I agreed to accompany Mr. S and Ms. R to the hospital. They were not ready to go when I arrived. Mr. S was walking around in his underwear putting his things together. Here was a man who was depressed to the point of suicidal ideation, and my thoughts were turning sexual. It was embarrassing and upsetting. But those images stick in my mind still.
Eventually the others got dressed and packed, and we went to the emergency department. Mr. S was not being hospitalized against his will, exactly, but we did not have a better way to get him admitted. We waited for seven or eight hours in total. First we waited in the triage area. Then we were taken to a small room for another two or three hours. The three of us did not talk much. I had a pack of cards, so we played a few games to pass the time. I can only imagine how difficult it would have been for Mr. S if he had been by himself. Emergency rooms are stressful and hospitals are stressful.
We had left for hospital in the morning. It was evening before he finally was admitted to the psychiatric ward. I had never been to the psych ward before. I guess it did not look much different than any other hospital ward, but I found it depressing. How did people heal here?
I visited Mr. S every second or third day while he was in hospital. He would go outside to smoke and we would talk. A couple of times we played ping-pong on the ping-pong table. Apparently the doctors were administering surveys and tests to give him a diagnosis. In addition he was held to a schedule of attending therapy group sessions. To me it sounded terrible. Patients shuffled around without much to look forward to. Many passed their time in the smoking area.
After a week the diagnosis came in. Mr. S was diagnosed with perception difficulties and prescribed an antipsychotic. The diagnosis explicitly stated that they felt he did not suffer from bipolar disorder. This sent shock waves through his support network. We had lived through multiple manic episodes. Many of us, from both Lurkville and New York, started calling into the hospital to protest and ask for a second opinion. The hospital staff was sick of us. In retrospect, the diagnosis was probably not incorrect. It does seem as if Mr. S has problems with perception. But to this day I feel it is incomplete. Mr. S, on the other hand, would probably disagree.
The next issue had to do with housing. Mr. S had been in hospital for two weeks and was about to be discharged, but he had no place to go. Ms. R was not prepared to take him in again. We pleaded with the hospital to keep Mr. S hospitalized until we could make arrangements, but they reminded us that they were a short-term treatment facility, not a long-term residential one. They agreed to keep him enrolled for another week.
Somehow somebody (not me) managed to find Mr. S an apartment. He was also admitted to a non-residential, medium-term treatment program. He still had no income. I ended up stepping in to cover his rent and living expenses. That sounds noble, but of course it wasn’t. Whether I was willing to admit it or not, I was just trying to get into his pants.
The treatment program did not work out. Mr. S still had his work permit, but it was temporary, and he was not seriously looking for work. I did not have work at the time either. From time to time I would pick up contracts which paid enough to meet my living expenses, but not expenses for two people with two sets of rent.
Mr. S wanted his Lurkistani citizenship. His plan (maybe his plan all along) was to become a Lurkistani citizen via spousal sponsorship. On paper Mr. S and Ms. R were still married, but in practice they were separated. Would Ms. R be willing to go through with the sponsorship? Or would Mr. S face deportation?