Yesterday morning… no word of a lie, when I woke I had to step over one of my support workers to leave my room. She was snoring like a hog. If there wasn’t another staff member there I would have attempted something. Lately it’s happened that a lot of staff on my observations have fallen asleep. I naively assumed at first that it was allowed, accepted. I’m not bitter about it but I do think it’s really inappropriate – especially on a Psychiatric Care Unit. So instead of holding this frustration and emotion inside until I bubble and take it out on myself, I will submit a complaint, just to prevent it from escalating for other patients.
On the other hand, I realise how difficult it must be for staff to sit watching a patient 2 hours at a time, in almost dark. So who knows, I could be one of those sleepers.
But hey, let’s put that behind us. Today has been a positive one to start with. I haven’t told you that I am allowed grounds leave for 30 minutes, twice a day, which began on Friday. And without even having a ward round yet this is an achievement. I think nurses are noticing my progress. Yesterday the ward was pretty cold, and I pleaded to be allowed a jumper and I was. (they had to take the strings out) I felt really grateful for this because you can’t put a price on comfort.
Grounds leave is the first level of leave, and then it’s community leave. This is where you can go (with 2 staff) outside the hospital. We are right close to a Tesco, so that tends to be where everyone goes. I’m looking forward to my first supermarket VIP experience! One girl went to get a tattoo within 2 hours and it’s beautiful.
In the meantime I’ve been using my leave to power-walk right round the edges of the hospital grounds, like a robot programmed not to miss an edge. It’s been really enjoyable and as I’ve been feeling down and a bit homesick lately, it’s always helped lift that a bit.
So there’s also a ‘smoking’ timetable every few hours, down in the courtyard. Room numbers are randomly mixed each time to give an order of when people can go. And there is a sense of desperation as it gets close to 10 minutes before the time for the first one, and then people are up quicker than you can say ‘fish’ to go for theirs. When I got out, I power walk round the mini courtyard. All of this kind of thing is definitely relieving lots of tension about the fear of not exercising enough because I often become lazy and give in when I’ve been in hospital for a while.
This morning’s ground leave was especially special. One of the staff on my obs, Donald, was really conversational and interesting to talk to as we went. He seems to have similar values to me about life. I was asking about how people escape just to tease really. And on our rounds of the grounds, we kept seeing a little sweet old lady at her window, listening to music. I reeaaaaaallllllllly wanted to put her in my pocket. She was asking how many steps we’d done and I was just asking how she was. I love these spontaneous little interactions. In life we focus on the main people we have chosen in our circle, but the people you come across and speak to unexpectedly, can really make and change up your day.
*picture is of the bench in the courtyard