During a dissociative episode this week I hit my head. It was really frightening and once the episode had died down I found myself very, very concussed. The incident happened between six and seven that evening and by half ten the symptoms still hadn’t calmed down so the on call doctor was called out to the unit. The poor Doctor was a little confused over the event and her assessment was complicated by the fact that I do not remember anything from any of my dissociative spells. Therefore it was very hard to tell the severity of my head injury. Likewise my eyes move constantly, making the eye checks very hard to carry out. I’m never an easy patient! After doing the best she could of an examination she left the room to call A&E to get advice. It was nurse *Stan who broke the news- I had to go to A&E if I had been sick more than once… And I had been sick for the second time during the ten minutes that Stan and the doctor had been talking. Cursing the wall in question and very concussed- off to A&E I went.
Having been promised by Stan that the trip would be just ‘in and out’ I was not overly surprised to find myself in a very slow moving waiting room. Because I am under eighteen I had to be accompanied by a member of staff from *Cheery Lodge so it was *Emma who had the job of trying to keep me awake during the wait. Suffering with fatigue at the best of times; it was way past my bedtime and the bump was making me yawn non-stop. Myself and Noodle seized a bariatric chair at the back of the waiting room because it was easily wide enough for both of us to sit side by side. I don’t know what it is about general hospitals but they make Noodle very protective, refusing to move out of arms reach of me. Of course I don’t mind this at all, feeling vulnerable her care is very much appreciated.
At around 1am; myself, Emma and Noodle were put into a side room to wait for a doctor. By this point I was beyond exhausted and feeling the effects of not being given my medication. I was certainly not impressed when a very peculiar junior doctor appeared. First he asked me to follow with my eyes a white pen. Against the white wall this would be impossible for me on the best of days. Confused- he decided to move on to questioning my psychiatric history. At one point myself and Emma were convinced he was going to try and refer me for an inpatient assessment- despite us both telling him repeatedly that I am already a patient on a psych unit. He, like the doctor on call, disappeared to consult somebody else on the medicinal chain.
On returning he asked to see Emma’s papers for me as if I was some kind of antique he was thinking of buying. A photocopy of my drugs chart and details of my illnesses.
“What kind of OCD is it?” He asked. A question I dread.
“Erm it’s mostly hygiene and health concern based. But other ruminations and fixations too.” I have learned my lines. It was because I told him this quite so clearly that I was surprised at what he said next.
“Right we are going to get you into a CT scan as there is a possibility you may have a brain bleed.”
“It could be a brain bleed making the hallucinations worse.”
He honestly then continued to use the phrase ‘brain bleed’ at least six times. Leaving me… Anxious. Very much so. I held onto the belief that if he really thought I was going to turn into a gory waterfall he would have done more checks and probably kept an eye on me… Or possibly have offered me a drink of water.
The CT scan was carried out at about 3am- an odd experience which made me feel like I was in some kind of verticle belidrome with the cylindrical spinning and whirring. It was over very quickly but sadly the results took much longer to arrive, leaving poor Emma to reassure me during the wait again and again that it is unlikely that I would have a brain bleed and, yes, CT scans are 100% safe. She was at the stage of pulling up online evidence when the results came through. My brain was 100% ay-okay! Relief hit me like a tidal wave- if nothing else I was just overjoyed. To be allowed to go to sleep. Myself, Emma and a loudly snoring Noodle headed back to Cheery Lodge.
“In and out?!” I asked Stan as we shuffled through reception at 4am. As way of a commiseration he told me he wouldn’t wake me up at 7am that morning. Of course it is much better to be safe than sorry- but I was absolutely exhausted the following day! Medical staff- if you are treating patients with anxiety disorders please be careful of what you say and how you phrase things!