It was a big day. This post is to inform or prepare people for what to expect in a typical first day in a psych ward. I feel I have the authority to write about this as I have had close to twenty of them. I have experience in many medications, consultations with psychiatrists, psychologists, case managers and nurses. Also I have been to several different hospitals/clinics. A few of these were terrible while others fantastic. The facility where I reside at the moment is one of the fantastic ones. My last 14 stays have been at this hospital. I wouldn’t go anywhere else! People from across the country travel to visit this hospital so I’m lucky as I only live 20 minutes away. Along with the psychiatric ward they also have a alcohol rehab which I have done twice… that’s for another post.
I woke early with one eye open. I was sporting a slight hangover and was sluggish until I got some caffeine into me. I arrived early for admission. Reception went through the usual questions, checked my i insurance (It is a private hospital), did a breath test which is not what everyone need do but because of my history with booze they made sure I was sober. Yep… no problems there.
I am currently in a large room with 4 beds but I’m the only occupant. I don’t share! Then the fun begins. Two nurses that looked as if they had just left school start to go through the questionnaires. Same questions I have been asked a million times. In my earlier years this made me really uncomfortable. Bringing up topics like suicide, self-harm and trying to communicate the psychosis I experience used to be hard but now it comes naturally. I have spoken to sooo many doctors and nurses over the years about my mental state it’s almost like a script in my head that gets exercised often. There’s no more embarrassing topics. I figure these shrinks and nurses have seen a lot worse than me. I don’t think they’d be easily startled.
The ward is really quiet. Six patients maybe? This is how I like it. I also feel the level of care increases if the nurses don’t have a bundle of wackos. On my first admission to the Melbourne Clinic I was overwhelmed with how man people were there. It was a mini city with maybe one hundred patients. I didn’t know any better because I hadn’t been introduced to smaller units.
My shrink who I will call Gem visited after tea. He spent close to an hour with me and we had a productive chat. We discussed new medications to fight the crippling anxiety and he increased my Clozapine. I’ve been seeing Gem for over twelve years so we know each other well… what I should say is he knows me very well. I know very little about him. That’s how psychiatrists like it.
The smoking area closes at 10pm so everyone races to have that last dart. I’ve come to learn over the years how many people with mental illness, especially people with schizophrenia smoke. At this stage after having my increased dose of Clozapine! I finally get some rest. Asleep at 11pm. Goodnight!