Psychiatric Intensive Care Update

4 nights in… still not moved onto the main ward, but finally had my PCR test done yesterday, so I’ll either move over there tomorrow or day after. It has made the worst kind of difference waiting all this time in the plain cream cracker-blandest kind of room.

But instead of just moaning about how I feel I thought I’d explain what I’ve learnt so far. Staff are all in their own clothes, which is a blessing. Especially needs it to balance out the clinical environment. They’re not of course allowed to wear drawstrings in a hoodie or jacket.

Finally found out why my tap doesn’t work after I’ve used it once already to mild down the noises of my toileting. It times out after 20 minutes. So basically if you want a wee in less than that time, you’re screwed. Well you’re not. You can fight to ask if you can go out of the locked doors to use the hand sanitizer on the way in. Which I have succeeded in.

‘Ward round’ i.e. reviews are on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Didn’t have mine today, so it will be Thursday. This is where you can speak to the Doctor about what you want to change, and he will assess depending on risk. Mine will be to get out of these anti-ligature clothes and also to drop down obs to 1. (staff that are with you) All I really care about really is the hope that I’ll be out of this prison room and onto the main ward by then.

All staff on obs have these phone devices. I thought they were their personal ones, but I’ve learnt they are part of a thing called ‘Nourish’. Basically software that lets you type up notes about the observations/incidents instantly, and when they save them, nurses know straight away on their computers how things are going, despite being spread in different rooms. Saves all the physical paperwork. This seems a bit of an upgrade to the acute ward I’m usually on back home. I was quite impressed by that. Service users are also allowed to smoke outside, which is also something different – not quite as beneficial.

I did have a bit of a lightbulb moment a couple of days into being here. Which was how sick I am of hospitals and the fear I have of becoming institutionalised (knowing only how to function properly in a hospital setting). There’s been potential talk back at my home ward of going to a 9+month placement for my personality disorder with comorbid disordered eating. I was well up for it not long ago, but the reality of going to a different hospital, hence being here has reminded me how precious living in the community felt. Gym, walking the dog, driving and also attending TC. Attending TC (the therapeutic community) is my ideal treatment solution right now. It showed potential to work in amazing ways, but I just got worse before I could get better. And that became a big problem and barrier.

I guess the only comforting thing being in hospital is knowing the staff and having rapport, whereas being here there’s so many staff, and little time to interact. Although I did enjoy a chat with a Brazilian lady around my age about all-sorts, especially the program ‘First Dates’.

As for food, they only serve hot food for both meals because of a budget-cut. And I have always worried about hospital food anyway – not knowing calories in it. So I’ve had to eat my own snacks even though it’s not ideal. You can have cereals or toast for meals too, so had my first Weetabix today which I really enjoyed.

Oh, there’s also been lots of talk about ‘floaters’, at first I thought it was quite a degrading name one staff was calling the other, until I asked and I learnt that floaters are people that are not on observations with patients and so can help manage the ward and make sure everyone is okay.

Well, that’s me. I don’t know how I’ve made it all this time in this shitty room, but I have. So I have a little more faith that all I’m doing now is waiting for my COVID results and then I’ll move. Again, it’s change. I’ve got used to the shitty room environment and moving onto the ward means actually being around other patients and having a different room. Who knows what that will be like. I’m scared of feeling triggered by other patients as I’d just like to get my head down and get out of here ASAP. But I’m sure I’ll update you with that some time soon.

Take care,

Yaz

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