How to Get Your Paranoid Mother Into the Poisonous Ambulance
When your mom is bipolar and believes everything is trying to kill her, the simple act of getting to the hospital becomes a battle of epic proportions.
Illustrations by Danielle Chenette
“She’s been difficult,” the nurse says. “Refusing the ambulance. Something about diesel fumes. Make any sense to you?”
“Let me guess,” I reply. “Poisoned again?”
When Mom first arrived in the emergency room, she told the staff about a propane leak inside her home, and she wanted several expensive tests to prove she was being poisoned. Every time I hear the word “propane” or “poison,” it instantly reminds me of when Mom thought Dad was trying to blow up the house. She imagined that she could smell gas billowing — an insidious and lethal cloud. The murder plot unraveled in her mind as if she was the main character in an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Once she sparked her BIC lighter to smoke a Marlboro Red, the house would explode: a suburban slaughterhouse.
The nurse stops in front of Mom’s room and explains my mother is on a seventy-two-hour hold, which means we have that much time to get her to another hospital for the more long-term treatment she needs.
I was …
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