(Bedlam refers to an English hospital for the insane. During much of its 600-year existence it was noted for its screaming, moaning “inmates”, who were often held in chains or locked in rooms. Others were allowed to roam the halls and generally left to their own devices.)
As reported by archy and mehitabel
Based on information from a former patient, we have been looking into conditions at Stringham Hospital. As you may be aware, Stringham specializes in behavioral medicine and psychiatry. We have changed the names of the patients in the interests of privacy. Further, we would like to point out that there are “bad apples” in every species.
Ed’s experience started with a visit to Dr. William Igor. Ed went to see Dr. Igor with what he considered to be a common case of depression. Dr. Igor prescribed a well-known mood stabilizer which had the effect of worsening the depression, as would be expected. At his follow-up visit, Ed reported increased depression to the point of suicidal thoughts.
Dr. Igor thought that was very bad and immediately admitted him to Stringham Hospital. Ed wanted to just quit the medication, so Dr. Igor had him admitted involuntarily as a threat to himself. Being admitted involuntarily meant that Ed could not sign himself out.
At this juncture, we should point out that Ed is a muscular Nonsense rat (ed. Note – it’s a real breed from India) and Dr. Igor is a rather small Siamese cat.
As soon as he reached Stringham, Ed needed to show his insurance cards. He never saw them again. He also had to hand over his watch, wallet, and all other personal items. (As a rat, it was a relatively simple process.)
Next step was to see the doctors. He was accompanied by two large alley cats. There was a panel of 5 Norwegian Forest Cats. They looked at Ed and started talking amongst themselves about lunch. Without asking Ed a question, they told him he was obviously demented. They told the orderlies to “Take him to cell 6, oops, we mean room 6.”
Six turned out to be a rather large room with about 20 animals of various species. There were a couple of large snarling dogs chained to one wall, rabbits scratching at a pen to get out, bats in a mesh cage, and several guinea pigs who looked catatonic. The rest of the animals were running around the room chasing each other.
Ed looked around. There was cat litter in each of the cages and a large litter box in one corner. He almost gagged and said to one of the orderlies, “Do you ever change the litter?” “Of course. It’s done every Wednesday.” Ed turned green (not easy when you’re covered in fur). It was Friday.
The orderlies turned to go. Ed asked, “What do I do now?” The cats smiled evilly and told him, “Just behave and do everything you’re told to do, and nothing will happen to you.” They locked the heavy door behind them.
Ed sat in a corner, dejected. Soon a white rat joined him. “Name’s Pavlov. Who are you?” “Ed. Why are you here?” “Went to the doctor for a sore throat. He said it was a sign of neurosis. Got thrown in here. That was six months ago.”
Ed was appalled, “Why are you still here?” Pavlov looked at him sadly, “Once you’re here you never get out.” “That’s ridiculous. It’s the 21st century. Who’s your doctor?” “Dr. Joseph Boris.” Ed remembered seeing Dr. Boris’ name on the door of Dr. Igor’s office.
“Pavlov, are there any other patients of Dr. Boris or Dr. Igor here?”
“Now that you mention it, most of us were admitted by those doctors. Or Dr. Bela.”
“What happens during the day here?”
“Not much. We’re not allowed to have books or magazines or TV. Sometimes they take some of us out. Those guys usually come back looking like that.” Points to the guinea pigs.
Ed notices that in addition to the drugged animals there are also some in coats tied behind their back. “What’s up with them?”
“Medication doesn’t work. Those coats aren’t very effective though. You can chew through them in a couple of hours.”
“Does everyone come back like that?”
Pavlov looks away. “A lot don’t come back.”
They ate their dinner of dry kibble and went to bed.
In the morning, Ed was among those chosen for an “exercise.” He was strapped to a chair, than felt a poke in his shoulder.
The next thing he remembers is waking up by the river with a note: “Hope you enjoyed your cat nap.”
Coming soon: Part 2: Is there a problem or is Ed really mentally ill?