In the morning they took my “ship” facemask and gave me a black one without straps. I was allowed to take it off when I was sitting in my chair/area.
It’s hard to remember exactly the events of the day, as I was rocking a severe sleep deficit and it was a long, boring day. I do know that I would rather spend the day in the EmPATH unit than in a regular ER room.
There weren’t too many people in the EmPATH unit, which was nice. Maybe a bit more than a dozen of all ages and races. Some of them got prescriptions and went home, and I wish I had looked closely at everyone in case I ran into them while inpatient. There were no external windows – I was missing nature already. There was a group check-in in the morning and it was very light. Had a lunch meal, ordered through “room service” via phone with a short cord. They literally called it room service. You got a menu and just told them what you wanted.
My nurse and I talked about my file/story. Seemed amazed at the amount I’d been through. There were a few others who did the same thing that week. I guess I could be proud that my history has shocked more than a few people when they read it. Those people are mental health professionals who have seen just about everything.
I met with a psychiatrist, nice man, very quiet. He said we should try adding lamictal, an SNRI. Don’t know that it made my chart, had one, once in EmPATH. Just layering on more meds, as usual. He hinted at ECT since that might have worked for me last time. And he agreed that inpatient is the next right thing. He said he was going to try for a bed at the hospital by the river, near the university, or coincidentally the hospital I was born at, in another city. Not too far, but a hassle if Wife wanted to visit.
I was still feeling every feeling. Tried crossword puzzles but it was hard to concentrate, and the marker they gave me was almost totally dried out. Read and reread musical instrument book, but I kept having to go over the same paragraphs over and over. But it helped keep my mind off my situation.
I spent the rest of the day waiting for a room. The Social worker was working on it and said she would call Wife with info as it developed.
I went to sleep around eight in the evening, only to be awakened at ten. My nurse told me I got a bed at the hospital by the river, and transportation was on its way. I had no idea how they were going to get me there. Uber? Limousine? Ambulance? Airlifted? Ok, maybe reaching a bit on the airlifted idea.
I called Wife twice that day. On the second call she angrily went into things like wanting a commitment from me to get better and want to live, etc. Couldn’t speak to any of those points as I still didn’t want to commit to live. It was not what I needed to hear at that moment, and went into zone out mode, hard. The nurse waited with me. He was a large man, both wide and tall. He spoke so softly it was very hard to hear him. But we got to talking, and he gave me a bit of a pep talk, as he had also been a longtime AA sponsor. I appreciated it and told him so when transportation arrived. I wish I knew how to send him a message about my changes.
I packed up all my stuff, which was just a book. Transportation were EMTs with an ambulance and stretcher. The male EMT helped me into the stretcher, where I was strapped down for safety. Like, “you’re not going anywhere” strapped down. I noticed when he walked it was almost military. When he did a subtle about face and then marched over to the stretcher, I knew he had to have military training. I asked him if he was in the reserves and his eyes went wide and he was very surprised. He was indeed in the Army reserves. We talked a bit about that and finally the female EMT finished all the necessary paperwork. A receipt for a patient. Ambulance trips are not cheap!
They rolled me out to the rig and had trouble getting the stretcher in. It was a little funny. The female EMT rode in the back with me and we headed out. I couldn’t see much of the journey, but I distinctly remember when we passed under a bridge close to home. Might have had a twinge of homesickness. I remember being very pleasant and chatty with the EMT. Human face back in action.
We arrived at the hospital late at night, but there seemed to be a lot of people there. I couldn’t tell who was on staff and who were patients. They took me into an admission room and made me change into a paper hospital gown. It had full coverage, no chilly tushy. They had me open my mouth, they checked my hair, and they had me do one jumping jack. All looking for smuggled goods.
Got back into my beautiful scrubs and they took the “strapless” mask and gave me a generic hospital mask, light blue. Pretty much everything I had went to storage. Even the book. I was led to a single occupancy room (Due to COVID) at the far end of the hall, where three people were sitting in chairs chatting. I was told someone would come explain things for me.
So I sat in the bright room for a good while. Turns out it was two hours. Felt like ten hours. No clocks in the rooms. Nobody came, so I thought I might go find someone to ask at least what time we wake up. Went to the nurses station and found out it was one in the morning. There had been a shift change and I got lost in the shuffle. A nurse took me on a short tour – short because it wasn’t a large unit. I was blurry eyed and exhausted. They offered me something to help me sleep, but I turned it down. I have no idea why. Probably the anxiety, which was through the roof.
When I finally got to bed I just took off my socks and climbed in. The bed was really quite comfortable, but this was my second night without my CPAP, and I slept poorly. Again.