Crazy Nellie and her Pot of Gold, a Peek for Peeps into Madness , Addiction and Love
Have you ever known something and everyone around you is saying that you are crazy? Have you experienced severe pain and suffering ,you know its real ,yet you cave in and accept what others are telling you? It happened innocently enough. I was 24, working at Scotia Bank. One morning before I went to work, the girls were at a sitters ,I decided to try yoga. It was not very well known in the late 70’s, but I was excited learning something new . Half way through the session, my back went out and I could not move. Seriously, they had to bring me into the hospital. Because of the pain they decided to keep me in. I contacted John's Mother Fran in Halifax and she willingly flew into Fredericton to look after the girls. John was working shift work at this time due to his chemo treatments .
I spent three or four days going through test after test but they could not find anything. On a raining Thursday afternoon the Doctor came into my room, sat down, took my hand and said," Mrs. White, we cannot find anything wrong in your body and believe the pain is in your head. We believe, my collogues and I, that due to the fact that you have two children under the age of five, a job and a husband who is ill you are experiencing a nervous break down.”
Well, I was never a nervous person and was not sure what he was talking about. Bare with me, I was only 24.
He suggested I transfer up to the 2 floor on the psychiatric ward.
Ah , what the hell , I need the rest.
Up I go, sit on the bed as the nurse is registering me. Luckily for me ,I know the nurse, Patsy . Her husband is in the RCMP. She is very mothering ,not judgmental. She begins asking questions, No, I really am not worried about anything;
John is going to live if I have to kill him to do it. The girls are fine, I like my job, I owe 500.00 on my visa, not sure why I am having a break down. Whatever that is??
Jesus , Mary and all that is holy, just as she is finishing up with me, in walks my roommate. She is between 65-70, hard to say, she hair in long and grey, she is skinny and in her nightdress. She walks into the middle of the room, pulls up her nightdress and urinates on the floor.
Ok, this is weird, is this what a breakdown looks like? Hum, I have not had a desire to do that . Patsy the nurse leaves and I crawl into the bed on my back that is not hurting , although I am in agony every time I move my legs. I pull the covers over myself and start to cry. How did this happen? Where the hell am I , really?
My roommates name in Nellie the underwearless shadow of a women. . That night as we both lay awake I ask her questions. I want to know her story. As I write this , I want to cry thinking about Nellie . She never married. Her fiancé was killed in the war and she never got over him. When Nellie was in bed , maybe because of a drug they gave her, she would talk for hours and was very intelligence. Come morning, It was like someone else entered her body. Smelly ,mumbling to herself and pissing all over the place. True. I am not making this up.
Saturday, I go into a room with a psychiatrist . He gives me a shot of something. It is suppose to be a truth serum. I start talking . All I can talk about is Nellie and the book I am reading, "The Thorn Birds." He continues to ask me questions and I remember him feeling me up asking if I felt anything. Yes, I say, your hands all over my privates and I am married. We discuss my marriage and the only thing he can get out of me is that I am afraid that John might die and I do not know him that well yet. Hands off me please, End of session.
Sunday, a normal day with Nellie. Monday I call my friend Rose Ford, "Come get me the hell out of here." (I am not sure where John was, must have been working)
I go to the front desk to discharge myself. I tell them they are nuts , not me, my back still hurts and I do not need to smell any more piss and be felt up by a lunatic. They politely tell me that the doctor has not discharged me. I tell them to go pound sand. I am outta here. They say they are not responsible for me if I leave, I have to sign a document. I tell them NO you certainly are not responsible for me.
Give me that document and you know what you can do with it after.
Poor Rose I am sure at this point she thinks I am nuts.
When we get in her car I ask her to make a detour to Woolco. I have my family allowance on me a $26.00 check. I proceed to purchase underwear, pantyhose and a nightdress and bring them back to Nellie. In that hour or so , when I returned to give items to Nellie, she did not remember me. Oh well, I did what spirit instructed me to do.
I am finished with Nellie . Or so I think.
Six months later I am working at my desk at Scotiabank ( The Bank Of Nova Scotia in the 70’s) when my phone rings. I am working in ledgers and I hear a familiar voice say, “Hello this is Nellie McCloud (not her real name) , Can you check my account balance for me . I need someone from the bank to bring me a check so I can pay my mortgage. Yes, Nellie , I reply , Please hold. I am in shock to know she can even phone the bank , stunned to find out her balance is over a million dollars , plus she has war bonds. OK , maybe all that money drove her over the edge. Who knows? You know that saying ,"never judge a book by its cover", never judge a woman from her smell or nightdress. I purchased her underwear as I thought she did not have a pot to pee in, she liked doing it on the floor so much. Maybe every time she piddled , she was harvesting her pot of gold.
In between those six months I did find out why I was in pain. A friend of mine, Corinne C suggested I see her chiropractor. When he took x-rays, he showed me that I have mini scoliosis. A deep curve in the spine and a deteriorating disk. If it is not looked after, there is a possibility that I will be in a wheelchair by the time I am 50. He explained that the reasons why the doctors did not see it was they take ex-rays while the patient is laying down, with the chrio, I was standing up.
(My brother Derek had server Scoliosis. Our Mom had TB when she carried us and I am convinced that is the root cause. )
I see this chiropractor for a few months until he begins to fe