Reality hit when the matron showed Ellen to her room. Though the sanitarium was on a beautiful estate with park-like grounds, Ellen hadn’t given thought to the high brick wall, surrounding it. As the matron showed her to her room in an annex to the main building, she found none of the luxury she expected. She found an unmade narrow bed with folded white cotton linens, two cotton blankets, and one pillow. The only furnishings were the bed, a writing table and chair, and a four-drawer chest. A small closet had six hangers attached to the rod. The window had ornate metal bars. To add insult to injury, the communal bathroom and showers at the end of the hall served the twelve rooms in her buildings. She’d have her meals in the dining room when the bell rang at seven a.m., twelve noon, and six p.m.
Ellen was furious! Though Charles had told her she was going away for rest and relaxation, she constructed a luxurious resort and spa in her mind. This was an asylum for the insane, even though she had no clue it was a far cry from the typical state hospital.
She raged at the matron, “This is a crime! I am not crazy! Call my husband to get me out of here. I was tricked!”
“You are not helping yourself,” the matron told her firmly. You are here to recover. The doctor will see you in the morning. Get your bed made, put your things away, and you can rest till the bell rings for dinner. The other patients will show you to the cafeteria. In the morning…..”
Ellen came totally undone screaming at the matron. “Make my bed! Make my bed! I’ve never made a bed in my life, you crazy bitch! Let me out of here!” She flew at the stalwart woman and found herself lying on the floor. Two attendants stepped in and strapped her to the bed.
The matron remarked, “Mrs. Evans, you aren’t helping yourself. Someone will be back to check on you later.” She left Ellen thrashing and screaming. The attendants followed, taking the bed linens and furniture with them.