Bipolar Affective Disorder · Inpatient Treatment · Updates

Hospital to holiday

I’m writing this in the car on the way to the airport and by the time I publish this I should be in France!

Last Friday my psychiatrist said he would leave the final decision as to whether I could go on holiday to another doctor (incidentally, the one I saw a week before I was admitted), and pulled a face when he said so. The kind of face that suggested if it were up to him it would be a Big No, and he didn’t want to listen to me if it was.

On Monday I asked the ward sister if I would be out in time to go on holiday today. Her eyes widened and she said ‘holiday? THIS Saturday?’ with a look on her face that said ‘Fat Fucking Chance’. But here I am!

So on Tuesday I asked the doctor that was filling in for my usual psychiatrist if I could go on holiday and he said ‘that was SO not what I was going to talk about with you today’. He said he couldn’t let me go to FRANCE on extended leave, so I’d need to be discharged. And as I wasn’t as high as the day he saw me in the community, he thought I’d be ok. But discharge and therefore holiday would depend on whether:

  1. I slept
  2. I had a CT scan to see if my high prolactin levels were due to my gland or the antipsychotics
  3. My lithium levels came back fine
  4. My parents were willing to take me
  5. I had another overnight leave that went well

So a CT scan was arranged for that day, my lithium bloods were allowed to be taken on Wednesday instead of Friday as ordered by my usual psych, there was talk of a sleeping tablet for a couple of days and my parents were rung to discuss How They Felt about the whole thing.

In the end I didn’t sleep, my CT scan came back clear, my lithium levels came back on the cusp of the therapeutic range (and would therefore need to be upped) and my parents have continued to express concerns about my mood. So discharge has been a little rushed, but that’s ok! Because I’m on a plane to France instead of sitting in hospital!

Thursday morning I was working on a ‘probable yes’ and was busy trying to pack after spending the previous night at home on overnight leave when I got a phone call from the ward. The nurse asked me how I’d feel about not going on holiday and coming back in and spending a bit longer on the ward. At first I knew she was joking but when she very seriously asked me about ‘medication compliance’ and asked to speak to my mum and gave a vague answer as to why she wanted to speak to her, a sliver of doubt started to set in and I had visions of my usual psychiatrist phoning up the laid back stand-in, totally aghast at the idea that I should be let loose in the Alps (last Friday I jokingly told him my mother had said she was willing to take me so long as I wasn’t high enough that I’d throw myself off the top of a chairlift to see if I could fly; he laughed nervously and said 100% seriously ‘oh. I hadn’t even considered that’).

But all was well! Instead she wanted to ask my parents to take me in sooner because the doctor wanted to see me before I was discharged (as opposed to leaving my final mental state assessment in the hands of the junior doctors the following day) and would potentially move my discharge to Thursday as opposed to yesterday. Hurrah!

So here I am. On a plane flying somewhere over France. The airport was a bit of a nightmare. My neurotic father in his usual state of heightened anxiety customary to Travel Day, a busy airport with lots of people standing in the way and walking infuriatingly slow. And all the waiting. The queuing to check in, to get through security, to buy a bottle of water, at the gate, to get on the plane, to sit down on the plane, the endless taxying the runway. I am positively HOPPING and mildly homicidal by the time we get seated on the plane and hungrily swallow my diazepam when we finally start to take off. 11/10 do not recommend airports (or public transport in general, come to think of it), to manic/hypomanic people.

And I have to admit, I’m a little nervous. Last night I had racing thoughts. I typed up a blog post then spent some time playing round with my theme, all too aware of the clock ticking on past bedtime. I climbed into bed around 12.30 and didn’t fall asleep til well after three. Thoughts flying. Skiing is my favourite thing in the world, so there’s the potential that this trip is going to be ‘too stimulating’ (sure I was already up half of last night buzzing with excitement), my lithium levels aren’t quite there yet, plus I’m still ‘easily excitable’. So there’s the potential for this to go tits up, but we’ll see- it could just as easily be exactly what I need- fresh mountain air and an extreme sport to burn off some of this extra adrenaline!

A few weeks ago my psych said I’d be ‘cutting it fine’ to get out on time to go on this trip, and I didn’t believe him, but there you go. A mere 48 hours ago, give or take a couple of hours, I was still a psychiatric inpatient. I asked my mum this morning if she thought I’d have gotten discharged this week if I wasn’t going on holiday. She simply said ‘no’. And she is probably right. My lithium levels were supposed to be checked yesterday, which would’ve seen them back early next week, and as we know now, they’re still not right, so that would’ve meant an increased dose, and my usual psych seemed to be leaning towards discharge only when I was stable on the lithium, which would’ve meant another week on the higher dose before being able to check my levels again, and another few days to see if they were ok…so I could’ve easily been in there another two weeks. And I could cry with happiness that I am now sitting on a bus, waiting transfer to the ski resort, instead of sitting on the ward bringing in another dull Saturday night in front of the TV, alarms blaring and patients screaming and nurses shooing me off to bed before midnight.

I’m going to make this the best week.

 

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