After returning from the PICU to the Oldham ward, life continued as normal. A lot of the patients I knew had moved on. My family and friends still visited me regularly, but on one particular weekend I absconded from the ward.
I started to feel paranoid and didn’t want to stay on the ward. I noticed the main door was loose and the receptionist wasn’t there as it was the weekend. So I kicked the door open and left the ward.
The police van eventually caught up with me. When I saw the police I ran as fast as I could with two officers in hot pursuit. I wasn’t in good shape so I had to stop running due to exhaustion and they handcuffed me and put me in the police van.
They returned me to the ward and I lost all my leave to go out. I was held like this for about a month . I began to worry that if I kept trying to abscond they would return me to the PICU, which I didn’t want at all. By this time, although I was used to the PICU I didn’t want to go there again.
Staying at hospital without leave was quite difficult but I became used to the routine of taking medication, watching television and socialising with interesting patients. I met Kamran who is my friend to this day. He has had a hard life as he has had cancer, epilepsy and diabetes along with mental health problems, but he is still so strong willed and positive.
I became friendly with members of staff, including K who had worked in the hospital for more than fifty years. Along with bonding with patients, you also bond with members of the nursing team. I got along well with the nurses and nursing assistants.
At this point I began to read more, including historical fiction and Harry Potter. I would read every night till about three in the morning. I really enjoyed the Harry Potter books and the story has stayed with me to this day and has inspired parts of my own novel. I also read about Genghis Khan who conquered huge areas of land and built one of the biggest empires in history. He was known to be bloodthirsty and cruel, but he is an interesting historical figure.
After a month, my leave was slowly reinstated. It was a relief to start going out again to the local shop and surrounding areas and I started to go on home leave too. It felt strange to go home after such a long time, it was great to see my parents and the rest of the family. I felt positive and happy, hoping for a return to normality.
Soon, I would be assaulted and demoralised and would face depression.