Friday, October 9, 2009

Notes On Going Inpatient: Part Two

My pdoc had called ahead so they would be expecting me. foolishly I though this meant a smooth, expedited process. Three hours in the waiting room I was completely disillusioned. Two hours in I had begun to realize I still ad my bad of meds (best to take them all with you so they can just wrote down what you take rather than try to remember it yourself.) I sat for an hours, sweating, thinking about how much better this would be than at home. My husband wouldn't be alone with the kids. all I needed was a cup of water and to slip into the restroom. I would need some sleight of hand with the bag of meds but with the coma state everyone was in due to the waiting room boredom I knew it would be easy. This was all I could think about.The one snag was that I still hadn't written a note.

I would not be able to at this point and I had that loose end with my daughter. As I sat thinking this, at 3 and a half hoursin they finally called my name. NOW they took my meds and my bag, gave me a band and began treating me like a patient. There was an interview, or two, and then at least another hour of waiting. They discussed me with a doc and decided to keep me (oh yay.) My husband left as they took me back and then the fun began: step one was a full body strip search. I cried so hard I was gagging and heaving. It was now about 2AM. I was tired, stressed, and naked in a room with 2 strange women and a large stain on the floor that looked suspiciously like blood at the base of a table exactly like a gynecologist uses.

In the end i was ok, there was not invasive search, but just the look of that stain and the idea of the search and I was hyperventilating.After many more administrative procedures I eventually made it to my "bed" at 3:30am. the "bed" was a 3 inch thick box spring in which every spring is bent and distorted andstabbing into your back. also it turned out my roommate has a CPAP machine and wasbreathing like Darth Vader.

The bathroom would be shared by 4 women. This was all I could absorb at that hour and despite the discomforts I crashed into sleep.Days 1 - I was woken at 6:30am to retrieve my pink bucket which is basically what it sounds like, a pink bucket that hold all your toiletries since you are not allowed to have them with you due to the dangers they present. After using them, taking a shower if you can (4 women, remember?) you must turn it in by a certain time. Then they take vitals and you head down to breakfast all in a line like inmates.

Basically the entire time you are hospitalized you are walking in lines, waiting in lines, line line line. When you get back you go right into group where things disintegrate rapidly based on the state of the lowest common denominator – usually the newest person – and not much get done.

The entire stay is a repeat of that entire loop. Wake, bathe,eat, group, meds, group, eat, group, med, group, group, meds, group, eat, group, open rec time (woo hoo), late meds, lights out. You get stable. That's the goal. You won't get healthy, you won't really make any progress on your therapy. You will simply get past being suicidal. For now, that is enough.

My next step is intensive outpatient therapy. I am going 9am-3pm five days a week for the next two weeks. Once that is over I will go back to my normal outpatient therapist for a few days wee, and then back to once a week. They refer to all this as “step down.” This part of the program is far more helpful for my long term health, but the inpatient – no matter how awful – was necessary to get me stable.

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