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, December 27, 2009

Things I wish I'd known before my psych stay Part One

This may turn into more than one post, but it is one I really want to write. It's comprised of 2 things: my memories, and a list I made while impatient. For most of the time I was there I couldn't just write a paragraph about how I felt. So I wrote lists. I think it went over 100 things before I could write enough to give a detailed explanation of what I meant.

Here goes:

1) If you are a direct admit, find out when the doctors do rounds so you are admitted by that time. If they'll come see you after you're admitted that's great, but if you'll have to wait 24 hours because you didn't know to come earlier you'll be quite frustrated.

2) If you have items that are for special needs, include a list in your suitcase of what the items are and why you need them. I think it is probably ideal to have your doctor sign this list before admission. I assumed my suitcase would be searched in front of me and I could verbally explain my weighted blanket, things to fidget with, need for my own brand of tissues (allergy), etc. Instead all those things were taken from me and it wasn't until many hours later when I got up the nerve to ask that I got them back.

3) Make sure your med orders include things to help with special circumstances, and make sure the orders are clear. I had taken ativan as a "take one, then may take up to so many per day for years". That was how the order was written, and some nurses would give it to me every 4 hours or so just so I didn't exceed the max, but others would make me wait out the even hours to get the number of doses, and that caused me to both feel crappy and to never get as much as I needed because I was allowed like 4 doses per day. Had I been able to take more when one dose didn't work, as the order was intended, I would have had all 4 per day. Instead they kept me down to effectively 2 doses per day because I didn't need it after I'd had Seroquel. This also led to me being given Seroquel then expected to be awake for a group and feeling humiliated and attacked and like I'd done something wrong because I went to bed after taking Seroquel as I've been taught to do for years.

3) Always make sure someone orders an emergency med. I want orders for an injection of something any time I'm admitted from now on. During my worst day when I wanted to die and cried for hours because I was too safe to manage it I needed something emergently. Nothing was ordered so I had to wait 30 some minutes for the dr. to answer his page, then another 30 minutes to get it from the pharmacy and have the oral pill start to work. Had I had an order for an injection I could have been calmed down and asleep within a very short time.

4) Take a blank notebook and pens. I didn't and we weren't given anything to journal with until day 4 or so. As I said I couldn't really write very well because I was too sick, but writing mere sentences helped so much.

5) Take things to do. Whether it is cards for solitaire, books to read, puzzle magazines, whatever, be ready to need gentle distractions and for there to be a lot of time to kill. Most people watched a lot of TV. I can't watch TV, so I spent much of my time in my room doing whatever would kill time. The weekends were deadly boring. Thank God I felt well enough to talk some by then or I would have not survived. We had 2 scheduled groups per day both days, one of which didn't happen either day, and one of which was labeled "activities" and turned into an incredibly boring "read to us" about guilt group.

Many more to come.

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