Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 18 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Monday, February 20, 2017

An odyssey

Long story short, I'm in the hospital. Unfortunately, it wasn't that simple. Getting here was quite an odyssey. By Friday evening it became apparent things weren't getting better, only worse. I had just missed my third day in a row of work. I tried to run but failed miserably, and my thoughts were dark, dark, dark. After some convincing a close friend brought me to my local emergency room. The ER docs wanted to admit me to the hospital, but all of the psych beds were occupied. I spent the night in the emergency room while the doctors decided the best course of action.

The course of action which was recommended, and which I found completely unappealing, was a transfer via ambulance to another pysch unit 40 minutes away. The doctor assured me I would spend the night there and transfer back to my local facility as soon as a bed became available the following day. So I went.

Perhaps I'm spoiled. My local psych unit is a healing place with very caring nursing staff and humane, not punitive, rules. It is a place where effective treatment occurs. The unit I was transferred to felt more like a prison, and I was one of the prisoners.

After my unnecessary ambulance ride I arrived at the small, unfamiliar facility Saturday afternoon. Upon arrival I was asked to remove all of my clothing and was given green scrubs to wear instead. It turns out all of the patients are required to wear green scrubs in this unit. For what possible reason I still cannot fathom. Feeling like a prisoner had begun.

The feeling was not short lived. After being shown to my room, a nurse came in with my empty backpack and purse in one hand and piles of my belongings in the other. I couldn't believe the staff had gone through all of my clothing, money, and belongings in my absence! Again, maybe I've been spoiled, but my local facility wouldn't think of checking through my belongings without me present, especially my wallet, money and credit cards! I was horrified.

I was too tired and low to put up a fuss. I spent the rest of Saturday crying and sleeping. I couldn't wait to see the doctor Sunday morning in order to initiate the transfer back to my local facility. Unfortunately, the doctor who visited with me Sunday morning claimed to know nothing of such a plan. It wasn't in any of the notes or orders, she said, and besides my local psych unit was full. She seemed a little too pleased to inform me I would be staying with them for at least the next several days. I was angry, and disconsolate, and powerless to do anything about it.

I don't know what happened but a few hours later the same doctor returned and said she "found" my local doctor's note, but I was still going to have to stay because there were at least 3 other patients waiting for beds ahead of me. Again, I'm not sure what changed, but just a few hours later, I was transferred, via ambulance, from my little prison back to my local facility.

This morning I began ECT. It was a tough day, as the treatment left me with a wicked headache, but I'm now feeling better and settling in. I'm grateful to have access to such professional, compassionate care here. I'll certainly never take it for granted again.


Rachael Wood said...

Thinking of you Etta. Hope you're quickly start to improve xx

The Real McCoy said...

I'm so sorry you're going through such an intense episode, and your ordeal with the hospitals sounds like adding insult to injury. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. I wish I had something more meaningful to say, but know you're in my thoughts.

Tom said...

Also thinking of you Etta. So glad to hear your stay in that other facility was short lived. You deserve to be treated with much more compassion and respect.

Anonymous said...

thinking of you.

Grace Wisdom said...

Thinking of you. Lots of love and prayers from New Orleans.