September 24, 1947

[Continued from the previous entry]

I never made it home.

I lay in a rather uncomfortable bed at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital.

I’ve been in and out of sanity for the past week. 

Daytimes are spent trying to make sense of something so incredibly impossible that I seriously, and constantly, question my own mind. Perhaps I belong in this mental ward getting poked and prodded with needles when I melt down. Nurses tell me I lapse into frenetic shouts, demanding to speak to my mother. Here I am, a grown-ass man, yelling down the hospital hallway for my ‘mommy.’

I’m shell-shocked when I find myself sometimes fitted in a straitjacket.

This is actually me. Me. Tied up.

Nights? Sleep is fleeting at best. I snooze for a short while. And during those seconds my eyelids slowly begin to open, I convince myself that I just endured an elaborate dream. I convince myself that in a matter of minutes, I’ll trudge out of bed, into the shower, change for work, and kiss my wife and kids good-bye for the day. I’ll certainly remember this crazy dream about my travel to another era. What a doozy.

Yet it doesn’t take long to realize that this isn’t a vivid lucid dream. It’s reality. As real as the dated equipment and cabinets that surround me in this hospital room. As real as the perfectly styled 1940s-era hair-dos worn by the various nurses scampering about. As real as that “new” Perry Como hit “record” I heard from the radio down the hall.

But what is reality? Where I just came from? Or now?

My head begins to spin a hundred miles per hour while trying to make sense of it, and thus my descent back into a psychosis state begins again. I’ll flail about and demand this-or-that. Cry. Sob. Panic. Get sick in my bed.

In one of my short stints of clarity, I was given the opportunity to try phoning out. I explain area codes to Nurse Nancy, a young twenty-something with strawberry blonde hair in tight ring-curls.  She politely informs me that AT&T just started implementing something new called “area codes” a couple months ago.

Evidently calling my wife, brother and best friend are all out. Area code “248” is decades away from being created. I try to dial just the seven digits but get nothing but a weird staccato buzz.

However, “313” is active. I’m not sure why that delights me.

I twirl around the black rotary phone and try calling my mom. It takes a little while to connect as I sit through a lot of clicking – there’s apparently nothing instantaneous here. A young woman answers the phone – it’s not my mom. I futilely beg to speak to Mary, as if she’d magically appear and console me, reassuring me that she exists. But the woman tells me again that I have the wrong number and hangs up.

I don’t remember any other phone numbers – smartphones made remembering numbers not required – but I’m fooling myself if I really believed any others would connect to anyone familiar. They’d be nothing but dead ends.

 

I’m desperate for answers. From anyone. Even a half-baked explanation would be better than my spinning around in a web of confusion.

I finally get some piece of good news, as small as it is.

Monday, a psychologist from the University of Michigan – Dr. Frank Massey – is making a trip over here to review me.  I’m told he has a connection with something called the Edsel B. Ford Institute for Medical Research that just started up at this hospital.  But I don’t care about any of that.  I just want to be reassured that I’m not nuts; however, if I’m generally sane, that wouldn’t explain how my whole world changed in an overnight. Yet any sit-down with a specialist will do. Maybe, just maybe, he’s come across someone like me in his career history.

Monday is five days away. That’ll feel like eternity.

In the meantime, I hope that my frequent forays into crazy outbursts are limited, for the sake of the workers and other patients around here. 

I’m really alone.

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