Reading,Writing, Aging and D epression
“Yeah, I heard something about that,” Rick answered.
“Well, it’s true, but the story has been greatly exaggerated. I spent about two weeks in a psychiatric rehabilitation facility in San Francisco. I was there basically for observation so that the doctors could make a diagnosis,” Misty explained.
“So, what did the doctors come up with?” Rick asked.
“At that time they told me it was manic depression. My psychiatrist in Winnipeg changed the diagnosis to schizo-affective disorder.”
“Yeah, I remember you telling me about that. Do you need to take medication?’
“Yes, lithium. For a long time, I wasn’t really taking it. I just lied to my doctor and my parents telling them that I was taking the lithium regularly. I got busted when they eventually took a blood test. The test showed that there was no trace of lithium in my body.”
“Why didn’t you take your medication?”
“Because it made me feel worse. To be more precise I didn’t feel any emotions at all when I first started taking it. Plus it was making me gain weight.”
“So, do you take lithium now?” Rick asked.
“No. My new psychiatrist in Winnipeg put me on chlorpromazine after he changed my diagnosis to what he called schizo-affective disorder. He said that I had significant symptoms of both manic depression and schizophrenia, so he couldn’t make a conclusive diagnosis for either illness,” Misty answered.
The restaurant was starting to get very smoky. Most of the restaurant’s patrons were puffing hard on their cigarettes while they sucked back the strong Salisbury House coffee. The smoke in the air was starting to make Rick’s eyes water.”
“Let’s go back to Memorial Park. It’s getting too smoky in here for me,” Rick said.
Rick and Misty started walking back across the Osborne bridge. Misty thought she saw the shadowing figure of a man trying to climb up on the railings of the bridge.
Rick said, “It looks like that guy is going to try to jump over the bridge.”
Both Rick and Misty started yelling, “ Hey man, stop! What are you trying to do?”
After Smackdown ended Winston made some more popcorn and offered the boys some more pop and popcorn. The conversation switched to the topic of mental health and life in psychiatric treatment facilities.
“The whole mental health system in North America is a disaster. The present system simply does not work. The only people it benefits are those who have important sounding job titles working in government bureaucracies,” Winston stated, pounding his fist on the coffee table. “From what I’ve heard, though, the Kelowna Mental Health Center is one of the better run mental health facilities in Canada.”
“That’s true,” Wally said.
“The front line rehabilitation staff is really cool and they know what they’re doing.”
“I have to agree with Wally,” Garry added. Our rehab workers, Todd and Shelly really seem to care about us and our psychiatrist, Dr. Weisenthall is also very good.”
“Well then, you guys are in the fortunate group of mental health consumers that are getting adequate treatment for their mental health issues. Many people with mental disorders, especially those with schizophrenia, simply fall through the cracks of the mental health system. A lot of them either end up homeless, in prison or are forced into living in filthy, cockroach and rat infested hotel rooms or old broken down rooming houses.”
“Nobody cares. That’s the whole problem,” Wally said.
“You’re right, Wally, but there are a minority of people who do care, but these are usually the underpaid and underappreciated front line workers.”
“Do you think that this situation will ever change?” Garry asked Winston.
“No, there are too many institutions, corporations and individuals who are benefiting financially from the way the system operates now.”
“This conversation is getting really depressing,” Wally said. “I’m getting really tired. Why don’t we call it a night?”
Winston said, “You’re right.
Let’s all get a little shut eye.
We’ve got lot of things to do tomorrow.”
Wally found two air mattresses and inflated them properly with a hand pump. The two young men were both very tired and fell asleep quickly.
In the morning the boys awoke to the enticing aroma of the bacon and eggs that Winston was cooking for them.
After consuming a hearty and delicious breakfast and a pot of coffee, Winston suggested that it was time to go for a boat ride.
“I was going to take you guys for a ride in my speedboat but on further consideration I decided we’d go for a ride on my big cabin cruiser. I’ve got a lot of brand new, cutting edge technology on the big boat that I’d like to show you guys.
Blake Riley was rich, very rich. He made most of his money over a two year period during the early dot com. days. Blake was a visionary who had the foresight to see the endless business opportunities presented by modern scientific technology. When the dot com. boom was coming to an end, Blake had the foresight to see this in advance. He sold off his businesses at a tidy profit and set up an off shore bank account. At twenty-four years of age, Blake was a self- made millionaire.
Blake was far too young and much too ambitious to retire. The next opportunity he took part in was a business that involved importing exotic animals to The United States and Canada. He and his friend, Jack Kimberley became co-owners of the new business. Both men knew that there was a potentially profitable market for exotic pets. There were people who were willing to pay substantial sums of money to own exotic pets like pythons and Siberian tigers.
Blake was a high energy individual who became bored very easily. Once he had his new business up and running Blake felt comfortable allowing Jack Kimberley to run the day to day operation of the enterprise.
Blake loved to make enormous amounts of money, but he was not your typical workaholic. His philosophy of life was to derive as much enjoyment from each day as he possibly could. Blake was a risk taker who believed in pushing the envelope and was always interested in propositions that were high risk, high reward.
Blake had many hobbies and interests and now had the cash flow to indulge himself to the fullest extent. His personal belief was that one should never have a boring day. If someone does, it’s their own fault.
One of Blake’s favorite hobbies was collecting vintage guitars especially Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters, and Les Paul electric guitars from the 1950s and 1960’s. Blake presently had a collection of close to one hundred classic guitars. There were two guitars that Blake Riley was hoping to one day add to his collection. He coveted the white Fender Stratocaster that Jimi Hendrix played at Woodstock and the red Gibson double neck guitar that Jimmy Page used when he played the songs, Stairway to Heaven and The Song Remains the Same. Although he picked up a guitar now and then, Blake lacked fine motor skills and found it hard to play anything skillfully. He contented himself with practicing guitar scales, cranking up his Marshall amplifiers stack to ten and executing screaming string bends.
Blake’s passion was for collecting. He collected all kinds of things from sports cards to vintage cars. His most serious interest during the last year was collecting exotic pets. His goal was to have his own zoo right on his large property that stretched far out to a lake. So far Blake had a tortoise, a chimpanzee, a boa constrictor and a Siberian tiger cub. Blake had hired trained professionals to manage and care for his collection of exotic pets. Through his own business enterprise Blake knew several international business associates that could get exotic animals into Canada. He also wasn’t worried about outsiders finding out about his little zoo. Blake’s mansion and property was at least one hundred miles from his nearest neighbors. Blake also had a competent security staff watching out for him and his property at all times.
Blake was quite eccentric. Some even thought that he suffered from bipolar disorder. One thing was for sure. Blake was very moody. His staff rarely knew what to expect from him on any given day. Some days he would be friendly and jovial and on other days there seemed to be a heavy cloud over him.
On his bad days the only thing that could help Blake out of a deep depression was the thought of obtaining a new, but rare addition to his private zoo. When he went to sleep at night, Blake would often dream about acquiring an animal that no other zoo possessed.
At last, Sasha called out to Rick, “Be careful Rick.”
By this time the local security guards had contacted the RCMP on their walkie -talkies. Within a few minutes the police jumped into the fray and started to break things up. While this was taking place the rain started to come down in buckets. Most of the crowd were starting to leave as they knew they weren’t going to hear any more music today. Many of the bikers also quickly got on their bikes and left the area. Several of them were on parole or had outstanding warrants and didn’t want to get arrested by the RCMP.
As the crowd started to thin out Rick was able to get to Lloyd who was still lying on the ground. Lloyd was still conscious but it appeared that his nose had been broken by a biker’s punch. Rick could see that there were several places on Lloyd’s arms that were turning black and blue.
“We’ve got to get your dad over to the first aid tent,” said Rick to Sasha as the rain continued to pour down. Gypsy came over to introduce himself to Rick and Sasha.
“Hi, I’m Gypsy. I just met Misty this afternoon. How’s Misty’s dad doing?” asked Gypsy. He didn’t wait for an answer. Gypsy bent down to have a closer look at Lloyd.
“ Your dad has a broken nose and several contusions on his arms,” said
Gypsy, taking charge of the situation. Gypsy had also been a paramedic in the States for a short time. “We need to get him over to the first aid station eventually, but I’ll need a doctor to examine him here. I don’t want to move him as he may have a head or neck injury. Can one of you run to the first aid tent and tell them that we need a doctor here right away?”
“You won’t need to do that, man. I’m a doctor. As soon as I saw the fight break out I knew I’d be needed here,” said a young festival medic.
“The patient is breathing and has a pulse,” the doctor said as he bent down with one knee on the ground.
By this time Lloyd was starting to come around. He opened his eyes, looked around and tried to lift himself up. As he moved only slightly a strong wave of pain came over him and Lloyd gave out a loud groan.
“Just rest easy for a bit, man and let the doctor have a look at you,” Gypsy instructed.
The doctor began his examination of Lloyd. Once he was satisfied that Lloyd had sensation in all his limbs the doctor asked Gypsy and Rick if they could help Lloyd get to his feet.
The effects of the acid that Misty had ingested earlier were starting to manifest. She began to feel very paranoid and disoriented. Misty could not make any sense of what was going on. When she looked at her dad being helped to his feet by Rick and Gypsy she thought that her dad looked like the monster in the book, Frankenstein. Misty had recently been reading this novel and she saw a resemblance to her father probably due to his misshapen nose and the blood all over his tee shirt. Gypsy and Rick appeared to Misty as two ugly gargoyles who were Dr. Frankenstein’s assistants. Misty let out a scream and ran into the bushes behind the main stage.
Slowly getting up onto his feet Lloyd yelled,” What’s wrong with Misty? “
“Where’s she going?”
“She looked very freaked out,”said the young doctor. “Your daughter may have taken some of the bad acid that was floating around this afternoon. We saw a lot of bad trips in the first aid tent.”
“Rick and Sasha go find Misty!” Lloyd directed. He then watched Gypsy follow Rick and Sasha into the woods.
” You need to stay here, sir. I’ve got to fix up your nose. It’s dislocated,” said the doctor.
Lloyd groaned and said, “I’ve got to find my daughter and help her.”
“Don’t worry about that sir. It looks you have three responsible people looking out for her,” said the doctor trying to reassure Lloyd.
“Yeah, well I don’t know who that other guy is. If he’s the one that gave her the bad acid I’ll kill him,” Lloyd replied.
“We don’t know that sir. I’m sure your daughter will be all right. Once the others find your daughter they can bring her to the first aid tent where I can treat her,” said the young doctor attempting to calm Lloyd down.
Misty had a head start into the woods of several minutes. She further increased her distance from her would-be rescuers by the speed of her running. The acid that she took was very likely laced with some amphetamine and this was adding to the speed of Misty’s escape from her perceived monsters.
The rain continued to pour down causing Misty to slip and slide as the grass became slippery and the grass muddy. Misty lost her footing and slid right into a large oak tree. Her head took a nasty bump as it collided with the trunk of the tree. The collision had caused a small gash to open on Misty’s forehead. Her blood started to mix with the pouring rain and Misty’s own perspiration. When Misty looked down on the blood dripping on the ground her panic increased. Instead of staying put and calling out for help Misty
“Exactly,” replied Lloyd. “Misty would still be up after midnight playing her stereo very loud. I’d ask her to turn the volume down as the rest of us were trying to sleep.”
“This didn’t go over to well with Misty,” added Sasha. “She would turn her music down for about twenty minutes and then up would go the volume again.”
“This turned out to be the least of our concerns with Misty. I often didn’t know where she was going when she went out or who she was with. It wasn’t with her usual friends as some of them would still phone to ask for her,” said Lloyd.
The next band was ready to perform and the group stopped talking about Misty. They were local favorites, Diane Heatherington and the Merry-Go- Round. As their equipment personnel were setting up their amplifiers, microphones and drums, some ominous black storm clouds were rapidly moving in. Some light drizzle could already be felt when a sudden flash of lightning and a loud boom of thunder was heard. One of the band’s roadies told the group that it might be wise to postpone playing their set until the weather cleared a bit.
One of the rock festivals MCs announced, “ Look, people, it appears we are in for a bit of a storm. Hopefully, it won’t last long. Dianne Heatherington and the Merry-Go-Round have decided to postpone their set until the storm passes. It’s just too dangerous with the lightning and all.”
“Bullshit!” yelled a member of one of the biker clubs near the stage.
“Damn rights,” bellowed another biker from the same club. “ They’re chicken shit. If we can stand a bit of rain so can they. We came here to hear some music.”
“ Ah, cool out man,” yelled a member from a rival motorcycle gang. “Give the band a break. You can drink some beer and smoke some dope until the weather clears.”
After hearing this, the two bikers who had spoken first walked towards the spot where their rivals had set up their bikes. Within a minute some more words were exchanged followed by some pushing and shoving.
The lead guitarist of the band spoke from the stage,” Hey, you guys up front, cool it, or we won’t play at all.”
With this, one of the bikers climbed up onto the stage and stared the musician down and said, “You”ll play if we tell you to.”
One of the band’s big roadies responded by giving the biker on the stage a shove that almost knocked the biker down. Lloyd had been intently following the drama that was unfolding and decided that it was time for him to intervene. Lloyd climbed up onto the stage, grabbed a mike and said, “ Come on people. Let’s all cool out or you’ll ruin the whole festival.”
By this time both Gypsy and Misty had already downed their tabs of acid. They didn’t feel its effects yet but their acid was not of the best quality. Misty and Gypsy also watched the activity unfolding on the stage. By this time all hell had broken loose. One of the bikers had knocked Lloyd out with a roundhouse right. Lloyd fell off the stage and landed back in the crowd in front of the stage.
Meanwhile, a general scuffle broke out in front of the stage. When Lloyd toppled from the stage he ended up at the bottom of a pile and people were
Inadvertently stepping all over him. Rick jumped into the fray to try to rescue Lloyd. As Rick attempted to pull Lloyd out of the pile he got jostled around by other people who were either bystanders or active participants in the fight. At one point Rick took a knee to the groin and doubled over in pain for about a minute.
“We got to help my family and Rick. There all up there by the front of the stage,” said Misty to Gypsy. Gypsy called out to his friends to get ready to do battle. While all this chaos was going on Misty felt like she was frozen in time. This was all too surreal for her. The acid she took was starting to kick in.