The second time I was at the PICU was pretty much the same as the first, dull and monotonous. I didn’t know most of the patients but my friend D was still there. I spent about two months at the PICU, by which time I was a full time smoker.
There was one patient who was actually quite a good singer; he would sing songs by Bob Marley and Oasis. During my stay I started playing chess with patients and staff which helped to pass the time. Chess is called the game of kings and dozens of books have been written about it.
I remember playing chess against my brother when we were younger. My brother was really good and always won. At the PICU I began to read about chess theory, such as the opening, middle and endgame. It is a game of focus, planning and strategy.
While I was there, a very ill patient called P came into my room early one morning and started attacking me. I was asleep and woke up to find him standing over me. He punched me a few times but the alarm was sounded and the staff quickly came and took him away. I was always careful after that to lock my door.
He did apologise to me later and I didn’t hold it against him. My friend D also attempted to escape by kicking down the fire exit door, but the nursing team managed to stop him before he escaped. I know of one patient who was nicknamed Houdini because he managed to escape from the PICU twice. Once he put his friend’s cap on and walked out with his visitors. The second time he got on someone’s shoulders and jumped over the high fence. I don’t know how he managed it with injuring himself.
An autistic man was admitted onto the unit who wasn’t able to talk and was in constant agony so he would keep hitting himself and causing injuries to his face and arms. I felt so sorry for him and was thankful for being able to speak. Staff tried their best to stop him from harming himself but he wouldn’t stop punching and slapping his face.
My younger brother has Down’s syndrome but he is the kindest and most loving person I know. He can’t really communicate so life is hard for him as he can’t express his emotions or feelings but I wouldn’t have him any other way. He goes to college and has friends and has his own interests such as watching The Simpsons or playing computer games. Because of him I have always empathised with people with learning difficulties.
Two months went by pretty quickly at the PICU and I was settled and didn’t show any symptoms so I was again put on the transfer list back to Oldham. I didn’t have long to wait and soon I was sent back to the acute ward in Oldham.
Even being able to speak is actually a blessing, you only realise what a valuable gift it is when you meet people who can’t communicate. I would love it if one day my brother could express himself. We would have so many conversations.
Do you know someone special? Please share.