Blackbird Has Spoken: Part 8
Morning has broken like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird,
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the world.
- Morning Has Broken by Eleanor Farjeon
From Blackbird Has Spoken: Part 7
Ivy found out Cloe was in an office window threatening to jump. At one point Cloe asks to see Ivy to say "I'm sorry," and "'Thank you." Ivy talks it out with Cloe and they have a powerful reestablishment of their friendship and purpose for life.
"I do know that feeling, Cloe. But that doesn't mean that there is no hope. And think about it, we met under these desperate circumstances and are now pinky-sworn friends because God knew we needed each other. Talk about hope! When we entered the hospital he orchestrated the time and circumstances so we could meet and become friends. Cloe, you have helped me so much..."
"Cloe, why did you call for me?"
"I guess I just wanted to say thank you and I'm sorry for hurting you."
"Thank you for what? I was rude to you today, and I'm so sorry."
"Once again, get over yourself. Rude was forgiven hours ago. No, I want to thank you for..."
"Well, come on, spit it out? I'm waiting."
"You're impossible, Ivy. Why do you have to be so wonderful when I'm trying to leave you. Yell at me, throw something at me so I can get ticked."
"I'm too tired to yell. You made me run through parks, parking lots, buildings, stairs. Do you realize I'm ten years your senior? I'm depressed, remember? That slows me down even more. What gives?" Ivy's heart flip flopped. "Cloe, you know how some people will say, 'I would die for you?' Well, given our circumstances, I want to say, I will live for you. I'm going to stay on this earth because of you, and Dr. Wong. And most of all, for God, who gave us Grammy, Nana, Dr. Wong, and each other."
Cloe Ludlow was emotionally spent. Physically she felt like a tepid, wrung out dish cloth. After the intense emotional ordeal of the day, she was now numb, running on auto pilot. All she cared about was sleep. When she and Ivy had returned to the ward, they received stares of curiosity, and heard whispers of speculation and judgment by others. Clara Cyborn, head nurse on the ward for the day, gave her the news that Dr. Wong suggested she and Ivy rest. Dinner was soon to be served. If they wanted to join the other patients, they were welcome, or they could eat in their room. Cloe opted for her room. She stretched out on the bed to wait, but in seconds fell into a deep sleep.
Grammy and Nana stood on the sidewalk below the tall building. They looked up at Cloe sitting on the edge of the rooftop.
"Grammy, I'm coming to you. I've missed you. I want to be with you," Cloe shouted.
"Cloe, no! You mustn't. It's not time yet. You must stay until your time."
"But I heard you calling me, Grammy. I heard you."
"Cloe, that was not my voice. It was an imposter. Your mind and Satan are lying to you. Satan wants your destruction."
"No Grammy, I heard you. It was you."
Nana turned and whispered to Grammy. Grammy nodded and Nana shouted up to Cloe.
"Miss Cloe, we know firsthand the Lord wants you to stay awhile more. He has healing for you."
"I can be healed in heaven. Ivy understands, she tried to come to you also."
"Neither God nor I called her, and you have not been called." Nana said.
"What are we supposed to do? The suffering is too much."
Nana paused a moment and thought. She hooked her pinky into Grammy's and they held them up for Cloe to see.
"Cloe, honey, see what we're doing?" said Grammy. "God brought you and Ivy together, like me and Ivy's nana are now. He is going to take good care of you. Ivy needs you, and you need Ivy. And you both need the Lord."
Ivy had been invisibly watching the scene play out. Suddenly she was at Cloe's side, looking down on the two most important women in their lives.
"Nana?" said Ivy. "I've missed you so much."
"Ivy, honey, the Lord gave you and Cloe to each other. He has healing for both of you. Help Cloe, she needs you, and Cloe, you help Ivy. That's what the Lord told us."
Ivy and Cloe saw Nana and Grammy fade out, still joined by pinkies, but heard their voices singing the song they'd taught their girls, only the lyrics were somewhat changed. Their voices were like angels and filled up the sky.
"Healing has broken, like the first healing
Father has spoken, True is His word.
Praise Him with singing, praise Him for healing,
Praise for a new life fresh from His hand."
The world became silent for a few moments, then the whispering of a soft wind blew around Cloe and Ivy. At the same time, they heard Jesus speaking to them; again, His voice filling up the sky.
"The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
The wind continued to whisper and a great peace and sense of hope filled them. They embraced a new life and a new purpose.
Cloe awoke from her dream and felt a peace beyond all expression. She closed her eyes and lifted her hands in worship to Jesus.
Cloe and Ivy decided to have dinner in the dining room with the patients after all, but chose a table away from the hubbub for some privacy. Ivy looked at Cloe with interest.
"Cloe, you are glowing."
"You are too, Ivy."
"I've been touched by the Lord, Cloe. You'll never guess the dream I had when we got back today."
Cloe's testimony to Dr. Wong
Cloe sat in the office facing Dr. Wong the next morning, her hands wrapped around a cup of Chamomile tea. The scent always relaxed and soothed her.
Dr. Wong looked closely and fondly at Cloe. He was so relieved that she had not followed through on her desire to end her life.
"Cloe," he said, "we are all glad you are safe. How are you feeling?"
"Dr. Wong, this may surprise you, but I feel light and free."
"This is good news, Cloe. Tell me about it."
"Well, when we got back here yesterday afternoon, I took a nap. I had this amazing dream about Ivy, my Grammy, Ivy's Nana, and God."
"Hmm, Ivy here earlier. She say she had similar dream. Tell me more."
Cloe filled the good doctor in on the dream. When she was done, Dr. Wong couldn't speak for a moment. He cleared his throat.
"Cloe, Ivy describe exact same dream. She also changed. You both have glowing faces, twinkle in your eyes. This is not in medical journals or text books. Some psychiatrists would say you and Ivy having psychosis - religious delusions. I feel it is real in my heart."
"It is Dr. Wong. I fully believe it was God's Spirit speaking to us in the dream. Like Grammy and Nana said, God is going to heal us both, and we are to help each other. It may take more time and more work, but I feel like shackles have been broken and we have God's love and presence to guide us. And Dr. Wong, as I sit here right now, I have a powerful sense that God is going to use you as part of His plan to help us heal."
"I would be honored, Cloe. I always on yours and Ivy's side. When I was young man in medical school, I have patient once who have religious experience like you and Ivy. He talk about Jesus, and Spirit show him love and promise healing. I tell you Cloe, it gave me bumps all over."
"You mean goose bumps?"
"Yes, goose bumps. I was doing work for first time in psychiatric unit like this. This man have great progress after his Jesus experience. Head doctor tried to say the man had psychosis, religious delusions. He scold me for thinking this patient's experience real. But the man go home much earlier than planned. I run into him two years later, he going to school to be minister, and have wife and baby. He said, 'Dr. Wong, God helps me every day. I think he wants me to help people like me. I still have struggle sometimes, but trust God, take medication, and see Christian therapist.' I did not understand much about Christian and Jesus, but I see big change. It was not in medical text books."
"Dr. Wong, that is an amazing story. I have an idea and I'll share it with you later," Cloe said with a gleam in her eye.
"Good, fine," said Dr. Wong. They went back to Cloe's issues and talked more about things she needed to work on. Then Dr. Wong felt a momentary sinking feeling in his gut. He didn't want to bring up the next issue and possibly upset Cloe and ruin her hopeful, peaceful state. But it had to be done.
"Cloe, one more thing I need to talk to you about. It will be hard. But it will be okay. I help you, your Jesus help you."
"Okay. What is it?"
"Cloe, detective wants to talk to you about Dr. Stricklen incident. He is out on bail, but they must talk to you. You may need lawyer, too."
Cloe took a deep breath and tried to process the information. She had put the matter out of her mind, as it was too overwhelming. But she realized Dr. Wong was right, it had to be done. Dr. Stricklen deserved to be punished for his actions against her. There was no way to do that without her cooperation. She sent up an arrow prayer to God. 'Lord, I know you are with me. Help me through this.'
"Dr. Wong, if you'll be there when I'm questioned I know it will make it easier."
"Of course, Cloe. You want Nurse Clara too?"
"I guess. When is this going to happen?"
"If you feel up to it, tomorrow, Cloe."
"Let's just get it over with. Thank you for offering to be there with me." Dr. Wong was like no other psychiatrist she'd ever met. He cared. "You are such a kind doctor. Mrs. Wong is very lucky to have you as a husband."
Dr. Wong waved Cloe off. "Oh Cloe, don't embarrass Dr. Wong." They laughed. Cloe knew it would be okay.
Sweet moments of prayer
During free time that afternoon, Cloe and Ivy found a quiet moment alone in the rec room. It was their first real opportunity to talk about the dream.
"Cloe, this is just so amazing that we had the same dream. For me, it was so vivid that when I woke up it took me a minute or two to grasp that it was a dream."
"It was the same for me, too," said Cloe. "But the dream was reaI. I just love that Nana and Grammy are friends, rooting for us. Can't you just see them marching up to Jesus, their pinkies hooked together, and saying, 'Jesus, please help our girls. They need you more than ever."
Ivy gave a little giggle. "Yeah, as if he didn't know already. I can just picture Him chuckling and saying, 'Fear not, ladies, I got this.'"
"I'm ready to live here until it's my time," said Cloe, "but I can't wait to live with them in heaven one day, and even more so, to live with Jesus. Just imagine, for all eternity."
"That's a long time," said Ivy.
"Ivy," Cloe said, "I need you to pray for me. I have to talk with a detective about Dr. Weasel. And I need to get a lawyer. The social worker is helping me with that. But I'm starting to get a sinking feeling."
"Can Dr. Wong be with you?"
"Yes, he and Nurse Clara will be there. I'm trying to stay in peace, but honestly, it's getting hard."
"Let's pray right now."
The two friends held hands and bowed their heads. Ivy prayed for Cloe. And the two friends said, "Amen!"
Interview with the Detective
Cloe, Dr. Wong, and Nurse Clara sat at a table in a staff room on the unit, facing Detective Grassley. Cloe's nerves were starting to get the better of her and her leg began it's manic jiggling.
Dr. Wong leaned over and whispered in Cloe's ear. "It going to be okay."
The detective reminded Dr. Wong and Clara that this was an official interview about Dr. Stricklen's assault on Cloe, and asked if they'd step out and give them privacy. Dr. Wong was not going to leave without first setting Detective Grassley straight.
"Detective Grassely," Dr. Wong said. "Cloe has been very traumatized. We must be careful she have no set back. We going to be here in case she get upset or overwhelmed."
Grassley was not happy about it, but agreed they could sit at the other end of the table. He told Wong and Clara to please not make comments or interfere. Clara added her two cents by saying they would speak up if they saw Cloe is in too much distress.
The detective refrained from rolling his eyes and sighing in a put out sort of way. But underneath he was not a happy camper. He'd been doing his job for twenty years, they ought to recognize that he knows what he's doing. But Cloe Ludlow's mental health was important to the case so he bit his tongue. He began his questioning.
"Okay, Cloe. I have here that you went in to confer with Dr. Stricklen as part of routine care on this unit, is that correct?"
"Had you seen him before?"
"Once. The day before. He was brand new here. It was only his fourth or fifth day."
"So tell me how the visit started off."
"Well, right off the bat he was condescending. The day before he'd mocked me because I've been here before. He said he was glad I was on Club eleven, for the eleventh floor, and was making good use of my frequent flyer miles. Basically he was saying this unit is a vacation spot for people like me who are frequent patients."
"Can you tell me why you come here so often, your diagnosis?"
"That's none of your business," Cloe said indignantly.
Dr. Wong spoke up. "Detective Grassley, you know you are not supposed to ask that question. Patient confidentiality."
Grassley often tried to push the envelope with rules to get what he wanted out of people. A seething was building up in him. He kept his composure but was curt. "Fine, but you will probably be ordered to have an evaluation with an independent psychiatrist to make sure you are...stable."
Cloe's blood pressure shot up and felt anger rising up; she was near ready to blow.
Dr. Wong interjected once again. "Detective, please just keep questions to what happened."
It was Detective Grassley's turn to get high blood pressure. He had little empathy for Cloe, as his own step father had been in institutions like this. The man was a psycho in his eyes. Cloe Ludlow was probably missing a screw or two. The place gave him the creeps. He openly glared at Dr. Wong, then returned to his questioning.
"Ms. Ludlow, tell me what went down here when you last saw Dr. Stricklen."
"He said he put down that I had a personality disorder in my file, and I told him that was not my diagnosis. I have PTSD, not a personality disorder."
"Well, he is a psychiatrist, after all," said Grassley. "And you do realize you just told me your diagnosis. A moment ago you said it was confidential. I just want to make it clear that you volunteered that information." Grassley was smug.
"Well remember that I have been here a number of times and have a private therapist when I'm not here. It's in all my records that my issue is PTSD."
Dr. Wong broke in again. "She is correct, Detective."
"Fine. What happened after he said you had a personality disorder?"
"After I told him the right diagnosis I demanded that he take it out of my record. He said he was the doctor and his diagnosis would stay, so I grabbed my file off his desk and started to cross out the things that weren't true. He came around the desk and touched me..." Cloe began to hyperventilate a bit. "He said if I gave him favors he would take the diagnosis out of my chart."
The detective asked her where he had touched her and she told him, overcome with shame and embarrassment.
"And then what?" said Detective Grassley.
"I pulled away and told him I was going to report him and have him escorted out by the staff or authorities. Then he grabbed my arm real hard that left marks on me. I told him I would scream if he didn't let go. That's when he went out to have Muriel call security."
Grassley kept asking more and more detailed questions and to repeat them several times, thus Cloe started to come unhinged. He particularly pushed to know whether if in the grabbing of her file she had in any way threatened or physically tried to harm the doctor.
Cloe wondered if Grassley might be a close relative of Dr. Weasel's the way he was treating her
"I've told you everything as it happened truthfully. How many times do I have to retell the details? I want to go back to my room."
"Ms. Ludlow, these are very serious allegations. If convicted, the doctor may go to jail for quite a while and may become a registered sex offender. This isn't fun and games."
Clara stood to her feet, livid. "Excuse me, Detective," she said with authority. She was not intimidated by this idiot. "Cloe has given you all the minute details. She is taking this extremely serious. There's no reason to accuse her of playing fun and games."
Dr. Wong stood up and put his hand firmly but gently on Clara's shoulder and she sat down. Succinctly, Dr. Wong simply said, "Detective Grassley, we appreciate your help, but Cloe cannot continue today. She needs rest. If you have more questions, come back another day, but talk to me first."
Grassley stood up, clearly put out. "Fine, I've got most of what I need. Thank you, Ms. Ludlow, I may be back. Right now I'm going to go question Ms. Hightower."
"Good," Dr. Wong said. "Good bye, Detective." He opened the door with a clear, unspoken demand that the detective get out quickly.
After Grassley left, Dr. Wong and Clara talked with Cloe to help her get grounded and calm. Toward the end of their time, Dr. Wong thought a little levity was in order. In his charming way, he whipped out his handkerchief, wiped his brow and said, "Whew, Wong need some churros." Although it was something the powers that be would object to based on rules of doctor patient relationships, he ordered some churros to be delivered for the three of them.
In less than a half hour, the three of them were enjoying a snack of hot churros and tea. Dr. Wong was widely revered and figured he could talk his way out of this one if anyone gave him grief.
"Mmm," he said. " churros better for anxiety than medication."
© 2016 Lori Colbo. All rights reserved.