A friend of mine asked me what was happening with my mom at the beginning of February. Here is the reply I sent him:
It’s a long story.
Something happened to her brain, but it wasn’t a stroke. They’re not really sure. She’s been having memory problems for about two years, but I just was blowing it off, thinking it’s just her getting old and forgetful, or wanting attention, or suffering from depression. I talked to her on Thanksgiving — we even video chatted on my cousin’s laptop on Skype — and everything was normal. She was sort of distracted and kept forgetting things, but that’s the way she’s been for a while. Then that night they found her wandering around the parking lot of her apartment complex because she couldn’t remember which apartment was hers, and she was really mad about it and yelling at people. Like two weeks before that I started paying for her cell phone and my sister’s cell phone; I had them added to my AT&T account and they both got new phone numbers. Because of that […] they couldn’t get in touch with anyone so they called the cops. The cops thought she was just a crazy old lady because she couldn’t remember what month it was or who the President is or anything, so they took her to the hospital, gave her a CT scan, and then “Baker Acted” her. The Baker Act is a law in Florida (maybe the whole US?) that basically says they can hold you if you’re crazy.
There’s only two places where you can Baker Act someone in Daytona. One is the big, nice hospital across the street from the Daytona Beach International Speedway. (Awesome hospital, all NASCAR money built it; incredible facilities, super high-tech, etc.) The other is a shitty little mental ward where they stick people rehabbing from cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. So of course with our luck they stuck her in the shitty one.
I found out the next day and have been dealing with it every day.
At first they said she had a stroke, then they said she didn’t. They said she has brain damage, but they don’t know from what. She’s terrified of being in a “home” or trapped, so she keeps flipping out and screaming and yelling and trying to escape, so they keep drugging her out of her mind to keep her calm. After TWO MONTHS I was finally able to get her transferred from the shitty place to the nice hospital, but it’s the same dumbass doctor in charge at both places and he sucks. It’s just terrible. It sucks ten ways to Sunday, man. It’s the worst thing ever.
When I talked to her the night before last, she was telling me that she thought she was going to die that night because the building was collapsing and the people were all crazy. It’s true that everyone there is crazy. I call every single day and every time I can hear psychotic lunatics screaming in the background. She’s scared to death — when she’s not drugged into a stupor — and doesn’t understand why she can’t go home.
So, yeah. That’s what I’ve been dealing with since Thanksgiving.