Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Cut the top ten and go straight to the number one reason why Willa Goodfellow should never get herself committed to the psych ward:

I suck at arts and crafts.

I didn't used to.  I used to produce Christmas cookies and gingerbread houses that made adults and children alike respond, "Oh! My! God!" -- though not the way this cake does.  I used to make big gingerbread houses.  No kits. and no showing off with royal icing and special decorating tips (which might have improved this cake, if I had been able to find them).  I used Golden Grahams for shingles, individually placed sprinkles on the door wreaths, graham bears ice skating in the yard, pretzels for fences.  I made Dr. Seuss-like trees out of marshmallows and gummy savers, M&M's for roofing material, or maybe candy-canes for the Swiss chalet touch -- those were a bitch to hold in place until the frosting glue dried.  Once I used peanuts to construct a fire chimney.  All color coordinated.  I must have made thirty of those suckers, and each an original masterpiece.

Then I took Prozac.  And Celexa, and Cymbalta, and Effexor.  And part of my brain has never come back.  I think the part that departed included the "good taste" part.  Also the "give a damn what you think" part.

This cake and the guerilla party I held in the hospital lobby to celebrate the 45,000,000 people at risk for suicide who will survive it, the same hospital whose psych ward I hope never to call home, definitely come out of the "Prozac Monologues" spirit.  So does the grammar of that last sentence.

This one, I am submitting to cakewrecks.com.  So, Elaine, (a friend who happened by the party and was speechless) you can go ahead and say it.  Yes, I know.

Some people actually do get it.  One of the guests was a psychiatrist who laughed along when I bemoaned having thrown away all the meds I have stopped using over the course of the Chemistry Experiment, so that I was reduced to Smarties and Mike and Ike for decorating material.


"I have a dream. Okay, technically it's a fantasy." [Elmont, Doonesbury]  That when people who survive self-injury are transferred from ICU to the psych ward, they will be greeted with a cake.  That when they get home, there will be a party, just like the party that will greet my friend who just made it through colon surgery.  A quiet party, befitting the energy level of the guest of honor.  But a party with a guest of honor, for having survived this latest round with a disease that has a 15% mortality rate.  I have a fantasy that people who survive self-injury, or manage to avoid it altogether, will be treated like people who survive breast cancer.

I have a fantasy that next year the Psych Department itself will host the party for Suicide Prevention Week, with both Emergency Room workers and the patients, out on a pass, sharing the honor.  For sure, the hospital-catered cake will look better. 


  1. YES, we deserve a Party, when we're able to keep the gremlins at bay and survive and are ALIVE.

  2. Hurray, Meg! You are one of my heroes. 45,000,000 success stories. We have to find a way to tell them.

  3. Unfortunately, a closer reading of the submission guidelines for cakewrecks.com indicates that my submission is ineligible. While BCBS, Cigna and I have all paid dearly for the life lessons, nobody actually paiod ME for the cake. So this was not a case when "professional cakes goes horribly, hilariously wrong."

  4. That's too bad. We should have sold pieces of cake without a permit so that you could post on cakewrecks. The cake was a neat way to lighten something serious. Brilliant. :) Jess

  5. I am almost laughing too hard to comment but I will. I can just imagine that on night I was brought up from the ICU to the psych ward -- what IF that guy with red beard (a very kind guy actually) had been standing there grinning behind the glass waiting for me with a cake? One decorated with roses and a whole new set of meds? I was shaky enough as it was, but whoa...was this a hallucination on top of everything else? Heck, I'd have probably scarfed it right down. I was pretty hungry as I recall...Hope you had a good party.