Monday, February 11, 2013

Memoir: Chapter 22: Daddy and I ride down to drive some cattle on King's Bench up on little Sinking Water Bench to take advantage of the snowfall

During my last winter at home during childhood, when I was twelve, Daddy deemed me experienced on a horse enough to promote me to some long distance jobs of cow punching. A heavy snow fell during the early winter and that night he did some thinking. The next morning he asked me if I wanted to take a ride down to Kings Bench. He said that he wanted to put some cattle upon a little bench called Sinking Water because they would be able to eat snow for water and could browse the good feed up there. 
He and Grandpa King and some of those other Boulder cattle ranchers were probably the only men in the world who thought such jobs needed doing. I argued with him. I did. I was nervous about being his helper and as it turned out I was right to be concerned.
But as I said once Daddy had an idea concerning the well being of his cattle, he could not be deterred. So we set off for Kings Bench at quite a fast clip the next morning. Apparently there was access to water on Kings Bench. I don't really know.  I wonder now about water for the stock to drink on all those benches where they used to run their cattle
By this time, the winter range had been divided so Daddy and Cecil, Grandpa's main hired man, wouldn't have to camp out together any more. Ever since Daddy took away some of Cecil's precious upper pasture which really belonged to Grandpa, Cecil's resentment could not be contained. Cecil did see to it that he and Grandpa got the best winter range, which was Bounds Bench, further on down, but Daddy agreed as he had gotten to hating those long rides on horseback down to their benches.

Once we got up to Kings Bench, Daddy started rounding up a herd of cattle including an old cow or two he said he been up to Sinking Water before. He said when we got to where the cattle were going to have to go up this trail that wasn't really visible to me at all I was to push the herd from the back while he herded the old cows in front toward their destination. 
Well, the first time I was being too timid to push them Daddy said rather mildly as the cattle broke away from me and scattered, but the second time they broke away, he let out some pretty good curses. We had not come all that way for nothing so I knew I better settle down and follow his directions better or we would be there all 'god damned' day as he put it.
When he yelled, “Push 'em, push 'em!” the third time, I spurred my horse determined not to let one critter turn back. 
 I saw the cattle jostling that heifer toward the edge but I couldn't believe it when she tumbled off into what sounded like a bottomless canyon. You could hear her bellering a long time after she fell! I had killed that heifer for sure!
 I kept on pushing at Daddy's command and we got all but her up on Sinking Water, but I could see Daddy was mighty disgruntled over what had happened to that heifer.
He was so disgusted he cussed practically all the way home. I remember he said once that that heifer's death just wiped out all the profit of him and me coming down there and boosting those cattle up on Sinking Water to get that good feed.

He was mad enough that I did not dare argue with him. I did hope it would be quite a while before he thought up some other giant cow punching job for him and me to do. Fancy cow punching out on the winter range was proving to be considerably harder than just driving them along a trail !

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Memor: Chapter 53: Meeting Dr. Davis in Salt Lake and going to visit Dean in Spokane

A little over a month after I came home from the hospital, Mother and Dad took me back to Salt Lake to keep the appointment with Dr. Davis.  Before I met him I returned very briefly to the University campus. After I got there I did not feel like trying to see anyone, but as I wandered around I happened to run into Archie, who had become such an actor in demand in my junior year.  He was still doing a lot of theater he informed me.  I referred to being away which he had obviously heard about because he said, "I have a little trouble being sympathetic to people who just imagine their troubles!"

I could not believe he would say such a mean thing knowing absolutely nothing about what had transpired or was involved in my hospitalization, but I gathered he had been jealous of the reactions in the theater department.  He was after all dying of the real thing.  I probably could not have forgiven him as soon as I did if I had not heard that he did die two or three years later, just as he predicted he would, while I am still alive at the age of 80.  He was obviously a good deal sicker than I was.
But I did walk away from him like the walking wounded.  After he said that I did not think there was any use trying to see anybody else in the theater department.  Marilyn, who I called, said that Dr. Lees had announced that he would retire due to health problems at the end of the year, I figured so people could enjoy as much as possible the final days of his notable reign over the theater department as a famous Shakespearean director.
She also said that June, the young Mormon theater major, had stepped in at very short notice, memorized, and performed my role as the young Amish girl in the play on the road.  I thought she would have been a perfect second choice.  Marilyn asked me very little about my hospitalization. She like others was very cautious about even referring to it. I had resumed relations with her by mail, as well as with Sharon and even Laurence.  He and I exchanged a couple of more letters as I was curious as to how he would react, but he was so guarded I soon ceased to wonder.
The notable geniuses I had met at the University slowly left my life one by one, Laurence and finally Sharon.  Marilyn and I continued to correspond for several years, too, until she did not answer one of my letters.  And that was the end of that friendship although I continued to have fond memories of both Marilyn and Sharon for the kindnesses they had shown me through out my years at the University, and even after, until it was obvious we were leading such different lives, letters became meaningless.
I went down to the meeting at the Salt Lake County Hospital with some trepidation, but Dr. Davis greeted me with real concern about how I was recovering.  He said that his year of Internship was drawing to a close and he had applied to a California hospital for his residency.  He would be leaving Salt Lake soon.
When I went to leave he held out his arms to me for a hug and the hug turned into a kiss that was very passionate but limited.  We really were saying good-bye by mutual consent.
He accompanied me to the street where I intended to call a taxi when he asked me how far away I lived, could we walk there?  I said it was about twenty blocks, but yes, I thought I could handle that.  We started walking through snow.  I was thinking I am always going to remember this, when Dr. Davis surprised me again.
When we were just about three blocks from Grandpa Wilson's where I was staying, he stopped me and picked me up in his arms and carried me the rest of the way. I do not think a man had ever made a gesture to me that was so gratuitously tender.  I thought he would be a great doctor.  He was a healer by instinct.  
When we reached Grandpa's place, he set me down and watched me as I waved good-bye and turned away from him to go into the house.

It seemed that life was about a lot of new beginnings and inevitable endings of many relationships.
But when Dean did not come home for Christmas, maybe because he was hesitant about renewing a relationship with me after I had been in a psych ward, Pole, his cousin buddy, was very enthusiastic about a suggestion I made to go see Dean in Spokane.  I just did not think Dean believed that I was still the same person, only perhaps even better because I was freer than I had been prior to my shocking detainment in the custody of the psychiatrists. I had also written to him about the part Dr. Davis had played in my hospitalization and the fact that I had been been attracted to him which may have put him off. 
Sister Margie agreed to go with Pole and me before she had to return to the university after the holidays,  and as we traveled through Idaho which was hauntingly beautiful at that time of the year, covered with snow, I developed an increasingly euphoric feeling that my adult life was now about to begin, more real than it had ever been before.  Because I was in charge at last.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Memoir: Chapter 52: Telling someone in the psych ward I had been molested by Bill

During the ten days that I continued to spend in the psych ward, I told Dr. Davis about being molested by Bill at five years old and not being able to tell anyone.  I told him that I feared that murder would result, that I was sure my dad would not wait for law enforcement to act.  He would take the law into his own hands and try to kill Bill if he could.  I debated about telling Dr. Davis about the affair I thought was going on between Bill and my dad and that part of Bill's motivation for targeting me was because he was very angry at my dad for leaving him home on the weekends while he went to party with other guys.  I decided against it, because Dr. Davis appeared to be as straight as he could possibly be.  I thought he would have a bad reaction to hearing that I was the daughter of such a man and what is more had suspected this connection between the two men at the time, which caused me to be all the more certain that my dad would try to kill Bill because he was so nervy it would be hard to tell what he might tell law enforcement.
Dr. Davis was from California.  I did not know if he would understand that my dad was the son of one of the many old time cowboys who rode the western trails in those days.  Grandpa King had helped drive a herd of horses to Chicago twice.  Most of these men had very little opportunity to connect up with women.  Some of them were bound to turn to other males for sexual gratification.  This might seem totally unacceptable to Dr. Davis while it seemed merely human to me and to be expected under certain circumstances.
Plus Utah had once been the home of a great many Mormon polygamists.  When a married man lusted after another woman he took her as another wife.  My grandparents on my mother's side were descended from Mormon polygamists, but instead of being able to take more wives my Grandfather Wilson was forced to sneak around and lie about any connection he made to another woman, just as I suspected my Grandfather King of sneaking around and lying about any connection he made to another male after he was married.
Both had developed the most fearful defenses in order not to be confronted or accused.  Now my parents were doing the same thing.   
Dr. Davis was probably experiencing one of his first strong attractions to another woman while married.  If he was dedicated to being honest, he would not act on these feelings, for me or for any other woman with an affair.  While I had committed myself to never acting like my mother and dad.  I was determined to change the pattern.
I could acknowledge this attraction between us, but I could be very cautious about getting alone with him.

I would be put to the test in a little over a month after I left the hospital, when Dr. Davis wanted to see me in Salt Lake he said to see how I was recovering. He would be on another rotation by then, but he made an appointment for me to see him at the County Hospital.  I was going to keep that appointment because of all he had done for me, even though he had warned me that he had feelings for me.  But I thought he was just as determined as I was not do something he would regret. Well, we would see.  

Dean, my Escalante boyfriend, managing to come by a number, called me in the psych ward and reminded me that he was still in the running for my attention.  He actually sounded angry because I had not written and told him what was going on.  I said that I would write to him as soon as I got home and try to explain.
I also told Dr. Davis about Dean's telephone call.  But I brushed over the fact that Dean was an alcoholic which meant to me that he was another outlaw just as my dad had always been. If I married him, I would be marrying a younger version of my dad,  hot tempered enough to bully a woman who displeased him, especially when he was under the influence.  I had seen my dad take a butcher knife to my mother's throat when he was drunk. I had already encountered the devil in Dean's eyes several times when he was drinking.
I thought outlawry came easier to Utah men because of the religion, widely considered to be a cult.  Polygamy violated the rules of good conduct in almost anybody's book except obviously those who had allowed themselves to be converted to it. Dean was actually descended from a brother to the Prophet Joseph Smith who had introduced the controversial  revelation from God that plural marriage was required for Mormon men to be able to enter the highest degree of heaven. 
Soon other Mormon men besides the Prophet Joseph Smith were able to persuade susceptible women to be plural wives.
After polygamy was abandoned by main stream Mormons, Utah still probably tolerated a good many more polygamists than most states.  The FLDS branch of the church which had refused to give it up had a large presence in southern Utah.  I saw polygamists all the time there, and there were sects in the cities as well.  Nobody was really counting.  Mormons had suffered greatly from criticism of polygamy from practically the whole world, so  they talked as little as possible to outsiders about these communities in their midst still practicing polygamy.    
I found myself avoiding the subject with Dr. Davis, trying to appear as normal as possible, so that the last days that I would probably ever see and talk to him would not be marred by revelations about my background he might not be able to handle.
I would probably marry Dean if he was still willing after I had been committed to a psych ward.  He was the only one of my boyfriends that had sustained an interest in me that I thought could handle my history because his was very similar.  Only now I wasn't afraid to die, so I would be opposing whatever he said or did to me I thought was wrong, no matter what he did to me.  He did not know what he was in for if he ever had enough nerve to marry the likes of me.
Even my dad knew I had changed.  The minute I turned my face to the wall and refused to talk to him, he knew he could not bully me as he had been doing. The days of telling me what professions I was limited to if he was going to send me to school were over. As far as I was concerned I had earned my college education working for him and always trying to save his damned life. The psychiatrists had gone on to try to break me and had not succeeded.  I showed them I was not afraid to die if I had to to stop them from giving me electric shock against my will.
So Dr. Branch ended up not daring to give it to me.  He was afraid I really would die on him.  This was about the only reason he would ever have let go of me and allowed me to go home.  Otherwise he would have surely reasoned that a few shock treatments would not hurt me. After a few of those I was bound to be more tractable.

When my dad and mother came to get me, Dr, Davis, the Intern, was instructed to do the talking to them.  I don't know what he said to them, but he did tell them I had been molested by Bill which Mother told me later. So now they knew that.  I don't know if he told them about what Dr. Branch was calling a catatonic seizure.  If he did, they never mentioned it.
But it was obvious that I was a good deal more fragile than I had been when they last saw me.  In fact, the night we got home, I prayed all night without stopping just to keep my mind from flying apart on me.  I felt if it split apart as it was threatening to do, I would never be normal again.  I experienced that night what it might be to lose your mind.
But I gradually started feeling better.  Naturally if anyone taxed my strength at all, I was forced to go silent in order not to get too exhausted with very bad results.  If I got overly strained, one of the most frightening symptoms I experienced was going numb in my sleep.  A voice would wake me by shouting in my inner ear, "Wake up, you are dying!" I would have to think frantically about what could have strained me to that point, so that I could work through whatever it was, relaxing my nervous system enough to restore feeling to my body.  I learned to get very calm before I allowed myself to drop off to sleep.
My going silent spooked people the most.  But there was really no other way I could protect myself from people's unrealistic expectations.  I was not the same.  I had been through a terrible ordeal.  So people had to learn to respect that. 
Most who kept on wanting to talk to me learned not to push me. Although I remember going to some young woman's house who said something to me I could not handle.  I fell silent, so she defiantly went silent, too.  We sat for around twenty minutes in complete silence and then I got up and left.
I don't know what she told people, maybe that she taught me a lesson for inflicting my spooky silence on her.  She just went silent, too, but she never wanted to interact with me again.  Others were more considerate.  They did not not hold my silence against me.  Instead they seem to respect it was for a good reason.
My dad saw to it that nobody tried to bully me when he was around.  Once in a while my mother would lose her temper and say something wildly inappropriate like one day when she and I and my dad were arguing, she told me that she and Daddy would just have to lock me in my room if I continued to act as I was doing, I assumed chain me to the bed.  My dad acted thoroughly disgusted with her.
Otherwise she even went around and asked some younger women to please try to talk to me as I had quit talking entirely.  She said I would not talk to her, but maybe I would to them if they persisted.  Years later she would tell people that I refused to talk to my little boy and she had to teach him to talk because he was growing up without knowing how.  He was imitating me and refusing to talk.  Maybe he did imitate me, I am not sure, because he became a boy of extremely few words. She probably did try to get him to talk. But I certainly had not fallen completely silent.  I had always been a talker and I still was, but I just made sure that what I said counted more.
I felt that for years the wheel of my being had been slowly forced off its axis and was spinning uselessly in space.  I had forced the wheel back into place and now everything I said and did was effective again, while before I had started talking way too much to the people I did not fear, and I had not resisted enough the people who bullied me.  

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Memoir: Chapter 51: Dr. Davis, the Intern, tells Dr. Branch after my near death experience he has fallen in love with me

As I was lying in bed the next morning preparing to see Dr. Davis and talk to him about what happened yesterday, I felt such a rush of love for him, thinking of him sitting by my bed for two hours, that I felt guilty.  He was married, and I was going to have to push those thoughts out of my mind.  As I started to make the effort to do what I considered the right thing I went numb.  I could not feel anything but my teeth and my bones.  I instantly realized that I could not be banishing any support coming my way no matter what it caused me to feel.  I was just going to have to love Dr. Davis because of the emotion he had dared to show for me.  I was too close to death to be rejecting anything that was positive and made me feel better.  To my relief the feeling began to come slowly back into my flesh.

I was going to have to be careful, very careful, even about what I thought.  The slightest effort that took something away from me pushed me to the edge again.
When I saw Dr. Davis he asked me if I could explain to him what happened yesterday.  But before I could begin he said that he had told Dr. Branch that he had fallen in love with me when he saw him that morning. He said he asked him if he wanted him to continue with my case because of this emotional attachment he was forming.  I was upset because he had even suggested to Dr. Branch that he might want to take him off my case.  He said Dr. Branch said no, that he wanted him to continue talking to me.  He said he would make a decision later about my treatment.
That was frightening to hear.  Could he still be trying to decide whether he would prescribe shock treatment? I wondered if Dr. Davis had not told him he was in love with me to convey to him that he now had an invested interest in what happened to me.  If any further damage occurred to me he would be a witness.
I knew Dr. Davis could not criticize Dr. Branch.  He would just have to be polite to him as I had to be until he could work through his issues with me.
I told Dr. Davis that I also had developed some very strong feeling for him which I had tried to drive out of my mind that morning, and had nearly died again as a result. I described going numb clear to my teeth and bones.  I said it felt like the last sensation I would have before I became a lifeless corpse.
"What happened yesterday in the day room?" Dr. Davis persisted in questioning me.
I explained, "Well, it was like I had a giant tantrum.  I was so angry over having to fight against shock treatment.  I did not consider myself unhinged when Dr. Andersen incarcerated me.  I thought he over reacted.  He did everything too fast.  He knew nothing about me.  He was just guessing.
In the day room it occurred to me not to take a deeper breath until their policy toward me changed. Dr. Branch thought he could bully me into conceding that I might be mentally ill enough to need treatment.  Although you could say that I proved I really was insane by what I did to stop them from giving it to me.  Dr. Branch would not believe there was anything seriously wrong with me.  After I willed myself to die for four hours he would know there was something very wrong with me.  I would then be considered too insane to give shock treatment.  If I could come that close to dying all by myself, I could probably expire with shock treatment."
Dr. Davis nodded gravely at my logic, and seemed to understand it after a fashion. At that moment he probably thought I was the most insane girl he had ever met, which was why he had fallen in love with me, I was certain.
He almost read my mind by saying out loud, "I feel like I have been on a giant roller coaster ride ever since I met you.  It's been a thrill a minute."
I thought it would take a lot to get to this battle scarred veteran, but I had done it.
He seemed to feel a little guilt of his own. "I don't even know why I have been so susceptible to you.  I think it is because I really wasn't madly in love with my wife when I married her, but she was from my world, and I thought she would be the best suited to be my companion when I became a doctor. I simply could not hurt her after all she had done for me after the war, so I married her."

I thought about how totally unsuited I was to be a doctor's wife, especially after what I had done to myself yesterday.  I was going to be weeks recovering and would probably never be the same again.  I knew I had broken something pretty vital. Was bound to have done.
"I think you are infatuated,  not in love," I said,  "You need to realize I am a cow girl from southern Utah.  I was raised by an outlaw father.  I was just thinking the other day that is probably why I am capable of going to such extremes.  This will pass, but I have never needed anybody's love so bad in my life as I have needed yours during this trial.  I don't think I could have survived without you."
Dr. Davis said that he would contact me as soon as he had any word from Dr. Branch.
That afternoon he came toward me with a white official looking paper in his hand. He said, "Dr. Branch is going to let you go home, but you need to sign this paper first."
It was a paper that said I had volunteered to enter the hospital.  "This is a lie!" I burst out.  "I was committed against my will."
Dr. Davis continued to hold out the paper to me with such a pleading look on his face, I took it and signed that lying document even though it was against my principles. If Dr. Branch was willing to forget electric shock and let me go home in exchange for my guarantee that I would not sue, he had a bargain.  Sue, that was a laugh. I just hoped I did not die after I got home.  Let alone take anybody to court.
After I signed, Dr. Davis said, "You will have to stay ten more days so they can make sure you are okay."  I figured they were taking that precaution in case I had any more strange seizures.  But my giant rage left me as soon as he told me I could go home.  And I knew I needed recovery time before I dared to go back to southern Utah and the mad house where Mother and Dad had lived for years, fought, and thought about killing each other.
"We will be talking," promised Dr. Davis.  "Until you leave."  He looked happy at the prospect.  I know I was very much happier, and relieved.
As for the men in white, I made a solemn vow they would never capture me again.  I knew now I could not trust 'em.     

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Memoir: Chapter 50: Mother and Dad come to Salt Lake, I won't talk to them either, they sign for my treatments

I had not been able to talk to Margie hardly at all on her first visit to the psych ward.  She was naturally very upset and wanting explanations, but I could not really give her any since I couldn't tell her anything significant about myself.  I had not been able to tell any of the sisters the problems that had been on my mind for years, about the molesters, what I thought my dad was doing.  I did not even tell them when I developed the frightening case of fatigue and could hardly drag myself out of bed in the morning.  This was just something for me to get over the best way possible because if I wasn't ready to tell Mother and Dad, I could hardly tell my sisters. Margie, who had become somewhat Mother's working companion in the years she had been confined to housework because of her asthma, would have told Mother anything I said immediately. The other sisters I considered too young to burden.
Margie said she had called Mother and Dad about my incarceration who were naturally extremely shocked, but said they could not leave that day but would arrive on the third day after my commitment.  I knew that was going to be a very difficult encounter, so there was no use talking about anything until I had gotten through that.

Mother and Dad arrived at the psych ward sometime in the afternoon of the third day.  Dr. Davis, the in-hospital Intern, had just taken over my case, and would have seen them. They came rushing into my room, and I had the awful realization, seeing the looks on their faces, that I was not going to be able to talk to them.  They both looked extremely agitated and angry as though at last they were going to get an explanation out of me. I knew they would be highly reactive to any reason I could give them, and nothing whatsoever would be accomplished.  They were as bad or worse than anybody else I had felt forced to quit talking to because they were way too angry under the circumstances.
I was becoming exhausted from not having slept and from the strain I had been experiencing in the psych ward, and for weeks before that.  I could feel the fatigue that had once frightened me so badly years before flickering around the edges of my being, threatening to envelop me like an ominous black shadow.  I had to save my strength to fight the doctors.  Something was wrong with me.  Electric shock could kill me!
I simply could not respond to my parents. I turned my face away toward the wall.  Mother became instantly enraged and practically leaped across the room as though to grab me and force me to talk.  I could feel her thinking, "You are not going to be allowed to disrespect me like this!"
Daddy stopped her and made her go back to the other side of the room with him.  Then he got her to go outside with him.  They did not return.
Later, Dr. Davis, who was still confused about what was considered wrong with me, said that my parents said I would not talk to them.  Was there any reason for that?
I told him that they were demanding explanations which I did not have the strength to give them that they would not have been able to accept, in any case.  I could picture a family squabble going on in the psych ward, all of us screaming and shouting at the top of our lungs as heated accusations were flung back and forth between each other.  I said, "Mother tried to force me to talk, but Daddy stopped her." He nodded and did not pursue the matter any further.
The next day Margie came by to ask me why I had not talked to Mother and Dad.  I said, "You know how they are.  They were neither calm or rational.  Mother was going to force me to talk to her.  Isn't that  inappropriate behavior for a family member in a psych ward?  They have to stop acting like maniacs somewhere.  Why not start now?" 
"Daddy thinks you are really sick," said Margie, on the verge of tears, although it would have been very hard for her to cry, as she was extremely tough from surviving some very scary bouts of asthma.  "Mother said he cried all night and said it was all his fault!"
"It is time he started taking some responsibility," I said, "But I could not take a chance on either one of them being calm and sensible for five minutes."
"I am just wondering when you will refuse to talk to me," Margie said.
"As long as you don't waste my energy arguing with me I will talk to you," I said. 
I did not want to tell Margie that I was afraid of the fatigue that I thought could at any point start overwhelming me.  I did not want to tell her I thought things were going to get worse because I simply did not know, but I had a very good idea they would.

I brought up electric shock to Dr. Davis on the morning of my fourth day.  He looked uncomfortable but said that I should probably prepare myself for a series of treatments.  I immediately suspected that he had been instructed to get Mother and Dad's written permission for my shock treatment while they were there.  Of course they would have signed anything at that point.  I expected they would have been scared into it from me not talking to them, if nothing else.  Not talking to them had been a risk. I could alienate them. They would no longer be my allies, especially Mother who never forgave or forget what she considered a slight.  But I did not think I had any other choice, they were so over emotional.
Did the doctors imagine my parents were sane?  No, I am sure psychiatrists were very accustomed to the whole family of a patient showing signs of insanity, too, but I was the one who had been incarcerated, so as my legal parents they were required to sign for my treatment.
I said, "But I won't agree to have it.  There is something wrong with me.  I don't think I should have electric shock treatment.  I am afraid it might kill me."
Dr. Davis looked even more uncomfortable but waited for further explanation.  I tried to explain about feeling that my fatigue years before signaled the onset of a disease like leukemia.  I thought I was going to die, but when school started and I was able to sit down most of the day I started to get better.  I said I thought this fatigue stemmed from a strange virus I got a year or so before which nobody else in town had.  I thought I developed it because I was the most stressed kid in town."
"Did your parents know about this?"
"No, I decided I would wait until I collapsed. I didn't want to face the fact I might have a fatal disease.  Besides, they might have thought I was just trying to get out of work, since the only symptom I was experiencing at that point was fatigue.  But it was a fatigue so bad it scared me. I could hardly drag myself out of bed in the morning. A night's rest didn't seem to do me any good."
Dr. Davis looked faintly dubious but he said that he would call Dr. Branch and ask that he let me explain to him my fears about having electric shock therapy.  He must have been somewhat concerned because he came back almost immediately and said that I was to see Dr. Branch that afternoon, which was the 4th day.  He would give me 20 minutes, since he was an extremely busy man.
In the meantime Dr. Davis wanted me to join a therapist who was on the ward at this very time to conduct a round table with some of the patients.  Maybe I could sit in on that and express some of my misgivings about shock treatment.
I soon found a way to bring it up, saying that I thought it might be detrimental to my health, and I was upset because I had been told I could not refuse shock treatment.  A heavy set woman probably in her early fifties spoke up, "Oh you don't have to be afraid of electric shock. I have had 200 electric shock treatments!"
I was so taken back by this strong endorsement of shock treatment, that I could not help but explain out loud at the very number. "Two hundred electric shock treatments!!"
I had already witnessed the extreme mental confusion of several patients when they returned from treatments.  They looked pretty out of it to me, but I had been assured they would feel better after a while. In a few weeks they would regain their memories.
As near as I could tell the theory was although they did not quite know what electric shock did, it took the patient out of their present reality so that an obsessive line of thinking could be interrupted.  After the patient recovered they were often relieved of a heavy burden of worry and anxiety that had led to hospitalization. Why wouldn't that be good for me?
The point was I did not want to stop thinking about the problems that had beset me and my family for years, because otherwise how would we be able to make progress in solving them? I was just getting a good start.
My dad was now being confronted for the first time by people of authority, after a lot of thinking and effort on my part to get him to this point somehow.  He was having to face what years of stress had done to me, mostly caused by him.  What was wrong with that?  I had done what I set out to do, found a way to force him to some accountability.
Dr. Davis did not even know about the molesting yet, but I planned to tell him as soon as I got the chance. That is what I thought I could do in a psych ward.  I could take advantage of the protection afforded me in there by walls and locked doors and could tell secrets and reveal being the victim of sexual crimes I had not dared to talk about before.  Daddy had always screamed and shouted when anybody got too close to a subject he did not want talked about.  He had seen his dad do the same thing for years.
My hot tempered Grandfather Wilson terrorized the whole family into saying absolutely nothing to him about his womanizing. Men who caused big problems in their families acted like this. But electric shock treatment was going to be a big distraction for me and possibly very dangerous.
I went to my appointment with Dr. Branch that afternoon and talked as fast as I could for 20 minutes presenting my case against having electric shock. Dr. Branch did not say anything. He asked a question or two and dismissed me.
The morning of the fifth day Dr. Davis came in to talk to me around 9:o'clock.  He said that Dr. Branch had still not gotten back to him yet.  I knew that meant that I should continue to prepare for a series of shock treatments.  The longer Dr. Branch went without communicating to Dr. Davis that he would not order shock treatment the more chance I thought there was that he was going to prescribe it for me.
Why?  How much more articulate could I be when given the chance to say why I objected to it.  But I was pretty sure that Dr. Branch looked at it as though I questioned, a mere girl of 20, the whole idea of shock treatment. This of course was before drug therapy was developed.  At that time, electric shock was the generally prescribed treatment and is still used. Everybody on that ward was getting shock treatment or were being transferred to the state mental hospital and would receive shock treatment there.  I thought it was just assumed, even from the fact I had been committed, that I was deemed mentally ill enough to require shock treatment. 
The cheekiness of objecting to shock treatment was going to irritate Dr. Branch, of course. But this was enforced treatment which went against my grain, especially after all the effort I had been making to assert myself with my own thinking.  I did not think I needed electric shock treatment.  I thought it might be very dangerous for me.  So why did I have to have it?  I could have asked that all day.  I did not think I fit the criteria of being mentally ill.  I was not helpless.  What more could I do to deal with problems I had been faced with since birth into a very troubled family.  How much better could I cope?    
I went into the day room and was sitting there around 11:30 a.m.  That is when I started thinking about how to stop Dr. Branch from prescribing shock treatment for me some other way.  I simply could not wait until he had given the order and attendants came to get me.  It would be too late to stop them.
I had to keep control of the situation at all costs.  How could I do it?  It occurred to me that I could go on strike, I could not take a deeper breath until he agreed to let me leave this hospital without electric shock therapy.  I no sooner thought this than I could feel my body lock up with the simple effort of not taking a deeper breath.  It was going to hurt, but a voice manifested within me, which seemed to be like a guide's that activated as soon as there was a life or death crisis.  The voice said that there was always a slim chance that electric shock would kill me instantly.  Or if it did not kill me could do considerable damage to me. The voice went on to say that if I kept my dying in my own hands I might be able to come back with less damage, that I could do it, I had been exerting my will for months.  Now was not the time to relinquish control to them.

So just like that, my body movement froze and I started dying. I do not think this could ever have happened if I had not had that earlier frightening bout with severe fatigue years before. Severe fatigue was what was affecting me now making this solution seem like the only option I had left to stop the treatments. I was being guided to do this to save my own life. But most people survived shock, another part of me reasoned.  The guide voice said, but for you this is punishment for trying to speak out in a long series of similar punishments that have silenced you for years.  You do not see electric shock as something that will help you get well. You see it as a means of torture to subdue an uppity young female who is trying to assert herself in a man's world.  That is why it is so dangerous for you.  You have taken enough punishment for trying to speak out.  You cannot take a lot more. You have reached the breaking point.
I realized that we can die when we decide it might be time. If I had to die I was going to be in charge, not them. I was not going to be dragged kicking and screaming to my death.  I was going to choose death when I had no other choice left.
By this time my fixed position and some saliva that was now running down my chin had attracted the attention of attendants.  They called for assistance and half dragged me to my room.  They laid me on the bed with my eyes still open and fixed, half conscious.  I could see and hear everything,  I was just locked into one position and could not speak.
I thought of how upset Dr. Davis would be to see me like this after the intense talk we had had a couple of nights ago.  I was never conscious of him in the room, even though he was called.  I could only see the wall of my bedroom the way my body was positioned. So I would not have known he was there if he observed me silently from my off side.
I knew that Dr. Davis could not get me out of this fixed position and now dying and neither could Dr. Branch.  It was too late.  I was going to have to spend a long afternoon of dying to convince them they had to give up the idea of shock treatment.
Dying was painful, but I was so convinced that in the end it would save me I was able to endure it.  I didn't know how long I was going to have to die, but I would just have to endure it as long as I could.  I could not stop what I was doing either.  This was what dying was all about.
I had reached the breaking point.  I was dying because I could no longer live with all this happening to me.  There had been all kinds of warnings.  Don't get fatigued past this point.  You must rest.  You must not get too stressed.
I thought my nervous system had been damaged from years of crisis.  I had barely been able to stave off a crisis when I was twelve. Another week or two of work and stress would probably have caused my collapse. So now my strength had been exhausted again.  I had come to end of my strength to fight a conscious battle and had frozen up.  I would just have to wait and see if I could survive this. And going to this extreme was bound to cause some permanent damage. Once a nurse came and lifted up my eyelid and said to someone else,"She has been like this all afternoon." 
Gradually over the afternoon my sight began to fade.  Darkness was coming on.  I was not able to see any more.  Approximately four hours after I began to freeze up, another change in my physical condition occurred.  Some loud involuntary sounds emitted from deep in my throat that brought nurses and attendants running.
They  hovered over me asking me if I was having a nightmare.  No, it was not me who had voluntarily made those noises. I realized when they all left it had been my body in the last few moments of breathing.  After the sounds stopped, my breathing stopped.  I had never taken a deeper breath all afternoon.  I could not.  
I could tell none of the people who had responded to the noises had ever seen a mental patient in this kind of crisis because they did not take my vital signs, and left with no idea that I had ceased to breathe.  They thought I was having a normal nightmare!
From what I could gather later Dr. Branch had told Dr. Davis I was having a catatonic seizure and just to leave me alone. Which was why no doubt my vital signs were not taken. Dr. Branch never appeared on the ward to my knowledge after I seized up.
I could feel my heart straining from lack of oxygen.  It felt like it was soon going to break.
And then I simply could not do this anymore.  As my strength to keep on living had failed, my strength to keep on dying failed. I was able to take up the idea of living again. I was no longer unable to do anything but die.  I could start living again because I had done all I could do.  If they gave me electric shock now they would know beyond a shadow of a doubt it could kill me.  
I sat up and when the nurse came in, she said, "Oh, you are awake now."  And a little later on she bought me some dinner and I ate some of it.
I asked if Dr. Davis had gone home.  The nurse told me that yes, she believed he had, but she said, "He sat by your bedside for two hours. He will be back in the morning. But I am going to call and tell him that you are up and eating.  He wanted to know if there was any change in your condition." 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Memoir: Chapter 49: Finding a doctor I could trust on the psych ward

I tried not to panic about being committed to a psych ward.  The armed officer told me that I had the right to make one phone call before we left the university.  The only one I considered calling was my Grandfather Wilson, but since he knew so little about me from not ever having having had a meaningful conversation with me, I knew he just would not understand why this was happening, and would likely be a bigger distraction than help.  So I turned down the opportunity, and we traveled to the Salt Lake County Hospital in silence.
It seemed that this was the teaching hospital for the University of Utah medical school.  I did not know it at the time but I was now under the jurisdiction of Dr. Branch, head of the psychiatry department in the medical school at the University.  I did not see Dr. Andersen, who had committed me, for ten days.  I figured he anticipated that I would not be happy with being committed in the shockingly short time he did it, so avoided me. 
And my dad thought I could teach school in Utah schools with no problem!  I had only begun to go another route to try to surface the molesting I had endured in childhood a relatively short time and here I was on my way to a psych ward because of my unusual and disturbed behavior, I took it.  Even I was in quite a state of shock over this totally unexpected development.  Dr. Lees had had the capacity to ignore for two years what I thought was a distinctive cry for help in a paper I had written. This had lulled me into thinking that it would not matter what I did no one would respond.  So I was going to have to get used to Dr. Andersen, the university psychiatrist,  overreacting.
I found out by asking around later that Dr. Andersen was a Mormon psychiatrist, so I figured he had a gut reaction to a female student challenging him right off with silence to one of his questions. Well, not just one question actually, but three!
My reason for doing this was because I felt I had not been able to engage his whole attention from the beginning.  Like many men, and Mormon men of authority in particular, he just was not used to focusing intense attention on a female, except for sexual reasons, I did not think, as though what she was in his office for and was going to tell him was not likely to be important. Since I now felt that I had committed myself to leaving the University and knew that all hell was going to break loose when my father heard about it, his relatively offhand manner annoyed me almost at once.
I was tired of being ordered around by men and having no choice in the matter.  Now that I no longer had to worry about staying in good standing at the university by not creating any problems for anybody, I figured I could risk more with this psychiatrist.
My reasoning was what could he do to me in such a short time.  I planned to resume talking after three questions, having perhaps shocked him into more intensity, and we could maybe have a chat that would mean something before I left the university forever.
In fact, if he had been one minute later in returning to the office, I would have been gone, unless he had stationed someone outside to make sure I didn't leave.  Of course, in his mindset, he might have sent out search parties to apprehend me had I somehow gotten away from him.
So now that he had deemed me disturbed enough to commit to a mental ward, what now?  The armed officer left me at the desk of the locked ward to be admitted and left.  My glasses were requested from me, which I did not like because I was extremely near sighted, but I was told that this was just a precaution and as soon as my doctor gave permission they would be returned to me.
Okay, I would have to comply with the rules.  I was shown a room where I would be sleeping and introduced to a woman who was already assigned to the only other bed in the room.  She was so emaciated,  I was alarmed but she explained to me after the nurse left that she really wasn't a 'nut case' but had transferred here from the cancer ward.  She said she was dying and she wanted someone to talk to her before her demise, but nobody on this ward had time to talk to anyone.  All they wanted to do was electric shock people she said and fortunately she couldn't have electric shock because she was dying.  They seemed to have no idea how talking could satisfy her.  She was surprised and very disappointed. This was not what she expected to find on a ward for the mentally ill.
I did not like the sounds of that at all, and decided I had better talk to someone in authority about shock treatment as soon as possible.  Thelma, a woman I judged to be in her fifties, got her emaciated self up off the bed with great effort and dragged herself slowly out of the room in search again for someone to talk to her.  She seemed very determined she was not going to give up, she was going to make someone say something significant to her before she died.
I would have made time for her, but she like me was hunting someone in authority, and she apparently judged me to be too young to know what to say to her about the big change she was facing.  I didn't know if she could find anyone here who was an authority on death, but I thought they should at least make the effort to grant her dying request.  Wasn't it their proclaimed job to help the mentally disturbed? I was sure she was after the same thing I was, some attention that was intense enough to make a difference.
After she left I went out in the day room where a very young woman was causing a ruckus.  She was lying in front of the locked door wailing that she did not belong here, she was not crazy.  She was praying for Clark Gable to come and rescue her. I assumed her God of choice, Clark Gable, was one of the eccentricities that had landed her here, but I noted that it might be wiser not to panic and show fear as she was doing.  We were probably close to the same age, but I couldn't imagine losing control of myself as she was doing. I was anything but not controlled.  In fact, I had been calculating the effects of everything I said to anybody for months, practically down to the last word. 
While I was sitting there an older doctor, I would say in his fifties, introduced himself as Dr. Bliss and said that he had been assigned to ask me questions about why I had been committed.  Oh, this was what I had been waiting for.  I started to describe to him my interview with Dr. Andersen and what I had done and how Dr. Andersen responded.  I could see almost at once that it was going to be very hard to impress Dr. Bliss, who I found out later was probably the most prominent and well known psychiatrist in the city with a big private practice, and Mormon, of course.
It soon occurred to me that I might have to act the same way with him as I had acted with Dr. Andersen if he continued to act too damned unimpressed in order for him to get the complete picture of why I was in here.  He had a built in attitude toward women that was beginning to offend me.  I was soon sure this man was not going to be able to help me, that in fact, that it was dangerous for me to continue to give into him a minute longer. I would lose more stature even to myself by the second if I did.  I forced myself to go silent, keeping my eyes fixed on him, to see how he took it.  He immediately conveyed to me by turning away that he was a very busy man who did not have time to waste trying to fathom what some patient was trying to get across to him with a sudden silence.  He just folded his notes and left with no further ado.
I thought well, good.  They would have to find somebody else to talk to me, as I could never have gotten this man to understand why I had done what I did in a million years.  His complete attention was not to be had.  At that moment I might have been just a random student charity case to him on my way to shock treatment. He surely did not need me as a patient if I was going to give him static. 
It finally really came home to me that shock treatment did not require talking to the patient.  The treatment was what restored the patient to sanity and therefore normalcy.  How did it do that?  Could it be because it was viewed by the mind under siege as torture, and naturally the message to the patient would be to get the hell out of this place as fast as you can.  Start doing what you used to do when you were considered sane.  Stop rebelling.  Stop making demands.  Be sensible.  Above all, cut the drama.
Shock treatment started to seem to me like a pet alligator that was kept on site despite being very dangerous.  The pet alligator was probably to blame for the disturbed male patient who kept me awake that night bellowing from across the receiving room from the male ward.  He bellowed for hours.  How anybody got any sleep around there I did not know.
People were also in and out administering shots for pain to Thelma, the cancer patient. During the night she moaned that she just as well go back to the cancer ward because nobody was talking to her in here.  I thought good luck, lady, all these people are not in practice, because they don't really have to talk to anyone.  Shock treatment does the job. You said it yourself.  This mental ward is not about talking to people.  It is about administering shock treatment and restoring patients to normalcy the fastest and cheapest way possible. 
From then on a whole phalanx of students and one resident came to talk to me.  I did not know why they thought it was important that anyone keep talking to me, but I suspected that they thought it would keep me preoccupied until I got used to the idea of shock treatment.
One student even came to try to engage me in an exchange of words I had dated the year before who pretended not to recognize me.  In fact, it is very possible he had not paid enough attention to me to recognize me under these circumstances even though he had spent the evening with me. I was not able to be polite to him very long.  I wasn't here to help self centered students like him feel good about becoming doctors.  God help the patients, if this one ever became a psychiatrist I thought. Oddly no women at all were ever sent to try to interview me.
I thought I was going to be able to get along with an Oriental intern or possibly resident, but after talking to him a couple of  times we suddenly reached an impasse, and I was forced to go silent.  He simply could not stay interested, although he might have thought it was the other way around after I went silent with him, too.

I thought the fuss they were making over Thelma in the middle of the second night was because she demanded to be taken back to the cancer ward.  Instead I found out she actually died, and that was why her bed was empty the next morning. I was a little bit shaken by how fast she went.  She really had meant that she was dying, and people had better talk to her before it was forever too late.  
That same day another woman who seemed to be in one of the worst rages I had ever seen was assigned to the empty bed in my room.  She was seething all the while the nurses were getting her settled. She told them that she would have killed the bitch if she had not decided to come and commit herself.
I took it that the bitch was a younger woman who had flirted with her husband, slept with him, something, but she kept saying she had committed herself to keep from committing murder.  While she was grinding her teeth, a tall man in a white coat came in and said to me that he had been assigned to my case.  He was an intern he informed me who was on a months' rotation to this ward.  He got so rattled while he was talking to me, he dropped the glass syringe he was carrying with him to take blood he said from another patient.  The syringe broke and he had to pick the pieces up.
My new roommate was eying him and me balefully.  I was a little bit horrified to realize after he left that she had started to confuse us with her husband and his younger girlfriend.  I hoped that this did not mean she would try to kill me later on.  I was supposed to go talk to the Intern that evening around seven o'clock when he said he had some time to try to get into my case.
My new roommate continued to make threats and send burning glances in my direction that I hoped did not mean my life was in danger.  I had not imagined I might be attacked by a very dangerous mental patient because she was confusing me with a woman she wanted to kill.
Around seven I went to talk to the new Intern who said I could call him Dr. Davis.  He warned me that he was not even going to become a psychiatrist, but a doctor of Internal Medicine.  He did not know very much about mental illness, but he had been told I was not responding well to anyone.  So he asked me tell him why that was.
Since he had been so forthcoming about himself, I asked him where he was from.  He said, California, that he was the son of an architect but had decided to change the family profession and become a doctor instead.  He was a war veteran, 30 years old.  All this was good news, I thought, he was not a Mormon, maybe he could take a more objective view about women than they could, not having been influenced from birth by Prophets of God and their inherent attitudes toward women.
He said he did not know much about Mormonism. He was so busy he did not have a lot of time to learn about it either.  So what were my issues with Mormonism?
I started telling him my story which he actually showed a great deal of interest in.  I mean, I told him parts of my story, as much as I could in the time he allotted.  He also mentioned he was married and his wife had been working to help put him through medical school, but I thought he was beginning to act more like a man on an interesting date with a new girl than a married Intern.  He immediately caught himself and said that I reminded him of a girl he had met in Italy during the war.  He said he had not met anybody like her ever again until now.
I thought that it figured, since I had been at war since I was five years old with the molesters, at war with my alcoholic, suicidal but very domineering father, at war with professors and students who reminded me of my father, and had gone to war enough with a Mormon University psychiatrist to get committed to a mental ward.

All this had taken place by the end of my third day in the psych ward. This business of getting a doctor to talk to me satisfactorily had been occupying my mind ever since I arrived, but now I seemed to be succeeding with Dr. Davis. I really did not think anybody else cared whether I formed what I considered a successful relationship with a doctor at all, because talking was not considered that important.  They all seemed to be waiting for something else to take place in regard to my case,  I was not quite sure what it was, but I suspected it was my own prescription for shock treatment.  Dr. Davis assured me that he did not have the authority to prescribe for me.  Dr. Branch was in charge of my case and he would do that.  I had not even seen him.  I wondered if Dr. Branch would actually prescribe shock treatment eventually without even seeing me!  The thought was chilling. 
I went back to my room after two hours of satisfactory conversation with Dr. Davis, but my roommate was still awake still spitting fire.  Now she seemed more jealous than ever.  She seemed to think that I had been out all night having sex with her husband, and it sounded like she was planning to leap across the room and kill me before anybody could stop her.  She was too enraged and too jealous even to stop herself she was saying.  She said she did not want to do it, she knew the punishment would be severe but she couldn't help herself.  The bitch was going to die!
I was prepared to scream if she took one step but I did not know if they could get to me in time before she did something that was bound to be life threatening as she probably had the strength of a man eating tigress!
Just as she appeared ready to spring at me with a final guttural snarl, she let out the most blood curdling scream I had ever heard in my life.  Nor have I heard anything since that could be compared to it. Everybody in authority that was in running distance dropped everything and sprinted like mad to my room.
My roommate lay back on the bed, gasping.  What is wrong with you, they yelled.  "I even scared myself!" was all she could utter in explanation.
But the ungodly scream must have vented enough of her mad rage that she turned over and went to sleep.  But I could not sleep.  I felt I was still in extreme danger from the pet alligator they kept on this ward, electric shock therapy.  I had to escape that somehow before I dared to sleep.  The pet alligator was a lot more dangerous to me, I knew instinctively, than the disturbed woman.  Set loose on the hapless mental patients by too many doctors, the alligator's lust for victims probably could not be contained without a battle to the death.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Memoir: Chapter 48: The die is cast

I thought I only had two classes that I thought were going to give me serious trouble, after I had been in school a couple of weeks and had time to see how my changed  policy was going to go.  Both were education classes, and it was easy to see how I might get into serious trouble with those.  All my education classes had been dull and unsatisfying, but these two had problems that bordered on the extreme.  One had the worst teacher I had ever encountered in college or high school. His lectures were so hard to sit through, that it finally occurred to me that this is was also what I needed to rebel against.  What did I have to lose?
I had tried to tell my dad every way possible that I had been shaped by the fierce and scarring fire of his upbringing.  Because of that it was not going to be possible for me to teach unnoticed like his sister Nethella did.  She went on year after year highly respected in every single position she held in the community, from teacher in Sunday school to elementary school to County Supervisor of education. I just as well get thrown out of college now because of my behavior in one of these education classes as get thrown out of a job later because I taught a class the way I thought it ought to be taught and alarmed the parents.
Dull was safe.  That is what happened when a state was dominated by religion. The Mormon Church still revered the prophet's teachings who had introduced polygamy as a divine revelation.  Nothing had changed except the main stream Mormons had given up polygamy in order for Utah to enter the union without severe opposition and controversy.  These dull classes were what the parents preferred to a teacher who might spout opinions they did not approve of.
Utah Mormons were going to have their way in their own state, which is why educators, teachers, professors, everybody tended to conform to Mormon beliefs.  Dynamic teaching that seemed the least bit critical was always going to be regarded with suspicion.  Even other religions had never been tolerated to any degree. 
I was resisting this mold and was probably going to have to leave the state before I'd have any peace of mind. So I just as well get it over with.  If I had to leave college my dad could not very well demand that I teach.  I was going to hunt for some other job to earn money.  I was sick of agonizing.
As for the other education class, it was on how to teach English to high school students.  The Dean of Women was in charge, and she was an unbelievably eccentric lady I thought would have been driven completely up the wall had she tried to teach in high school.  In the first place she was obsessed by gum chewing.  The second she spotted a student in her class chewing gum she would immediately stop and give a considerably lengthy lecture on the evils of having to teach in the face of disrespectful chompers of gum.
I had not run into a teacher that hated gum chewing since grade school, but eventually all the students had found out about her obsession and everybody had quit chewing gum in class so she could settle down and teach what she was supposed to about how to engage high school students in English classes.  So the first thing I did as soon as she stopped looking for jaws that were moving suspiciously was dispense with taking frantic notes like all the rest of the students were doing.  I had always followed suit but now I figured if what she said didn't stick with me, it was not worth remembering, so I was the only one in class who was looking directly at her and carefully weighing whatever she said.
At first I received A's on some of my assignments, but then she would let down on her intensity, and I would respond accordingly with papers she decided were D grade.  Well, even I was somewhat disconcerted by the dizzying way I leaped from writing excellent papers to failing ones, but I was responding very honestly so I didn't protest any of her grades.
At about that time a new factor entered into the proceedings.  Lees called me to take a part in another play he was taking on the road.  When I went to rehearsal and read the part he wanted me to play, I considered turning him down but didn't quite dare.  I was to play the second female lead, a simple sweet innocent submissive Amish girl.  I thought well if I wasn't getting the message here of how he preferred me to act, I would never get it. After three years interacting with him, starting on my fourth year, he had no concept that I was rebelling against being this kind of girl with all my might.
In fact, I was at the very moment engaged in behavior that might cause me to be ridden out of college on a rail.  But I planned not to do anything too drastic so I would be able to finish the run of the play at least.  I rehearsed but the week before opening, I reached another crisis in the dull education class.  I just decided not to take the mid term on which my grade would depend.  We were only going to have two tests we were informed, a mid term and a final.  I wasn't going to stay in college.  I was going to leave because of this terrible class, if for no other reason.  It was time!
Poor Lees went on with his play, unknowing.  I wondered when one of the teachers, either the idiot male teacher or the Dean of Women would report my conduct to somebody.  I really thought it would be the Dean of Women who unexpectedly called me in a couple of days before the opening of the play in a town three hundred miles away fairly close to the canyon country where I had been raised.  She said to me that she simply could not teach with me in the class just looking at her.  She told me the amazing decision she had made that she would give me the credit for this class if I simply would not attend.
I nodded, trying to take in the connotations of this unheard of concession. Remembering the other guy, I finally said, "Oh you don't have to do that, I am in trouble in my other class.  I will be leaving college very soon."  I was finished talking but before I left I decided I would just look at her directly in the eyes a second or two, something I had been trying lately, because I never expected to see her again.  I wanted her to remember this moment.  I felt because of how rattled she was I was looking into her soul, and then I got up and left and never went back.
So now I had told her I was more or less through with college, how long would it be before Lees got this information filtered down to him?
The opening of the play was routine on Friday night. Mormon audiences were of course pleased that there was nothing in this play from the University that might disturb.  They seemed to applaud with guarded enthusiasm.  The next day we all got in our caravan of cars and headed for another location.  That night to my surprise, Robert, the sadistic professor I did not like, showed up at the play.  Afterwards he and Lee acted gloriously happy.  I thought this was curious.  This was not a play that the sophisticated and intellectual Robert could possibly have liked. Somebody said Robert was on vacation, and he, and Lees, and several others of the merry band all went over to the motel where Lees were staying, but of course I was not invited to attend the party, and went to my own motel with some other players who were not invited to go to the party either and went to sleep.
The next day on the way home, Lees demanded that the cast who were all riding in the van with him, do a line rehearsal.  I hated Lee's line rehearsals.  He did not want you to put any emotion in your lines, you just had to go through the play with as little feeling interjected as possible.  Talk about a way to make being in a play dull!  Lee's line rehearsal ruined my night.  Why didn't he just leave us alone.  I had too much I needed to think about that was worrying me.
I woke up just as we started to climb up the University hill on the way to my room in the Phi Mu house.  I became aware that my head was on the shoulder of some unknown male and he was holding my hand in the darkness with such warmth and passion I was surprised he had not progressed further into intimacy.  Maybe because I was asleep.  I did not even know who this was.  I had not noticed the male sitting next to me.  I glanced at him as I got out of the van and recognized him as a tech person.  I needed to ask Marilyn about him!  He was blond, quite handsome.
So on Monday I finally found out who he was by asking Marilyn who confirmed he was a tech person, and he was also married.  I had appreciated his genuine raw passion for me under the circumstances, but I was going to have to nip this delightful interest in me in the bud, if he was married. I was sure he would expect more of the same on the trips to the hinterlands to come, 300 miles from home.
I also found out about a month later that people who were present to the line rehearsal that night said that right in the middle of it, I fell into a profound sleep.  They tried in vain to wake me up to continue, but I did not respond.  I was sure that this delightful act of rebellion was what inspired the passion in the guy sitting next to me.  Nobody I had ever heard of would have dared fall asleep in one of Lees' line rehearsals.  But it figures that I did it considering my state of mind, and didn't even know I had done it!   
I was busy thinking about him that Monday when I was notified Lees wanted to see me in his office. This was sometime toward noon.  I was to see him at 2:30.  I was thinking the Dean of Women must be the informant if I was in trouble. I doubted that the news of my missing a mid term could have traveled that far yet. 
Well, 2:30 came and went, and an hour later the secretary said that Lees must have had something come up, so he would have to see me the next day.  We made another appointment for Tuesday.
I slept well.  The die was cast.  In fact, I even felt fairly cheerful.  All this agonizing I had been doing would soon be over.
When I arrived to the appointment the next day, Lees was not in the office nor did he show up for close to another hour.  I could not help but feel that he really did not want to do this, so when he came, he said without any fanfare, "So what are your troubles?"
I just didn't answer him.  I looked at him, but stayed silent, according to my new stronger way of asserting myself.  So he didn't waste any more of his time.  He said, "If you won't talk to me, will you see the school psychiatrist?"
Well, this was an amazing new idea he was springing on me.  Why hadn't he thought of that novel idea when I wrote the paper about the student covered with sores everybody just ignored.  It was too late now.  I was gone, although I would reassure him as soon as I had a chance that I would finish the run in the play.  He didn't have to worry about that, if that was what was bothering him.  
I was thinking on the way over to the psychiatrist's office that I had never actually been to a psychiatrist before.  I needed to experienced everything I possibly could before I left. He probably led a very dull life administering to all these conforming students. Maybe I could give him a refreshing bit of honesty before I departed, too.
Dr. Andersen did look as though he had been bored for a month of Sundays when I met him.  He started asking me a few routine questions as though my answers would not have mattered to him if I had been stark naked.  I thought boy, he really needs to be brought back to life.  So the next question he asked me I held his eyes and did not answer.  It took quite a lot of nerve for me to do this to a psychiatrist, but I wanted him to remember this encounter.  So I did it twice more.
My theory is that Dr. Andersen fell madly in love with me on the spot and just could not let me get out of his office for fear I would be gone forever.  He was right.  I was well on my way to disappearing from the university.  I was just going to wait until that damn play was over with.
Dr. Andersen got up and abruptly left the room. I was confused.  I had thought I had surely gotten his attention but maybe not.  Maybe he was beyond hope.  After I waited another half an hour for him to return I decided just to leave.  This was insulting.  Such a shocking lack of interest.  Like Lees. What mundane business could possibly be occupying his mind elsewhere this long.
I was just going out the door when Dr. Andersen confronted me.  He said, "Geraldine, I think you should be admitted to a hospital." 
I immediately snapped back to what ever passed for the sane meet-the public state of mind I had been in before I started all this.
"No, I don't think I need to go that far," I said, "I am acting in a play, you know, for Dr. Lees, the head of the theater department.  I have to go to southern Utah this weekend.  Maybe I can receive some therapy?"
He said, "Geraldine, you are going to a hospital!"  I saw the armed officer standing just outside the door for the first time.  Dr. Andersen pointed to him and said, "I have arranged for this gentleman to take you there!"