After a horrible first night on Crownhill ward, I woke up and it was dark. I hadn’t slept well and I was so disorientated. My obs were taken every 2/3hrs and I felt scared. Banging and beeping noises were coming from a building site outside and I was confused. I didn’t know where I was but before I knew it, I had several ‘official looking men’ standing at the bottom of my bed talking about me. They didn’t speak to me and after a few minutes they walked away as though I was nobody. Then, I met Andy.
Andy was a student nurse and had been ‘assigned’ to me, to get me washed and up for the day. I couldn’t have asked for a better person and he changed my mind-set in an instant. I went from delirious and confused to slightly more conscious and aware, but more importantly – I was smiling! He helped me out of bed, helped me to wash, dressed me in fresh clothes, change my bed linen. gave me a giant nappy to sit on (don’t ask!) and approached everything with a little humour and a smile. For the first time in 2 weeks, I was sitting in a chair feeling ever so slightly normal. As I became more conscious I took notice of my body and what was happening. I noticed my drains, lines in my neck, swollen hands and feet, and horrendous bruising. I looked at my arm and saw the picture of Jesus that had been carved into my arm! Yet, as Andy explained, nothing had been carved into my arm, it was bruising from the sites of multiple arterial lines. Although I was beginning to take notice of what I looked like, I still had no idea why I was in hospital.
My mum came to visit and I was keen to get some things straight in my head, So I asked Andy about the riots at the hospital. Andy looked at me with a strange expression. ‘Riots, what riots’ he said. I explained about the riots that had happened whilst I was in ICU and how the hospital had gone into lockdown. I mentioned about the tower blocks on fire and the hyenas outside throwing rocks at the windows. He looked at me with a confused expression and I’m sure deep down that he wanted to laugh a little! But instead, he was very professional and told me that he would go and find out about the riots. He returned a short while later and said quite simply ‘There haven’t been any riots, and the hospital hasn’t been in lock down’. He smiled sympathetically and I sat in my chair, feeling confused. That’s when I realised that something wasn’t right, the world as I’d known it for 16 days wasn’t…..real?
Nobody at that time or during the entirety of my stay mentioned Delirium to myself or my family. My family thought I was confused, I thought I’d lost my mind. All I knew was that I’d been left with terrifying scenarios that I couldn’t explain and that they would continue to haunt me for a considerable time.