Thursday, 13 December 2012

Hospital-free for a year

A year ago today, I left hospital for the last time (so far). A section had fallen flat on it's face, and I walked free. Since then, I've successfully dodged hospital and psychiatrists.

Since my first psychiatric inpatient admission at age 15, I haven't been 12 months without hospital (either inpatient at various units, or general hospital for ED-related issues). 2011 was completely hectic with six admissions in a year and two sections/Involuntary Treatment Orders. I've been counting down the days to my 'year without hospital'!

Last November and December, I had two admissions in a very short time. I'd had no more than one weak black coffee each day for two weeks, and on my presentation to Accident & Emergency I had blood sugar levels of 2.2 and very low blood pressure which were the cornerstones of my stay.
Room with a view
Looking out over Geelong, towards the bay
I was endlessly, constantly hooked to IVs - two lines at once in A&E. Dextrose, Potassium, Saline, Magnesium. They froze me from the inside out, the bags presumably stored next to the stephoscopes.

You've all heard of the horrible psychiatrist. I've written about what he said/did before, so I won't repeat it all here, but this was where he came in. He was always head-to-head with my endocrinology team, and they never agreed on a thing. My medical team were lovely, as were the nurses. They'd praise me for eating 1/4 of an English muffin for breakfast, instead of an 1/8th, while my psychiatrist would yell at me, getting angry and telling me I wasn't really trying.
"You're playing Brinkmanship"

My first admission was voluntary, for about a week and a half. The psychiatrist let me do my own thing mostly, and didn't really do much though I had to see him every day. One day, I told him that the endos wanted me to have more overnight dextrose drips. He protested, saying that he was putting it on record that he didn't agree with it, that it was like "giving a credit card to someone with a gambling problem". If I couldn't keep my blood sugars up myself, I don't deserve a drip. I discharged myself, my doctors warning me I'd be back within a week.

I was at the GP three times in five days before she sent me back to hospital, unable to walk more than 10 steps. I fought it the whole way, and the psychiatrist in A&E sectioned me. I cried, I wanted to go home. He told me I belonged in the psychiatric ward, and I cried more. The endo team fought him, saying I was too unstable (at this point, I had two IVs at once - I'd had to have them removed to go to psychiatric). The IVs stayed and I was put back on the medical ward under an Involuntary Treatment Order, en route to the EDU in Melbourne once a bed became available.

I cried a lot, and the psychiatrist yelled even more. The nurses were wonderful. They'd sit next to me and hug me while I cried about the horrible psychiatrist. Many of the nurses remembered me from the February admission, and it made me feel at home. I was wheelchair-bound of both admissions, and still had to have stable blood sugars to be wheeled downstairs for a cigarette. One nurse in particular, bribed me with going downstairs in my chair, if I ate a slice of toast so I wouldn't hypo off the wing.
"Do I have to eat the whole slice? Or just a quarter?"
"I think you should eat all of it."
On the second admission, the psychiatrist (wrongly) told me I couldn't leave the wing, whereas on my previous section I could if I was escorted. Sometimes the nice nurses would let me boyfriend wheel me downstairs on a 15 minute time limit, unbeknownst to the psych. I'd set a timer and hold on to the chair, and we would speed through the halls while I pre-rolled cigarettes.

 The story with the section? He had the weekend off, and was to organize someone to review me within 24 hours. Long story cut very short, he didn't. I was there for four days, sectioned. When he realized I hadn't been reviewed, it took a couple of days for him to figure out where I stood legally. Since I hadn't been reviewed, the section lapsed, and I walked free. Just like that.
"What's the plan?" I asked him, when he told me this
"No plan."
I discharged myself Against Medical Advice that evening, signing forms I'd never seen before.

It was a miracle, truly. I feel so lucky. It hadn't happened in the history of the hospital, to have a section 'lapse'. I was on my way to inpatient and force-feeding and 20kg+ weight gain, and I walked free. And I could keep starving. I'd never be so lucky for it to happen again, but I'm so grateful it did. It was the most amazing feeling, to magically be no longer sectioned.

And here I am a year later. Still running, avoiding doctors and hospitals and psychiatrists. Mum's said to me countless times, that I should be in hospital. But I never want to see a psychiatrist again, as long as I can help it. Fingers crossed I can keep having such a good run.



  1. Thank you for sharing your emotional journey. I was sectioned this time last year too and I know what you mean about walking free. It is truely the best feeling I have ever felt x

  2. This was hard to read Bella, as I'm sure it was hard to write
    I know that you don't want to go back in to hospital, I don't either after a nasty experience with a nurse
    But I'm hoping that you will accept some kind of help or treatment
    I'm hoping that you will get well
    I'm hoping that you don't become a statistic

    Please stay safe x

  3. Hello Bella Boo and Bunny Boo,
    This was really sad, I am so sorry you had such a horrible psychiatrist who obviously shouldn't be doing the job he is, or has become cold and heartless over time. I can completely understand your desire to dodge help given the unhelpful attitude he had when he was meant to be looking after you.
    I have never had anything happen quite like that, but I do remember when I was in hospital for a week after an overdose, one really overweight nurse made me cry by trying to get me to pick food and a menu and I wasn't having any of it. My restriction gets stronger when I cant self harm, so I didn't eat the whole week, I actually lost weight in hospital lol, but that nurse was a total cow. I had a few others who were really kind and caring, but it only takes one person to make you dread ever having to go back. Now i know that is nothing like the hell you experienced, and I very much hope you dont have to experience it again. I love you the world over.

    Amanda xxx

  4. Wow Bella ! It's amazing of you to let us all in on your journey and I just really want you to be happy and take good care of yourself . I just wonder , how did you get so skinny than you couldn't even stand up or walk ? Was it the 50 cals days or the weeks without food ?
    Please take better care if yourself. I don't want anything to happen to you <3
    Love Jo .

    1. Jo- it was more because of the low blood sugars and blood pressure, that I had trouble walking. That was caused by flat-out not eating. Xx

    2. Yeah okay. I'm glad your better now. Even though I know I lay of days it's hard to get out of bed. Take care of yourself. Wouldn't want you to need to be hospitalized again.
      Hope you are doing good <3