Let me preface this journal by saying that I am doing fine, I am happy and healthy, and my life is as it should be right now. Also I'm not spell-checking names and I don't know why.
So, I just got out of the hospital. I'd been having near constant panic attacks for almost a week, starting infrequently on 6/14 and becoming near continuous by 6/23. I was also unable to hold down any food because of the anxiety, leading to the very real possibility of dehydration. On Wednesday, 6/25, at 11:30 we decided that, being unable to get to my psychiatrist, that I needed to go to the emergency room. We checked in at noon and proceeded to wait... and wait... and wait. I have only been to the ER twice before, both on weekend mornings, and never had to wait long. This time I had to wait until almost 5:00. Mom had told me not to bring anything but my medication so they could enter it in the computer, and my ID. So I was kind of unprepared for such a wait. I played with Mom's phone until the battery hit 20%, and then we saved it for emergencies. It was hard, because again, I was in a state of near panic. Eventually, they did call me back, and I went back to the same holding area as last time, what one of the RNs would later refer to as "the dungeon." I had to remove my clothes and wear hospital garb, sit on a bed on the floor and share a remote control with everyone else. There were no windows and nothing to do. They also didn't bring me any medication until ten o'clock that night, though they did bring me food twice (which seems kind of cruel, as I was there because I was unable to eat.) Eventually I fell asleep, spending my first night ever in a hospital (not counting my birth, natch.)
The next day they woke me up to check my vitals, draw more blood, and give me an injection of something to remove the panic. I saw a social worker in the early afternoon and in the late afternoon, they put something on my tongue to dissolve and help with the nausia. That was it. I spent the rest of the day sleeping or watching terrible daytime TV. I tried to draw or write, but my heart wasn't really in it. I tried to name all 150 original Pokémon. For the record, the ones I missed were: Bellsprout, Victribell, Weepinbell, Shellder, Cloyster, Ditto, Doduo, Dodrio, Electabuzz, Psyduck, Golduck, Horsea, Seadra, Krabby, Kingler, Machop, Machoke, Machamp, Magmar, Pinsir, Poliwag, Poliwhirl, Poliwrath, Raichu, and Snorlax. I'm surprised at myself.
At five in the morning on 6/27, they woke me up and wheeled me to the psych ward of the hospital. It had been 36 long, boring hours in the ER, but I was free... to spend three long, boring days in the hospital. Seriously. They don't let you have any electronics, none of my crafts, no stuffed animals, heck the only writing utensil I could use was a golf pencil. Visiting hour started all the way at 7:30 PM, and I called home to tell them everything to bring me. There were four group therapy sessions, which I have always hated with a passion. There was food I could eat, what with my sensitive autistic palate, and even orange sherbet. But it's a heavy price to pay for sherbet. While I was imprisoned I read: "The Phantom Tollbooth (Annotated Edition)," "The Cat Who Saw a Ghost" by Lillian Jackson Braun, "Monstrous Regiment," by Terry Pratchett, "Azumanga Daioh: the Omnibus" by Kiyohiko Azuma... jeeze. I could eat breakfast on Friday morning, though they lost my menu and brought me the wrong thing and had to replace it. Still, it felt good to get food in me and keep it in me.
The layout of the ward is interesting. There's a sort of lobby, where the desk people sign in visitors and release the door (as psych patients present an elopement risk, natch.) Next to the lobby is the day room, with the medications dispensed from a window between the two. There whole wall is actually window, so you can see visitors coming in from the day room. They're at the top of the ward. There are two parallel hallways running down it to a dining area at the other end. The middle of the ward is offices, the showers, closets, and such. The right of the right hallway is most of the rooms, and the left is a few rooms and miscellaneous offices. I got the room furthest from the day room, which was where the only two clocks were. I hate not having a clock in my room.
There is no touching allowed in the ward. One of the patients was very touch-feely, and was constantly being reprimanded for hugging. I understand the reason behind it, and I respect it, and actually believe it's a good rule. But it does make him sound like a Care Bears villain, going around all, "No hugging. Hugging is against the rules." Also, though the showers are in the hallway, there is a toilet room in each patient room. However, the sink is *outside* the toilet room in the patient's room. So the shower, sink, and toilet are in three different places. If we had bidets here, they would be on the roof.
At one time smoking was allowed, and there is a back patio for smoke breaks. Now, though, the hospital is completely smoke-free (patients get nicotine patches and gum if they're smokers) and the patio is just a place for eating and chatting if it's nice out and a nurse is willing to watch you. I did not make use of the patio. If I was to go outside, I want to be really outside. Like, on my bike, riding, my face to the wind. Since Wednesday up to today, I neither went outside nor put on shoes. I admit I went a little stir crazy, and I was only there for three days!
They changed my medication, upping my Seroquel from 300 to 400 milligrams, and adding Efexor or something. However, they only opened the night medication window at 9:30, and it takes forever for them to get to you. One night I didn't get my meds until 11:30, and they still expected me up at eight for breakfast. Dude, not with 400mg of sleepy-time relaxy meds in my system! I didn't even have any emotions to discuss in group until almost noon. Plus they gave me, like, next to no soda. I had to beg my parents to bring some. I don't drink coffee, but I need caffeine.
On weekends, they don't have group therapy during the day. Instead they have an extra 1.5 hours of visiting during the day, in addition to the regular evening hour. I'm grateful to not have to go to group, but it does give a lot of free time which I had few ways to fill. Thank goodness I had a visitor every time. There are four people in my household and only two people allowed for visits, so they swapped out. I'm just grateful I had people there for me, and to bring me things I remembered I needed. And to play Skip-Bo with. It's always hard to teach people how to play Skip-Bo. (The most entertaining experience was probably when I tried to teach a drunk lesbian how to play at a Rainbow event. But that's another story ^u^.)
They have some games, and a shelf of books in a locked room. The thing about the games, though, is that a lot of them are game boxes with puzzles inside. Like, it says "Trivial Pursuit Jr.," but inside it's a jigsaw puzzle. You're looking at the shelf and go, "Awesome, there's a Simpsons chess set!" Then, nope; just a jigsaw puzzle. Dad laughed about how nonchalant I was while explaining it to him on Sunday night, all "Hey, is that a good game?" "Nope. It's just a jigsaw puzzle." He mused that once you accepted that everything was puzzles, you were ready to be released. Metaphorically speaking, I suppose.
I would have been ready to go after only a day in the ward, but unfortunately the doctor that could release me takes the weekends off. Thus, since I wasn't ready to be released on Friday, I had to wait until Monday. And that meant I had to miss a trip to Camden Yards to see the O's play. They lost, but that's not the point. 19 runs were scored in the game. I love going to the ballpark.
Anyway, I got released today at around 12:15. My parents aren't sure they want to leave me home alone, so I'm coming along with them on their trip to Ocean City for a business conference. So I won't be around still for the rest of the week. But I'm definitely bringing my laptop and cell phone. I'm just glad to be home. I mean, that's where all my stuff is.
If you read all this, thanks! I wanted to get it all down before I forget, because it was definitely an interesting experience. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them. Of course I can't tell you about anyone else who was there, due to confidentiality rules, but I'm very open about my diagnoses and treatment. Not even just for people who need help or advice. I'll answer any questions you have out of morbid curiosity. I'm very vain, you see, and love talking about myself.
Peace out, y'all!
Listening to: People droning on and on and on and on and on...
Eating: Crappy Hospital Food (and orange sherbet!)