on Oct. 11, 2011 :
I think one of the most depressing places I've ever visited is a nursing home; and I'm sure you feel the same way, too. Upon entering, you are immediately greeted by lethargic senior citizens who slump in their wheelchairs while nearing a diabetic state after breakfast. Sometimes I wonder if one or two of these unfortunate residents become lost in some fantasy that causes him or her to truly believe to be merely waiting for the bus, or perhaps even a spouse to drive up and honk the horn. It was only a kindhearted visit to an imagined loved one who was struck with a bad case of old age. And despite how selfish the masked thoughts might be, the delusional person realizes how good it will be to finally leave for the afternoon and go home, far away from the depressing nursing home.
I've sat in these nursing homes before with a sense of not only sadness but revulsion. No outside air ever enters a nursing home. It could be a beautiful day in spring with gorgeous, fresh air; but still, the windows are closed. And there might even be heat coming out from the ventilation registers. For you see, older people catch draft easily and can quickly be struck with pneumonia. Along with the stagnant air and heat, there is most often a sickly smell in the air.
Younger nurses or caretakers who just started working in the nursing home appear to do their best to remain lively and somewhat bubbly while wheeling people into the recreation lobby or the cafeteria. But if a nurse or caretaker has been there for a while, that perky face is replaced with a frown, even near bitterness. In all the months and possibly years of being kicked, slapped, bitten, called foul names, accused of mistreatment along with exposure to regular deaths must certainly drain the life out of someone who works in a nursing home. And if one has been there long enough, he or she begins to look like all the old people!
Visiting a nursing home (I imagine) is probably the only experience I've had that could be similar to visiting a mental hospital. Fortunately I've never stepped foot into one of those! Already with acute mental disorders; drugged with anti-psychotic pills such as Haldol along with tranquilizers, lithium and God knows what else; a patient's realization that leaving the hospital is impossible can leave him or her feeling hopeless.
And then there are the unmentionable horror stories of patients being neglected and abused. Some are heavily drugged for no reason. Others are beaten or sexually abused, unable to fight while in restraint or possibly in a catatonic state. And just how many perfectly normal people are locked away in an insane asylum, simply because a family member had him or her declared mentally insane for one evil purpose or another?
Mental hospitals surely have an excessive amount of negative energy. It wouldn't surprise me if such places are haunted for many decades after a facility had been shut down. And I couldn't help but wonder if horror writer, Bridget Squires, was ever exposed to a mental hospital. Perhaps she had a family member or friend who spent time in one of these places and spoke of the horror.
After reading her short story, Well, I was curious of reading something from her, The Dead Don't, series. But after the first initial paragraphs of the first story in the series, I quickly changed my mind! It's a little brutal for me. But I won't speak on behalf of everyone else! Others would surely enjoy her Dead Don't stories that are written so well and with such descriptive imagery. The mental impressions will surely disturbed you. Not only is Bridget an incredibly talented horror writer, but I do believe she has certain degree of being crazy. That's the mark of true horror writer.
Maybe Crazy does have some disturbing descriptive imagery. But it's forgivable because the patients in the mental hospital now have their sweet revenge.
I give this story five stars. Calling to mind the suffering and abuse that patients in insane asylums sometimes endure, it also reminds us that many of the people belong there. And there's a chilling reminder that one should not work in such a place for too long!
October 11, 2011
(review of free book)