This story is a dedication to all the wonderful staff at Brunswick Hospital in Amityville of Long Island New York. Lastly, this story is also dedicated to the patients that helped me realize my true life’s potential through the acts of kindness mentioned in this story. To all the patients I met in Brunswick. I miss you all each day.
Although this story that I am going to relate may not have a happy beginning; I can assure you that this story has a happy conclusion. It is with this story I hope to inspire anyone to give to others when they have extraordinarily little to give themselves. Allow me to begin this story by stating, emphatically that I wanted to die. This must be understood, or nothing good can come of this story. I suffer from Bipolar depression and Asperger’s syndrome. I have been struggling with these afflictions for my entire twenty-five years of life. The culmination of years of bullying, experiencing panic attacks on a daily because I misplaced something such as my wallet, or because of my foolishness that I accidentally locked my keys in my car and no way to drive back to work. It is events like these that trigger such manic episodes: I either scream, cry, bang my head against the wall, etc.
The aftermath of these episodes leaves me so exhausted and drained, that over time I grew sicker and sicker of having to deal with these episodes. On the day of November, the 14th after breaking down in front of my family about why I had a panic attack the night before. I decided to take my own life. I consumed an entire bottle of my prescription of Xanax in hopes I would end my own life. The events that followed were and are to this day a complete blur. According to my parents, I had cursed them out and stated that I was all right and refused to go to the hospital that same night the overdose occurred.
The following afternoon (which I thought was still the same day of the incident) I was greeted by E.M.T and a hand full of police officers. Needless to say, an excessive amount of vulgar verbiage came out of my mouth when I saw a lot of them. Assuming I was going to be dragged out of my home in handcuffs, I went willingly to my local hospital where I waited to be transported to a mental health institution. I was enraged at my family.” How dare they stop me from taking my own life?!”. This thought was racing in and out of my head when I arrived at my local hospital. The staff had stripped clothes and given nothing more than a hospital gown and underwear as my only garments to wear. That night was hell, and I tried to go against every measure the staff took to ensure that I was functioning I was put on oxygen, I had heart monitors on my chest which I took off intermittently, and I had a person just sitting at the foot of my hospital bed staring at me. The next day was the day of my transfer. I was admitted on my brother’s birthday, November the 16th 2020 to Brunswick Hospital long island and Room #115 was my dorm. I just remember being strapped to that hospital gurney and thought to myself throughout the transport “I hate my parents. I hate them, how dare they call an ambulance on me?” My dorm had two beds: one for me and the other for another patient, respectively. Once we had dinner in the Mess-Hall, I decided to walk back to my dorm and fell right to sleep, because there was nothing else better for me to do that day.
The next day, I awoke, had breakfast, and taken my medication. I then walked down the white hospital corridor and went back to my dorm. Moments later, I was greeted by My doctor: a short, bald, and rather a stocky man who was almost bald after he let himself in my room, he introduced himself, (come to think of it, his name escapes me.) and inquired about why I was admitted to Brunswick hospital. Naturally, I told him the reasoning for my admission: suicide. Right off the bat, he said that I was going to be admitted to Brunswick Hospital for nearly two weeks. “Two Weeks?!” I replied. “I cannot stay here for two weeks, I have a paper to finish, and my sister’s birthday is the day before Thanksgiving!” I exclaimed. To which the short stocky man replied “You tried to end your life, young man. You need the help and that’s what we’ll do.”
Begrudgingly, I replied with “So be it”. There was nothing I could do. So I swallowed my pride and whatever else I had within me and said to myself: “I’m here to get better, so I may as well make the most of it” There were some upsides to the institution: great food ( as far as hospital standards are concerned) we got two smoke breaks a day ( the courtyard where we had said smoke breaks looked like a prisoner’s cell block: high fences with barbed wires) and we had television and Play station located in the mess hall. As days went on I started to make friends with the other patients: There was Leonard, Miquel, Christian, and a few others which names escape me. But one a few people stick out to me the most during my stay at Brunswick Hospital: Christian and this other person. Jose. Christian was a man no older than me. He had no family to go back to, he had no connection to his mom. I felt terrible for him. One day, as we paced the long white corridors of the legacy wing of the hospital. We started talking and I asked him why he always wore this light brown shirt. He said it was the only one he had. Without even thinking, we walked back to my dorm room, I went to my closet and picked out two shirts: one which was a Harry Potter T-shirt (A Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure T-shirt to be exact.) and a green polo shirt. The look on his face when I gave him those shirts can only be described as pure joy. Now I didn’t have a lot of clothes, to begin with; all I had was a pair of shorts, pajama pants, three shirts, and two pairs of underwear.
On the Friday of that week, another patient had come in, Big J. He came into the ward screaming “F this” and “F all of you M Fer’s”. This man was pissed off, and what even made it worse was that he had no clothes to wear (The staff goes through all the pockets of our pants, shirts, you name it: it all had to be checked. Big J was wearing nothing more than two hospital gowns. This man was walking around, basically naked. Naturally, I approached him as he was walking down the white corridor from the medicine counter and said “Sup dude, my name is Cuomo”. “ I don’t wanna be here man!” he replied, “Man I don’t have any clothes to wear, no shirt, just these bum ass hospital gowns”. I then realized I had a spare pair of shorts and underwear that were freshly washed. I said to Big J, “Come with me, my good sir”. I lead him to my dorm room, went into my closet, and took out the aforementioned garments, and gave them to him. He tried to refuse but I kept interrupting him every time he’d try to refute the offer. He was overcome with joy he hugged me.
Later that day, another man was admitted, I forgot his name (perhaps something Middle Eastern. He professed to be Muslim) For the sake of this story, we will call him Alli. In the beginning, I and Alli did not get on. We almost fought. Moments later I decided to play a game called Sly Cooper Thieves In Time, no one was in the mess hall where the Play station 3 was. It was an incredibly fun game. However, When I got up to get a snack from the Med office, which was across the hall from the mess hall. This very same man with whom I quarreled snagged my spot at the play station. “Dude I was playing Sly Cooper, What the Fuck?!” I said to him as towards the Play Station at the front of the mess hall. “We’re playing TwoK now, you play later”. I was bitter about the event, but then I swallowed my anger and said “You know what, it’s okay. To make amends- “Don’t worry about it brother, it’s all good. Come, I show you how to play.” He replied. What was once considered an enemy, turned into a friend? He whooped me behind playing that game, but I did enjoy it. Later after eating dinner, me, him, and the rest of our section of the ward got to go out for our evening smoke break in the courtyard (we got two a day: one in the morning and once at night). I and Alli began to talk. We talked about our families, how we ended up in the hospital in the first place. after we had made our way back to the ward, we had a snack and played more twoK a
Before I went to bed that Friday night, I wanted to take a shower. So, I gathered my shower kit and asked the staff for some towels from the linen locker. As I made my way to the shower room, a nurse covered in tattoos came waltzing in asking “Does anyone know where I can throw these towels out?” “Sure, in the shower room. Follow me” I showed in and I noticed a pentacle on her neck. After I had complimented her necklace and tattoos. We started to talk about paganism and witchcraft. She then said unexpected” Do you have a great Aunt Loise?” I said “yes I do” I replied. “she told me to tell you that she loves you and you were her favorite nephew.” I began to cry. I had never seen these women nor have I even spoken to her prior.
Moments later I went to the lavatory after my shower and cried. Alli came in and said “Brother? Why do you cry? We are men! Men Do not cry, here.” He grabbed a towel and dried my face of the tears that I cried. Never has someone ever done that before: Dried my face after I was done crying. The final days at my stay at Brunswick hospital were amazing: I had a portrait drawn of me by a patient who was an amazing artist, I had drawn my first ever tattoo, and on the day of my departure, I received two things as gifts from the staff at Brunswick: The Sly Cooper Thieves in Time Game, and a copy of Charles Dickens a Christmas carol.
To this day even though I still struggle with thoughts of suicide, depression and I will continue to seek help about these things. But if there is one thing that I will carry with me, it was the kindness, generosity, and the transcending events that occurred in the Halls of the Legacy Ward, and Room #115 was where it all started and ended.