I wake up in my bed after a working the previous day on a ward in mental health for adults and what a busy day that was. I get up and get showered then head off for breakfast, which is porridge with blueberries, I know sounds boring but when you put the berries in and let them warm up so they soften and then burst the berries in the porridge the flavour hits you and it’s amazing. With that I have a rich but strong coffee with a little milk, no sugar just to wake me up and get me going for the day. I am supposed to be working with adolescents today that suffer from all types of mental illnesses from self-harm, visual and auditory hallucinations, eating disorders and personality disorders, I mean emerging disorders as they under 18 years of age so they cannot be diagnosed fully yet. So as I am working with adolescents I can wear jeans, t-shirt and trainers for a change instead of trousers, shirt and shoes. Don’t get me wrong I love to dress smart but it is always nice to dress down but smart as well. As I start to head out the door my phone rings and it is the hospital I am going to work at, they ask me if I could go to the local general hospital as they have a patient that has been admitted due to a virus. I think to myself but ask who is it and what is the virus that they have? They tell me it may just be a flu virus but she has just been admitted and I can meet them in emergency admissions. I have worked with them before and I know the patient and luckily we, I hope have a good therapeutic relationship. But who is to know this now as the patient is ill. We all feel crappy when we are ill and have little tolerance well, so a lot of understanding and empathy will be needed for this.
As it’s a long walk to the local hospital I’ll cut that bit out as I only went to a coffee shop for another coffee and nothing much happened. I walk another ten minutes and get to the hospital, this place is a big hospital and the emergency admissions is the other side to where I am, typical. I reach the ward after looking around and a walk that seems to be lasting twenty minutes. I walk in and great everyone,
‘Morning, how are you all?’
People look at me and to be fair they look like they have just woke up and just smile and say in general,
‘At last, we can go’
‘Someone is having to wait until another staff member gets hear’. I tell them.
Two of them say ‘I’m not waiting’ and walk off.
This just leave one woman behind and she tells me ‘I’ll wait with you’
I thank her for waiting, but she has no choice and look at the other two that just walk off and say to them ‘Oh gee thanks’
They look back as if to say ‘What?’
I look at them as if to dismiss them and don’t bother. I look at the patient and she is asleep by the look of it but who is to know if she is listening. After five minutes another staff member turns up and greets us both with a nice smile. She introduces herself and she apparently is a regular member of staff for the patient and her name is Kelly. The staff member that stayed behind says goodbye and picks up her things and leaves. I let her know that I will let the manager know you stayed later even though it was only about five to ten minutes but I’ll tell them it was more on the thirty minutes as we had an issue, wrong I know but I could let them know it was staffing issues. Myself and Kelly sit down and relax, I know Kelly from old she does not recognise me, I get that a lot. We don’t see much of the hospital staff as they don’t seem to like deal with mental health patients or maybe it is because they know that the patient has staff with her and all they need to do is dish up the medication.
It turns to 10:00 and the patient starts to move and squirm awake, moaning and groaning, she turns and sees us both and smiles saying,
‘Hi have I got you two?’
‘Unfortunately, Yes’ I respond.
‘Good’ she says with a smile.
She continues to lay there not sitting up but just lying there, occasionally opening her eyes and looking so tired I actually feel sorry for her feeling this ill. She must of fallen back to sleep as her breathing has got heavy again. I look at Kelly and just smile as in boring. Kelly gets a book out and starts to read, to my surprise it’s a Chris Ryan book Hunter Killer, which is a very good read as I have read it. I sit there looking around the room as the patient is in a side room. I get up and ask Kelly if she would like a coffee but she just replies that she has just had one so she is ok for now. I walk out the side room and head down the ward. I get hit with a pungent smell of stale smell of stale urine and sweat wafting around the ward. I think to myself that this is awful and they should do something about it. But to be fair this is an adult ward and most of the patients are elderly and it will waff a little. I head to the end of the ward where the coffee machine is. I walk past the nursing station is and smile at the nurses as if to say hi, but they look and then look away as if to say I can’t be bothered or to say hi but don’t speak to me. Don’t get me wrong I admire general nurses as they have a lot of stressful work and a lot more physical work to do than mental health workers.
Sitting back in the side room I think to myself that I wish I had brought a book with me to read, but luckily Kelly reaches into her bag and pulls out another book which is about body language and how to read it, so I read this but still looking over at the patient that still appears to sleep. Suddenly she turns round and says that she needs the toilet, we get up and walk round to the toilet with her but Kelly has to stay with her as the patient is supervised due to the risk of self-harm. Kelly returns out of the toilet with the patient and we walk back. Suddenly the patient loses balance and we both reach out to catch her and help her, Linked arms we walk back to her room together and get the patient back into bed and get her to chill and relax. We get her to drink a coffee and two sugars just to give her a caffeine fix for energy but it has no effect. This patient has to be ill as usually she picks right up when she has a coffee, we both look at each other as if to say oh dear. After ten minutes of chilling but worry a nurse and a house doctor comes in the room, the doctor introduces himself and the nurse and hands over the results from the blood tests. The patient has the flu and all she needs is lots of fluids and food to build her energy back up and we could go when we are ready but if things change please bring her back. We both thank the doctor and nurse for their help and I say to Kelly,
‘I’ll ring the ward and let them know what is going on’
‘OK’ replies Kelly.
As I phone the ward and explain what is going on and ask for transport back to the hospital, it will be about twenty minutes until they arrive. So we both try and wake the patient and she is a bit sluggish but she wakes and we tell her that we can go and could she please get dressed. We help her get her stuff together and start to head off out the ward, the nurse in charge asks,
‘Where are you going?’
‘We been told that we can go by the doctor’ I reply.
‘OK’ replies the nurse, then replies ‘I will need to get the tablets to take out’.
‘I’ll pick them up later in the afternoon’.
We head off to the exit in the hospital and there waiting is the hospital transport to take us back to the hospital and back to the ward. As we walk to the vehicle the patients makes a half-hearted effort to make a runner. I reach out and grab her on her clothing by her shoulder and pull her back.
‘Get in and stop being silly’ I say to her.
Once in the vehicle we head back to the hospital and end up outside the building we need and hold the patient’s wrists to walk her in the building. Once in the building and get our keys we let go of the patients wrists and open the doors to the ward. We enter the ward and the patient has a search by Kelly and as we thought she has nothing on her that she should not have. She walks onto the ward and as usual lots of patients want to know where she has been and what was wrong with her. We stay in the office and make a long entry in her notes of what the doctor and the nurse has said. We both sit there but I am getting bored while she types and head off onto the ward. Some of the patients ask me where you been and what is wrong with the patient, of course I don’t tell them as it would be a breach of confidentiality on the patient.
I know this is short but this is the most exciting thing that has happened this day, as the rest of the day I have been sitting watching TV on the ward, playing cards and escorting patients to educations or just sitting in the day area. It is nice to have a quiet relaxing afternoon on the adolescent ward. We will see what happens over the next few days until I what happens next.