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Flight of the Dodo - 13. Chapter 13

“Mr. Pedersen, please go to the nurse’s window,” Psych Aide David said.

“Have I done something wrong?” I asked.

“No, but you are wanted at the nurse’s window.”

I walked over to the window and saw Nurse Martha, who said, “Mr. Pedersen, you are being discharged today. I have your discharge instructions to review with you.”

“Why am I being discharged?” I asked.

“You have come to the end of your treatment program here at Northern State Hospital. Dr. Doyle, your psychiatrist, has issued instructions for you to follow once you have returned home. We notified your family yesterday and they are on their way here to pick you up. Now, are you ready to go over your discharge instructions?”

“Sure, I guess.”

“First, Dr. Roberta Kaiser, your psychiatrist of record, has been notified and she will call you at home to give you your next appointment date and time. Do you understand?”

“Sure, I guess.”

“Okay, please initial on the line here.”

I took the pen and printed my initials on the little line.

“Second, here are thirty days of your prescriptions. You will take these with you. Do you understand?”

“Sure, I guess.”

“Okay, please initial on the line here.”

I used the pen Nurse Martha gave me earlier and printed my initials on the line. I took the four bottles of pills and set them where I could easily get them.

“Third, if at any time you feel you are being overwhelmed by life and feel that your sessions with Dr. Kaiser are not helping, you may call this number and, if there is an opening, you may admit yourself to one of the state hospitals shown here. Do you understand?”

“Sure, I guess.”

“Then initial on the line here.”

I printed my initials on the line.

“Now, sign your name on the line above where your name has been typed.”

I wrote my name as best I could.

“These instructions will be given to your parents upon discharge. Boxes have been placed in your room and you may go to your room to pack your clothes.”

I went to my room and saw two boxes beside my wardrobe. I took everything that was on hangers, wadded each of them up, stuffed them in the first box. I opened the top drawer and saw the photographs and information index cards. They were not clothes and I was supposed to put clothes into the boxes, but I knew they were my possessions, so I had to take them with me. I put the photographs and information index cards in the bottom of the second box. Then I put in the clothes from the top drawer, the middle drawer, and most of the clothes from the bottom drawer. I stuffed the remaining clothes from the bottom drawer into the first box.

“Ed, are you ready to go?” Psych Aide Robert asked behind me.

I turned and looked at him uncertain if he had been there all along or if he had just appeared at the door.

“Did you remember to put your photographs and index cards in one of the boxes?” Psych Aide Robert asked.

“Uh, yes, but I wasn’t certain I should because those items were not clothes,” I said.

“Ed, sometimes you amaze me. Honestly, sometimes you act as if you haven’t got a clue as to what is going on around you. Where is your coat? It’s raining outside and you’ll need it.”

“It should be in the first box.”

“Well, get it out.”

I went to what I thought was the first box, but it didn’t look like it had the clothes that were hanging in the wardrobe. In fact, the clothes in that box looked like the same clothes from the bottom drawer that were in the second box.

“I don’t know which box my coat is in,” I said. “Both boxes have clothes from the bottom drawer of the wardrobe.”

“Do you mind if I look through your boxes to find your coat?”


Psych Aide Robert came into my room and started looking through the box farthest from the wardrobe.

“You just wadded your clothes up and stuffed them in this box,” Psych Aide Robert said. “Why didn’t you neatly fold your clothes?”

“I didn’t know there was a specific procedure to follow to put clothes in boxes,” I said.

“And that’s a typical answer for someone like you. Oh, here’s your coat. It was all the way at the bottom. Here put it on. Do you have your discharge instructions and medications?”

“No, I left them at the window. Nurse Martha said that my discharge instructions would be given to my parents.”

“Oh, yeah, that’s right. Okay, stay here, while I go get them.”

Psych Aide David came back with the discharge instructions and a small paper bag, but not the small bottles of medications. He folded up the discharge instructions and put them on top of one of the boxes. Also, he put that paper bag on top of the discharge instructions.

“Where is my thirty day supply of medications?” I asked.

“Right here in the paper bag,” Psych Aide David said.

“Oh, okay, that’s good.”

“I’ll take this box and you can carry the other one, okay?”

“Sure, okay.”

We picked up the boxes and went out to the door out of the ward. Psych Aide David put his box down to unlock the door. I went out and waited for him. After he came out and locked the door, we walked to the elevators. An elevator came almost right after Psych Aide David pushed the down button. We went down to the first floor where the lobby was.

“Eddie! You’re looking good,” E3 said as we walked up to him. “Ready to go home?”

“Yes, I’m ready,” I said.

“Mr. Pedersen, here are Edvard’s discharge instructions and a thirty day supply of his medications are in this box,” Psych Aide David said. “Ed, you take care, okay? Anytime things get overwhelming you’re welcome to come back. Okay?”

“Yes, but I’ll work very hard with Dr. Kaiser, so I don’t have to come back,” I said.

“Thank you for helping my son,” E3 said. “Well, I guess I’ll take this box. Eddie, you got the other one?”

“Yes, I’ll continue to carry this one,” I said.

E3 and I went out the door, down the front steps, and along the sidewalk to the parking lot. I saw E3’s red Eldorado and then a boy who looked like Emmett.

We got up to the red Eldorado and Emmett opened the trunk. I put my box in first and then E3 put his in.

“Hi, Eddie,” Emmett said.

“Hi, Emmett,” I said.

“Uh, could you call me Em from now on?”


“Because I like to be called that now.”

“Oh, okay.”

I started to go around to E3’s side of the red Eldorado, but Em said, “No, Eddie, you’re sitting up front with Daddy. Erika and I are in the backseat.”

“Oh, okay, I guess,” I said as I went around to that side of the red Eldorado. I held the door while Em got into the backseat. I saw Erika. “Hi, Erika, it is nice to see you.”

“Hey, Eddie, how’s it going?” Erika said.

“Okay, I guess.”

“Are you excited about your new apartment?”

“What? What is this about an apartment?”


“Erika, now isn’t the time for that,” E3 said as he started the red Eldorado.

“Okay, but I was—”



“What is this about an apartment?” I asked. “Have you rented me an apartment?”

“Yes, Dr. Doyle, suggested I get you an apartment so that you can develop independently of the household,” E3 said. “Also, I’ve spoken to Rabie Ibrahim about your employment at his hotel.”

“I won’t be able to work at Mr. Ibrahim’s Seventh Heaven Hotel because that woman in the personnel office won’t permit me to be employed there because I’m of Norwegian descent, don’t have a high school diploma, whatever that is, nor a GED, whatever that is, nor do I have prior employment. You will have to call Mr. Ibrahim and tell him I’m sorry that I’m not eligible to work at his Seventh Heaven Hotel.”

“Well, I’ve got some good news in that regard. That woman in the personnel office? Actually, she is no longer with the Seventh Heaven Hotel. It seems that on that day you went down to be employed she took it upon her own initiative to deny you employment. In fact, all she was supposed to do is take your personal information and the money you had for union dues and then turn you over to the banquet staff.”

“Oh, okay. If you don’t mind I’m a little sleepy and I’m going to shut my eyes.”

“Sure thing, son.”

I shut my eyes and soon went to sleep.


I was startled awake by the sensation that the red Eldorado wasn’t moving. I noticed that the motor wasn’t running. I opened my eyes and saw we were parked in front of a very tall building. All of us got out of the red Eldorado and walked toward the entrance of the building. I knew it was the entrance because above the double glass doors there was a sign that said: North Park Tower. I looked up and counted the stories by the rows of windows. There were fifteen rows of windows and that meant the building was fifteen stories high. If I was good at arithmetic, which I wasn’t, I might have been able to figure about how high the building was.

We went in the front door and a man at a small desk said, “Welcome to the North Park Tower. May I ring your host?”

“No, that’s alright, this is my son, Ed, who is renting apartment 1105,” E3 said.

“Oh, yes, this is, uh, Edvard Pedersen, yes?”

“Yes, I’m Edvard Pedersen,” I said. “And you are?”

“I’m Fredrick,” he said. “I’m the daytime guard during weekdays.”

“Fredrick, I’m happy to make your acquaintance,” I said, trying to normal. Now wasn’t the time to appear crazy. There was enough time for that in the future.

“Eddie, come along, let me show you your apartment before I have to get Erika and Em home in time for dinner,” E3 said at the door of the elevator he was holding open.

I hurried over and went into the elevator car. I looked at the floor number buttons on the elevator control panel and noticed there was no 13 or a 15. Also, I saw that the 11 was bright as if someone had pushed it. I looked around inside the elevator and only saw E3, Erika, and Em. By the evidence, I knew one of them must have pushed the 11 button, but why would they do that?

“Why is the 11 lit?” I asked.

“That’s the floor you live on,” Erika said.

“How can that be? E3 said my apartment is 1105. It is logical that I live on the 1 floor in apartment 105.”

“Eddie, there are no apartments on the first floor,” E3 said. “You live on the eleventh floor in apartment five.”

“What is the first floor? Is it the same as the 1 floor?”

“Yes, the word ‘first’ is a word for ‘one.’ And the word ‘eleventh’ is a word for ‘eleven.’”

“Oh, okay. I think I remember discussing this with someone at the hospital, but I could be mistaken because my ability to make new memories was damaged because I had all those ECT treatments. Um, have you looked into suing Dr. Levinson for all those ECT treatments he put me through without your permission?”

“As a matter of fact, yes, but his malpractice insurance provider is negotiating for a suitable settlement. How much do you think you should get for what he did to you?”

“A zillion dollars seems appropriate considering what he did to me,” I said.

“All right, Eddie, that’ll put them in their place,” Em said.

“Yeah, Eddie, you won’t have to ever work again if you had a zillion dollars,” Erika said as the elevator stopped and the doors opened.

E3 held the door as Erika, Em, and myself exited the elevator car. E3 came out and I saw that Erika and Em were already walking down the hall to the right.

“Where are they going?” I asked.

“Down to your apartment,” E3 said. “Come on, let’s go.”

“How do they know where my apartment is? Have they been here before?”

“Yes, Eddie, we’ve all been here getting your apartment set up so you can live comfortably.”

“Oh, okay, that makes sense, I guess.”

I followed E3 down the hall counting doors on each side of the hall. I noticed that the doors on the left had small rectangular wood panels that had the word for numbers on them, but the doors on the other side of the hall didn’t have those numbers making me wonder if anyone lived on the other side of those doors. The numbers beside the doors on the left started with “One” and continued that way until we came to the corner where there was the number “Four.” The first door around the corner had the number “Five” beside it. Erika and Em were standing beside it.

“Eddie, here is the key to your apartment,” E3 said as he held out a key on a keyring that had a small leather band attached to it.

I took the keyring and looked at the leather band. There was a black “E” on it. I thought for a minute and decided it was for the first letter of my name. There was also a smaller key.

“What is this small key?” I asked.

“That is for your mailbox in the mailroom down near the lobby,” E3 said. in his “Go ahead and use the door key to unlock the deadbolt and the door.”

I looked at the key and the door. There was a round piece of metal about one foot above the doorknob that had a keyhole in it. Also, the doorknob had a keyhole in it. Now, I knew a doorknob wasn’t a deadbolt, so that piece of metal above the doorknob must be the deadbolt. I put the key into the keyhole of the deadbolt and tried to turn it to the right, but it wouldn’t move. I looked at the key in my hand and an idea came to me that the key facing right must mean the deadbolt was in the locked position. I turn the key all the way to the left and tried to pull the key out of the deadbolt keyhole, but it wouldn’t come out.


“Em, let Eddie figure it out,” E3 said.

I turned the key all the way to the right, but it wouldn’t come out there. I turned the key all the way to the left and then moved the key to where the keyhole was straight up and down. I tried to pull out the key and it came out. I put the key in the doorknob keyhole and turned it to the left. I turned the doorknob and pushed the door in.

I let everyone go into the apartment and then I followed. I pushed in the button on the doorknob. I saw a lever on the deadbolt and it was slanted away from the doorjamb. I thought for a little bit and then moved the lever to where it was pointing toward the doorjamb.

“Eddie, have you forgotten something?” E3 asked.

“No, the door is locked and we are safe from unwanted intruders,” I said.

“Did you put the key in your pocket?”

I felt my pockets and then I put my hands into my pockets. I had coins in the left front pocket. My wallet was in the left rear pocket. My handkerchief was in the right rear pocket. But the key wasn’t in the right front pocket. I put my hands in the pockets in my coat, but there wasn’t a key in any of them. I unzipped my coat and then realized I was wearing a t-shirt and it didn’t have a pocket.

“What could have happened to the key?” I asked myself. “When was the last time I had the key? I had the key to unlock the door. Oh, maybe that is where the key is?”

I moved the deadbolt lever away from the doorjamb and turned the doorknob. I pulled the door open and was surprised to see the key in the doorknob. How did it get there? Why did it not go into the apartment with the rest of us? Whatever its reason for staying in the hall I took it out of the doorknob and put it in my right front pants pocket. I went back inside, closed the door, set the deadbolt, and pushed the button on the doorknob.

“There that fixes that,” I said.

Then I thought about what had occurred with the door and the process of unlocking it. The whole process was something that I was used to doing at our house in Olympic Manor. It was because of all those ECT treatments I had that made me forget how to operate a door. That made me mad.

“Okay, Eddie, I guess it’s time for the grand tour,” E3 said. “Come with me and I’ll show you your apartment.

While Erika and Em watched something on TV, E3 showed me my apartment. Going from the front door there was a guest closet on the left and the entrance to the kitchen on the right. Once past that point, there was a small hall on the left that led to the bathroom where there was a small vanity, a toilet, and a combination bathtub and shower. There was a small closet for bathroom linens and two empty shelves for whatever I wanted to put there. There was a mirror over the sink, three drawers down one side of the vanity, and two doors under the sink. The shower curtain was plain white plastic.

The door to the bedroom was opposite the door to the bathroom. There was a queen-size bed with a quilt on it that Gramma Phyllis made during WWII. It had an interesting colorful pattern to it. E3 said he and Syl used it before they upgraded to a king-size bed. There was a dresser and mirror on one side of the room and a large closet. I saw that all my clothes from the house were now in my apartment.

From the entrance hall, the living/dining room stretched out to a wide window that had a view of North Park Mall. I could just see Lake Washington and the east shore by standing on my tiptoes. There was a light-green cloth-covered sofa, a wooden coffee table, two wooden end tables on either end of the sofa, two blue-ceramic lamps with white lampshades on the end tables, a dark-green Naugahyde recliner with an end table on one side and a pole lamp on the other side, and a TV on a wheeled metal stand in the living room. The circular wooden dining table was rather small and had four chairs around it. All the walls in the living areas of the apartment did not have any pictures or posters on them because I do not like those things, but there was a large map of the world on the wall by the TV. Also, there was a globe on a stand beside the TV. I decided this apartment was going to work for me. I went into the kitchen where E3 was waiting for me.

“I’ll be paying all your bills,” E3 said. “The refrigerator, freezer, and pantry are stocked with food. I or Gloria will come here and take you shopping every Saturday so you can stock your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. For tonight you can have a TV dinner. Go into the freezer and select a dinner.”

“Um, is this one okay?” I asked holding the TV dinner I took from the freezer.

“If that’s what you want tonight, it’s your choice. Now, turn it over and read the instructions. What’s the first thing to do?”

“Preheat oven to 350 degrees.”

“Okay, come over here to the stove. Before you ever use the oven, it is a good idea to open the door to see if there are any pans in there. Go ahead and do that.”

I did and there nothing inside, so I shut the door.

“This dial right here controls the oven. As you can see, there are three settings. Turn it to BAKE. Now, turn this dial to where the 350 is at the mark on the stove. Yes, just like that. See this light? It shows you the oven is heating. You need to put your dinner in the oven after the light goes out. Take the dinner out of the box. Are there any instructions on the box for modifying the foil top?”

“It says to remove this piece here,” I said.

“Okay, get the paring knife out of the rack and do it.”

I went over to the knife rack and looked at it. There was a chef’s knife and I got a strange sick feeling in my stomach. I didn’t want that knife in my apartment, but I also didn’t want to touch it. I couldn’t do anything. Then I noticed there were other knives, too. Some of them were larger than the chef’s knife.

“Eddie, what’s wrong?” E3 asked.

“There are knives in my apartment. I can’t live with knives. You have to remove them or I can’t live here.”

“Oh, okay, I’m sorry I put them here. I guess we’re going to have to modify your meals.”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t trust myself with them here.”

“That’s okay. Erika, could you take these knives out to the car?”

“Sure, Dad.”

“Here’s the keys.”

“Dad, what about the boxes in the trunk?” Em asked. “Shouldn’t we bring them inside?”

“Oh, yes, I completely forgot about them. Eddie, can you help me?”

“Sure, okay.”

Me, Erika, and E3 went down to the Eldorado, but Em stayed in the apartment, so I didn’t have to lock the door after going out. Erika carried the knife rack on one elevator. I insisted on going down in a different elevator. By the time me and E3 got to the Eldorado, Erika already had the trunk open and placed the knife rack in the trunk. It was lying beside one of the boxes. I picked up the other box and E3 took the one by the knife rack.

“Eddie, you know, the steak knives are still up in the apartment,” E3 said. “Are they going to be okay?”

“Um, maybe, because if I cook a steak, I’ll need a steak knife,” I said. “Yes, steak knives are okay, but big knives are not.”

“What about the paring knife?” Erika asked. “It’s a little knife.”

“Yes, but it is a sharp knife. I can’t have very sharp knives.”

“Okay,” Erika said as she shut the trunk.

We went back in the apartment building. E3 took me to the room where the mailboxes were and I found the mailbox for 1105. Also, I saw the slot that said “Outgoing Mail.” I went back to my mailbox and used the little key to open the door. I was surprised to see an envelope inside. I took it out and saw that it was address to “Occupant.” My name wasn’t Occupant, so it was obvious Occupant must have been the previous occupant of my apartment. I stopped thinking for a moment and then I thought if there was a previous occupant, then it was possible I was the current occupant. Then I realized that I had seen mail at our house in Olympic Manor that came addressed to Occupant at our address.

“You okay?” E3 asked.

“Yes, I forgot about letters addressed to Occupant appearing in mailboxes,” I said. “It was all those ECT treatments that made me forget that. That Dr. Levinson was a bad man and if I ever see him again, I’m going to punch him in the nose for what he did to me.”

“That’ll teach him,” Erika said.

“Now, now, Eddie, you know very well you’ll only get in trouble if you do that,” E3 said.

“Yes, but he should be severely punished for what he did to me,” I said.

“Well, I have a call scheduled for Monday with Dr. Levinson’s insurance company. There is the matter of advised consent. Also, there is the issue that you are a minor and either your mother or myself should have been notified in advance of your treatments.”

“Do you think they may have called Syl at home and is it possible she gave permission?”

“No, she would’ve said something to me.”

“Daddy, you know how Mommy talks about Eddie,” Erika said.

“Well, yes, but she would’ve at least let me know,” E3 said. “Well, let’s get upstairs.”

I was thinking what if Syl had given Dr. Levinson permission and realized that it was almost a certainty that Syl would do that. That kind of made me mad, but I couldn’t decide if I was mad because of the way Syl treats me, or because of what Dr. Levinson did to me.

Once we came to my apartment, Erika pushed the door buzzer button and Em opened the door.

“I shut off the oven,” Em said. “I didn’t think Eddie was going to be able to eat that TV dinner.”

“That’s good thinking,” E3 said. “Gee, it’s getting late. I’d better call home and check in.”

While E3 was talking to Syl, I carried the boxes into the bedroom. I took the paper bag of medications out of the box and took it into the kitchen. I took the pill bottles out of the paper bag and put them in the cupboard where the glasses were so I’d be reminded every morning to take my medications.

“So, Eddie, how about going to Dick’s with the kids and me?” E3 asked

“Okay, but what about me fixing dinner for myself?” I asked.

“Tell you what, how about I come over tomorrow and I’ll help you learn how to cook?”


Copyright © 2021 CarlHoliday; All Rights Reserved.
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I’m glad to see Eddie has been discharged yet those ECT “treatments” clearly made a bad situation worse. While I do think it’s possible Syl would have signed off on it I doubt she did because likely any argument to convince her to would have surely labeled it as a way to potentially make him better and I doubt at this point she’d care about Eddie getting better as I’m sure she’s wrote him off. I know Eddie is technically physically mature enough to live independently but outside of his sometimes lethargic reasoning skills I have to wonder how much contact he’ll have with his family now that he’s moved out especially if Syl decides to run interference. His mother may not have been the most pleasant person to live with, to put it mildly, but I could see him being a little lonely in his new apartment. Hopefully he’ll adapt given enough time and maybe he’ll make a friend at his new job.

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I am worried about Eddie. Is he really ready to live on his own? It seems to me a group home for a while would help prepare him for independent living. I realize he is smarter than most people think, including himself, but this seems like a big step to me. Oh well, I am anxious to see how things go for him. Thanks. 

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20 hours ago, NimirRaj said:

I’m glad to see Eddie has been discharged yet those ECT “treatments” clearly made a bad situation worse. While I do think it’s possible Syl would have signed off on it I doubt she did because likely any argument to convince her to would have surely labeled it as a way to potentially make him better and I doubt at this point she’d care about Eddie getting better as I’m sure she’s wrote him off. I know Eddie is technically physically mature enough to live independently but outside of his sometimes lethargic reasoning skills I have to wonder how much contact he’ll have with his family now that he’s moved out especially if Syl decides to run interference. His mother may not have been the most pleasant person to live with, to put it mildly, but I could see him being a little lonely in his new apartment. Hopefully he’ll adapt given enough time and maybe he’ll make a friend at his new job.

Thanks for the comment. I think Eddie has a good chance of "making it" with the help of his father and his father's assistant, Gloria. The important thing is he doesn't have to worry about Syl interfering in his life any longer.

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10 hours ago, JeffreyL said:

I am worried about Eddie. Is he really ready to live on his own? It seems to me a group home for a while would help prepare him for independent living. I realize he is smarter than most people think, including himself, but this seems like a big step to me. Oh well, I am anxious to see how things go for him. Thanks. 

Thanks for the comment. A group home might have worked for Eddie. Unfortunately, this story takes place in the 1960s when the mentally ill were still commonly institutionalized. With his father's help, Eddie has a good chance of success in the endeavor.

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