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Lessons and Perspective From a Patient

Posted Jul 23 2009 10:51pm

After spending about 76 days in the hospital with 64 of them in a psychiatric hospital, one gets a very skewed sense of life. I’ve become a little institutionalized. These are some of my thoughts:

1) Staff says that I need to take a shower and change my clothes. I think, it takes too much energy and no one is going to care anyway. (just because it was four days) :)

2) Staff says that I need to eat more. I think, I’ve gained 50 pounds over the past year.

3) Staff says that I’m compulsive, I say that I am just neat and tidy.

4) Staff says that they are going to give me a staff badge. I think, is it because I know most of their job duties, help them remember things, and know their work schedules.

5) Staff says that I have insomnia. I say, I like looking at the bright moon and waiting for dawn to break.

6) I say that I really need to be in the hospital, my therapist vigorously shakes his head “yes.”

7) My psychologist says that I go days without smiling. I learned that it was true as my therapist said, “days, weeks, months.”

8) It is good to know the rules and regulations because you can make staff angry and like it. :)

9) Some staff know how to do considerate 30 minute bed check and others haven’t a clue!!

10) I learned that I can yell at staff and kick a door open and not get sent to the locked unit. In fact, they were happy that I found my anger.

11) I know that meals are at 8am, noon, and 5pm.

12) I know that juice only comes in little square-rounded plastic containers.

13) I learned that a 5:30 am fire alarm going off make for very grumpy people.

14) I know that there are helpful staff and those you just want to hit upside their head.

15) I learned that writing a complaint sometimes ends up with none to immediate action.

16) I feel good that housekeeping and the cafeteria staff remember my name and preferences. I think, I’ve been here too many days.

17) I still wonder why housekeeping sometimes leaves only leaves one bathmat and five wash cloths.

18) I learned that you can sprain you ankle on a cherry tomato.

19) I learned that you can choke on dry salmon and look up to find six charge nurses staring at you.

20) I learned that it is okay not to like everyone.

21) I learned that I can really cuss someone out!

22) I found that screaming even if it is into a pillow a great way to release anger.

23) I discovered my anger…rage.

24) I yelled at my therapist and he raised his voice in a heated discussion for the first time. To my surprise, he was happy as I found my anger and nothing bad happened and he still wanted to work with me.

25) When my psychiatrist, psychologist and therapist all say that I will know when it is time to leave. I say, “I don’t want that responsibility. I want to blame you for whatever decision you make.” Deep down I know they are right.

26) I thought that a man coming off of heroin after 8 years needs more supervision, three days later staff put him in the locked unit.

27) I learned that there is a hierarchy of stigma within patients with mental health issues. I try to educate and why people with schizophrenia and DID act the way they do. I have some success in some changing their perspective.

28) I learned that safety doesn’t always come from the outside, but from the inside knowing that you can take care of yourself.

29) I learned that if you try to look at the breaks on the bed to make sure that help is around just in case you get stuck between the wall and the bed. Staff will also laugh at you before helping you! :)

30) I learned that there are some smokers that are accommodating for non-smokers. We played which way is the wind blowing and musical chairs just for me.

31) I embraced my new identies of “fag hag” and that I’m a “gay man.” I now support gay rights.

32) I learned that it is fun to sing Broadway show tunes with a bunch of men who are gay. And, that it is “so gay” to be doing that and that others could hear everything that we sang.

33) I learned that I like to reach out to those who are “outcasts.” Such as an over six feet tall man with a blonde ponytail and had been in state prison for 17 years and just his presence intimidated others. We became very good friends.

34) I learned that coffee can be so bad that I begin to use half and half. Once home while look for the half and half, my husband reminds me that I drink my coffee black!!

35) I learned that having a coffee addict for a therapist has its advantages, good coffee three times a week for sessions.

36) I am beginning to like myself.

37) I know that I have some hard work ahead of me and the hospitalization was well worth it as I feel the best that I have in a long time.

38) I learned that I can miss an entire Nordstrom sale and survive.

39) I learned that having an anniversary, doesn’t matter where you are just that you are together.

40) I learned that absence does make the heart grow fonder.

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