Gianna

I see the journey, the path I have taken like the wake of a great ship.

Things have not been good, and I am struggling. I would be lying if I did not say that I have spent multiple nights wondering what the point of anything is. Mostly they are gone but it would be foolish to say that the thoughts are not still there in some sporadic fashion coming on me when I least expect them.. Most people who end it all come to the conclusion that the world and those in it will be better off without them. With me there is the sure knowledge that no one will notice at all. No one notices me alive so its an easy conclusion.  I swam only once last week so this coming week I know I need to swim no matter what. This past week I have started to set goals again, most of which I don’t reach but it helps. My eyes are a bit of a mess though. Having so many surgeries messes with your PH level in the eye and so at times my eyes will start burning. They are easily irritated and its been bad the last couple of days. Last week I had a really bad fall which always worries me. I don’t fall out of weakness or even dizziness.  I usually fall because of my own stupidity.  I have a curved fireplace that I have long since become wary about. When I first moved in I would run into it all the time cutting my knees pretty badly. I know better than to walk over there now that I cannot see but still I do now and again.  I hit the edge pretty hard and fell into the window. It could have been a lot worse.  And last night my house got so dark that I could not find my way and had to just be still for awhile. Right now I am down but not out. I have had four people check up to find out why I have not posted on facebook. I cling to those people as few as they are. Everyone needs someone to give a damn about them. It is the little things sometimes that keep you going.

Gianna entered the adolescent unit as free as any spirit could. There was something about her at seventeen that drew people to her like moths to a flame. She was so ethereal, so translucent the kind of girl you hope doesn’t burn out too fast but who probably will.  She also came to us as we were transitioning away from all of the really bad kids, many of whom were gone. The director had been fired and there was new management, My time was coming to an end and I would soon move on. Gianna had come to us as a private pay patient. She had been removed by her parents from the last facility she had been in and the rumor had it was because she had sex with one of the employees.  From her records we knew she liked to get up in the middle of the night and walk around naked. She was admitted late one night in the attempt to have her admission be smoother. Fifteen minutes after she arrived she walked out of her room naked and the nurse acting if t were not unusual at all escorted her back to her room.  On her second day on the unit right after I got to work the kids asked to go swimming. The pool was one of the real added benefits of the hospital. Gianna did not want to swim. She was dressed in very trendy upscale clothes. She was elfin and pretty. I remember talking to the rec guy, a guy who also ran the ROPES program. We agreed she was dangerous. She flitted about talking to everyone. We had been outside about a half hour when we noticed the yellow streak going through the pool. Gianna had jumped in, trendy clothes and all, especially her yellow stockings. She was swimming underwater the length of the pool. When she came up for air it was no big deal to her, oblivious she was laughing and did not understand when she was escorted back inside.  That was who she was, unpredictable and full of mystery and complete joy.

Such a creative force was bound to be a bit artsy. Gianna loved everything art, music, painting, drawing and writing. I was writing a lot back then working on two novels. She always rushed to see me because I always carried a large box of cassettes that I changed out daily. She wanted to see what music I brought and during free time she would sit by this large boom box singing loudly and passionately. I remember her sitting in the middle of the common room the boom box playing under the bridge by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and everyone just stared at her as she belted out the words as loudly as she could, like she was on stage. She both knew and was oblivious to all the people watching her. She was a born performer. She was just a joy to be around.

One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was talk to her late on the night before she was being discharged. I had actually moved to the main hospital to be an intake coordinator for mental health admissions. She asked for me to come back so I did one day after I got off work. I was still working PRN there mostly on weekends and the hospital I worked for was the parent hospital. Gianna had gotten bad news. She had been diagnosed with Schizophrenia which was devastating news. The good medications were just starting to come out but they were all and still are problematic. It is not one of those diagnoses that you say you can manage it although it is better now than it was then.  I have always loved Schizophrenics, they appeal to the loneliness inside of me and so many have an artistic bent that appeals to me. I had never seen Gianna scared, and I had never seen her cry. Her parents were there and they had found a great long term facility for young Schizophrenics. It was actually perfect for Gianna. She would be able to find her artistic voice and it would be a great supportive place for her to learn ways to deal and mange as best she could.  We talked until midnight, her parents waiting patiently for her. It is I know a great thing to have your parents love and support you so she was blessed in that regard. It was difficult to spin it all in a positive way so I did not try. I did tell her that where she was going was as good as she could get anywhere and to embrace the challenge but I was not about to tell her that there would not be challenges.  It was pretty easy to laugh with her, cry wither and become resolved with her.

Like so many of my kids, I never saw her again. I hope her spirit is still free though.  I hope she is still singing loudly and passionately. I hope…..

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