The majority of my time spent in hospital was on the Observation Ward of the Emergency Department. From what I heard, quite a few of the patients there were psych patients too. However, most were adults or elderly patients, I was the only young person on the ward at the time. There was a man next to me who was on ‘specials,’ I could hear him arguing about taking his olanzapine and having haloperidol injections, and he had to have someone watching him at all times. The woman next to him had bipolar disorder, I heard the psychiatrist talking to her too, after having a chat to me. Another elderly man was in the process of possibly being moved to a psychiatric hospital for elderly patients for his depression. A couple of people were there for alcohol related accidents.
I’d never been in hospital before following self harm or an overdose, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I was afraid that I’d be patronised and disrespected, because I had put myself in hospital, I had done this to myself. I though it’d be no less than what I deserved. But in fact, the majority of doctors and nurses treated me with respect and kindness, for which I was thankful for. I have heard horror stories of people’s experiences in hospital following self harm, of how they were given no anaesthetic, of how they were made to feel as though they didn’t deserve to receive treatment, and I am very grateful this was not the case with me.
There were a few disturbances during the night, and as a result, I didn’t manage to get much sleep. And when I did get to sleep at about 3am, I was woken up again at 4am by a nurse to get my bloods taken. “Is it always like this?” I asked her, about whether or not there are usually this many disturbances during the night. “Some nights you do get some good ones where it’s quiet, but yeah, a lot of nights are like this,” she replied. “I was a patient here myself once and it wasn’t very nice.” I gave a weak laugh in response.
The first day I spent in hospital, my emotions hadn’t really caught up with me yet. I had only cried a couple of times, while the rest of the time I couldn’t quite believe all this was happening to me. By the second day however, it all just got too much. Too much going on, too much emotion, and I spent almost the whole of the second day crying my eyes out. There’s not much to do on the ward, everyone’s busy, everyone has their own problems, so I was just left to cry and cry on my own, on the hospital bed, drowning in my own misery. Not fun.
Sometime in the morning, the doctors came to do their ward round. I was still crying. I can tell you now, there’s nothing, absolutely nothing dignified in sitting cross legged on a hospital bed, dressed in a flimsy white hospital gown, uncontrollably crying into your lap while a doctor is standing over you, talking down at you, and a group of about three other doctors and a nurse are all standing around your bed watching, with the curtains around your bed drawn. The doctor standing over me, a toxicologist to be precise, started firing questions at me. ” Are you upset?” “Yes.” “Why are you upset?” “Don’t know, just am,” I shrugged, while still crying. “You saw the psychiatrist yesterday, is that right?” “Yes.” “Has anything changed since then, did something happen here to upset you, do you want to speak to the psychiatrist again?” “No.” He said some more that I can’t remember. He then also told me about having to have the drip in because of my paracetamol levels, how I would be there a while longer, how they had to test my liver function. All I could do was cry. I was intimidated by him, by everyone standing around my bed, the whole experience really. Finally he finished off, the curtains were once again pulled back, and they left to attend to the other patients.
Finally, 11:30am rolled around and the 16 hour IV bag had finished dripping into me. Huzzah! However, they needed to take my blood and get it tested before I was cleared to go, to make sure everything was fine. Felt a bit like a pin cushion by the end of it all.
At one point the nurse looking after me came to speak to me while I was still crying. “Are you okay?” she asked. “Yep,” I nodded miserably. “Just feeling really depressed?” she asked. I nodded and said, “Yes” in agreement. “Are you always like this?” she asked. Always like this? Not quite so miserable all the time, no. “Umm, sometimes…it’s been a bit better since starting the Lexapro,” I said, hoping she would take the hint. I had asked for my medication earlier, I usually have it at about 8am, at this point it was midday and I still hadn’t had it. She took the hint. I got my Lexapro.
About one and a half hours after my blood had been taken for testing, the results came back, and I was free to go. The cannula was taken out at about 12:30pm, which made me very relieved indeed. I decided to go take a shower to freshen up after all of it. The relief was short lived however, when blood started dripping out of where they took it out, on my sleeve, over my hand, on the floor…eek. Gave me quite a fright. I was led back to my hospital bed, where the fixed me up, and the blood stopped flowing.
Because I had my psychiatrist appointment at 3pm, and I was discharged at about 1pm, I decided to wait around at the hospital until it was time for my psychiatrist appointment. Conveniently, my psychiatrist’s office is about a 10/15 minute walk from the hospital.
I started crying almost as soon as I was called into Dr T’s consulting room. Nice. Never cried in front of her before. Spent the majority of the one hour session crying in front of her in fact, which made it a really productive session, obviously. No, actually, it was helpful to just be able to cry in front of somebody who knew me and who knew what was going on and to hear some of the things she said. She said that she’s going to have a chat with my psychologist, and will touch base with me on Tuesday, when I have an appointment with my psychologist then. She also said that we’d talk more about the Lexapro next time I see her.
One of the questions my psychiatrist asked me was, “Do you feel safe enough to be out of hospital?” I shrugged. “Well the psychiatrist I spoke to there thought I was.” “I’m asking you,” she replied. I honestly don’t know. I still feel really hopeless, and part of me wishes what I took really did do enough to kill me. Everything just feels too hard, like just feels too hard. But at the same time, I’m not 100% sure I really, really want to end it, and I’m not in any hurry to have a repeat experience of this ordeal for a while. In any case, I told my psychiatrist I wouldn’t do anything impulsive before Tuesday. So I’m still at home now, still trying to hang on. One positive that has happened though is that I went out to dinner on the Friday night after my discharge from hospital and my appointment with Dr T. It was nice to catch up with them.