I woke up early and took my earplugs out, but didn’t wake up properly until I was called for meds just before 9.
I felt so groggy, my back was still in bits, and maybe thought I felt a bit ill. I’m sure loads of people are feeling like that right now – the slightest sore throat or sniffle and you’re like OMG CORONAVIRUS (on a bit of a tangent, scary lady keeps calling it ‘Coravirus’ and it’s really irritating me).
I am pretty sure that there is only one member of regular staff on shift today, the rest are all bank. The nurse had actually got my meds wrong – extended release rather than immediate release – so I had to get him to change it.
I strongly considered just going back to bed, but knew I’d feel really crap with it, so forced myself to go outside with my coffee to sit on my bench.
According to Daylio (my mood tracking app) if I have a shower, my average mood is 2.8 out of 5, whereas without it is 2.4, so I forced myself to do that too, even though I really didn’t feel like it.
I washed my hair too, to try and make myself feel extra awake and better.
I tidied up my room – took out any rubbish, made the bed, put away all my clothes, set up my oil diffuser, and put my various appliances on charge.
Again, I really didn’t feel like doing it, but I felt better once it was done and my room was nicer.
Anyone who knows me will know that I am super messy. Clean, but messy. I am making an extra effort atm to tidy up after myself on a daily basis, because being in a tidy environment is just nicer innit?
The thing is, in my regular life I just don’t have time for it. That’s how I end up with clothes and shit all over the floor of my flat. But it’s a vicious cycle, because the more it piles up, the less I feel like doing it – the mountain gets steeper and steeper to climb.
Definitely a habit I need to keep up when I get out of here.
Do you know what I really hate here?
They are so restrictive.
There are so many times that I will find myself with 15 or 20 minutes before meal time, and I just don’t know what to do with them. It’s not quite enough time to start something new – like, I can’t go out for a walk, or watch an episode of Drag Race. I find myself just checking the time over and over again, unsure of what to do with myself. These are the times when I find my thoughts straying the most, and feeling increasingly anxious.
I can’t wait to have that element of control back over my life.
Also, the meal times are ridiculous – 8, 12 & 5. Who the fuck has their dinner at 5PM?!
Just as I was writing that, something came to pass my 15 minutes before lunch!
A really thoughtful care package from two of my friends, and regulars at the bar.
A diary, some slippers, hair removal cream (to save me shaving!), and sweets. All had little post-it notes on to explain why they’d bought them.
They are two of the kindest people I know. It was such a mood boost.
Lunch was complete sensory overload.
There were so many people there, because it was Fish & Chip Friday.
Everyone kept saying how nice I looked, and I just said over and over again, ‘I washed my hair. I washed my hair. I washed my hair…’. I didn’t like having all that attention drawn to me.
Slow tremory lady came and sat with me, when I wanted to be on my own, and started up a conversation, but I couldn’t hear her because scary lady was there, calling one of the male black staff a Somali pirate. She was like ‘if you wanna chuck me out for saying that, that’s fine, cuz I don’t wanna be here’.
Don’t think that’s how it works, love.
Everything was so fucking loud. You know when loads of different noises are going on at once, and you can’t even hear yourself think? To everyone else, it’s a bit overwhelming, but it gets to me so so much.
I asked for seconds, but he wasn’t sure if everyone had had their meal yet, so I said to just forget it, and went back to my room. No way I was waiting around in there.
After that, I was desperate to get out.
I could still hear scary lady yelling, everything was so loud, my clothes felt tight on me, and I could feel the labels in my jumper scratching my neck.
I marched straight down to the nurse’s station in my coat, and was like GET ME OUT OF HERE.
The ward deputy manager took me to one side, and was like ‘are you sure you’re safe to go out?’. I was like, honestly, if I stay here, I’m going to have a breakdown. Please just let me out for a walk.
I explained how I’d gone in to complete sensory overload at lunch, and had just wanted to be left alone. I needed some time on my own, or else I was going to snap.
She said that if I ever feel that I can’t cope with the dining room to just let them know, and I can go eat in my room, which was nice.
So, I went out.
I walked for an hour. My health app said it was just over 2 miles. I listened to an episode of The Guilty Feminist, which was about advertising, and just walked as fast as I could. On my way back, I went to the canteen and bought a sandwich and a vanilla coke zero to get me through the afternoon.
I felt much better after that.
Before, I probably would have wound myself up in to a state in my room, and got to the point of screaming, yelling, crying, clawing…
But now, I know what distraction works best for me… LEAVING!
I also know that walking is good for me. Even if I don’t feel like it at the time, I always feel better afterwards.
My back was in bits when I got back, so I decided to go seek out some painkillers, which meant going in to the war zone of the communal area…
Scary lady was taking some meds, with like 6 staff huddled around her. She then kept yelling about ‘4 LORAZEPAN IN 2 HOURS – YOU’RE TRYING TO KILL ME, YOU MURDERERS’ (I’m pretty sure it’s LorazePAM, love… I really don’t know why her mispronunciation of things bugs me so much, it should be the absolute last thing on my mind where she is concerned).
There were 3 members of agency staff sitting around for seemingly absolutely no reason – all agency, all male, all black, all with their arms folded. They were pretty intimidating. I was getting proper prison guard like vibes from them – very far from caring.
I overheard the ward manager talking about maybe putting scary lady in the Cassidy Suite. THE 136 SUITE, WHERE THE POLICE TAKE PEOPLE, AND I SPENT A GLORIOUS TWO HOURS (because they couldn’t find me a bed, not because police). It’s basically a jail cell though.
You can read about it in one of my really early blog posts, here…https://lucysback.com/2020/02/15/my-stay-at-a-section-136-facility/
I was waiting around for ages for painkillers, and eventually was told to return to my room, I think because of scary lady. They said they’d bring the painkillers to me, and the ward manager (who was administering my meds) asked if I’d like to see a Doctor about my back. I was like, you know what, I actually really would.
The absolute glory of all this, was that I had decided to wear earplugs, and it was absolutely life-changing!
I could still hear everything going on, but it was really muffled, so I didn’t really feel like I was there. It made being out there actually bearable, so much easier. I even smiled at a couple of people.
I went back to the clinic room after a little while, to see what had gone on with my painkillers. Spoke to the doctors, and they told me to take them regularly, and come back to them if things get worse, but then she came and found me, and did a full physical examination. Lots of prodding and poking of my back and legs. I told her – it’s just fucked m8. Has been since I was 19.
Was dead impressed that I got seen though, especially with the way things are right now.
Although I definitely regretted it later…
I decided to watch the UK Drag Race finale, so I could talk to my brother and sister in law about it when they came to visit.
While I was doing so, I was interrupted by the Doctor, saying that she wanted to do an examination of my back passage. She wanted to call Spinal at the hospital in the city, and she knew that they would ask if I’d lost sensation in my rectum.
I was like, no fucking way. One of the reasons I’m in here is because I was raped, so that ain’t guna help my mental health.
I carried on watching Drag Race.
I was interrupted again, to be told that Spinal wanted to see me that night. The doctors said that they would send me to A&E with a member of a staff, and all I had to do at triage was say that a referral had been made to Spinal, and then they would send me there.
Again, I was like NO. FUCKING. WAY.
Like, you really want to send me to A&E where I’ve been taken so many times in the past few months?? You don’t think that’s going to trigger me? Yes, my back hurts, yes, my thighs are a bit numb, but that is nothing new for me!
She told me that they wanted to rule out my spinal cord being trapped between two vertebrae, and I could become paralysed if it wasn’t sorted urgently.
BECAUSE THAT REALLY FUCKING HELPS MY ANXIETY, THANKS.
I got really pissy with them then, and straight up refused.
As I was seeing her out of my room, one of the nurses told me that all bars, restaurants, pubs and cafes had been ordered to close.
So, in the space of 5 minutes, someone had told me I might become paralysed, tried to make me go to A&E, and I’d found out that my business was having to close for the foreseeable.
Meanwhile, my brother and sister in law were on their way to take me for a McDonald’s drive thru.
I carried on as normal.
They met me at the door to the ward, and I filled them in. They said that wanting to take me to A&E for a persisting problem, on a Friday night, during a global pandemic, was ridiculous, which reassured me. But I was still so upset about the bar.
I know that closing is for the safety of the public, and the likelihood is that we will reopen, but I felt so fucking useless, and so sad.
I texted my Assistant Manager, and she was clearly really upset. One of my Duty Managers texted me to say how stressed she was, and to not expect a reply immediately, because she had so much to do.
I felt even more fucking useless.
My brother, sister in law, and I had loads of McDonald’s, and talked about pretty much nothing else than the impact of Coronavirus (they are both teachers, so have had a helluva week too). My brother was telling me that because he has business insurance on his car, he’s mostly going to be delivering free school meals to those who need them – like a Deliveroo man.
I was shaking so much.
I enjoyed my food, but once it was done, I knew I needed to go back to the ward.
I did ask my brother to take me to the bar though, which he said no to.
At that point, I was wondering if I’d ever see it again, and I just wanted to be surrounded by my team, even though the majority of them don’t want to talk to me…
The reality is that I haven’t heard from half my team since I went off sick. When I got back to the ward (after a hefty dose of medication) I was texting the people that I am in touch with, and they said they’d never felt more grateful to be surrounded by such wonderful people, and that there was a real sense of community, and team spirit.
I was just sitting there completely on my own, not even able to contact my team.
The two things I love most in the world, are my ex-boyfriend, and that bar – and now both of them are gone.
I didn’t think it was possible for my heart to break any more, but it turns out it was.
I can’t bear the thought of the bar closed and empty, losing money, and my team just sat at home worrying.
And I can’t even contact them.
I called one of my fellow General Managers, asked for the legit lowdown on what was happening, and he filled me in. I felt a lot better for talking to him, but still completely alone.
I was just sitting in my room, hearing about this great sense of community and team spirit, completely on my own, while my world just fell apart around me.
It felt like I was in a nightmare. I had to wake up, surely?
Everyone keeps saying that the best thing I can do to help, is to focus on getting well. But I felt so awful knowing that everything was having to be cleaned and closed down, and I was just sitting around like a useless potato.
I took some more medication.
I phoned my parents, and they said that they completely agreed there was no need for me to go to A&E, which was reassuring. They don’t think I’m going to be paralysed, so that’s nice.
Just so you know, to be told that you might become paralysed, and that your business is closing for the foreseeable, within 5 minutes of each other, is an absolute mind fuck.
I did an insta live video where I just rambled for a while (you can find me at @_lucysback_). I felt so alone, so far removed from everything, and so useless.
I didn’t know what to do with myself. I just wanted to talk to someone.
I decided to watch Chicago, as it’s all about women being fierce and making a comeback.
It distracted me for a time – in fact, it flew by.
Before I knew it, it was midnight.
I took a sleeping pill, and went to bed. Still feeling completely useless, completely alone, and like my world had just completely fallen apart.