I just called my mom. I thought maybe if I talked to her in the middle of the day instead of at night she might be more alert / rational.

A man answered the phone in the common room at the Halifax Hospital Psychiatric Center, and said, “Hello?”

I said, “I’m calling to talk to Kathleen Gagne,” and he said, “Okay. Hold on.”

After about a minute she picked up the phone. She said, “Hello?” and I said, “Hey, mom. It’s David.”

She said, “Hi. How are you doing?” I sort of laughed and said that I was fine and asked how she was doing. She asked, “When are you coming to see me?” I told her that I would be there as soon as I could.

We talked for about four minutes, and almost the entire time she was just frantically repeating, “I gotta go. I gotta go.” I told her she didn’t have to go, and that she could talk to me. I asked her if she wanted to talk to me and she said, “Yes.”

I asked her to try not to be scared, because she sounded petrified. She just said, “I am scared. I gotta get out of here. I’m so tired. Please take me out of here.” Then she said she had to go because she was naked (which I know isn’t true because a nurse brought her to the phone in the common room to talk to me, and he wouldn’t have let her do that naked) and she needed to put some clothes on.

She said she was in a bad place, and I tried to explain to her that she was in the hospital, and that they were taking care of her, and that I call every day, several times every day, and I know all the doctors and nurses and I make sure they are taking care of her. I asked her if she was getting the photos of [name redacted] I send; I write her a card every day and put some pictures of [name redacted], or of me and [name redacted], in each one. She said, “Yes, they show them to me to tease me.” I told her that I sent them, and that the nurses aren’t trying to tease her, but she just kept repeating, “I gotta go. I gotta go.” The line went dead for a second and then I heard the on-hold music for about ten seconds, some nice classical piece. I thought the line would be disconnected, but she returned and said, “Hello?” I said, “It’s me, mom. I’m still here. It’s okay. You can talk to me,” but she just returned to repeating, “I gotta go. I gotta go,” and then the line went dead.

For some reason that I cannot explain, it actually helps to write that.