Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Locked up, Day Five

Day five (actually the night of day four) was when I decided the anxiety was absolutely unbearable. I also was very afraid because while Vistaril had knocked me out when I was totally out of control, it only really worked if taken either when I had totally worn myself out with the anxiety or if I happened to catch it the second it started. Neither of which was particularly helpful. I also realized that I was showing signs of tolerance to Ativan, which I had been taking for years. So I talked to my psychiatrist, who was happy to change me to Klonopin and wrote for it to be given regularly, not PRN. I could (and did) still take Vistaril, but the first dose of Klonopin made a noticeable difference within a few hours.

Unfortunately that didn't last long. I've written before about the dietician who thought that if I was too depressed to eat the best thing to do was eat things that sounded worse than anything ever had sounded. Well, she was about to make my life a living hell.

That morning I had eaten a reasonable amount (an omelet) for the first time in weeks. I had picked something for lunch I thought I might try. My stated goal for the day was to eat one serving of something at every meal.

So when I got my lunch tray and not one thing I'd ordered was on it, I was pretty upset. With no warning or explanation I was sent a chicken breast on a bun, something I'd specifically told her I wasn't able to eat. I think I got some vegetables, although now what I asked for, plain mashed potatoes, and a bunch of kinds of juice. Because juice is filling. I was so upset, and asked the nurse. At first she didn't know why, then remembered they'd decided to put me on the MAOI diet. I said I understood that, but that the dose I was on didn't even require a diet, and the diet for Emsam isn't as strict as oral MAOIs, and that this is insane. I wasn't even allowed soup because the broth might be made from aged meat or something. I was horribly upset and all they would say is the doctor ok'd it and they'd look into it.

I was able to pick at my dinner enough to feel like I'd at least tried, but it too was not what I ordered at all.

Aside from being very upset about the food, that day was actually slightly better. I was given a tentative discharge date of Wednesday, maybe Thursday, and I spent some time talking to the other patients. I even wrote that I laughed twice. I started participating in groups a little more (ie I was saying things before I was forced to).

I also noted that day that I was becoming extremely frustrated that nobody was bothering to read my chart to know why I was there. Everyone knew I was bipolar; I was the only bipolar patient. But with 6 patients, 2 nurses, and a tech, along with support staff, I felt that by day 5 there shouldn't be ongoing questions about what signs I had missed that caused me to need to be hospitalized, what medication errors I had made, and what changes to my support system might help me. The first couple days I understood these questions, but by day five I was getting petulant. "what did you miss that led to your admission?" "My doctor told me to quit taking my pills and I did, and I was admitted when I realized I was about to miss the only way to keep myself alive". "Why did you stop your pills?" "Because the DOCTOR TOLD ME TO".

I know it's hard to know all about each patient. I also know that at any given time I'm responsible for 30 to 50 patients and I know at least the significant reason they are seeing me, usually much more than that. It's not like there were constantly different nurses; they kept staffing pretty consistent. So I felt there was no excuse. This also was enchanced by my anger at being called by my first name, which is not the one I use, no matter how often I correct people. Again, 6 patients, learn my name. They were doing this with half of us.

NAMI (National Association of the Mentally Ill) came that day. I was disappointed because it was scheduled during a relaxation training group I actually would have benefitted from. NAMI is a good organization, but it is very not local for me, and listening didn't help much. I also was very freaked out because we were given paperclips while they were there and I couldn't stop thinking about how I could hurt myself with said paperclip. I finally threw it into the heating register thing to get it away from me. I was too embarrassed to ask the nurse to take it, even though it would have been smarter. I did later admit to several people that I'd had trouble with this.

My biggest accomplishment that day was changing my previously scheduled appointment with my family doctor to a much sooner day (thank God I did that given that without him I'm pretty sure I'd be back in the the hospital right now). ---This is a total tangent, but I just realized finally why nobody wants to give me enough Klonopin to just take care of it. Duh. I totally forgot that not only am I on suicide precautions verbally for what feels like forever, the doctors aren't going to risk me having enough meds to hurt myself. Oh.---Anyway, I also left Dr. Mind a message cancelling an appointment I'd miss while in the hospital, asking for extra appointments to be set up for a while, and letting him know I was surviving. I really wish he had a private voicemail box, because I wanted to tell him how much it meant that the staff at the counseling center were praying, but I wasn't ready to announce that to the world. I still need to tell him that.

That was also the day I found out I was switching doctors. I'd not seen my "real" doctor until my 3rd day because he had flu. Then I saw him 3 days and he was out of town. So I saw this other doctor really more. It didn't matter, I liked both. The second must have wound up my dr of record since my online chart lets me set up an appointment with him. I thought I was going to have to, but now I think I can make it a few more weeks.

And that was the week. There's still more days to come, but oh they were boring days. We had 1 30 minute group each morning that was supposed to be leisure but was awful, another group didn't happen either day, and the dreaded final group of the day that wasn't supposed to happen did. Otherwise it was very boring. More on that later.

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