So alot has been happening in the past few days but I guess the biggest and most overwheming experience was being escorted from the AMU to my hopefully temporary new home in our local Psychiatry hospital. Clock View is by all means a modern interpretation of a pysc hospital, newly built and all glass and airy. Good for the mind I guess. Like everyone of us I had preconceptions about what to expect admittedly largely based on movies and TV and anechdotes of people from home who have been carted off these places.
Let me tell you that my first imprssions were everything you might expect but also nothing you might expect. I arrived and was buzzed into the ward. Several passages through locked doors lived up to the sterotype and certainly got my heart pumping. There were no white coats, but only lovely ladies casually dressed in t-shirts and trainers distinguishable from patients only by their lanyards. I was met a lovely lady who could clearly tell I was nervous. The first thing we did was go through my bag. I had little with me, as I hadn’t prepped for this. I was glad off that as we looked at every item and assessed its lethalness. I could pose harm to myself so my twezzers and phone charger were whisked asway to a locked room for usage when I requested and was accompanied. Every shampoo bottle, liquid etc was sniffed for alcohol content. I could keep my clothes, what little I had with me, and I was qucikly given some charming NHS pjs. I was allowed to keep my phone though which was both a surprise and a huge relief.
Then the tour of the ward began. it’s a square corridor with a courtyard in the middle for fresh air (I hope you like cigarette smoke!!). Here’s the kitchen, laundry room, TV room and chill out rooms. it was all a haze. I couldn’t remember anything except the ramblings of other patients as they walked by us. Once the tour was over it was time to settle into my room.
Have you ever been to university? That’s what this is like, a dorm room with a single bed, desk and basic shelving. I notice the curtains hanging of the rail. I move them and they pull away completely. They’re meant to do that so that I can’t hang from them but bloody hell its frustrating. I’ll be fixing those daily. Staff show me the slots on my door window and how to close them for privacy, but there is no privacy in this place. I may close them but they will be opened every 15 mins or so throughout the night to check I’m still alive and not doing anything daft in the sanctuary of my room.
I need a shower, i stink!! but my ensuite has no door and its visable when the room door slats are open. Perhaps I’ll brave that tomorrow. I need a wee but again I’m petrified to go for fear of intrusion mid wizz. I hatch a plan, as soon as I’ve had a check, i’ll quickly pee before i think the next one is due. They are deliberatly rather unpredicatable so this will make for a fun game over the next few weeks.
Do i really belong here?
Let’s find out tomorrow.
Remember you are loved and an assett to this world.
Before i talk about the next few chapters of this little saga, I need to give a special mention to The Gobby One. I’m currently writing these blogs from my bedroom in a pyciatric hosptial; the one they found me a bed in. Just this evening a member of the staff here returned from the AMU with a message for me from The Gobby One; “Hope you;re doing o.k and don’t forget my letter.
This both lifted my heart and brought me to tears. There was one stand out amazing lady in the AMU that i was in. A lady who is grossly underpaid and undervalued but one who made my life bearable for those few days in the AMU. She allowed me supervised respiete from the ward in the relatives room, gave me a shoulder to cry on but more importantly she chatted endless rounds of shite with me. We talked about Karate and Judo, Dog walkers, Crappy Tv and Poo!!! in fact we had several conversations about poo, but when all you can think about is escaping, giving up completely, doing it right next time and not phoning 999, Believe me when i tell you that talking about poo is a tonic for the soul.
So if you ever see this, please know that for those little moments you spent with me, life was bearable again, and i thank you from the bottom of my heart. YOU WILL GET YOUR LETTER!!!!!
So after a night of rest i lay awake in my bed and studied my canulla wondering what it was used for. i then noticed that both my wrists were very badly bruised. I knew I would have had a plethora of blood tests but where on earch did the bruising come from. I worried that in my drugged state I may have kicked off and been restrained. This bothered me and I had to know the answers. A lovely male nurse agreed to sit down with me and my notes to answer my questions. I wanted to check everything was functioning as it should be; “Did you do LFT’s, Kidney function, FBC’s the whole lot and what were my results? All came back normal thankfully. A lucky escape I guess but lets be honest this could come back to haunt me in the future. As for the bruises on my arms, no I was never restrained. it was most likely due to me having blood gasses taken. Going deep for the arteries can definately bruise.
That was such a relief to me as I really didn’t want to imagine me being horrible to the poeople who were there saving my life. So now I become more inquisitive. I’ve noticed staff following me around, checking on me excessively and it clicks, “oh shit have i been sectioned?” I was admitted Friday night and on Sunday evening I found out that yes I was being detained there under a section 1 (72 hrs initially).
So lets explore that for a minute. What happens to you when your under a section 1. Obviously i could not leave, but oh its much more than that. I was essentailly stalked, nurses and HCA’s watching my every move. i couldn’t pee, shower or brush my teeth without someone knocking on the door to ask am i o.k. Off course what they are really asking is are you doing anything stupid in there? it was horrible. I was not delusional, or incoherent, i knew exactly what was happening and could feel the gravity of the situation even stronger with every staring eye. When my sun and parnter eventaully came in to see me we weren’t even allowed to leave the ward. I had to entrain a toddler in a cubicle, but make sure your curtain is open. I felt so helpless and pathetic and angry towards the staff, but i knew they were only following protocol.
A couple of days of staring, increasing frustration from me and some heart to hearts with nurses did mean that they loosened the reigns just a little, but it was so important to my self esteem. So what would happen now? I’m out of the woods in terms of drug effects but would i be allowed to go home? A team of mental health assesors would decide my fate.
“We’re detaining you under Section 2 of the mental health act and we are looking for a bed for you right now”
Zopiclones are a marvellous drug for those who cannot sleep, and even better so for those who wish to sleep forever. That’s what i took, 3 or 4 packs and bam instant wooziness!! I don’t know why i panicked or why I phoned 999, but I did and here I am waking up slowly trying to figure out where I am and what happened. it turns out I’m on an acute medical ward in the local hospital. I’m drowsy but alive. I’m surrounded by new faces, nurses, healthcare assistants and other patients on the ward. I’m confused.
The events of my first days consious are quite hazy still but what i do remember is the absolutely outstanding nursing staff and HCA’s that took the time to talk to me, check on me and some of whom provided me with glimpses of hope. The NHS is massively overstretched, the staff were run ragged but every now and again one would come over to me and ask: How are you doing, Do you need anything? Some even held my hand or cacooned me whilst i wept into their chest. I was incredilby lonely and scared, but not alone and the importance of those moments to me, and the kindness of those strangers in my life will stay with me forever.
The first few days on the ward were a complete whilwind of emotions, meeting physicians and mental health professionals and being repeatidly asked; Do you know why you are here? it would seem many patients do not, but yes I was very aware. i knew excatly what i did and now I was starting to regret phoning the ambulance.
For 2 nights straight i didn’t sleep, couldn’t sleep. Honeslty not even for a moment. i was in shock I think. I think even the nurses were in awe of my zombie like state, just staring at the ceiling tiles as the hours past from darkness to dawn. They also wouldn’t give me anything, unsurprisinlgy i guess to give my liver some respite. I never told them this but I was hallucinating big time, the ceiling tiles danced with glittering blues and greens and violets! For two whole days my view of the world was remarkably colourful and fluid. By the 3rd night i was allowed some diazepam to take the edge off and it worked.
After some sleep it would be time to start piecing togethar what happeneded and what would be happening next.
Stick with me. i cant spill this all in one go, it’s tiring.
I’m not much of a blogger. I’m a thinker……..An overthinker!!!! My thoughts consume me daily, so it’s time to set them free.
Let’s start at the beginning. It’s an absolutely stunning day in Italy. A perfect day for a family wedding. You could even say that happiness and love fill the air. Not my air though, i chose not to go. I’ve got reasons why I chose to stay in Liverpool alone which i may get to in future blogs but for now, all you need to know is that it’s Friday August 3rd 2018, 20.53 pm (according to my phone history anyway, I don’t remember much) and I’m dialing 999.
Call hander; “Is the patient breathing?
Me: Yes, but I’ve taken an overdose!
it’s all abit hazy from then on, but my phone records indicate that they had to call me back 4 times. The signal in our house is terrible so I’m not surprised. Oour conversation ended at 21.12 pm, the moment the paramedics arrived on scene. I vaguely remeber being ushered into and ambulance, my next door neighbour standing outside wathcing and then nothing…………………………………………………….
But I’m still here. Ready to slowly share my story, so bear with me. It may take a little time.