Today is already a good day. Why the hell would I say that on a PICU? Because I’m finally out of isolation. Since Friday evening I’ve been in a dingy room, cut off from other people. I was happily awoken by a nurse today to say my COVID result has come through, negative. And I could move to room 4. Thank the loopy lorrrrrrrrrd.
I celebrated with my first shower (in at least a week, if not 2). In the shower I’m currently not allowed to handle the shampoo, shower gel etc. by myself (I find it all so weird). So they have to squeeze a bit into my hand whenever needed. This changes as they get to know me and have been here a little longer. I now have fresh, curly locks. I’ve destroyed the hair ball a cat vomited up, which was previously on my head.
Having a shower meant I changed into new leggings too. (been in them from Friday, for 6 days – slept in too.) Everything is so complicated that I just didn’t bother – I asked once or twice for new leggings but no-one was sure whether I was allowed. So that feels amazing too.
Not only that, but I’ve not been drinking the coffee because the first one I had in isolation was tepid. Verging on cold, but a touch warm. Put me off completely. But now I’m out and about and can access the communal areas, I thought I’d give it another crack. And god it was great. It was just under hot today. I wondered why this was, but apparently as staff get to know your risks and trust you, they serve it hotter. So I’ve had 4 cups within 2 hours. (it’s decaf anyway)
There isn’t a kitchen you can access yourself, you have to knock on a small latch door to ask for what you want – including locker stuff (restricted items like toiletries/deodorant etc.) but breakfast and everything is served here. I felt so timid knocking on that latch door the first time. (I hate asking other people for stuff, it makes me feel an immense amount of guilt which can build to being unbearable) But after the first time, my knocks got a little bit louder as I told myself, these people are paid. I’m not getting paid, I’ve got the short straw of everything being limited. (plus knowing I could get a hot-ish coffee was a seductive factor)
This morning, starting off my new life in the main ward, I wasn’t sure how to gradually mix with patients. (I would usually avoid this at all costs, but I love helping people, so by having conversations and being polite maybe that would do something) So first, I sat in the lounge with an apple and the morning TV on. (the picture constantly breaking up is another thing, but the sound of Lorraine Kelly’s wee voice was very welcome and comforting) I met one patient through being round there and she seemed nice, only young bless her. Then, gradually I saw most of the others because the communal area is next to the clinic for medication.
Apparently there is another lady from Grimsby, and I do recognise her from the ward back home. I will make conversation with her about that, when she seems approachable and okay in herself.
Then, for about 1 hour and a half, there was myself, another patient – who seems high functioning, like I suppose I am, one of the ladies on obs with me (who is my favourite) and then someone who was on obs with the other girl. We had some really interesting and enjoyable chat, which left me feeling positive. And connected. I can make this stay positive if I want to and work with staff. I have to believe that.
Yesterday I had a bit of a lightbulb moment, I guess as a shock from this experience and being all the way in London at this place. I really do want to try so hard to resist any faint urge to hurt myself, so that I can move on, stay out of hospitals, with the end goal being doing my mental health social work training. I need to fight hard not to become institutionalised. It’s so easy to lose sight of the future when you’re stuck in an intense environment. But I’m holding on to my wishes for a proper, functional life where I can make a difference.
*picture inserted is the one in my new room.