[Luke (right) and Lydia [left] at Richardson’s and the Bridge of Flowers]
Waiting for an opening in one of the hospitals was another “waiting game”, just as it was waiting for medications to work. While waiting for one of the hospitals offering Electroconvulsive Therapy to have an opening for me, my nephew Luke brought information from the internet for me to read. The information was encouraged and lessened my fear. Most importantly, most of the ECT sites reported about a 70% success rate. My nephew Luke was always doing things to lift my spirits. When I finally did transfer to another hospital for ECT treatments, Luke came with me and was by my side for hours, until I was admitted and brought to the hospital room. After my sister Jane read my testimony (Part II), she pointed out that the Apostle Paul talked to the Lord THREE TIMES about his “thorn in the flesh” (II Corinthians 12:8-10) and traveled with “LUKE the beloved physician (Colossians 4:14). I was hospitalized THREE TIMES and my BELOVED nephew LUKE was by my side [Just sayin’…].
During my two stays at C.D.H., I never wanted to go outside to the “Healing Garden” with the group, but the head nurse convinced me to go with her. She wheeled me around the garden and showed me the fountains. This was an incredibly nice thing she did for me. It was on her break time. When we got back inside, a nurse told us that Wing Memorial Hospital – UMass Memorial Health Care, in Palmer, MA. called and said they had an opening for me. The head nurse helped me to pack my things and get ready to go to the hospital in Palmer. I noticed she had tears in her eyes and asked her why she was crying. She said, “I’m happy that you will get the help you need.” As I waited on a stretcher in the hallway for Luke and the ambulance from Palmer, both staff and patients came to say “Goodbye” and wish me well. One patient thanked me for sharing what I did in a group counseling session. During the session someone was blaming her family for her depression. I shared that I didn’t think anyone was to blame for my depression. I said I did a lot of things that betrayed my sister’s trust, but I had hope that things will get better because I knew my sister loved me. Another patient, who struggled with psychosis and was mostly in her own world also came to wish me well. I was finally seeing that even when I felt a disconnect from God, God was never disconnected from me. When I felt totally out of control, God was in complete control of my life.
“Where shall I go from Your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from Your Presence?
If I ascend into Heaven, You are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, You are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there Your hand shall lead me,
and Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,’
even in the darkness is not dark to You;
the night is as bright as day,
for darkness is as light for You.
For you formed my inward parts;
You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are Your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me,when as yet there were none of them!”
– Psalm 139:7-16
I was admitted at Wing Memorial Hospital after a long wait in the emergency room. It was the Labor Day weekend and the Psychiatrist who performed the ECT treatments did not come to the hospital was off, so there was more waiting to do. On Tuesday, I finally met the psychiatrist Dr. Mujica. He talked about the ECT procedure and gave me a DVD I was able to watch in the TV room. He told me to watch the DVD and he would come talk to me in a few days. He did not come to the hospital on Wednesdays. There was more waiting.
The hospital stay at Wing was much more difficult than at CDH because I stayed on the floor with elderly people with dementia. I had a private room at the end of the hall where there was a locked exit door just outside my door. All day long I would hear an elderly person try to open the door, so she “could go home.” Another elderly woman would often come out of her room and ask, “Where is my room?” Each time, when I was out in the hall, I would say, “Here is your room. It’s right here.” And each time she would say “Thank you” and go back into her room, only to get “lost” again a few minutes later. I also experienced the “sundowner effect” when all the patients are wide awake at night and chaos reigns. The nurses and the aides had their hands full, but they always had time to help me. A male nurse found out that I liked sports, so he would give me copies of sports news he printed off the internet at home on his own time. When I asked him if he liked sports he said, “I’m not that kind of guy.”
The recreational therapist also took a liking to me. She always urged me to join everyone for a recreational activity, such as bowling with plastic pins and balls. She and her helper also led trivia games, but they weren’t much of a challenge for me. Both the recreational therapist and assistant somehow saw the “real” Lydia and told me I had a lot to give. The recreational therapist even came to my room to talk with me and encourage me by saying how smart I was and how gifted I was. There was also a Christian college student from UMass who worked on the floor as an “extra pair of eyes.” He was assigned to sit outside the room of a patient who needed watching. He brought his text books and his Bible. We often talked about spiritual things and I asked how his studies were going. Again, I saw God working and providing special people to take care of me.
To be continued…
In His Grip and For His Glory,