Monday, 30 November 2009

Tackling The Mental Health Minefield Part 3 - The Lovely Dr Hugh

(This post continues the story from Tackling The Mental Health Minefield Part 2 - The Admission Process)

No sooner than I had started to take in my new surroundings than another new person arrived at the door to my room. I dumped my bag with my coat and book on the bed and I accompanied the new person along the corridor. He asked whether I would like something to drink and it was the most beautiful sound that I had heard for hours. "Yes please" I quickly replied and I was offered some toast too. I quickly buttered a couple of slices of toast while my tea was being made and then armed with this sustenance, the new person and I went into another room which contained several rather upright armchairs and a couple of low tables and was somewhat strangely labelled The Quiet Room. I sat down in one of the chairs, my tea and toast were placed within easy reach, and the new person said "Hello, I'm Dr Hugh. I expect that you have probably been through all this several times today, but I need to ask you some questions and find out a little about you, then I will carry out a physical examination so that we can make sure that there is nothing physical making you feel the way you do". For the first time since saying goodbye to my GP I was actually seeing another doctor; it had only taken about 12 hours to get to this point.

While Dr Hugh had been making my tea and I had buttered the toast I told him that this was the first sustenance that I'd had since the cup of tea given to me by the lovely Triage Sister in A&E. So sitting in the 'Quiet Room', Dr Hugh insisted that I ate the toast and and drank my tea during which we just chatted intermittently. Then it was down to business.

There were all the usual questions as a full medical history was taken, the list of medication I was on was quickly dealt with because I had the two tear-off sheets from my latest repeat prescription with everything listed on it. This made making up my chart easy and it was done there and then with Dr Hugh asking what times I usually took each of them so that I could be given them at suitable times to fit in with the ward procedures. For the first time for hours I actually felt that here was someone who really cared about how I was feeling and wanted to make sure that they didn't add to my distress. After answering all the questions about my medical history it was time for the physical examination. We left the Quiet Room and stepped across the corridor to the Clinic. In here Dr Hugh again checked my blood pressure, took my temperature, and took some blood for all the usual tests. He was going to try to take the blood from my right arm but I pointed out to him that I had a really easy vein in my left arm and he would probably find it easier to use that one. On went the tourniquet, the vein immediately showed up and Dr Hugh was able to insert the needle and get his samples within seconds; he remarked how quickly one got out of practice doing things like taking blood when one decided to specialise in psychiatry.

To carry out the actual physical examination we had to return to my room as there was no examination couch on the ward. So after listening to my heart, my breathing, testing my reflexes (which don't actually react), poking and prodding all the other various bits of my body, Dr Hugh decided that there was nothing physically wrong with me. We chatted for a few more minutes and a nurse appeared with what was my normal evening medication. It was now almost 11pm and I was feeling exhausted from the emotional strain, I was sure that I would sleep no matter what thoughts might be rampaging through my brain but Dr Hugh decided that he would write me up for something to help me sleep if the night staff found that I was still awake an hour after going to bed.

There was now only one problem left to be solved. I had nothing with me other than that with which I had left the house so many hours ago; this meant no nightwear and no toiletries. But this posed no problem. the nurse who had brought my medication returned a few minutes later with a blue gown (the sort that is open at the back) and some green pyjama trousers (to take care of the problem of the gown being open at the back), a couple of towels, a toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste, and sachets of shampoo and shower gel. The nurse and Dr Hugh said goodnight to me and I was left to get myself ready for bed. I put my clothes on the chair at the foot of my bed, donned my strange night attire, and climbed into bed. My room was cold, but it took me just a matter of minutes to warm up in the bed and I was asleep a few minutes later.

I was now a patient in a mental hospital.

To be continued.

4 comments:

Lily said...

I've only just had a chance to catch up on all the posts that you've written this week. They're really really well written, and although you've told me a lot of the stories already I still can't help but gasp in horror at somethings.

Looking forward to reading the rest!

Alison said...

It sounds like the events of that first day exhausted you so much you needed your sleep...

Karita said...

Hi, I'm new to your blog, came via Genius Gone Wrong.

Just wanted to say thank you for your posts.

steph said...

Thank heavens for the lovely Dr Hugh!