I discovered boredom.. real boredom here at the clinic. They try, they do try to make time fly. It doesn’t. I have recreational classes; painting, relaxation, a sort of gym class that is supposed to be for muscle “awakening”, and even a sewing class. Yet, nothing really fills the time.
I decided to have a routine, boring as it might be, it still makes my days have some meaning. I wake up either by the nurses or by my breakfast tray. Coffee and an apple. I grab my coffee and go down to the terrace to smoke my first and second cigarettes of the day. I go up again shower time. I try to make it as long as possible, to pass time.
I choose my outfit, loose and mostly ugly. I put on my shoes on and go down for another smoke. I socialize. The main question is “did you sleep well”. The answers are the usual. Yes, I took my sleeping pills, or no I woke up at 3 AM, or I have been down here since 6.
I go up again. I decided to write everyday. It keeps me sane. I talk to myself, but also to a different audience – hoping to get read, to get heard. I wait for my notifications, signaling that someone somewhere read me and thought I make sense.
Now the round of psychiatrists begins. I pull the chair away from my desk and put it besides the door. He comes in, silence. I grab my red notebook with the questions of the day. I ask if I should start, and he always says yes. He mostly repeats himself. I am anxious, I am suicidal, I threw up my meals but still gain weight. No, I lie about the throwing up. Someone told me they could lock my bathroom and I have no intention to get this far in my “imprisonment”.
He says little. Let us change this, add that and reduce this. It should work within a few days to a few weeks. I write down everything he says, why I do not know. It gives me the illusion of control; maybe by knowing the names and the dosages of my meds I will be somewhat more lucid.
“N’importe quoi” as the French say – nonsense. How long do I have to stay here I ask. I get the same response – it depends and we shall take it day by day. I say ok and thank you. He asks if I want a permission to go out. I am always accompanied by a family member – not a friend. I say yes even if I will not go out. It feels good to be in control – illusion again but what can I say? Sometimes I have the luxury of spending the night at home.
Never two days on a row, it is too dangerous he says. I say ok. Whatever, I just want to see my children, sleep in my bed while hugging my husband, holding his hand and seeing him first thing in the morning. I want to hear my baby’s steps running from his room to mine in the middle of the night saying “butterfly”, and asking to sleep in the big bed. I tell him there are no butterflies in the house and resign and happily take him in my arms.
My daughter comes in later about 7 or 8 AM. She stretches her body, still with sleepy eyes and says “good morning mama”. She would then thank me for being here at home. My big baby thinks I could possibly prefer sleeping at the clinic than in her arms. She thinks I am at a medical spa. I do not ask what she imagines or thinks of this place. I would rather not know. She literally jumps over me and look into my eyes. I melt.
My father woke up long ago. He took care of the kids to give me an hour or so in bed. He lovingly makes their hot chocolate. Patience is his virtue, nothing makes him tick. The kids know it and abuse it, but his love does not make him flinch. He has unconditional love for them.
My husband is ordering breakfast online not to make me move a muscle. He is beyond loving – the man of your dreams but just for me. He plans the day, making sure the children stay busy. It is not easy because he tries hard to find not only things that would interest a 2 year old and a 9 year old at the same time. He also tries to make sure I could fit in should I wish to join. He is my rock, my angel.
My stepmother takes over and makes some order in the house. She is trying so hard to follow our old system. She gives love and security to the children – especially to my daughter. She would take her out to eat or to do something girly.
Let me not bring up how I get to say goodbye to them. It is always so painful, just like someone is slashing me in half, someone taking my soul away. I am alive because of them. Meaninglessness slowly but surely starts to settle in again…
Back to reality, back to the clinic. Lunch time is around noon, disgusting tray. I am on a diet and also vegetarian. I get almost everyday some pasta without anything on it, some green beans, and some carrots. If I am lucky some yogurt and some cheese too just to brighten my meal. Disgusting, I pick the edible and leave the rest.
Smoke after lunch and some more small talk. We talk about our illnesses, how we ended up here. Same pain but different stories. Many are bipolar like me, some are addicts, while many more have eating disorders. Ages go from 16 to probably above 65. Groups are formed by age more than illnesses. Although age and illnesses are correlated. I sometime try to nap, specially after my Valium taken at lunch time. It relaxes me and make me lose two more hours of my endless day.
I often get a permission to go out for 2 hours in the afternoon. My father or my husband come around. We run to a place where I can eat. Sometimes my husband takes me on his Vespa. I fly with him to eat out, drink something, or go and enjoy a lovely surprise he prepared. Going back brings back this nauseating feeling, especially when I kiss my visitor goodbye and see the sliding doors closing one after the other…
Dinner at 18:30, meds too. I try to bargain to get them after dinner – I generally throw it all up. This depends on the nurse. Some are real Parasians and some aren’t. Same ugly tray with same food as lunch. Cannot eat it anymore, makes me sick to see the tray despite my huger. I go down for some hot chocolate from the vending machine. Sometimes I bring some food back with me from the supermarket next door. Smoke some more, yes what else to do.
Closing down at 22:00. No more going to the terrace or to the poor common room with it’s useless babyfoot table and meeting chairs. Go up to my room, read on kindle and take the sleeping pill to drift into oblivion till the next day. Nurses check on me like three times at night. Why? No idea, maybe to know that I am still in my room. Maybe to know I am still alive. At 8:00 it starts all over again…
4 thoughts on “A typical day at the clinic”
You are very articulate about your struggles. I can relate to times I’ve been in-patient, eager to make some semblance of sense by keeping a log, reflecting on my experiences like a holy scribe. Keep writing. I pray better days are ahead for you.
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Thank you so much for your warm comment. I guess you aren’t anymore into this in-patient dilemma, which is great! I am grateful for your prayer and wish you just the same. Bless you!!
I hope you feel better soon. It can feel dreary being in hospital but it’s not forever. I think this kind of routine is universal amongst inpatients. Sending you well wishes, x
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Thank you so much M.J Neely! It does indeed feel gloomy and routine is essential to keel afloat. Thank you for the wishes; same to you dear !