You would think I would have more to say than I actually do, this whole “everyone else expresses themselves so much better than I do bit” again.
I checked in at the ER at Mt. Auburn around 10am on Friday, explained that I was getting ready to die and the nurses had arranged for a bed for me before the doctors ever got to me. The doctors visited, confirmed they would try to get me into McLean. I told them a bed was already reserved. The doctors said they didn’t think it could have been done without their consent, but a psychiatric nurse had been called by the ER staff and said I needed to snatch up a bed at McLean quickly, and sure enough the doctors came back and confirmed. They fed me a turkey sandwich with some canned peaches and an apple juice. They switched guards four times – I noticed the American guards left my curtains mostly shut and had their chairs placed behind the curtains. Halfway through the day I got a guard from India or Pakistan or the Kashmir and he took his authority very seriously and placed the chair against the wall facing me, so he could stare at me the whole time. Then a woman from the South Pacific came and did the same thing, except I was more comfortable with her so she took me to the bathroom, where another patient had all the big strongs guards because he was trying to escape. She was rude at first but then she was nice.
100 years later the EMTs came to get me and they didn’t make me ride off in a stretcher. Instead I got to ride in a seat in the ambulance, talking all the while with one of the EMTs, very good looking and very kind, and then to walk into the hospital, again, instead of riding in a blasted gurney. I spent hours in the admitting office, eating a sandwich, getting another medical once-over, more talk-talk-talking about the same thing, but I liked all the people. Then I watched ‘Pirates of the Carribean’ in the waiting room until a young lady came to get me and we walked through the secret underground passages, talking about the song ‘Miracles’ by Jefferson Starship. I was in my bed at 10pm, and fell asleep by midnight.
A roommate had been delivered unto me sometime in the middle of the night. Turned out she had the same name as me. She was nice, ok at first, but quickly started detoxing – she needed a detox ward, not a PTSD ward. She was sweating and moaning and crying and jumping up and lying back down and curling up and swearing about being too sedated at the ER to have signed anything admitting her to a psych ward instead of a drug unit. I felt so bad.
Our teams aren’t here on weekends but there is a rounding doctor and I spoke with him about getting hold of my “sharps” (anything one could harm oneself with) – which consisted of my computer power cord and my cell charger cord. He said sure, ignoring me, writing shit down. I said that I was concerned about a roommate, that she was detoxing, that it was triggering to me but that I didn’t want to switch rooms, I felt like I needed to watch over her. He told me that he is an Addiction Psychiatrist (well aren’t you special) and that she would be just fine very soon. I went and collected my cords and went back to my room. She was passed out cold. I was thankful.
My husband confirmed he wouldn’t be visiting with me at all, even though it was a holiday weekend and he had 3 days off. I let J have the room when her husband and mother-in-law came but could barely breathe when I came back in, told her that I’m allergic to cigarette smoke so if they could meet outside the room next time. I spent the day mostly reading blogs and commenting and my mind was numb by the end of the day – there are alot of broken women here and alot of broken bloggers on WordPress (all of whom have my love and support). I was exhausted.
For the 2nd morning in a row I woke at 6am to the staff bathroom across the hall slamming. I had put a nice note on my own door – the staff has to do 15 or 30 minute checks on everyone to make sure we’re still breathing, flashlights in the face, hovering over us listening for breath – to please shut our door after they established that we were alive but there it was, 6am, new staff comes on, doors start slamming and voices start to echo down the halls. I brought it up at the morning Community Meeting, they promised to try to do better.
I don’t do art groups, or movie groups or anything like that so mostly I hung out with J in our room. She had had a miscarriage some months before and continued to carry a little stuffed puppy she had bought for the baby. She was telling me how her husbands family was so much more supportive of her than her own, that when her parents had come to visit her they told her she was “an embarrassment to the family.” I was horror struck. At 1 pm she picked up her cell and I heard her say Just calling for your daily reminder – you are a total fucking douche bag! in her sweetest hotel receptionist wake-up call voice. A daily ritual with an ex-boyfriend, who was also getting messages to her that she was a “loser” for ending up in the hospital. I was cracking up. I was thankful my roommate was fun. She said one of the other women was asking her if she could use her cell phone charger and I told her they would be taken away if she did that. The woman is a “problem case” – her face is very puffy, I cannot imagine what from, but the nurses don’t like to deal with her and she stays in her room mostly. An uneventful day.
I was miserable and my PRN was ineffective and I just spent the day hiding in my room after a 20-minute fight with the shower, trying to get it to a temperature where my skin wasn’t going to melt off.
Lots of friends offered to visit but no one did. I went to a couple of meetings – during one of them one of the older women mentioned “cutting” and there was much rattling of sabres. Or tongues. I could tell she was thinking the same thing as I was – that there were at least 3 young women in the group with razor marks all over themselves. One girl had run out of space, and in the time I had checked had added marks to her forehead and each porcelain cheek. How the fuck is the word “cutting” worse than being forced to look at wounds? WTF was wrong with these people?
This is very uninteresting, I realize. Units like this can be that way.