As you know, Erik and I decided to bring me to Kaseman Behavioral Health Hospital ER on Sunday. Friday we had called my psychiatrist to let her know that this is what he had decided to do.
Sunday morning, we had a leisurely morning, enjoying our time together, assuming that we were going to be apart for a week or two. So we arrived at the ER around 1pm.
We had been through this before. A couple of years ago I went to Kaseman ER twice in an attempt to get admitted to the hospital and both times was turned away because the only beds available were in Las Cruces. We were willing to make a go of it on our own.
So, we knew what to expect. We checked in, were immediately ushered into the locked admissions section of the ER. My vital signs and identifying information were taken. I was tagged with a hospital bracelet. And my basic reason for coming to the ER was established – I was a danger to myself.
Then we headed over to the insurance desk, established my information there, and then we were in the blue (or were they green?) waiting chairs across the hallway from the admissions desk. We waited for a while and then were taken to a hospital room. They took my clothes and personal items and put them in a big plastic bag for which Erik was to take and be in charge. I was not allowed to have anything except the two gowns they gave me to wear.
I’m pretty sure they took my vitals again and then we just waited. Last time, that is – a couple of years ago, we were then ushered over to the behavioral health side of the ER, with more locked doors, less privacy, and the rest of the people who needed to be hospitalized for mental health issues. This time, however, the behavioral health side of the ER was closed for construction, so we stayed in the regular ER hospital room and waited for the liaison to come talk to me.
She (or he? I honestly can’t remember.) came and asked me questions about why I was there and generally tried to get an idea of what my need was. Then, she took my information and went to call the doctor. By now, we had probably been at the hospital for about four hours. We knew this wasn’t going to be a short process.
Eventually the liaison came back and basically said this: The doctor agrees that you need to be hospitalized, but there are no beds available here or at UNM. The only option is to send you to Mesilla Valley Hospital in Las Cruces.
I said no. I’m not going. And she said well we can’t let you go home unless you have a safety plan. I said, okay, here’s my safety plan. I won’t kill myself. My husband will take care of me. And so they let us go home.
Erik and I were not giving up. To clarify, I was not explicitly suicidal, but I have struggled for much of my life with self-harm and lately this has come up again. We had decided on the hospital because I was concerned that the self-harm was getting out of control and I would harm myself beyond reprieve.
So, that night Erik called my mother and asked her to meet us at the hospital first thing Monday morning (7am) so that Erik could go to work. It was his second week. As important as my situation was, it was equally important that he go to his new job. So, my sainted mother, who up to this point had only received in email from me letting her know that Erik was taking me to the hospital and no I didn’t want to talk about it, showed up at 7am Monday morning and we went through the whole process outlined above, again.
Except THIS time I guess they were busier. I wasn’t allowed to stay in the hospital room they put me in and as such was moved to a “waiting area”. This area was six or so hospital recliners and an extra chair for my mother. Luckily I had taken my anti-anxiety medication prior to entering the hospital, so I was able to zonk out in the chair. My poor mother had to suffer for at least an hour or two, knitting her way through the wait.
The liaison once again returned from talking to the doctor with news that there were no beds available and did I want to go to Mesilla Valley in Las Cruces.
So, safety plan, mother taking care of me until husband gets home, we leave the hospital and that is that. Or so we thought.
My mother and I were sitting in my living room watching TV or something – passing the time until my husband got home. I did call my psychiatrist who works for Kaseman, in the hopes that she might be able to help us get into the hospital, but really we had very little hope.
I was uncertain of what comes after two attempts to get yourself hospitalized, meanwhile I’ve worried my husband and my mother and will they ever leave me alone again??
Then around 1pm (remember we had gotten up really early and arrived at the hospital at 7am. So, by the time we were booted out, it was still relatively early in the day), my psychiatrist called to say that three beds had opened up at Kaseman and my name was on one of them.
I still don’t know how she did it.
We were able to wait until Erik got home, so he could bring me. My psychiatrist gave me a list of things to bring and things not to bring, so I repacked the bag I had already packed in preparation for Erik to bring me, had either of the two ER visits resulted in getting into the hospital, and waited for Erik to get home.
He came home, my mom left, and off we went to the hospital. We entered the hospital through a different door and this time Erik wasn’t allowed to come with me. We called up to the behavioral health unit and a nurse came down to bring me up through the three doors onto the locked ward. I left Erik at the first door. It was terrifying.
And that my dears, is my admission story. More to come another day.