I knew it was early when I woke up. My roommate was still sleeping and everything was quiet. Someone walked through the door just then, without even a knock. They needed my blood and it was 4:30 am. After they took my blood I asked if I could have some soap and towels to take a shower. Protocol says no showers before 6 am. As soon as that nurse left another came in to take my vitals. At 5:00 am. Checking the schedule they gave me, breakfast would be at 7. I walked politely up to the counter and asked again about showering. This time they let me. I was given a bucket with one towel, one wash cloth, toothbrush and paste, a small bottle of hair face and body soap, and a small
bottle of conditioner. Taking this into my room I realized for the first time that there was no door to the bathroom, just a shower curtain. And the actual shower curtain in the bathroom was somehow slightly less than that. It was disconnected from it’s Velcro strips that were holding it up. I took the quickest, most basic shower of my life and brushed my teeth. After showering you are to bring all of your toiletries, wet towels, and bin to the front desk.
It was then I realized that I hadn’t eaten yesterday at all. They had me there since 3pm and now fifteen hours later I hadn’t been offered even a drink of water. I found a coffee and water machine and decided to try the decaf while waiting to go to breakfast. At this point several other patients were starting to gather around a large table. Some were outside having a closely monitored, two limit smoking break. I heard patients talking about that days tech on our unit. He was a former corrections officer and they were saying he treats us just like criminals.
The cafeteria is just down the hall, but in order to get there you must be locked down in different hallways twice. The food was edible and they always have a few choices. It was nothing to write home about but not the worst part of my experience. Still in the dining hall there was no real coffee and no knives. A nice lady told me to take a spoon, that it worked pretty well for cutting food.
When we arrived back to our unit, the line for meds was so long. As soon as I got to the front of the line they told me I’d be getting 50mg of vistiril twice a day for anxiety, what even is that but fine. I also had two doses of ibuprofen 800mg daily for the pain of my self harm, and a prescription for an antibiotic twice a day. No Wellbutrin. I took whatever they gave me and decided I would just have to wait until I talked with the doctor to get everything worked out. They would also have to redress my wounds twice a day. Over the 6 days I was there they changed my dressing twice.
Did I mention I’m still breastfeeding? By 8am I was in terrible pain from being engorged. I asked for a breast pump and was told “this is not a hospital, we don’t provide that type of equipment.” And to “self express your milk into the sink.” I told them to fuck off and called my sister. She called my senator to report discriminations occurring in real time at a local not hospital. Within an hour they ran to Walmart and bought me a hand pump, milk bags, lanolin and Medela breast pump wipes. Thank you sister, for being my advocate when I’m to weak to be.
First was goals group where you wrote down your goals for the day and what you might need to help you obtain those goals. Next was coping skills group, then a fun round of Jeopardy group. Lunch, another serious group, a fun group, a trip to the gym to play with the three balls and one net available, dinner, a wrap up goals group and night meds.
At some point during one of the groups, a doctor pulled me out for 10 minutes to ask me a bunch of questions. He seemed in a rush, but I made sure to express my issues with meds. He added two more and told me I just needed more sleep probably.
After that we were allowed to watch pg tv (mostly the news, football, or country music stations). Some patients would sit around a big table coloring and used it as a time to vent and talk about what landed them in this prison.
Then it was off to bed in a cold room on a plastic mattress with a plastic pillow and the bathroom light on.
More to come