I gradually adjusted to life at the Oldham acute ward and was granted leave to go for walks and to the local shops. It was a relief just to be able to go out although I was initially escorted by a member of staff.
The routine was tedious, there were no activities on the ward whatsoever, so most of the patients sat in one of the lounges and watched TV all day. I never used to watch TV before being held in hospital but I gradually began to watch soaps and movies regularly.
I started following Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Coronation Street and became addicted to them. There were the odd arguments when patients disagreed on what to watch. Soon, a patient was admitted onto the ward who encouraged me to join him in doing regular exercise so we would do press ups and sit ups every morning. He had stabbed himself with a pocket knife because the love of his life had left him. He wasn’t on the ward for too long though and was discharged after two weeks.
I was put on different anti psychotic tablets and noticed that I always felt hungry. This is one of the side effects of a lot of anti psychotics and I began to put on weight.
The food was OK, I loved the cheese and onion pies and fish and chips. The Halal curries were bland, but thankfully my family visited regularly and always brought me home cooked food. I was visited a few times by my close friend Zeeshan who would bring in snacks for me and would give me reports about what was going on in the outside world.
I became accustomed to life on the unit and befriended some of my fellow residents. When you live, eat and spend time together you bond with people. I was allowed leave to go home but my family notified the doctor that I still had paranoid thoughts about my brother in law so my home leave was cancelled.
Like me, the consultant had a big beard and was a practicing Muslim. He advised me to remember God and pray for recovery. At this point they were trying different medication on me and I was put on Haloperidol which made my neck stiff and slurred by speech. I was still ambivalent to medication, especially due to the side effects.
One night, I put pillows under my duvet and escaped from the ward, I didn’t know why or where I was going but I eventually went to see my friend who persuaded my to return to hospital.
If I had been encouraged to exercise and eat healthily during this period I wouldn’t have gained weight and eventually be diagnosed with Diabetes. The sedentary life on an acute ward creates many physical problems. I feel this is a pressing issue that needs to be discussed.
I stayed on the ward for two months before being sent back to the PICU.
How was your experience of staying on an acute ward? Please share.