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

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Locked up: Part One

The amount I can write about the days will increase as I get past the beginning where I was pretty out of it. Monday is easily the shortest entry. Please forgive my typos, I'm having trouble with my hands being a little shaky and I keep hitting keys wrong or not hitting space hard enough. They say this should go away fairly soon.

I woke up early and called the hospital at 8 for confirmation of insurance. The person I needed wasn't there so she called me back about 8:30. I finished feeding my cats, loaded my suitcase into the car, said a very tearful goodbye to the cats and left.

The trip up took a little longer than it should have because first the GPS wasn't very clear on its directions and I got a little lost. Then I kept having to stop to pee. But it was a beautiful day and I was very aware that I needed to enjoy the last time I was likely to see weather that nice this year.

I got to the hospital and found admissions. The admissions man was very rude. He asked for my home address and I gave it. The post office here had a sign up for a long time that the only address that isn't your PO Box address is if you are asked for a STREET address. Otherwise it is the PO Box. He decided to be annoyed by my saying this and asked if I LIVED in a PO Box, very impatiently. I then went into shut-down mode with him because I was so angry. Thankfully I was pre-registered and it didn't take long. The computer system was down so I didn't get a bracelet until later in the day, nor did I see a lot of the papers I would have. I had to sign a voluntary committment paper that said I wouldn't leave against medical advice without a 3 day lag, I'm sure so that they can get a court order if they are really worried about you going.

Eventually someone took me up to the unit. As soon as I walked in both nurses came and started doing what they needed to do: my suitcase was taken, vitals were done, and they showed me my room. My room was pretty nice for what it was. It was private, quite large, and had a dresser, 2 wardrobes that had only shelves (no hangers allowed), a little table, a bed, a nightstand, and 3 chairs. The bed was a hospital bed, but had a pretty comfortable mattress. I was very, very glad I brought my own pillow. The window would have had a beautiful view of one of the Great Lakes, but the windows have a very heavy mesh, then inside that are blinds you can't adjust, so it was hard to see a whole lot.

One nurse asked me questions for a very long time while the other unpacked my suitcase and brought in what she thought I could have. It was frustrating trying to explain some of them meds to her; she wanted them spelled and I was too sick to be able to do that. She also was the first of many, many people that I had to try to explain I had not stopped taking my antidepressant, I was being tapered off by my psychiatrist. They was a little frustrated that I brought so much clothing, but nobody told me there was a washer/dryer available. Random things weren't brought in and I found that weird. I didn't get the courage to ask until I realized that they kept my pajama pants, but not my pajama shirt. I was surprised to be allowed to have my sneakers as long as I turned them in at night. I did not ever actually opt to wear them; I don't wear shoes at home so that would be odd for me. Plus I was in and out of bed a lot and the shoes would have been harder than the slippers I wore.

At some point they brought me a lunch tray to pick at. Eventually I was given a tour of the unit and then left alone in my room. Where I cried. After a while I needed water so I went to the dining room/everything happens there room and kept crying. The nurse talked to me for a bit then art therapy started. Art therapy proved to be the most helpful part of the whole week, aside from meds of course. My project made everyone talk about how I seemed to be looking for control, and that was about right.

After art therapy was "free time". I looked at a book and cried. Ialso started working on logic puzzles and crosswords. I really am not a puzzle person, but this was something that helped me focus on something besides thinking, which I needed. Eventually we had supper and then I asked the nurse about things like my pajamas and weighted blanket that had been kept. She let me have those and several other things they'd taken from me. As the evening progressed there were 3 more new people, bringing the total to 8, the most that it would be the whole week. Mostly there were 6 of us.

We had this final grop at the end of the day that we were supposed to talk about how our days went. When it was done this way I liked this group, but unfortunately that wasn't going to be the case most days.

After supper I was given arm bracelets. I had the usual one, an allergy one, and thanks to my med combo a fall alert bracelet. I would grow to hate these bracelets more than anything else about the hospital (except this one nurse) and even though I pulled them off the second I could I still feel like they are there.

After group was meds and I asked to take a shower (they have to unlock it for you). At that time my toiletries were returned to me for the rest of the time. So lesson one was, always ask why they took something. Sometimes there is no reason. Also different nurses adhere to different rules, something you'll hear more about as the days progressed.

I went to bed that night with not one thing accomplished in terms of getting me better except that I was admitted. I did not see a doctor, social worker, or anyone but nurses and art therapy that whole day. I wasn't all that happy about it. Apparently my doctor was off sick and nobody came in to cover.

Finally I was able to curl up in bed with Sophia II, which is a stuffed sheep with white noise who i would recommend HIGHLY if you're going to be in the hospital and esp on a psych unit where it's hard to fall asleep soundly enough between 15 minute checks. Ihad to learn to keep a rail up on my bed though so that Sophia didn't get pitched out of bed.

I woke up a number of times through the night, sometimes during room check, sometimes just because. I was very nervous still since I wanted nothing more than to get started on treatment and I couldn't believe I hadn't seen a doctor yet. Some doctor had ordered a whole lot of bloodwork, but that was about it and I had no clue who that was. One thing I hated with a passion was not being told why what test was being ordered.

And that was the first day........

1 comment:

Cranky Amy said...

Seems to me that these folks may have been more used to dealing with people who aren't as involved in their treatment as you are, if that makes sense. I'm glad you were able to do this and that you are back home in YOUR place with the cats and all. I had quit reading most of my blogs and then last week saw what was going on with you and freaked out a bit. :) You are a great role model for people to be their own advocates. Thanks for being you, and being so good at it. (I know that's odd, but my vocabulary isn't the hottest at the moment)