Turkey Day at the Nuthouse

I guess that some of you are wondering what the holidays are like in a nuthouse. Perhaps you think they are depressing because we are separated from our families? Or maybe you think we sleep all day?

So far, my Thanksgiving is great. I am writing on the computer, with freshly polished fingernails, listening to Barry Manilow on my iPod (a gift from Orac) and eating chocolate-covered coffee beans, thanks to a devoted reader, who shall remain nameless, but nonetheless, very appreciated.

Because I don't have a family, I feel that my fellow lunatics and the staff are my family, and I have been enjoying the unique treat of being with them today. One of the nurses, who incidentally is my hero among the nurses, brought in his two pet turtles, so all of us got to play with them. Even though we presumably are adults, you would not have known that after watching us crawl around on the floor and otherwise dote over these turtles.

Herman, the red-eared slider, was rather shy and was also quite the racehorse -- he could have given a hare a good run for its money, except that he got stuck nose-first in a corner of the room. The other turtle, Mabel, is a map turtle (pictured). She was much calmer than Herman and in fact, Mabel sat with me for a long time, helping me choose gifts from the Macy's Christmas catalogue. Needless to say, it appears that all of you, amigos bonitos, will be receiving an assortment of headless goldfishes, turtle chow and lettuce as gifts this year. I hope you can stand the long and suspenseful wait for them to arrive.

Another of the nurses gave me her December copy of the Smithsonian magazine that features a story by novelist Paul Theroux about living with geese. Hopefully, I will find a word for the day for my public blog in that story soon, but before I managed that for today, I fell asleep, face down in the magazine. I never do that sort of thing. I guess that I am still recovering from yesterday's stress-fest.

Other than those events, nothing much is happening here so far; although a group of us are sitting around in the common room, watching TV, talking with each other and discussing the many different structures that one can burn down while trying to fry a turkey.

For those of you who wondered what we ate, we had a relatively traditional Thanksgiving dinner, buffet-style. I chose to eat three pieces of pumpkin pie, to the exclusion of everything else, because pumpkin pie is one of my favorite foods and I have not had any for many years now, whereas I am served turkey on a weekly basis here.

This was the first Thanksgiving that I have celebrated in 5 years. The last Thanksgiving that I celebrated was during my last year in graduate school, when one of my dissertation advisors would traditionally cook a Thanksgiving dinner for all of her graduate students, technicians, postdocs and their families. On those days, which might very possibly be the sweetest holiday memories that I will ever have in my life, we ended up having a day of fun; playing croquet, badminton, volleyball, frisbee and going horseback riding followed by an evening spent drinking red wines and watching my advisors' video adventures from their latest trip to Africa.

I hope that all of you are having a good Turkey Day yourselves.


And then what happened?

How the heck did this nuthouse story get started in the first place?

Image source.


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I do want to say something important to all of you as well, amigos bonitos. I am overwhelmed by what so many people are doing to help me. I truly thought I was friendless and alone in this mess, but you all have demonstrated otherwise and have done so in such a beautiful way -- and there are so…

The little turtles are so very lovely. I'd go 'coooooo' over them, too!

Take care of yourself, as much as they would allow you to.

It sounds like you are at the next level of this 'adventure' you are experiencing and you sound more mellow today--I guess that is what total exhaustion will get you. Happy Thanksgiving!

Grrrll... I have been at Thanksgiving dinners in the "nuthouse," as well. My mother has lived with bipolar for more than 30 years. It morphed into rapid cycling bipolar about 10 years ago. It has been a torrid rollercoaster for her and for us, her family. She cannot work and lives on SSI with help from us, her kids.

I talked with her this morning. We, the kids, are all out of state and she doesn't have anyone with her this Thanksgiving, but she is doing FINE. Mom takes an ever-changing cocktail of drugs to manage her chronic illness, and realizes she must always be vigilant to monitor her mood swings, but she has survived, and is thriving.

Keep that sense of humor, and keep going. We're all behind ya!!

By lisaleese (not verified) on 23 Nov 2006 #permalink

My heart sank when I realised you would be spending Thanksgiving in an asylum so I'm glad to see you're having a good one. I hope you enjoy your respite to the full before taking up the fight for your life gain. No wonder you were exhausted!

On the other hand... Barry Manilow??!!?!? Eeuuwwww! And I thought I could respect you! ;-)

I'm glad to hear you managed to enjoy the holiday regardless of your travails, and even had critters to play with! (And I like Barry Manilow... but then, I'm hearing-impaired. ;-) )

By David Harmon (not verified) on 23 Nov 2006 #permalink

I am glad that Thanksgiving there has been good. I happen to have loved Barry Manilow all those years ago when he first became popular. I confess to still liking him!

I have a neighbor who takes her pet turtle outside now and then (watching it very closely), and when I see this it is impossible to resist the urge to get down and crawl around in the grass with it. I pretend I am only down on all fours to talk to her. :-)

This was the first Thanksgiving that I have celebrated in 5 years.

I think I went 5 years without celebrating any Thanksgivings when I was not on speaking terms with my own family. (Fortunately things have improved since then.)

Hello. Here is a nice hi-res photo that I stumbled across on Wikipedia. The Amur Leopard is THE most endangered big cat in the world. There are only an estimated 35 left in the wild.

Take good care of yourself. I know that it's hard to believe, but your life is still better than mine.

By Me from Craigslist (not verified) on 24 Nov 2006 #permalink

i am listening to Cold Play now!

Eeuuwwrrrghh! Worse and worse! I'm going to lie down and listen to some Zappa until I feel better.

Yes, I am a music snob. Problem?

Cold Play? Barry Manilow? Who? What? Okay, I've read their names from time to time, but I can't imagine how they sound.
Zappa I am familiar with, but he is not in my playlist today - I'm listening to some Melvins, some Arlo, some Bucket Head, some silver apples, some Psychotics, some Keith LeBlanc, and some Twilight Circus Dub.