Thursday, February 15, 2007

My Psych Hospitalizations: The Good, The Bad And The Slightly Out Of Control? - Part V

Hospitalization #1 Overdose - Medically Helpful Yes, Psychiatrically Helpful Yes

Well, we've reached the long end of the road folks but hang on to your hats. This ride gets a little bumpy. This overdose wasn't as bad as my second but it was significant enough. I did not lose consciousness but I did become very sick. Activated charcoal was used and that seemed to do the trick. But I had taken the pills dry (i.e. with no liquids--I had been driving) and developed a nasty case of thrush. And of course I would need to be admitted to the psych floor.

I was so scared. I had never been admitted to a psychiatric part of a hospital before. What would await me? But I was so sick and tired and completely a wreck that part of me just abandoned myself to the idea of whatever fate awaited me.

I was there for two weeks. For the first three days I was kept in a state of "detox" and literally did not move from my bed. Except perhaps to get up and go to the bathroom I just laid there and slept. I did have a few visitors but apart from that, they would bring my food, I would let it sit. I just laid in a ball.

The ward was noisy and large. This was a big hospital. I would try to shut the door but I was sharing the room with two other women. It was impossible to get any rest, any peace.

Finally on day three, the nurse stopped bringing me food. She told me that if I wanted to eat, I would need to come to the dining room like everyone else. Nice ploy. Trying to get me out of bed, are you? I wasn't all that hungry, maybe a little bit but I was thirsty and I wanted my juice! I waited until everyone had finished eating and it was quiet and I snuck into the dining area. A few people still remained. I grabbed my tray and picked at my food, drank my liquids. A fellow patient asked if she could have my dessert. I gave it to her. A loud voice called over:

"Hey, we won't bite, you know!"

I big smiling face looked at me. I tried to avoid eye contact. He laughed. "It's okay. Really."

And so began my "adventures" at this particular facility.

I spoke to this man as I continued to pick at my food. He was nice and made me feel more at ease. As a couple of days passed, I felt more confident and began leaving my room. I would always be met by him and he started introducing me to other patients. Pretty soon, we had a whole motley crew of us wreaking havoc.

We ranged in ages from teen years up to about mid-thirties and we all really got along. The man who I first met was kind of our "ringleader" and the one who liked to sort of act as a pseudo-father figure to anyone who needed one. I certainly didn't but I allowed him to assume a "protector" role regarding me if it made him feel better.

Some of the things we did? We snuck beer into the hospital and a few of us got drunk. Some of us had off ward privileges so we could smoke in an indoor smoking area but otherwise, you had to go outside. Well, it was the dead of winter so a lot of the time, we'd just smoke in the stairwells. As for others? I'm not really sure but there were a few fights on the ward. Mostly verbal altercations. As for me? Well, a few friends came and took me out for dinner and I got drunk and came back and fell asleep in "ringleader's" bed with him. It was innocent, we were just talking and I passed out! This next part...well, this was not so "innocent."

I became romantically involved with another patient during my stay at this hospital. We also saw each other briefly when we were discharged as outpatients but the relationship did not last. I didn't want to do it though! In fact, I fought it from the get go but this woman really got to me and being completely unstable...well, what can I say? Except: I do not recommend trolling for dates in a psych ward.

There was other zaniness. One "regular" to this ward was growing pot (and smoking it) in "the lounge." He also--and I have no idea how he did this--stole unbelievable amounts of medical/surgical supplies from the hospital and hid them in his room! How he managed to get off the ward and do this unnoticed is unfathomable! Another cute thing he did was run around and steal afghans for all of the women on the floor because it was winter and he didn't want us all to be cold. Once caught, we had them all taken away as they were made by some women's auxilliary or something. And yes, stealing is bad.

What's the phrase? The lunatics are running the asylum?

Ah yes...and another: Never as good as the first time.

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