Narrative of a day in hospital

I wanted to reflect on what a day in hospital is like. In this blog post I draw on experiences I had during my most recent hospitalization for acute psychosis.

I wake up reluctantly. Most of the patients are preparing to go down to the cafeteria for breakfast, but I am on suicide precautions and won’t be allowed to go. I eat all of my meals on the adult general unit, not even allowed the opportunity to choose what I want. One of the cafeteria ladies chooses for me.

I lie in bed waiting for the sound of the breakfast cart, trying to catch another five minutes of sleep. Eventually it arrives and I get out of bed. Three thick slices of cold ham. I protest and ask the nurses to send up something different, but with my lactose intolerance ham is the only possible food. I am annoyed that the cafeteria has chosen today to remember my sensitivity to lactose; indeed, they forget most meals. I managed to get some eggs from one of the young girls on the unit. There are several of them and they all eat like birds.

I take my morning meds. The rest of the day is spent in a daze, only half-awake for “group” meetings. During free time I try in vain to sleep. I want to be asleep as much as possible because my thoughts are disturbing. There are fruit flies in my room and I know they contain tiny cameras. They are spying on me for the entity. If I turn the lights on, unbearable brightness floods the room. The entity monitors me through the lights. I keep the lights off. The entity implants suicidal thought after thought into my mind. Sometimes I can tell the difference between its thoughts and mine. Other times, most times, it tricks me.

Indeed, the suicidal thoughts include plans that are actionable even within the relative safety of the hospital. I have told no one about this yet, but I will today. I’m on day 2 of Zyprexa and as a result have some insight into how bad my suicidal thoughts are. I tell my doctor. As a precaution, and so that the “decision” of whether or not to act on my thoughts is taken away from me, she puts me on “one-to-one.” A staff member will henceforth monitor me at all times. My first watcher sits in the room with me, telling me how beautiful and amazing I am and how shocked he is that I’m having these thoughts. I feel uncomfortable.

Soon I am moved upstairs to the intensive ward. My new watcher is a woman who I’ve encountered on previous hospital stays. I don’t like her at all, but still she watches me sleep, eat, go to the bathroom, everything. I attend a group. I watch some television. Anything to pass the time. My watchers change throughout the day. With one of them I have a long conversation about family and school and life in general. The conversation is nice and easy.

Eventually it’s time for nighttime meds, then bed. I struggle to fall asleep. I have struggled with sleeping since starting Zyprexa. I can feel the meds seeping heavily into my system, and my heart beats quickly. My watcher continues to watch me in a chair next to my bed. When I awaken in the middle of the night, however, she is gone.

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