Parenting a child* with serious mental illness has meant for us multiple trips to the emergency room. As anyone who has ever been to the emergency room can attest, you are not there to enjoy the ambiance. It’s not the I Really Prefer This To Shopping at Target Room, after all. You are tense, you are frightened, you are pretending everything will be OK, and you are forced to share space with strangers who are experiencing their own crisis when you’d really rather be alone.
That was me last week, waiting for another psych evaluation and admit, sitting in that cold, noisy waiting room at the exhausted end of a day that started with fire alarms at 4:30 a.m., fire trucks, another ER visit, and the teenager’s mental health crisis. (Indoor cigarette smoking against the rules, duh + teen having rough time = A BAD DAY)
(The first ER visit early that morning was for my Hero Husband’s burned fingertips, injured as he attempted to put out the fire and then carried a box of books outdoors that was ON FIRE, to prevent the imminent conflagration of our entire basement and house. His courage, and selfless straightforward actions to protect us? I. Have. No. Words. Well, one. Gratitudelovegratitude.)
(Also, don’t do that should you ever be in that situation. The AMAZING kind and professional police officers and firemen gave us that message loud and clear. Smoke inhalation will get you long before the flames will, so just GET OUT.)
(Also, GO CHECK YOUR FIRE ALARMS. Now, walk away from your computer and check them. I would not be typing this today had our smoke alarms not worked last week.) (I’m not kidding, GO CHECK THEM.)
So there I was, hanging out with the teenager as we waited for her to be called back, and my tired, giddy brain produced the following. It killed some time, and made us both giggle as we concocted it. Perhaps one day you can use it, and get a giggle or two out of a tough situation.
Inappropriate Ways to Amuse Yourself in the ER
- Engage in a loud argument with your companion about why your approaches to your treatment-resistant lice have failed. Scratch a lot while arguing.
- Have the same argument…..with a chair. (Note: if you or your agreeable companion are there for mental health issues, you get a free pass to do this. You are merely poking fun at your own related experiences, which is ok if merely inappropriate is your goal. If you are there for a non mental health situation, don’t do this. That’s just mean.)
- Begin a fierce, loud disagreement with your companion about which one of you has lost the bag of tarantulas.
- Pass gas enthusiastically and with abandon. Act like nothing is happening.
- If people talk loudly about THEIR ailments, share your opinions on their treatment options and prognosis. Include your beliefs on the use of tarantulas for healing purposes.
- Rowdy, unsupervised children in the waiting room? Teach them some favorite songs! “100 bottles of beer on the wall, 100 bottles of beer……” (Note: do this only when you are fairly confident you will be called back no later than bottles 82 or 83. Otherwise, you too may find yourself in need of a psych eval.)
- Mime Fun! Mime your symptoms, the weather, or your favorite episode of Law and Order for the
- Score some of those purple non-latex gloves, blow those bad boys up and express your creativity! Begin handing out Balloon Turkeys. Or Balloon Spiders. Or Balloon……Hands.
Do you have any good additions to my list? If they are Inappropriate but Generally Harmless, share them! You never know when we all might need them!
*Parenting it is, whether it is your birthed child or the child of your heart, as in this case of our niece/foster daughter. I have her permission to blog about our adventures together.