I’ve become institutionalised. This is my 10th day as an inmate in a NHS hospital. The doctors and nurses have been great and the treatment I’m receiving is hopefully doing it’s job so I'm not going to moan (I might later) I just want to share with you a few things I have noticed and how I have changed over the last 10 days.
In my normal life I can't sleep at night unless the room is pitch black. Even a red or green light emitted from a phone or charger can annoy me even if I can't see it with my eyes closed, I know it's there.
After a few annoying nights I can now sleep with a red light pulsating from the ceiling above my head. I think it's a smoke detector then sometimes think it may be a hidden camera. Your mind can play tricks in a strange room at 3 am.
Some nights other lights are left on in my room as nurses come to take temps and give drugs. I’m done with jumping out of bed and switching them off.
Every patient has their own room here and I like that immensely. I love reading and writing and messing around on social media and that's hard to do in a ward with other patients. Some people enjoy the company and the chat but listening to someone else's ailments all day long is not my cup of tea. When visitors used to appear on a ward the competition began to see who can speak the loudest, who can be seen to have brought up the most sweets, magazines or food for their loved one.
Talking about food! I remember patients being brought full three course meals by their family or pizza or Chinese food. The ward would be stinking and no one thought of the other patients who had to sit and watch this picnic extravaganza performed. Luckily now they could even bring curries in and I wouldn't know anything about it from my nice quiet room made for one.
At home I only like ice cold Coke and ice cold water both with ice cubes if available. In here we do sometimes get water that is cold but my cans of Coke are always warm. Has this stopped me drinking them? No way! Like in the desert you drink what you get and I even drink the water when it's warm,
I miss making a cup of tea when the notion takes me. I also miss hot tea, tea with more than a thimbleful of milk and tea that tastes like tea. But I have grown accustomed to not getting what I like so I make do with the lousy lukewarm tea and I'm thankful for it.
I always like my room door closed. Some nurses ask if you want it open or closed, but 99% of the time it is left wide open. The first few days it bothered me now I just don't care.
Is this me being institutionalised? Where things that mattered to me (silly things) just don't matter so much anymore. It's too hard to fight against it. Too tiring to be getting up and closing a door or putting a light out.
Of course there has to be some sort of order when you're dealing with a lot of people. Like Pavlov's dogs you react to stimuli, towels are brought in it's time for a shower. When you hear the trolley wheels it's either time for a cup of tea or the shop from downstairs is selling goodies.
Sometimes when the little choice you have over your day to day life is taken away it affects your mood. When tea comes round about 10 am we are then given a choice for dinner that evening. If you happen to be in the toilet,at X-ray, or if someone is taking your blood pressure you are passed by. No tea and no choice for your evening meal. Lucky there are lovely nurses here who will make me a (hot) cuppa and tell me they’ll change my meal if I don't like it. But it's the removal of the original choice that's annoying.
The Internet has been my lifeline. It's not always working well and up until today my blogs have been blocked, ha ha, it's as if they knew. Messaging friends at night has been great just like having real conversations after all when you watch Strictly or Corrie you really want to discuss it with someone, thanks Carol! To all my words with friends players too, you keep me going.
You’ll have all realized that I must be feeling better now as I'm getting more irritated. That's true but I have another six days to go in here before I'm declared well enough for civilian life. How I will fit into society again I have no idea.
What has kept me going in here? Visits from my family and grandchildren have been great. The two oldest girls made me cards which made me cry later after they had gone especially now the eldest ( remember tiny girl) who’s seven now can write what she wants all by herself.
She wrote I was, “ The best Gran in the whole wide, wide,wide world.”
I now hope one day she will read my blog and understand just how much that meant to me.
My hubby has been the best,here everyday listening to my moans,worrying about me and taking home my washing and bringing it back washed and ironed ( yes ironed!) I don't know what I would do without him.
I started this post when I had been here for ten days, it's 15 days now and as I said before six more to go. Soon everything will be back to normal…..until the next time.