With all my talk about staying up through the maniac’s hours every night of the week, you might have suspected I have gotten up close and personal with psych in-patient units. The most familiar is the behavioral unit at Portsmouth Regional hospital. With my mania there have been quite a few times, where I needed sleep and in-patient stay was medically necessary. Yes, it’s weird you can hospitalized for lack of sleep, but after too long no sleep makes you sick. I have never to the point where it made me sick, I have just always been admitted when I go three days or more without a wink a sleep.
The Behavioral Unit (BHU) is a funny place. There are so many patients dealing with stuff all over the mental illness rainbow. On top of that it is a gender mixed population, and the ages of the patients are all run the gamut from1 8-75. When you go to the BHU to be admitted, the process begins in the emergency room. There you are met with a counselor, and social worker, who immediately begin to work up our case history. The processing is long, like at least five hours, and most of that you spend in the pod, with no windows, and no staff. You are monitored by cameras and can ask for food or some people need to take medication. It is the absolute worst part of being at the BHU. Usually a person has packed a suitcase for their stay at the BHU, but before you can have anything, all your things must be rummaged through by the BHU staff. Simple rules are: no drawstrings or lace up shoes, no alcohol in any of your product, nothing metal, or sharp, and no glass contains. That is the tip of the list; the rules are quite long. You can’t have your cell phone at any times, it is locked up in a locker with your name on it.
Once you finally get to the unit the processing is just beginning. Depending on what time of day you come up, or who is your nurse, could twist your panties all up in a knot. For me, because not only have I been there before, and know the staff are all old as dinosaurs, they usually process me right through, just to get me out of the way. I am a big nuisance when people don’t do their jobs like they are supposed to in a timely manner.
The patients on the floor are mainly certifiable crazy for sure, but the staff at the BHU has them beat by a long shot I promise you that. The BHU has been open for over thirty years. There are nurses who have been with the place since they opened. One is an old woman, named Mika. She is a radically gay feminist. She hates men and she hates me we go way back. She has a memory like an elephant and a long time ago, I made her look foolish in front of the staff and patients, she will never forgive me. It started with medication that I was prescribed, to take up to five times a day as was needed. One day she gave me one pill, and I told her I needed two. She said I had to wait at least 4.5 hours for next the pill. I was mad as hell, nobody fucked with my medicine, so I went and found my psychiatrist and played it all cool and nice with her. I explained how Mika wouldn’t give me my medication, and then I tossed in to make matters worse, it was makings me uptight and anxious too. The psychiatrist went and found Mika right there in the hallway, with people all around her, and told to give me my medication as I was prescribed. Mika’s head did a flip like you wouldn’t believe, she went slowly to the medication room and didn’t say a word. She handed me my second pill, and I almost pushed for a third, but thankfully I thought different and quietly walked away.
The BHU has recently been all newly renovated, it is quite nice. The patients have a schedule of activities and classes. You don’t have to go to anything if you don’t feel like it, but there is no tv or lunch room during group activities. Every morning you fill out a menu for your three meals. Ordering steamed brown rice, is a cruel joke on a mentally ill patient for sure. You are served a heaping plate of white rice, and circled on your menu slip it says “brown rice.”
The last time I was there was February 14, 2014, the worst blizzards of the year. I was of course brought in for lack of sleep, the seriously ill patients don’t know what to make of me. I am usually quiet for the first couple of days, as I wait for those that have been there to get discharged. I make friends with everybody as long as they don’t appear to be a serial killer, which we had on the unit many moons ago. Once the older patients have left I find me my posse. Last time it was two girls, a 68 year old woman, named Bobbi. I remember her arriving crying for a geriatric ward. The other girl, was almost 50, but much younger acting and looking than that, she had a binge drinking problem, and we called her Sara. Bobbie, Sara, and I were inseparable, it was like that from when we woke up until we went to sleep. Because I am there for just sleep regulation, my stay is usually more colorful than anyone else’s. I know the staff and the staff knows me. I know and they know I will give them a hard time, but never cross the limit. I have never had to be disciplined or put on restrictions.
Mania is so weird, because since I got fortunate, no spared me my life, by not getting the type of mania that makes you spend excesses of cash, and have rabid sex, and do crazy things, people don’t think there is anything wrong with me. They never can believe I am actually on the unit.
This is a long post, probably three posts long. I will blog the second this afternoon. It gets more into the mindset and the pills that people are on, and also the different problems why people are there.
BORN THIS WAY-2016