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The Tears Woudn’t Stop – Suicide

Posted May 30 2010 11:05am
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This entry is part 26 of 26 in the series Mental Health Awareness

At the end of They Threatened To Arrest Me I was in an ICU room, hooked up to an IV, with my guard in a chair by the door..  By this point, I had been threatened with arrest, stripped searched, and made to feel as if I was a criminal.  I know I was suicidal, however, I really felt that the way I was being treated was not helping my suicidal thoughts, instead it was making them worse.

As I suspected, I had a very sleepless night in ICU.  I spent most of the night crying. There was a guard in my room all night, who  I attempted to ignore.  I was still very angry at how things turned out.  I wanted to go home, and I was miserable.  I also still had that terrified feeling about what was going to happen to me next.

When the doctor came to examine me in the morning, he was oddly silent.  Except for letting me know that I had to stay hooked up to the heart monitors to satisfy the psychiatric hospital (which I would be going to the next day), and  that I would be moving to a regular room, he said nothing to me.  Not even to answer my questions.  What I did not know at the time, is that none of the doctors or nurses would give any information to my husband either.  They did not feel compelled to,  since I had been involuntarily committed.  The hospital was considered my guardian at that point, and I was considered incapable of making my own medical decisions.  Because of this, my husband also had no right to know what was going on with me.

Shortly after the doctor examined me, I was transferred over to the regular floor, my guard following me over.  I still was not eating, for fear of a bowel movement, since all my bathroom activity had to be monitored.  The nurse I had at the time, started giving me funny looks when I kept turning down my insulin shots.  I am sure they were thinking I was trying to harm myself in another way.

That afternoon I got a new guard, who I think was trying to do his best to make me feel more at ease.  It sort of backfired.  He tried to prepare me for the transfer to the psychiatric hospital.  He let me know that I would be going in a sheriff’s deputy car, riding in the back.  In my mind I was thinking “Yet another thing to make me feel like a criminal.” Contrary to what the nurse in the emergency room said, there was a chance I could wear my own clothes to the psychiatric hospital, it depended on what the deputy who was in charge of transferring me decided.  Finally, he told me that because of sheriff department policy, I would have to be handcuffed during the transfer.  My terror became stronger.  I kept thinking about how this would not have happened if I had not called for help, and how could they keep treating me like a criminal when I voluntarily came to this hospital.  I burst into a fresh round of tears and quit talking.

That evening, when it came time for me to take my medication for my restless leg syndrome (RLS), I was  given a dose that was less than half of what I am supposed to take.  I asked the nurse who brought it where the rest of it was.  Her response was to roll her eyes and to let me know that either I took what she brought and quit complaining, or she would not give me anything for my RLS.

I got on my cell phone and called my husband and told him what was going on. The nurse left my room, taking the smaller dose of my medication with her.  I was so very angry.  She came back in and told me that the doctor’s orders were for that smaller amount and there was nothing I could do about it.  I believe it was about this time when I said very loudly “that just because I was involuntarily committed, did not mean that the doctor or anyone could make medical decisions regarding me without telling me what was going on“.  My husband was still on the phone and he told me he was going to come back to the hospital, in order to see what he could do to help me.  I over-heard the  guard tell the nurse that if this was going to be how I was going to behave, then he was going to take my cell phone away and not let me have visitors.  I guess he had forgotten all the hours that I had done nothing but cry and because I got angry about the medication situation I was now going to be considered a troublesome patient.

When my husband was just about to my room, the guard left my room to speak to him.  Apparently, the guard told my husband to calm me down so that I could still have visitors and to make their job easier.  I guess I was not supposed to be upset about anything that was going on.   Before my husband came into my room, he went to the nurses station to have my nurse get my medication bag and verify the dosage amounts. That is when he discovered that between ICU and the regular floor (which, by the way, are technically on the same floor), my medication bag was lost.  After an hour of searching, my nurse found it.

She verified that I was correct about my RLS medication dosage, and then called the doctor.  My husband spoke with the doctor, and let him know that just because I was involuntarily committed did not give anyone the right to change my medication dosage, especially without consulting me or him.  He also asked the doctor why my other medications had not been administered.  The doctor told my husband that as a general rule in that hospital, if you are admitted because you are suicidal they take away all of your medications, and only let you have them back gradually.  After much discussion, my husband was able to convince the doctor that it would be a good idea to let me have all my medications, in the dosages I was supposed to.

I still cannot comprehend the hospital’s reasoning for treating me the way they did.  Nothing was done to eliminate my terror, instead everything they did do only increased it. Nor do I understand their reasoning for not letting my  husband know what was going on with me.  Even if they thought I was not capable of making my own medical decisions, he had a right to know what was going on with his wife.  I am thankful they did finally listen to my husband when it came to my medications.

Series Navigation «They Threatened To Arrest Me – Suicide
Posted by Melissa Mashburn at 2:05 pm

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