Flight of the Dodo - 22. Chapter 22
A startling development in Ed's life.
I sat in the dayroom staring at nothing in particular. I was definitely not staring at any of the other patients because I’d learned that was offensive to some of the more psychotic ones. Although my mind was mostly empty from all the electroconvulsive treatments I’d been through since coming to this psych ward, there were stray thoughts that kept coming up that didn’t seem to make a bit of sense because for some reason they didn’t connect to other memories. One of the memories was of being somewhere else and having this same problem of disconnected memories, but that memory just stayed there by itself and I couldn’t connect it with any of those other memories that floated around in my mind bumping in to each other and leaving me with an odd feeling. What was that feeling? It definitely wasn’t a feeling like pleasure, love, hate, amazement, awe, and probably other emotions that didn’t have names yet. I couldn’t tell if it was a real physical feeling like stubbing a toe or falling down, or if it was a feeling I only sensed in my head.
“Edvard, you have a visitor,” a voice close to me said.
I looked up and saw one of those men in white. He was looking down at as if he had said what I heard.
“Come on, no need keeping the man waiting.”
“Yes, I believe he said he was your uncle.”
“Come on get up, I don’t want to have to tell him you won’t see him.”
“Okay, but I don’t remember an uncle. No, wait, maybe I was younger. What was his name? No, I can’t remember.”
I stood up and walked to the exit door, which the man in white unlocked with a key. The door opened, and I walked through, but stopped to allow the man in white to shut and lock the door. The man in white walked alongside me as we walked down the hall. We came to a door and the man in white unlocked it. As before, I went through and waited for the man in white.
“Here’s your patient, such as he is at the moment,” the man in white said.
“Thank you, James, could you sit in the chair by the door, just in case I need you?” Dr. Kaiser said.
“Sure thing, doc,” the man in white said and turned to go to the chair.
“Edvard, you can sit in this chair,” Dr. Kaiser said pointing to the empty chair in front of her desk.
"Edvard is an interesting name," said the man sitting in the chair beside the chair where I sat. "I suppose you were name after the Norwegian artist, Edvard Munch."
“No, I was named after the composer, Edvard Grieg,” I said. “Wait, yes, I remembered that. Yes, Edvard is my name.”
“Hmm, didn’t he write ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King?’”
“Oh, yes, I remember that. Gee, I remembered two memories, but I can’t remember where I heard that. Sir, am I supposed to know you?”
“I’m your mother’s youngest brother, Ted.”
“I didn’t know my mother had a brother. No, there was another brother. I was younger. He was from New York City. He wanted me to visit him so we could go to Fire Island to swim in the ocean. No, I can’t remember his name.”
“Actually, she had four brothers. The oldest boys, Benedict and August, were twins and they died in the war. Then there is Paul and he lives in New York—”
“Yes, Paul, but E3 sent him away because he wanted me to visit him in New York City, or, maybe, it was because Paul wanted to take me to Fire Island. I was sad he went away. I wrote him a letter, but I didn’t get a reply. That made sad too.”
“I live in Wyoming.”
“Oh, okay, but why are you here?”
“I wanted to come and see you.”
“You came all the way from Wyoming to see me?”
“You could say that.”
“I didn’t realize I was so important.”
“So how are you doing?”
“Doing? Hmm, let me think about that. You see I’m going through a series of electroconvulsive therapy treatments and my memory is toast, but things are coming back, slowly. Unfortunately, I think I have more treatments to go through and my memories won’t fully reestablish themselves until after I stop all the treatments. I get memories back. Then I go through another treatment that only messes me up again. I was severely deluded thinking I lived in New Zealand. Although Dr. Kaiser tried medication to snap me back into sanity, that didn’t work and my family gave her permission to do electroconvulsive therapy. The only other option would have been being indefinitely committed to a state hospital. So, in some way, I shouldn’t complain about having these treatments.”
“If you had the chance to move to my house in Wyoming, what would you say about that?”
“Live in Wyoming? What would I do there?”
“Well, you could learn how to ride a horse, if you wanted to learn how to do that.”
“Ride a horse, yes, I think I’d like to do that. When do you think I’ll be able to move to Wyoming?”
“Oh, that would depend on Dr. Kaiser.”
“Dr. Kaiser, do you think I could move to Wyoming sometime soon?”
“Well, Edvard, you seem to be progressing quite well in your treatments, so I could foresee stopping your treatments and releasing you into the care of Mr. Bancroft by the end of next week. I want to be certain your memories will return, even if they don’t fully come back by the time you are discharged.”
“What day is it now?”
“Today is Tuesday.”
“How many treatments will I have between now and when I’m discharged?”
“None, if you are willing to go under the care of Mr. Bancroft. What do you say about that?”
“That sounds like a good idea. Yes, that sounds very good to me.”
“Okay, starting today I’ll change your medication to outpatient dosages and we’ll plan on discharging you next Friday morning.”
“Good, I’m ready to get out of this place. There are too many crazy people here and some of them are dangerous. I have to be very careful who I talk to around here. Oh, who is this Mr. Bancroft?”
“I am,” Ted said. “Bancroft is my last name, Ted is my first name.”
“Oh, okay, you are my Uncle Ted because you are my mother’s youngest brother. Oh, yes, her last name was Bancroft before she married my father. Okay, I think I can live with that. Oh, what about the people who are responsible for me now, will they go along with this?”
“That’s all been arranged and that is why I’m here today.”
“Oh, okay, then I’m willing to move to Wyoming. Will we go by car or by airplane?”
“How would you prefer travelling there?”
“By car because you can see more things on the ground.”
“Do you have a driver’s license?”
“Oh, no, they don’t allow crazy people get driver’s licenses here.”
“Oh, well, then our trip will take a few more days, but that is okay, too.”
“Good, is that okay, Dr. Kaiser?”
“Edvard, whatever is good for you is good for me,” Dr. Kaiser said.
“I want to thank you, Dr. Kaiser, for allowing me to do this. I think this might work out for me. I guess I should go back to the ward now.”
“Ed, I want to thank you for being willing to go with me,” Ted said.
“Yes, and I want to thank you for taking me in,” I said.
“James, you can take Edvard back to the ward,” Dr. Kaiser said.
“Goodbye, Uncle Ted, I do look forward to this change in my life, such as it is,” I said. I walked to the door where the man in white was standing and looked back at the man from Wyoming.
“See you later, Ed,” Ted said.
“Bye,” I said with a little wave, turned, and walked out the door.
I sat in the dayroom thinking about what Uncle Ted had told me about moving to Wyoming, but most of my thoughts were of the family I was leaving behind in North Park. Uncle Ted had said that family was part of some sort of arrangement. That made me think about that arrangement. Why were they so willing to let me move away from them. Then I realized I had not seen E3 since that strange night at my apartment when I woke up from a meltdown and ended up in a delusion believing I was living in New Zealand. I wondered why E3 hadn’t come to see me. Maybe Syl was preventing E3 from coming to see me. I knew Syl had never really liked me. All those years as a child being hit with a slipper, shoe, or that piece of cedar kindling on top of the refrigerator certainly didn’t mean she loved me as she loved Erika, Emmett, and E4. I certainly never saw her hit any of them. Plus, I was simply too crazy for her. Syl was also afraid my craziness would rub off on the other children, which was silly because craziness wasn’t like a cold that could be passed from one person to another. Craziness was a very personal disease. I didn’t know how I contracted mental illness, but it must have occurred before I started to go to school and it got worse as I aged. Could it have been caused by all those years of physical abuse and emotional abuse? Being constantly hit with a piece of wood was one thing, but constantly being called a stupid, ignorant dodo must have negatively affected my psyche to my detriment. Maybe that was why I thought my IQ was so low. That made sense because being called a stupid, ignorant dodo must have made me want to be a dummy. Then there was that day we went to the Foundry Ridge Library and I found that book on intelligence quotients. Was it possible my mind came up with an IQ of 73 to fit within that borderline category? I guess it was one of those which came first, the chicken or the egg, things. It certainly made sense now.
Then I began to wonder about Wyoming. Uncle Ted said I could learn how to ride a horse and that made me wonder where this horse was now. If the horse was in Wyoming, then I’d have to wait until I got there to learn how to ride the horse. What if the horse was actually in North Park at this very moment? If the horse was hereabouts, then I could learn how to ride the horse now. Then I realized that was a crazy thought because Uncle Ted said that after I moved to Wyoming I could learn how to ride a horse. That obviously meant the horse was in Wyoming at this very moment waiting for me to arrive so I could learn how to ride the horse. I wondered if the horse I was going to learn how to ride had a name. If the horse had a name, the name would probably depend on whether the horse was a boy horse or a girl horse. Or, were horses called a man horse or a woman horse. Did it matter how old a horse was before I learned how to ride the horse? Well, sure, it mattered because I couldn’t ride a baby horse. The horse would have to grow up to be a big horse before I could learn how to ride the horse. I wondered what kind of horse I was going to learn how to ride. Were there different kinds of horses? I didn’t know the answer to that question and the only way I could learn that would be to go to a library and read about horses, but to go to a library would mean having to stay here in North Park. I didn’t want to do that if Uncle Ted was going to take me to Wyoming. Maybe Uncle Ted knew about horses and I could ask Uncle Ted what I needed to know about horses.
Then I remembered the apartment here in North Park. What was to become of the apartment if I moved to Wyoming? Maybe E3 could help Uncle Ted with the apartment. Then I remembered Frankie, but there was something about remembering Frankie that didn’t seem right. I thought about that time Frankie came down to visit and we watched television. Something happened that time, but I still couldn’t remember what that was. The following day was the day my mind forgot and I fell into that crazy New Zealand delusion. There were pieces of Frankie memories, but none of them made sense because they didn’t stick together into bigger memories. There seemed to be something else about Frankie I couldn’t remember. Then I realized that nothing really mattered about Frankie because I was going to live in Wyoming. It was logical to forget about Frankie and all the confusion Frankie was causing in my mind would go away if I endeavored to remove memories of him from my mind. Yes, that was a good idea. So, if a memory of Frankie came to the front of my awareness, I’d have to try to ignore it. Was it possible to erase memories I didn’t want? Maybe Dr. Kaiser would know how to stop remembering bad memories.
“Edvard, you have a visitor,” Psych Aide Jerry said.
“I do?” I asked.
“Yes, come on, it’s almost the end of visiting hours.”
I stood and followed Psych Aide Jerry to the psych ward door. He unlocked the door and I walked out. Uncle Ted was standing there and I said, “Hello, Uncle Ted, is something wrong?”
“Not really, I just wanted to come over and see you.”
“Mr. Bancroft, if you’ll come with us, we’ll go to the visitor’s lounge,” Psych Aide Jerry said.
“It’s nice that you came to see me tonight,” I said as Uncle Ted and I followed Psych Aide Jerry down to the lounge.
“Yeah, well, I probably won’t be able to come over tomorrow, so I thought I’d better come tonight,” Uncle Ted said. “Just another night and a morning and we’ll be on our way to your new home.”
“Yes, I’m kind of excited about that.”
Psych Aide Jerry unlocked the door to the lounge and turned on the lights. Uncle Ted and I went inside and sat down on either end of a green sofa.
“I was thinking today about why my father hasn’t come to visit me,” I said. “Do you know why?”
Uncle Ted glanced over at Psyche Aide Jerry, who simply shrugged. Something was coming that might not be what I wanted to hear.
“I’m sorry to have to tell you, but your father died a couple months ago,” Uncle Ted said.
“Oh, how?” I asked and then thought about E3 being dead. I wondered how Erika, Em, and E4 were doing with only Syl as the adult in the family. I couldn’t think of any good thoughts along that line of thinking.
“He had a cerebral hemorrhage and was hospitalized, but had another hemorrhage a week later and died.”
“Should I be sad about this?”
“Well, I suppose you should handle it in any way you can.”
“What are cerebral hemorrhages?”
“They’re caused by aneurysms, which are weak spots on blood arteries and if they break open, the portions of the brain that are fed by those arteries become starved for oxygen and nutrients and die. I understand your father had quite a few aneurysms in the arteries of his brain and it was only a matter of time before one of more of them would leak.”
“I guess he was sick in the head in a way I’m not. Do you think that might be something I might have inherited from him?”
“I suppose it’s possible. Maybe after we get to Wyoming we can get you an appointment with one of the physicians who care for the people on the ranch and we can ask.”
“Good, I think I’d like that. I was thinking about being in Wyoming and was wondering how am I going to see Dr. Kaiser.”
“I’ve already found you a psychiatrist in Wyoming and have your initial appointment.”
“Oh, okay, that is good. Do you know this doctor’s name?”
“Yes, it’s William Swift.”
“Oh, a man.”
“Is a male psychiatrist okay with you?”
“I don’t see why it would be a problem.”
“Anything else bothering you?”
“Yes, you said I can learn how to ride a horse. Do you know which one that will be?”
“Well, Sam, our wrangler, will select one that will fit your temperament. You’ll meet him on the day we leave for Wyoming. He is flying out here to help me drive back to the ranch.”
“Did you buy a car? What kind is it?”
“Actually, I bought a new red Ford F-250 Crew Cab pickup with a canopy on the back. We need room for your boxes of clothes and things from your apartment.”
“Oh, yes, my apartment. I certainly won’t need that if I’m living in Wyoming. Speaking of my apartment, there was a young man who lived there who was becoming my friend. His name is Frankie. Have you seen him?”
“Yes, he came down this evening. I told him you were moving to Wyoming.”
“Good, that way he won’t worry if I’m not around.”
“Actually, he was concerned that you weren’t around.”
“Oh, then he was concerned that I haven’t been there. Did you tell him I was here?”
“Oh, okay. I tried to remember him earlier, but I think there was something wrong with him. Oh! Now, I remember. Um, you know, I think he was a homosexual and was trying to make me be one, too. I think that was a bad thing to do because I am definitely not like that. I told him I didn’t want him to try to kiss me anymore or do that thing he did to me in his car. If I remember right, he said I was straight, though I don’t know what being straight means. Oh, well, I’m moving to Wyoming and will probably never see him again. I suppose that is for the best.”
“Yes, I think that is the right attitude in this instance.”
“You know, it is almost time for my nighttime medications and snack, so I think we should stop the visit. Okay?”
“Sure, Ed, whatever you want. I’ll see you Friday morning.”
“Yes, Uncle Ted, I’ll see you Friday morning. Psych Aide Jerry, I’m ready to go back to the ward. Goodbye, Uncle Ted.”
“Good night, Ed.”
We stood up and then I decided it might be a good time for me to express my feelings toward Uncle Ted. I stepped up to him, put my arms around him, and gave him a hug. I stepped away from him and said, “I just wanted to show you how much I appreciate what you’re doing for me.”
“That’s okay,” Uncle Ted said. “You need every chance you can get in life.”
We walked to the door and went out into the hall. Uncle Ted put his hand on my shoulder. I turned to him and he smiled. I did, too. He turned and walked down the hall toward the elevators. I turned and walked to the door to the psych ward.
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