The Psych ER – March 2018

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In the psych ER – March 2, 2018. Photo provided by author

On my post last week, Downshift, I talked about how I didn’t feel safe in terms of suicidal thoughts. I managed not to hurt myself and went to bed that Thursday night. When I woke up Friday morning, I wasn’t sure whether or not I felt safe. Because of these doubts, my husband and I decided to go to the emergency room (ER) at ECT Hospital, where I undergo outpatient ECT when necessary, and is also the place I was last hospitalized in October 2014.

I left the house in my pajamas, but as you can see in the photo, they had me change into a hospital gown. We arrived around 11:00 AM and it took about an hour to process whatever they needed to process. By noon, they moved me (in a wheelchair) to the psych ER because I didn’t have physically medical issues.

This ER is removed from the hustle and bustle of the medical ER, so it’s quiet. It consists of 3 side-by-side rooms divided by walls, and with curtains on the front. These were left open so the nurse and security guard could keep us under observation.

I was moved there around lunch time, and there was a stack of food containers on the counter. I didn’t have to wonder if any of them were vegetarian because I just knew that they weren’t; I was right.

An ER resident saw me and asked me why I was there. He also asked what meds I was on, and told me I’d be meeting with a psychiatrist, which I already knew.

My husband and I sat there for hours, and eventually, I met with a crisis intervention team, which I believe consisted of a nurse, a social worker who did all the talking and asking of questions, and a psychiatrist who typed my answers into a computer.

Again, we talked about why I was there, and discussed what seemed like my entire mental health history. They asked me what I saw in my future, and at that point, I figured I needed outpatient ECT, which my psychiatrist strongly recommended a few weeks ago. Although I felt safe by the time I talked to them, they felt that I needed to be admitted. I figured that I would be, but was still hoping they’d let me go home, and pursue ECT on an outpatient basis.

A nurse talked to me about the process of being admitted, confidentiality issues, the ins and outs of the psych ward, and had me sign a bunch of paperwork. She said they had a bed for me, but I had to wait for a few more hours.

I was concerned whether they had a vegetarian menu, and she assured me they did. *phew* But my biggest concern was whether I’d have a roommate, and she said that I wouldn’t. At this particular hospital, there are 2 rooms that fit 2 beds; the rest are singles, though if necessary, they can add a bed. Thankfully, they didn’t during my stay.

I was still in the ER at dinner time, which is at 5:00 PM, and fortunately, the admitting nurse was able to get me a vegetarian dinner of fruit and a vegetable hummus wrap. It was surprisingly good. (!)

A little after 6:00 PM, I was admitted to the psych ward. Six hours is a relatively short time spent in the ER. Other patients have had to wait over a day to get a bed.

My next post will be about my stay and my reflections on that.

If you’re willing to share, have you ever been to the ER for psychiatric reasons? What was your experience like? If you’d rather discuss it privately, feel free to use the Contact form.


via Daily Prompt: Wonder

22 thoughts on “The Psych ER – March 2018

  1. I’ve been to the ER on numerous occasions, but only admitted twice. My wait was much longer, and most times I talked myself out of there before getting to the point of being transferred to psych. I’m glad they had something you could eat, I am vegetarian also and strangely enough I can’t remember what the food situation was like except that I remember there was no real coffee, just sanka.

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  2. I haven’t been in the hospital for mental health issues, but when I got electrocuted, some clown psychologist wanted to commit me because they had just built a psych ward and he clearly wanted to fill it, and he said that it was not possible to get brain damage from getting electrocuted. Of course it is and when I got tests, there was clear brain damage, plus I had been to see the medical group in the same building about the incident and they had records that the ER didn’t bother to get. I just felt bad for the people who might not have the strength to say no when he pressured them. he actually falsified some of my records to make it look like I had more issues than i did–added divorces, said I ‘couldn’t explian my unemployment history’ when i had been at the same job for the past 12 years and still had it, stuff like that to make it look like red flags. I am glad when people are helpful and not trying to fool others in hospitals.

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      1. It wasn’t so bad for me, but I just worried for others. I am glad you are feeling a lot better and like there are options for you. I hope your husband is getting support too, since it can be hard.

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  3. I have been hospitalized a total of 3 time’s, in the psych ward. None of my experiences were bad. All of them did as they were supposed to except I went back the third time because they had messed my meds up the second time, like I lost it. That was the worst trial and error I’ve had but it was fixed almost immediately. I actually enjoyed my stays as much as that is possible. I am not fearful or hesitate to go back if I need to.
    I am so happy you did what was best for yourself and I am happy you are back to blogging. I missed you.

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  4. I haven’t had very pleasant experiences in ER. Probably the strangest was when they were going to lock me in seclusion because of suicidal ideation. I asked to be sedated, and the nurse said there was nothing ordered. I asked if it would make a difference if I threatened to throw my tiny tube of hand cream at her. She called a code white (aggressive patient). Then she didn’t know the anatomical landmarks for the site I preferred for the injection that I’d been asking for in the first place. Sigh….

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  5. I’ve been to the psych er many times. its horrendous mostly. long waiting times, docs who know very little about did or ptsd, etc. I prefer for dr. barry to admit me if at all possible, we go for planned admission where we can. xo

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    1. I understand. Most of the times I’ve been in the ER for psych problems have been incredibly long waits. I’m sorry most docs in your experience don’t understand DID or PTSD. I agree that direct or planned admissions are best.

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