over and in to the bath (that incidentally I am sure has been created by the same company that makes the kamikaze type water slides) and slowly and precariously hot foot it, like one may when walking a tightrope, towards water spitter outter.
- Dry hump freezing cold tile wall to ensure water dribbles on to my back.
- Forcefully squidge bum against freezing cold tile wall to ensure water seeps on to my front.
- Splash about a bit for dramatic effect (while trying not to imagine it is actually just somebody stood behind the hole in wall ineffectively spitting on me.)
- Press button on wall 12 times to turn spit-like shower off.
- Try not to die getting out of death-bath.
- Get to towel rail on other side of slippery bathroom.
- Shiver myself dry using hand towel for 3 minutes.
- Remember have left clothes in bedroom.
- Make sharp naked exit from bathroom.
- Grab heap of clothes.
- Sprint like a white female and naked Linford Christie back in to the bathroom to dress.
- Nearly knock self out on savage swinging door as it spanks my rear as a reminder I am not the boss here.
- Heave jeans over gigantic love handles.
- Pull, huff and gyrate dry t-shirt with crow bar on to moist skin. Accidentally remove nipple in process.
- Place leg on to loo seat and lunge, in an attempt to stretch jeans. (This does not work)
- See clean knickers lying on floor, realise my mistake, scoop them up, shove them in my back pocket..
Just in time for Falalakalai, the bountiful and beautiful Nigerian nurse, to pop her head around my door (with a cracking 16 megawatt smile) and state;
‘Lixy! Yis! Alive! See you in 15 minutes.’
I wonder if they ever play bingo with us. They could use a point system.
Half undressed – 15 points.
Naked – 90 points.
Foaming at the mouth like rabid rabbit – 113 points.
Maybe I should make it more interesting for her.
I could do naked headstands, and half dressed handstands and the cross-dressed splits… actually. No forget that.
Although I am sure these actions would no doubt catapult Falakakakailii to the top of the league tables, I really have had enough of putting on a show to last a lifetime.
The real world quite literally spat me out and in to here with as much force as you would imagine a convict to be shoved out of a moving car, other than the above shenanigans, it has taken me a full five days to finally break to a halt and be in a position to have a look around and take stock.
I have to be honest.
There isn’t much wrong with my surroundings (shower, bathroom door, the fact I am completely alone and terrified, and a few other bits excluded obviously) it is when I look inside that I can feel the terror bubbling up.
I do not like what I see. I do not want to look inside.
But there really isn’t anything else to do. (Apart from maybe shave my legs, but I have to be supervised with a razor! I have done many odd things, and will no doubt partake in many more random things in my life but I ain’t shaving my legs and pits with someone watching! It is too weird!)
Therapy sessions are helping, but it is slow moving, and I miss Starbucks.
This afternoon I have a free afternoon with no group therapy and I want some time alone, and not just in 15 minute blocks.
I need time to sit and examine what I feel put me in here, other than the obvious ‘not having the energy to, and not wanting to, live the rest of my life.’
I am going to have to channel Steve McQueen, dig a tunnel, escape, find a hidden tree and sit under it. I have my notebook, a picture of my loved ones, my Ipod and a small packet of tissues.
Since I have been here I have felt unable to cry, even though I have desperately wanted to. I seem to have settled in numbness. So I am going to sit on my own, avoiding the one annoyingly lonely magpie which seems to be following me around conducting it’s own set of Obs (I have named him Jeff, maybe I can be the 2 to his 1), and write.
I have to be brave. I have to fight for the right to be me, even from myself, if that makes sense.
It is terrifying.
I am starting with a letter to myself, in an attempt to forgive myself for being ill. I have been told to start it like this;
It is not your fault.
The tears of guilt should not take long to appear.
I may even listen to a bit of music. (I want to break free, would be too easy a joke here… but fuck it. I’ll use it anyway.)
Now, where did I leave my spade, sparkling white t-shirt and motorbike?
*Mission impossible music clicks on and the voices in my head crouch down in preparation*
I push the door open and stick my head around, as it creaks eerily I peer in to the long, dimly lit and decrepit corridor. Other than a few odd bods bouncing off walls all I can see is Falakalikalaka chomping on a dairy milk with her back to me, it is now or never Stevie. .. Go go go!
I make a run for it.
The tree is my goal. Any tree. Preferably with a chair.
Sanctuary (not sanitary, as I still have my knickers in my back pocket) is my light at the end of today’s tunnel…the journey has officially started.
Do I sound less crazy yet?