On Being A Psych Patient part 2

My last time in the psych ward for lack of sleep (5 days) was February 2014. I was battling anorexia at the same time so things were a bit complicated.

The average maximum stay is 5 to 6 days and nights and I stayed 18 days and nights.

It was a visit like none other. I know everyone who works there because no one changes their job once they get hired on a psych floor.

Never sure who is crazier honestly, the patients or the staff. It truly think it  is a toss up! I have my peeps when it comes to staff and oh I have my enemies I made when I was young, cocky and brash and they have memories like elephants.

One nurse who I always get, is the worst enemy I have there. Mika is her name and she has been with the unit since it opened over 35 years ago and will die there if she has it her way. About 8 years ago when my sleep became a major health concern (you have to be hospitalized after 72 hours of non-sleep if you are under doctor’s care). Sleep deprivation is a killer literally and the last time I got admitted it was over 5 days and I was starting to have seizures. Anyway, this old lesbian Mika who hates me for oh so many reasons 8 years ago really began to hate me when I called her bluff in front of staff and patients alike. I had no idea what I was doing: was truly stepping on her pinky toe and caused her everlasting angst. I had a prescription for Xanax that read 1 tablet up to 5 times a day as needed. I came into the unit with the script and my psychiatrist on the floor who I was very close to signed off on it. Well I was really anxious and needed a Xanax. I found Mika and without nary a word she gave me my one pill. Well I was really anxious so I wanted another pill. I went and found Mika again who has never in 8 years ever laughed or smiled at me. She scowled and asked me what I wanted. I said, “Oh I am really anxious and need another Xanax. She immediately said no and that is when it happened…..she told Corey no to medications that were prescribed to me by doctors? What the fuck was this ugly person thinking? Read the directions I said, “It doesn’t say take one tablet every 4-6 hours as needed. It says take up to 5 tablets a day for anxiety as needed. No, and she meant NO fuck off and have a panic attack I am not giving you your medications. Well it was the wrong approach to Corey at that time and I flipped out quietly and went directly into my psychiatrist’s office and ratted Mika out for fucking with my medication and fucking with me and medications authorized by MDs on her floor. The psychiatrist agreed with me if I wanted to take all 5 at the same time probably not the wisest idea but I was entitled to another Xanax if I so requested it. The psychiatrist was pissed I was not okay and upset and that Mika the nurse had dared to question her script writing. What I couldn’t have planned any better was my psychiatrist. She strutted out in high-heels all glammed, and in front of Mika and her peers as well as the other patients told Mika to give Corey another Xanax as soon as possible and if she didn’t understand the script it was not every 4-6 hours like all the other scripts are written-this script had been specially written and I have never let the wording be changed…..up to 5 tablets a day as needed. You can’t get a script written new like that today but that script is 10 years old. Mika was more than mortified she was out for my neck but I didn’t know it yet. I was too cocky and brash getting my way with the doctor to worry about the ugly nurse. She seethed and hissed at me as she reluctantly and so slowly took her time to give me the second pill but the damage forever was done with Corey and Mika. It has never gotten better even now as I spend my time kissing her ass…nope I wronged her BIG time and I will forever pay. And I do. She is my nurse quite often and makes me wait, takes lunch when I need my Adderall and oh nobody else is allowed to give her patients their medication besides her. The only nurse who leaves her patients hanging as all the rest help one another and help the patients. Mika says no and that is the way it is……I don’t give a rat’s ass about Mika she drags me down and tries to dim my shine but it doesn’t work. I won and she can never take that away from me. Sure the last couple of stays she was just nasty but I can deal: make me late to group, argue that the window has passed to take my Adderall when you have been unavailable. I will play the game because behavioral health is not my world and not my life. I feel for her that she can be so ugly and so miserable. I am kind, I am nice, and she can make me wait. I am far stronger than anything that has walked in those doors before. So that is Mika and she is the unpleasant part of the psych ward.

The pleasant part are all the people who work there that know me and truly care about me and know I am going back to a real life once I get some sleep. My last visit I became friends with a 68 yr old woman and a alcoholic who only binged. The three of us were inseparable  We ate all our meals together, shared the darkest humor that was oh so funny if you were there, and laughed at ourselves and our various reasons for being in-patient. Nobody got us, we made sense to only ourselves and in the real world like we are today we have no contact. We became the greatest psych ward best friends ever! We laughed until we cried. Nobody wanted to be around us- we made no sense to them. I spent every night with the woman who was the alcoholic going to AA meetings and pleading  every night that no I wasn’t an alcoholic but I like the stories they told about making it from the ground up. They inspired me and it was a far better alternative than going to art therapy. They “let” me in once I told them my dear old man who has long since passed was an alcoholic. They took pity on me. My friend Maggie and I  would howl after the meetings at the show I put on to get into this secret society that didn’t want me….I wanted to support Maggie who had to be there but 68 year old Mac was a different story. She tried coming to a meeting but found it too difficult for us to talk so she went on her merry way telling her awesome husband that visited every night she was a lesbian because she saw Madonna in concert and wanted to have sex with her. She was addicted to Orange is the New Black and finally got me to watch it.

I was anorexic on my last stay so the anorexic was addicted to watching food be made on the food network. There were only two TVs and two remotes. We had one and the three most comfortable chairs every single free moment. Maggie’s roommate was an artist and I was her favorite to draw but one night she drew the three of us in our chairs watching the cooking show for the anorexic. It is one of my favorite pieces of art I have. It is about a place and a time that we will never experience again.

That stay I didn’t have a roommate for eighteen days, but my stay before that I had the roommate from hell. She was from nearly the streets and an addict, She had she little kids she didn’t want to lose and I didn’t want her to lose them after. The love stories of psych wards is a whole other blog but she got close to this loser married man who when he took his meds stuck a pill under his tongue (they are supposed to check that before you leave the med counter) and gave it to my roommate who had just been accepted at this house for addicts and the short of it she was going there the next day and would not be losing her kids. I couldn’t even tell you what her name was we never spoke two words. It was fine with me. The married man was there for alcohol, slipped her the extra pill he put under his tongue and she put it in her mouth for a second then took it out. Mind you she never asked for this pill. She doesn’t know what to do so she, with the place already lined up for the next day and keeping her kids, goes to the charge nurse and tells the truth. I don’t know what happened but they tossed her out on the street the next day and she lost the place and chance to keep her kids and the dumb fuck got sentenced to his room for 24 hours. I didn’t like her but what happened was not fair. This is just one of the many of sad stories of mental illness and addiction.

Mr. Fred is one of my favorite patients. There has never been a time when I was in when Mr. Fred and I didn’t cross paths. He is schizophrenic with lots of voices. He is a hard praying man who is smarter than smart with a memory that goes way back. He has been around since the place opened. He is very funny when he gets his food tray. Basically being  a psych patient your day revolves around three meals. At the place I have been to the most, you fill out menus and order anything and as much as you want. When Mr. Fred gets his tray and they come up in this door lined container on wheels with your name and room number on a sheet of paper on the tray. Everyone pulls Mr. Fred’s first. He has a lot to do. He reviews for all to hear everything he has ordered and that means quite a bit of food. He carries on with someone inside of him about each bite, and what he is going to eat next. I don’t feel bad for him because he is truly never alone with himself. Real people fuck up the conversations he has going on so he would rather just be pleasant and carry-on with whomever he is talking to.

When I was last there and had my worst non-sleeping experience and anorexia they tried to deal with both which is why I got stuck there for 18 days. Even then it was a Friday and they had no plans to discharge me. I did my menus and even though I wasn’t going to eat a thing I ordered a ton of food that I would give away-I just asked for the plates back. Nutrition was having them check my tray and if I didn’t eat a certain percentage I had to do a prescription supplement. The funny thing is you are always on camera and the staff watches the cameras especially during meal time. So they were able to see me giving away my food and getting back clean plates. They just gave up and gave me a shake every meal and then nutrition gave me 2 shakes in between meals.

The day I am supposed to go home and Maggie who has lost her job and her place to live was coming to stay with me for free, I wake up shivering and freezing with a headache. My shivering got so bad you would have thought I had tremors from withdrawals. They took my temp and it was 102.7 and there was talk of admitting me to the medical floor. I was like no way, and they put me in the dreaded seclusion room I had never been in, because it was climate controlled and they covered me in blankets and turned up the heat. I took Advil and feel asleep. I woke up three hours later and felt okay, definitely better but not great.

Thankfully they let me go and Maggie picked me up and it is a BIG No-No to hook up (Not like that) but in anyway with a fellow patient. They believe everyone has there own problems and needs to deal with them. Maggie disguised herself and picked me up as she needed to get a key to my house and see where I lived. I always say I am going to write a book on my psych ward visits. I have journals of people and their stories. I would name it White on Brown Rice, as  when you ordered brown rice from the kitchen you got white rice 100 percent of the time and you have no idea how that can affect the life and day of a person with mental illness in the psych ward where the people don’t change just the names.

Like I said I was last in in February 2014. I have since learned how to get through spells of hard sleeping with sleeping medication. I have already avoided two stays because I called my doctor early enough. I hope I am done. I have always come home with new friends and stories my friends and family don’t really believe. Listen if a psych patient tells you something you know it is true, their shit is so crazy for some of them they are abt to down play it but never over exaggerate. TRUST ME!