Who Am I? by Wade Welch - HTML preview

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I drove into Fort Worth with my truck loaded up with my tools and belongings. I had trouble finding Value Place, so I stopped on a service road and called. They had no reservation for me. I called all 3 locations and no one had a reservation.

After some tense "discussions", I got the Forest Hill location to make room for me.

Harold made it clear I was not welcome and I was not going to keep my sewing machine and tools in his shop. I "forced" my way in through his front gate so I could put my sewing machine inside. Only after I had unloaded it all by myself did he unlock the door, with disgust on his face. I was lucky to get my large items in his shop...so, my tools were left inside my truck.

After being at the Value Place for two weeks, my truck was broken into and my tools were stolen. Plus, my truck would no longer start. I had to consider what my next move would be...having a beat up truck that needed to be towed and repaired, while the A/C and power windows did not work. It was foolish to spend all my money on the truck when I wasn't going to be able to renew my license anyway.

I was witness to the fact that drug dealers were running this hotel. The manager was obviously in on it, but he also managed two other Fort Worth locations. The man who looked like he was the boss was a regal and statuesque, well-dressed Page 39

Who Am I

Hispanic man with longish hair. He always had body guards with him, and casually noticed I was present. I usually tried to buddy up with the body guards...talking about spirituality, history, and conspiracy theories.

Tuck, my neighbor across the hall, told me he had lived there with his wife and kids for three years. He was a struggling low-level dealer. I told him on many occasions that I was not a cop. He was a likeable guy, although I knew he was a thief. Not a whole lot of difference between Tuck and your common politician.

At the end of the first month at the hotel, I knew this next month would be my last at that place. The drug dealers running the place, along with the hotel manager, were always looking at me like I was a cop or a fed. I was getting ready to leave...knowing my life was about to change. I also knew I would be walking as I left...since my license would expire in 2 weeks. I was truly alone...with Mike as my only friend.

Two days before my last day, I gave Tuck a check for $600, since he was panicking for money...and I wanted his name and signature on a check. I gave him my truck, and my computer. I wasn't able to carry it, and I knew he could use it. I was also giving him a chance to "man up". I still had $300 in my account, and the hotel owed me $267. The next day, I went to give notice I was checking out...and get my money.

As I was giving notice, a policeman came in the front door and asked me to step outside. The two cops arrested me "for my own protection". Little did I know that anyone can call and have you taken away. As I was being driven away, I saw a man taking my golf clubs out to his car. They took me to the John Peter Smith emergency room.

I wasn't making much of a fuss because I was a mess at the time. I had "seizure"

symptoms two days earlier, plus I had been suffering from sleep deprivation for months. I had gone two or three days with no sleep at all. I had become a very spiritual person in the last few years. I had trust in my destiny. As I write this, I realize going to JPS was one of the most enlightening experiences of my life.

I was fine at the busy tenth floor emergency room. I was talking for a long time to a girl who "listened to spirits". She seemed to have some kind of connection that I Page 40

Who Am I

couldn't explain. She was attracted to me for some reason. I told her I was worried because I hadn't taken a prilosec, and she said a spirit told her I would not have a problem for two days...and to get a pill before the third day. All the staff thought she was nuts, of course, and she may have been...but I would not be surprised if she really did communicate with spirits. I would love to meet her again.

I had experience with "supernatural" events when I was married to my first wife, Carole. She woke up in the middle of the night twice that I remember. One time was the exact moment her mother died, and the other was when her father died.

Each time she woke me and told me that they had died. Then the next day we found out it was true. We only use a small fraction of our brain, and the remainder, I am convinced, is intended to be used spiritually...such as to communicate with souls in the spiritual realm.

A new male patient walked in and I was immediately captivated by him. I watched him and listened to him. I was convinced he was a celebrity. It seemed to me that I saw him on TV, and he was some kind of preacher or something. I spent the night talking to the girl and the man...Terry Bates. He told me he went by Scooter, and that he was an illegitimate son of Waylon Jennings. He also told me he was a Mormon preacher. After that night, I never saw the girl again, but Terry and I were buds the entire time I was there.

The next day they took me to the SW wing of the psyche ward. I immediately saw I was in big trouble. As soon as I went in the door, a muscular guy who was stooped over and always had his head bent to the side...smelled my butt. I mean seriously...just like a dog. He was very messed up, and couldn't seem to talk...he just mumbled. And he smelled me, stood away, and shook his head. Later Terry told me it was because I had never been here before, and the cafeteria food had salt peter in it...and he could smell it. I didn't have the smell. That seems interesting to me.

This psyche ward seemed like jail at first. If not for the wonderful techs, who kept order, it would have been a nightmare. Only a few of the nurses cared, and none of the doctors. The techs were a gift from God. They were "regular" people who watched over the patients and had conversations with us. They got to know us.

The social workers were a total joke, as were the attorneys. They were no-shows for the most part.

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I saw a doctor twice in the SW wing. The first day, he came by for about 15

seconds with a couple of student doctors and asked me a question. I could not understand anything he said...let alone answer. I was sleep deprived for days, recovering from recent "seizure" symptoms, and no telling what meds they gave me in the ER. The doctors walked off. Later that same day, he came by my room and asked me for permission to call my parents. I said OK.

I think it was the second day when the attorney came in my room. It may have been the first day...I don't know. She told me that she needed my signature to allow her to represent me. She said "you obviously don't belong here, so if you sign this I will get you out in two days. If you don't sign, you will have to go to court and fight the district attorney, and his job is to keep you here. It will drag on for a week or more". I had no idea that her intention was for me to sign away all my rights. I signed.

Terry was my buddy. We would spend most of every day together. We talked a lot.

He told me he used to work at Vought in Grand Prairie. I soon found out that he had taken the job I turned down...one month after my interview. He was a titanium machinist. He also said he worked with the Secret Service at times in the past, and still had communications with them. After he heard who I was, and my story, he told me that he called them and asked them to help me.

I noticed that I had seen the male Hispanic nurse at the hotel several times, as well as the Hispanic who cleaned the rooms. There was also an Asian guy who said he was from Burma. He seemed to always keep an eye on me. I didn't recognize him. On the second day, the male social worker...Richard...came in my room and told me he was my social worker, and if I needed help, to let him know.

That would be the last time he ever talked to me.

The whole time I refused the psyche meds. They always diagnose patients as bipolar, and had me as schizophrenic as well. Patients have the right to refuse any meds they did not want to take. Refusing meds would normally get a visit from your doctor. I took Nexium in the morning and two 500mg Keppra...one at 9 AM

and one at 9 PM. I did not sleep at night for the first two nights in the SW wing, plus the night in the emergency room.

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The third day a new doctor...Burkett...came in my room to talk to me. He asked me about my condition, and I told him everything. I told him to get me some more sleep and then I will pass any test he has. That day I had a Catscan done as well as an EEG. That night, the Hispanic male nurse came into my room. I was desperately trying to sleep but it wasn't working. He asked me what I thought about Value Place, and I said "I like that place, and every person I talked to there".

He left and came back, with a little white pill. I slept that night.

The next day I felt great. My head was clear and I could think, after around 2PM.

That little pill made me dizzy till then. I began to figure out what was happening to me. It was becoming a strange story, especially after Terry told me his story. My life started making sense. I started having better conversations with the techs, and I was interacting with more of the patients. One of the techs had noticed I was doing better.

That night I stayed up past bedtime. All the patients were in bed except the Burmese guy, and all the second shift techs, and a male nurse. As I sat there, staring them all down, they looked perplexed. The Burmese patient was really getting nervous. I said loudly...looking each guy in the eye, "I am not afraid to die.

Bring it on. I can take anything you got". The Burmese guy looked very upset, and he went to his room. That was the last time I saw him. I got a shot that night, and my second straight night of sleep.

The next day Dr. Burkett spoke to me briefly and I told him the pill was a little too strong, but I slept great. Dr. Burkett told me my tests all looked normal. I told him to get me another night of sleep and reminded him that I will take any test he has for me. The 1/2 pill was just right, and I slept very well from then on. From then on, I took a Nexium at 6 AM, Keppra at 9 AM, 1/2 of a Trazadone 50mg at 8 PM, and a Keppra at 9 PM... every day.

This is now the second doctor to tell me nothing is wrong with me. I didn't realize until a month after I got out of JPS...I don't know if I have ever had a seizure. My first doctor didn't want to prescribe me anti-seizure meds. My mom is the one who told me I had a seizure, and they never let me see any medical records. She also told me that a side effect of my medication is that if I stop taking it, I will have a seizure. I remember what they said to me as I was leaving their house.

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I explained my "seizure" symptoms that I have when I don't take my Keppra to Dr.

Burkett. He said that they were seizure symptoms. So, when I don't take my full meds, I have a tiny seizure. The symptoms are that I don't know where I am for a short time. This happens when I adjust my meds. I never have missed them...I just adjusted the dose by taking a half pill twice a day, or taking a full pill in the morning and half at night. Taking two full pills and I am fine. I just can't sleep.

As I am writing this, I am thinking...I wonder what will happen if I stop them altogether. If I believe what I have been told...they don't know for sure, but I will likely have small seizures until I have the "big one". There is evidence that I was poisoned. If I take a multi-vitamin, even half of a pill, I have seizure symptoms.

There are so many ingredients listed on the bottle that I have no idea what I am having trouble with. I have never experienced a seizure...only symptoms...apparently from a tiny seizure that only happens at night.

This SW wing psyche ward is as far from reality as I can imagine. If I had my day in court, I could prove that all politicians should take responsibility for their actions...and should spend time in all institutions. The people who make decisions use second-hand information based on theoretical situations. Just another fine example of hypocrisy in America.

The next morning a tech took me out of the SW wing and to the NW wing. It was so much better here. All the patients had better attitudes, and we did several group therapy sessions each day. They were wonderful. I could see progress daily among many of the patients. My mind got better each day, and I slept every night.

I aced every group session, as well as all the physical therapy sessions. I seemed to be the only person who was coordinated and athletic. It must be the medication they are all on.

I became the group spiritual leader, and inspired others to participate. If not for the terribly uncomfortable chairs, this wing would have been awesome. We became a sort of family. Some patients would be released and new ones came in. I made an effort to help those who I felt a connection with. The second day, Terry was brought over. We spent each day together. I continued to ask to speak to my doctor and social worker, but they never spoke to me.

I had plenty of time to think. I found it not only strange, but enlightening that I was Page 44

Who Am I

"arrested" with my Moose Auto Glass uniform shirt on, and my manuscript was in my hand, plus Terry came in right after me. I gave my manuscript to him, and he said it was as if he wrote it himself. One of the techs made a copy and gave it to me. I asked him to put it in my file. He did. In the next few days many of the staff read portions of my manuscript.

Now think about this. I never wore my Moose uniform shirt at all after I quit Moose.

I hadn't printed out my manuscript in years. I knew I needed to edit it and shorten it...I just wasn't ready to and for some reason I thought it wouldn't be long until I would be ready. But the day I gave 24 hour notice to Value Place, I put on the shirt and printed it out. Not only that, I was carrying it in my hand when I gave notice...and then was arrested.

That day I had planned on taking a marker and making a T-shirt that said: I am homeless

I am without worldly possessions

I am more qualified

to be President

than Donald Trump

...and another T-shirt that said:

Love thy God

and thy neighbor

as thyself

...and I was going to give my manuscript to one of the body guards. Instead, I was arrested.

The patients I met at JPS were some of the finest people I have met in my life.

They were "down to earth", as opposed to being consumed by greed and convenience. They found me and my insights inspiring. I could actually sense that they found peace when I spoke. Once a man interrupted me in a group session.

He was quoting the Bible...trying to correct me. As soon as the session was done, I walked over to him and stuck out my hand, saying "excellent". I knew right then I had earned his respect.

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Who Am I

There was a beautiful young woman who was having a hard time understanding and communicating. She always had a Bible and was reading almost constantly.

After a couple of days of watching her, I said "There is only one law of God...love thy God and thy neighbor as thyself". She said, "Thank you", and shut her Bible.

She smiled for the first time.

A good-looking young blonde haired male patient came in the second or third day I was in the NW wing. He never spoke to anyone, and was Terry's roommate. I caught him looking at me all the time that he was not in his room. If I looked at him, he went back into his room...the first couple of days. The next time I made it a point to speak to him. He paid very close attention but did not speak. I noticed he scratched his chest and legs all the time.

I asked my favorite tech about him and he said this was his second time there. He said he was struck by lightning. I then asked the patient about the lightning. He said, "No, I was struck by thunder". I asked the patient if he was in the woods. He told me he lives in the woods. I asked Terry about him and he said that the patient thinks he is a witch. I asked him to show me his chest, and then I told the tech that he was covered in scratches and poison oak.

I later spoke to him again, and all the rest of that day he went to his room if I spoke to him, but soon came back out. Each time he had drawn an elaborate picture of fantastic symbols. Soon he was talking to me. He wanted to know my true name. He asked me if I was an Apostle. I asked Terry about him again, and Terry said the guy has a Koran in his room. From then on, he never spoke to me but spoke to others. He watched me, but if I asked him a question...he froze.

From then on, he was my friend, although he froze if I spoke to him. His infection was cleared. I tried to be nice, and I could tell he liked me...and I sensed he trusted me. But most of all, he feared me.

On the fourth day in the NW wing (Friday), I saw Dr. Burkett, and cornered him so that he would speak to me. He told me that he had talked to my mom and she told him three things: the kidney donation story was a fabrication, I never worked for Moose Auto Glass, and I tried to kill myself three times last year. I told the doctor that I have never lied to him and I could prove it. I gave him Mike's phone number.

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Who Am I

On Saturday, I started wearing my Moose shirt each day. On Sunday, the doctors came to the NW wing to see new patients who were brought in. The student doctor who was with Burkett on Friday saw me in my Moose shirt and looked very concerned. He told me Burkett was here today. He told Burkett about my shirt, but I never spoke to him.

Monday morning Burkett came to see me. He spoke to Mike and now knew that all my mom said were lies. He said, "you are lucky to have a friend like Mike". He told me to leave immediately. I told him I couldn't leave until Tuesday because Mike was working today and he was my only ride back to the hotel. Later that afternoon (4 PM), Burkett again came to me and asked me to leave. I again told him no, and reminded him my diagnosis was incorrect, and I needed him to fix that and I wanted to talk to my social worker.

Dr. Burkett told me my correct diagnosis was "seizure induced psychosis" and

"medication induced psychosis". I said yes, that sounds right. He said Richard, my social worker, would speak with me. That night they pulled a patient from somewhere and put him in my room with me. His entire body had a terrible scaly and lumpy "alligator skin" infection. He was in terrible pain, and whimpered and cried all night. I befriended him.

The next day is my last day in captivity. Around 10 AM Burkett met with me. He told me I was checking out. I reminded him that I needed to speak to a social worker and get my diagnosis straightened out. He actually sat down and talked to me for ten minutes. After two weeks, a person who controls my future talks to me.

I explained that if I leave with a diagnosis attached that is incorrect, such as the one he attached to me (bipolar and schizophrenic), it would allow my parents to do anything they wanted to me.

He commented that I had been consistent with my story from the beginning. He asked me if I was afraid of my parents. I said "Yes!". He again told me my diagnosis would be "seizure induced psychosis" and "medication induced psychosis". I then told him I wanted to see the paperwork when it is done. He said OK, and that a social worker would talk to me.

At around 10:30 Richard, my social worker, sat down with me. I asked him how long he had to talk to me and how much of my story he knew. He said "Well, I Page 47

Who Am I

talked to Lois...I know the whole story". I replied saying "Then you don't know anything about me". He got up and left. I saw Burkett and Richard arguing in the office a few minutes later.

The last thing I did before lunch was a group session. The female social worker said the discussion could be about anything we wanted. I was usually the leader of groups, although this was the first group I had with this woman. I took the lead. I asked her what she was going to do to help John, a homeless man trying to beat alcholism who receives poor care...and remains homeless. I asked what she was going to do to help Terry, an American hero who can't get anyone to take him seriously. But most of all, I asked what she would do to help Tim, my roommate, who is standing next to her because he cannot even sit down...he is in so much extreme pain.

She asked me what kind of help I needed. I told her my situation was not nearly as important. All I need is to be able to talk to a social worker and have basic human rights. She continued the group with others talking about their problems. I knew this was either my last day in the psyche ward or next to last. These patients were my "family", and most were concerned that the staff was quite inappropriate with their handling of me.

After lunch I saw that the name board on the wall had my name with "D/C

BLOCKED" in large red letters. All the staff I saw before lunch were gone. I spent most of the day with Tim, trying to get him help. We played three good games of chess...and we are really equally skilled. At 6:30 PM, 4 doctors came in I had never seen before. It appeared they had never been here. They went over to my room, where Tim was laying down. The door was shut.

They looked around at all of us patients and smiled...laughed quietly...and spoke privately together laughing some more. Once they opened the door to my room, the smiles quickly vanished. They were overcome with the severity of the situation. It looks like that social worker had done her job. Just before the 7 PM

shift change, I was discharged...at 6:55. The paperwork said I had been discharged at 10:45 AM.

I had no time to fill my scrips, and I called Mike. Fortunately, he was available to come and we made it to the hotel in time to check out and see what I had left Page 48

Who Am I

there. Everything was gone, except a couple of trash bags full of clothes. Mike took me to Harold's house so I could put my trash bags inside his shop. It was halftime in game 1 of the Mavs/Thunder playoff series. I had Mike leave me near there so I could find a place to stay...but I walked the streets of Arlington that night.

I walked to the downtown police station and sat in the lobby of the jail...watching the replay of the game.

Mike came and got me at 9 AM the next day. We went to CVS and filled my scrip, and got me a hotel. I still had $500 in my bank account. A few days later I visited the NW wing. John was back to being homeless, but he had a check coming each month...and had a rental room lined up. He seemed commited to stop drinking.

He lived a couple of blocks away.

Tim was looking much better. Terry was still there but they let him go two days later.

I have some problems with the people who controlled my life. I have them identified in chronological order:

1) my intial arrest by police

2) initial diagnosis of JPS doctors, or lack thereof 3) my lawyer taking away my rights

4) social worker was motivated to keep me there 5) tactics to subdue me mentally

6) my new doctor abandoned me after I asked for help 7) no one would help me

8) the connection to the hotel

9) my discharge

10) my follow-up appointment

I called my Dad and told him he owed me $28K. He offered to pay me $500 a week for a few weeks. I told him to send me $10,000 or I would be knocking on his door. He sent me a check.

I had a scheduled follow-up appointment for a week after I got out of JPS, but it was on Camp Bowie...even though they knew I would be in Arlington. They told me it was too busy at the Arlington location, and it would be months before I could Page 49

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get an appointment there. I replied by telling them I had no transportation. They didn't care.

So I went to the Arlington location instead. There was a full staff there, but there were no patients in the waiting room, and the office had four workers in it. I went up to the window and told them who I was and my situation. The window attendant told me I had no appointment. I replied by saying, "then you can wait until it is all on TV". She asked me to have a seat.

A nurse came out into the waiting room. I recognized her from JPS. She was one of the "bad" nurses. She was familiar with my situation and knew exactly who I was. She walked right up to me, and said so no one else could hear, "I was witness to the fact your social worker talked to you. She spent 30 minutes with you". I told her I never talked to a female social worker. She said, "I know, it was Richard". I left.

I stayed in an Arlington hotel for a month. I bought my first laptop. I started writing again. I walked to Wal Mart everyday for lunch. Then I bought a minivan. I had a week to plan my trip.

Go East Young Man

I packed up my minivan with my sewing machine, some tools, welder, and clothes.

I was on my way to Florida. I stopped off at Moose Auto Glass in Tyler. I spoke to Casey and Robert gave me my CD. That was the only copy of my manuscript that I had left. It was quite comforting to have it again.

I stopped for the night in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The next day I went to Clearwater, Florida. I paid $280 for a week at the Super8 motel. It was a dump, but the best place I could find for the money. The bathroom was OK, but the faucet had a 1/8th inch thick growth on it. The carpet looked OK, but just walking across the floor made the bottom of your feet black. Other than that, it was fine.

I spoke to Ken at Auto-Styles and he was a truly likeable guy. He had a decent business, but was holding it together with super glue. He had to hustle to keep it from breaking. It was easy to see it probably broke every week. It was just my style. I like it when I am needed. The only problem I saw was that he was not used to paying a decent wage. Bosses love to pay $15/hour.

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Who Am I

I was offered a good starting wage at Golden Classics. I had planned on working there, but changed my mind the night before I started. They were just a used car dealer...owned by a rich guy. Exactly the opposite of what I wanted. There were other trim shops in Tampa, but I wanted to try working for Ken. I just wasn't able to find a place to live. Plus, it is a tourist trap...complete with a ton of low lifes running the area. All they cared about was money.

After one week, I left to go north. I drove through Orlando, but it was a nightmare. I stayed there for 4 hours, and all I found was poverty. None of the shops I found were still in business, and poor people were everywhere. I truly felt ashamed. All of the people suffering because America was taken over by the corporation. The taste of the shame will never leave my mouth. If I was to think about it, I would have tears in my eyes.

I got out of Orlando and made it to Jacksonville. I like the city. It has a large river running down the middle, with many smaller rivers and creeks running off it. The streets are haywire because of the river, and there are huge bridges all over. It seemed like it was a city from the past...maybe even an imaginary city. I think I should have come here long ago.

There are about 20 trim shops in Jacksonville, and the economy is rather stable.

The first one I went to was quite an opportunity...Davis Seat Covers. It was a copy of Moose Auto Glass. The shop is large and in total disrepair. It is more than 60

years old, and the work tables are all obsolete. It has a somewhat large inventory of old fabrics and vinyls, and still had seat covers in boxes made decades ago.

The shop is air conditioned, although it is very humid here. It is large, but far less than half is usable. The owner inherited it and apparently knows nothing about trim work, or doesn't care. Everything is a mess. There hasn't been any commitment into the shop work area for many years. I know enough to run away when I see sewing machines mounted into the formica of a work table. I also know myself enough to know I never run away.

I felt sorry for the employees, who had been there for more than a decade. It is obvious they cannot keep any new help. I have seen this same situation in every big city I have come across. The owner made it a corporation and bleeds it, along with the employees. Big ego...he likes da money. And each time I see it, I try to Page 51

Who Am I

walk away...but I can't.

I made a big impression and they wanted me right away. I had a meeting with the manager...and then the owner. Both very likeable guys, and both made from the same mold I have encountered for 30 years. The owner was going to be a challenge, but who better to take on such a formidable task? The only thing he wanted me to do was get a Florida driver's license. The only thing I wanted was to have a few days to set up my work area.

The next day I went to get my license. They told me I needed my birth certificate, social

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