Friday, October 15, 2010

My List of Demands

As my regular readers (my few online friends, my few real-life friends who are aware of this blog, and my parents' spies who monitor the site for content) know, I'm transferring to an in-patient facility soon to treat my PTSD due to a recent unfortunate incident involving plagiarism, physical and sexual violence, a brick propelled through my bedroom window, and a few other minor occurrences. Since the incident, I've had trouble sleeping. I don't like to be in my bedroom. I don't even want to be in my house, but I don't want to go anywhere else, either. It's a tough choice when you have to be somewhere but there's nowhere you really want to be. My mother has a doctorate in psychology, so she contacted a colleaugue for advice. The advice was to deal with it sooner rather than later. This means I'm going to the loony bin Monday morning.

My mom, my dad, and I are flying to the central coast of California (I'm not supposed to mention the specific city anymore. In fact, I'm supposed to go back and change blogs where I've made references to it, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.) My mom, dad, and I will stay in a hotel on Sunday night. Monday morning, I will check into the funny farm. My mom will be with me until Saturday. My dad will be working in southern California next week, so we'll see him most days if not every day. My brother will stay at my uncle's house. Little brother is throwing a hissy fit over not being allowed to stay home alone, but my parents don't want to come home to a trashed house that reeks of booze, so it's a losing battle for him.

I've been told that I must stick it out at the facility for two weeks. After that, I've been told, if I find the conditions intolerable, I will be allowed to check out, and my parents will look for other in-patient or out-patient options. My mother will be there with me for the first week so: A)there's a limit to how horribly the staff will treat me; B)sneaking out would be incredibly difficult, so I won't even attempt it. The next week is a different story, however. My mother keeps telling me that she's talked to enough people that she knows it's nothing like "High Anxiety" or "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," but hearing it from my mother and actually experiencing the place are two entirely different things. I'm confident that, if the situation is so horrid that I cannot tolerate it for the two weeks that have been mandated, I can find a way out. I'm not giving away any secrets here, but I have a few contingency plans in place already in the event that escape becomes my only option if I wish to retain what little sanity I have left. In the meantime, I'm coming up with a list of demands that must be met in order for me to stay for longer than the two weeks my parents I have mandated that I stay no matter what. I'll post my tentative list. Please feel free to respond with any additional suggestions you may have.

Alexis' List of Demands to Be Met is She is to Remain in the Nuthouse

1. The food absolutely must be edible. If I were required to subsist solely on what is served at my school cafeteria, I would have died a long time ago. We have a closed campus, which means that only a select few privileged individuals are allowed to leave campus for lunch. The rest of us have a choice of eating garbage or bringing food from home. Most of the stuff that is served at the cafeteria would have been rejected by members of the Donner Party. While this sounds like hyperbole, I assure you it is not. If one were to check the contents of the trash cans in our cafeteria after lunch, the contents would consist almost entirely of brown bags and ziploc containers. I'm not sure how the cafeteria brings in enough revenue to be financially solvent, as even the football players, known for laziness, brown bag it like the rest of us. The state must surely heavily subsidize our "nutrition" program, because no one with any choice or even half od a brain is paying for the refuse the staff tries to pass off as food, and very few students qualify for free or reduced lunches. Free or reduced lunch eligibility is based on a sliding scale taking into consideration both family income and the number of family members in the household. With ours being an upper-middle-class community, that leaves mostly Mormons, who often have between six and twelve kids in their families. Even though their parents bring in decent salaries, the sheer number of kids their parents have qualifies them for free or at least reduced lunches. With ours being an upper-middle-class community, mostly Mormons utilize the free or reduced lunch option.

So if I can't have meals brought in, which is the case for the most part, the food damned well better be something I can stomach. I'm already called Anorexis, and not because I try to stay skinny. I will look like an Auschwitz detainee (no offense is intended to those whose relatives suffered and/or perished in Nazi concentration camps; I'm being literal here)if the food selections are so limited that I cannot get at least one decent meal a day.

2. I must have access to a piano for two hours each day. The wardens can pick the hours I play. I don't expect to be allowed to pound away at 3:00 a.m. and keep all the other inmates awake. I can't even do that at home. I just need some practice time, both for the purpose of maintaining my skills and for the stress relief it provides to me on a daily basis. Furthermore, if the piano provided is not sufficiently in tune, I must be allowed to bring in a piano tuner in the first week and have the piano tuned at my own expense.

I have a digital piano that I could bring with me, but the staff is concerned that I or someone else might attempt to strangle ourselves with one of the cords. (This alone makes me apprehensive about the place even if I had no other reservations.) A staff member could observe while I played the digital piano, but they apparently don't want to be obligated to watch me and/or my equipment that closely, even for two hours each day. That is actually a good sign. Maybe I will not have some psych tech following me around taking notes about everything I say or do for twenty-four hours a day.

I play the violin, but I won't even ask to bring it. If the wardens are worried about the digital piano cords, the stings on the violin and bow would have them positively pilfering the patients' anti-anxiety meds.
Furthermore, I'm not that passionate about playing the violin. If the truth were to be known, it actually causes me more stress than it relieves. I haven't really been formally instructed in how to play it correctly. We've always had one around the house because my mom plays. I started playing around with it when I was younger, and was able to achieve a not totally repulsive sound after only a few tries, so my mom gave me a crash course in the basics. I use it only when violin accompaniment is needed for some performance, and I'm usually very nervous that I'll screw up the whole time I'm playing, although I've been fortunate enough that such has not happened yet. In any event, I won't list the violin as one of my demands unless I want to put a few extras on my list just for the sake of having something to give up in negotiations.

3. I want to get my learner's permit for driving on my first trip home for a break. My brother was allowed to get his learner's permit after I had my accident in April, and he will get to take his test for his actual license in just a few weeks. My parents think it will be pointless for me to get my learner's permit because opportunities to practice will be too limited. I don't agree. If I schedule the initial driving lesson with a professional intructor for that firt week I am home, I then will be able to practice with my parents or one of my aunts or uncles during any of my time off. My Aunt Victoria is actually the best driving instructor in the family. She doesn't freak out as easily as everyone else does. My uncle Ralph isn't bad, either, except he has been known to fall asleep while the student driver was driving even if when it was only the driver's second time behind the wheel. Ralph and Victoria also live in an area where traffic is limited. Lastly, the permit is good for an entire year. Sometime between six months and a year from now, I will be ready to take the actual driving exam. As it is, I'll be almost seventeen-and-one-half at the very earliest by the time I get my license. That seems long enough to wait.

4. I want all of my medical records tranferred to this particular booby hatch so that I don't have to go through another eating disorder evaluation. A medical professional typically takes one look at me and automatically diagoses anorexia even if he or she doesn't say it aloud. I've been evaluated throroughly, and I do not have anorexia or any other eating disorder. Granted, I am a picky eater and I do have a growth disorder. This combination is less than ideal. Furthermore, I have a small stomach and do better with frequent small meals than three major meals a day. I will admit that I don't have a great appetite or a thorough appreciation of food. Still, I'll eat enough to stay healthy if I can, instead of having three large meals each day, eat the three meals but eat a bit less and have snacks -- even nutritious ones -- throughout the day and evening. If this facility cannot accommodate my health-realted dietary needs, it's not the right place for me.

4. I want a regular cell phone so that I can call my friends even if I can't have texting privileges. A long time ago, my parents were changing cell phone plans, and the last I heard in the discussion was that the plan they had selected had unlimited texting. I did a great deal of texting that month. The unlimited plan I had believed my parents had opted for was not the one ultimately chosen, but no oe bothered to let me in on this dirty little secret. When my parents got the $600.00 bill for my text messaging alone, not even counting the basic charges, they, as unreasonable parents often do, totally overreacted. I still was provided with a cell phone, but it was the kind that parents usually give six-year-olds, with a few buttons to call mommy and daddy on their cell phones, the home telephone number, the school, my aunt and uncle, and 9-1-1.

That's been well over three years. As a condition of entering this place, I would like a cell phone with at least calling privileges to my friends. I'm even willing to post a bond of up to $1,000 out of my account to which I actually have access (the vast majority of my income goes into an accoun that i won't have any access to until I'm an adult) so that my parents aren't out any large sum of money if I grossly exceed my allotted minutes.

5. I demand Internet privileges. I'm going to request two hours per day, but I'll drop down to an hour if I cannot get my way by any other means. I don't care if the computer is mine or the facility's, and I don't even care if a staff member watches every single site I access or keystroke I type while I'm online.

6. I absolutely must be allowed to watch "Judge Alex" each day that it is televised. I don't care who else doesn't get to watch what they want so that I may be granted this privilege, but it is absolutely non-negotiable. I don't care if it is DVRed it and I have to watch it at another time than when it's actually shown as long as I'm allowed to watch each episode on the day it's televised.

7. I must be allowed to use my own shampoo and conditioner. The stuff that hospitals provide is usally the equivalent to using Ajax to wash one's hair. I have no reason to assume that any products this place provides will be of any higher quality. Perhaps this facility doesn't even provide basic toiletries and everyone brings his or her own stuff, anyway, If so, all the better.

8. I must have some input into the drugs, if any, that I am forced to take. I'll try basically anything they give me once, but if the effects are too adverse, I want the right to a change in medication, or at least I want the doctor who is prescribing to listen to me when I tell him or her why I don't like the drug or drugs.

These eight items comprise my list of demands. Can anyone think of anything I should add, either because I genuinely need it or because it would make a good bargaining tool? If so, please let me know. I plan to present this list of demands on Saturday.

Buenos noches for those of you who are insomniacs, as am I, and good day to those of you who read this post later.


  1. Im sorry I have nothing to add, just wanted to let you know that I still follow your blog and I am so sorry for all you are going through. I have a daughter your age and my heart aches for you. Your writings, your music and believe it or not, your parents will get you through this. Wishing you the best.

  2. Thank you for your kind words, Marianne.

  3. Good grief.

    It seems that only the good are punished, Alexis.

    Bloody Hell!

    I am hoping this works out for you, one way or another.

    Oh. Drat. Our African Grey Parrot has just hear the out-of-control brat who lives next door being allowed to scream in their back garden (it's really a back yard, but I am foreign, so we have back gardens) and our parrot is now screaming just like the brat. Oh, the joy!