By Tony Casson
I did not wake up for about 24 hours, and when I did, I was in the intensive care unit, and I was conscious for just a moment, long enough to be aware that I was still alive, that I was connected to all sorts of machines, that there was something stuck down my throat, and my hands were encased in these really soft, really thick gauze mittens.
I was in and out of sleep most of the day, and when I was awake, people spoke to me, but I didn’t respond. Well, couldn’t, as I was still with a tube down my throat helping me breathe.
Towards the end of the morning, I believe, the breathing tube was removed, a wholly unpleasant experience, by the way–kind of like sticking your finger UP your throat. As unpleasant as it may have been, I was glad (yes, I was) that I was around to experience it.
I was moved to a regular hospital room later that day and was treated pretty normally except I had a 24-hour “watcher”, someone who’s only job was to sit and watch me.
Two days later, I was moved to the third floor, where the ‘psych’ ward was located. Until that point, I really hadn’t said much to anyone. People came and went, looked at me, did their assigned task, and left. I was pretty weak initially and had a lot of drugs in me, so I faded in and out of sleep.
Once I got to the third floor, it was different. People were going to seek answers, and I was going to be expected to provide them.
The FBI didn’t place me under arrest at the motel because–as they informed my sister, Kathy–they would have had to provide a 24-hour guard, and they “didn’t have the manpower”.
Once I had physically recovered enough to be moved near the psych ward, I was held under authority of Florida’s Baker Act, which allowed for a 72-hour observation period. The third floor was a secured level with locked doors and controlled access. There was a nurses station, a craft activity room, a day room, and half-a-dozen two-person rooms.
There was never an empty bed, and there were two units like this. I was in unit A. Most were there because they had said they wanted to die. A few had taken pills. A couple had had voluntarily entered. A lot of unhappiness in the world…
I would end up spending almost a week on the third floor at Memorial Hospital-Johnson.
The demons I had faced in the mirror seemed to have fled, leaving the naked truths that had been buried, or hidden, exposed for me to deal with, and for all to witness.
Everyone knows that in order to see something clearly, it must be viewed in the light. If you are talking about the flaws in an apple, or a pear, it’s no big deal. However, when you take the darkness in the human soul and bring it into the light, be prepared to call upon God for help in dealing with what you find there.
The time I spent on the third floor was time well spent. I uncovered things within myself–pain I had covered for years–and discovered little things in the past that had developed into big things over time.
I talked. I cried. I talked.
I examined myself and developed a sense that I could–and would–survive all my current problems and finally deal with all of my old issues.
I would be someone I could love, and I knew those who loved me would help.
At this point, I would like to apologize to my family and friends. I’m sorry to have put you all through this in the first place, and I am sorry for whatever pain reading these last few entries may have caused.
I do not delight in hurting those I love, but I do harbor a fervent hope that, over time, my words will reach out to someone who has been seduced by evil and, perhaps, will initiate a change in direction that will spare him–or her–and his family and friends the enormous spiritual, emotional, physical, and financial price that all of this evokes.
We have not even begun to scratch the surface, and I hope you all have the patience to bear with me as I ramble.
To my children, my brothers, sisters, other relatives, friends–I love you all, and I am sorry.