The Keys to the Kingdom
(Column: Editor-At-Large: As I See It)
Most people consider Bellevue a dump. I always hear complaints about the place but to me, it was a place I use to call home when I got sick. Believe it or not, I once transferred from a Roosevelt Tower ward to Bellevue because I was happier there.
"Bellevue," which means "beautiful view," has a beautiful staff. They work very hard under adverse working conditions but they always were there for me when I was sick.
Miss Herman I remember most of all. She was there for me from my first hospitalization until my last. I always will remember fondly her coming onto the ward around ten o'clock each morning to take me and others to OT on the seventh floor. Her big, friendly smile and help were what I remember of her. I don't know if she is still there but her help, patience and love, I will always remember.
In my later hospitalizations, I would gravitate towards the library. Jim, the librarian at the time, was a quiet man who put me in charge many times once I learned the ropes. He was very busy with other jobs and he had faith in me to keep things running smoothly.
But, Suzie, in later years, who replaced Jim, did something for me I will never forget. She gave me the "keys to the kingdom." The keys to the kingdom, as I like to call them, were the keys to get in and out of the wards. I was a patient but yet I had the keys.
I could open the doors to the wards, distribute books and magazines, and let myself out with the keys. It was wonderful! I really can't describe my feelings to well but I was in seventh heaven. I no longer felt like a mental patient, an inmate. I was as close to a human being, a staff member, as a patient could be.
To leave the ward when I wanted with the library cart made me feel so responsible. Suzie trusted me. In theory I could have left the door unlocked and let my friends out. All hell would have developed but Suzie trusted me and I didn't betray her faith in me. Bellevue is different things to different people. For me it was the place to go when I got sick. They always were there for me and for that I was very grateful.