Welcome to the cupboard of broken toys- Part 10

EXTRACT FROM MY NOTEBOOK

THINGS I HATE

1. The doctor asking me about how much sex I have (still none).

2. Stress vomiting.

3. Uncontrollable mood swings.

4. The Ward Sister.

5. “Honey” by Bobby Goldsboro.

6. The looks some of other patients give me since I have ‘come-out’.

7. Still not being able to paint.

8. Having no friends.

The list is shorter than the one I wrote on the first page of my journal and I now hate different things. Hooray! I have experienced some personal growth.

I have been on Ward 9 for nearly five months now. None of the original patients when I arrived are here anymore. Joe Crabbe is away on leave and Sue Sullivan has been returned to her unit. I have lost my friends. The people I now have most interaction with are the medics and the nurses.

Captain Hardy is on secondment somewhere. I have a new doctor. I have to see Major Holst on Ward 10. The first time I meet him I ask the obvious question. He tells me he is the great-nephew of the composer. He doesn’t like me and I don’t like him.

He asks me how often I have sex. I say the same amount as anyone else who has been on Ward 9 for five months. Which is to say, never. He doesn’t look happy with that answer. He asks if I fancy anyone on the Ward. I say no. I am still very, very uncomfortable with this line of questioning.

Ever since I outed myself on the Ward Group meeting other patients have started coming out. It is like opening the flood-gates. I have set a precedent. But I am still repressed and hung-up. Nothing has really changed. I don’t feel better about myself. I am not happy.

In one of my sessions with Holst he asks me who my first crush was. I tell him about the boy in my training-regiment. I tell him about Tarren dying in a road accident and how upset I was. He asks me if I have ever been close to anyone else. I tell him no. I suppose for anyone reading this, the direction of this line of discussion is obvious. That I have learned to be afraid of close relationships. I have a fear of getting too close to anyone in case I lose them and suffer the same agony of bereavement that I did when I was 17. But to me, then, it wasn’t so clear.

I have a new keyworker. Sergeant Jackson. I ask him why I am still in hospital after all this time. He admits they don’t know what to do with me. I am still showing symptoms of illness. I get bad anxiety and panic attacks and stress vomiting. What he doesn’t say, but I suspect, is that there is a feeling of institutional guilt over how I was injured and how I have since been treated. They are definitely going the extra mile in my treatment and therapy.

On the other hand, I am much fitter than I was and have started getting my physique back. I regularly go running on the Common. There is a swimming pool in the old Academy where we can go on Wednesday afternoons. I am getting really good at volleyball and, 9 times out of 10, can put the ball into a nest of the zombie-patients in the opposing team, much to the irritation of the PT instructor, who thinks it is not in the spirit of the enterprise. My clothes fit better now. These things go on my list of things I like.

THINGS I LIKE

1. Being good at volleyball.

2. Running.

3. Swimming.

4. Reading.

5. Organising the tea trolley at the day Centre (it gives me a sense of purpose).

This list differs from anything previous, in that it actually exists for the first time.

I like to think I am getting better but I know there are many things that can knock me back.

I wake up one morning feeling really ill. I have a terrible headache and a sore throat. I can’t get out of bed. Sergeant Jackson comes to find me after Ward Rounds and is annoyed to see I haven’t got up.

“Come on,” he says. “You’ve missed breakfast and the gym.”

“I feel horrible.” I tell him with a gravelly voice. I am shivering and my skin is blotchy. I feel sick.

He looks at me more closely and obviously sees something wrong because he goes to get a thermometer. My temperature is above 103 degrees. I have glandular fever. God alone knows how I caught it.

Major Holst tries to examine my throat but every time he puts the spatula in my mouth we both get shocked by static electricity.

I am confined to a single side room for three weeks. The staff are excited to have an actual physically sick person. It means they can practise all the nursing things they have neglected due to being mental nurse specialists. Mulholland is delighted.

THINGS I HATE — ADDENDUM

1. Being over-nursed when I just want to be left alone.

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