Pine Rest 2017

Day Four at Pine Rest. Or, pigtails and basketball. Or, my husband packed one pair of jeans and one pair of yoga pants, but zero toothbrushes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Service
Grand Rapids, Michigan

  • Days left: 14
  • Marital status: Request for divorce (pending)
  • Spiritual status: Latent Judaism
  • Dietary status: Latent vegetarianism, Latent kosher
  • Individual status: Pigtails and basketball
  • Personality status:Madonna; Rilo Kiley; Montel Jordan
  • Mood status:
  • Visitor status: Revoked
  • Sociologist status: Obviousness; Unoriginal, macho energy . . . (Bukowski, 1987)

Hooray, hooray: I’m your silver lining
Hooray, hooray: But now I’m gone

by Jeannie M. Hahl, A.A., B.S., M.S.

I must have woken up at 6:30 a.m. that day. And I must have had breakfast at 7 a.m. and had lunch at 11:45 a.m. Since I’d given my hairbrush away to Sunshine and my husband didn’t pack a toothbrush, I received a mental health facility-issued tooth brush and hair brush. Have you ever used mental health facility-issued tooth brushes? The bristles fall out when you brush your teeth. Have you ever used mental health facility-issued hairbrush? It gets tangled in your hair.

Pine Rest started feeding me a “kosher, vegetarian” diet that day–it might have started at breakfast with disgusting yellow eggs. After lunch, we went outside.

Kevin the inmate had a 1:1, which means that he had a staff member–typically a Care Provider–check on him every 5 minutes. He was special; we were different. The rest of the men and women in the Oak Unit had run-of-the-mill checks every 15 minutes. Kevin worked the system and ran those Care Providers ragged. He liked basketball and there was a small basketball court outside. He liked sunshine and music, too. So, every time Kevin went outside, the Care Provider would follow. Every time Kevin wanted to play basketball, the Care Provider would find the inflated balls, which they kept locked up separately from the deflated balls. Every time Kevin went outside, the men and women at the Oak Unit were allowed to follow. Kevin told me I wasn’t getting a divorce; I disagreed. He told me that he was “promised” to someone as he pointed to his promise ring.

I also received lotion on this day; I’d been asking for lotion for quite some time. I also received a phone number for a local rabbi on the day previous, but he hadn’t called back. It felt like I’d been asking for these things for quite some time. I was angry that these processes were taking so long, and I would tell the staff: You can be a bureaucrat, but not behave bureaucratically.

We went outside after lunch (12:00 p.m. or so) and I finally talked to Kevin one-on-one. I also met a few of the fellas. There was Lev Lon, who I called Lev Lon and Prosper. There was Monte, which means mountain and he heard all about how I’d lived in the Monte Vista neighborhood in San Antonio. He had black skin and was age 41–I asked him what music he liked, but I had an idea about the answer. Kevin was being territorial about the music and I wanted to hear some Montel Jordan. Monte agreed.

I wore pigtails this day. I used lotion on my face. I got dressed in a blue, long-sleeve t-shirt, black yoga pants, and I tied a hoodie (no string) around my waist. I had some shoes, but no sneakers. So, I wore my winter boots that I had walked to UM psych ER in. Ben also packed house shoes that had been chewed by my dog many years ago. Maybe nostalgia? Maybe laziness? Maybe something in between.

And I played basketball, which I’d been a failure at in 1992 at Freeport Intermediate School. I remembered some tricks, though. I used the square painted around the basket like a geometric Ouija board and sunk the ball more times than not.

And I danced around to Rilo Kiley’s A Better Son/Daughter, Montel Jordan’s This Is How We Do It. And other things that Kevin liked to interpretive dance to. Wow. He was so crazy.

Sometime that afternoon, I told Tim the RN about how the Pine Rest staff had been treating me. I told him that I’d had two Code Greens. I looked for the needle site on my arms; the first I found was a bruise from a blood draw. I’d forgotten that they shot me up in my left upper arm. No marks. Just like an abusive husband that doesn’t hit his wife’s face. He didn’t believe me; I could tell.

That evening, I watched The Departed with Shelley and Tabi. We laughed about how I was acting like Jack Nicholson’s character at Pine Rest and we yowled at the screen like cats when Leo had sex with his psychiatrist. He/she had a moral dilemma; so had I.

Visitor hour started at 7 p.m. Buster and Ben came that day.

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