After my hope was decimated by the nurse I took a nap. It’s hard sleeping in an emergency ward, but it helps if you’ve had a bit to drink. During my half sleep I started to pay attention to the ward itself. It would appear that I was situated close to the exit to the X-ray machine, because I heard a lot of chatter about X-rays. A young girl was brought in next to me who had just cut her wrists and overdosed on sleeping tablets.

My idiot nurse was nice enough to tell the young lass that in his experience these things were generally a cry for help. No shit Sherlock. I bet that made her feel much better. It turns out we were on the same medication, and I managed to steal a few glances at her. She looked to be about 15 years old. It’s weird to see somebody in the same situation as yourself but not be able to do anything for them. I wanted to reach out and hold her hand or something – her mum was sitting down in a chair about 15 metres away from the bed where the girl couldn’t see her. Later the whole family moved to toward the nurse’s station where they just stared at her from a distance. Close enough for them to see each other, but too far away to communicate. I felt so angry toward that family.

Then the doctors started hassling her. She had given them conflicting information about how many tablets she took. She sounded very sleepy and her number varied from two to sixteen. She’d probably never taken sleeping tablets before and I don’t think she knew how many were classified as an overdose. Poor thing. She would have to wait for the blood test before the doctors could decide on treatment. Once that side of the bed settled down I heard a man screaming for his drugs further on down the ward. He started vomiting by the sound of things.

All of a sudden I started to perk up and I needed two things. Food and water. I hadn’t eaten anything all day and all I have drunk was Jameson’s. I managed to procure two plates of sandwiches and a couple of containers of juice using my guard as a proxy. The fruit juice had expired in September but I didn’t feel like raising the issue. By this stage I had a new nurse and guard since the other two had finished their shift. They were much better and could see that I didn’t really need any medical attention. Of course my old nurse had forgotten to give me a name band on my arm (he also forgot to take my temperature, not that it was a critical factor in my diagnosis).

The fruit juice wasn’t enough and I had to get another four cups of water. I pleaded for a jug of water but they wouldn’t let me have it. Instead I just sculled as much water as they could bring me. I wasn’t hung over but I was very tired. The time was now around 2am on Tuesday morning, and my plane was supposed to leave at 5am. After a visit to the toilet, under escort of course, I was feeling much better, but the nurse’s earlier comment about me not being able to fly back to work made me was still a burden on me.

The psychologist finally came to do the rounds at around 3am. I was thrilled, this was the guy that was going to release me. He saw the young girl next to me first. Good call really, she looked like she was in a lot more trouble than I was. I listened in to some of their conversation, but her voice was very weak I didn’t catch a lot of what she was saying. Her story sounded very familiar, but obviously that personal information.

When he finally came to see me it was about 4am. It felt great to have my guard finally leave my side and leave me along with the psychologist. He was an Indian man with acne scarring across his cheeks. He ran through most of the same information as the person from the medical team had done.

“The police brought me in” … “No I wasn’t in bushland, I would call it more of a park” … “I’ve felt this way for the past twelve years, however I was officially diagnosed about six weeks ago” … “No I’ve never sought medical attention for it” … “Not really I only had half a bottle” … “I was bored” … “No I’ve never had a girlfriend” … “No I’m not gay”

I find it frustrating that because you’ve never had a girlfriend doctors always ask if you are gay. I’m not gay, however I’ve never had a friend in my entire life. Nobody has ever known me. The real me. I’m not even sure who I am. How the hell are you supposed to form a relationship like that? I half heartedly felt the need to assert my heterosexuality but I didn’t think the doctor needed a recount of my drunken fumblings.

“I’m supposed to fly out to work this morning” … “About an hour’s time” … “No that’s probably not realistic”

The doctor wanted to keep me in until I had seen another psychologist. That wouldn’t happen for another four to five hours. I had already been in the emergency ward for about ten hours under guard and I wasn’t violent whatsoever. He asked if I would agree to go to a psychiatric ward and I told him I wasn’t too happy about that. He said I would go in as a voluntary patient and I would be able to leave once the psychologist had seen me. By this stage I was so tired I just wanted to out of the emergency department to somewhere I could sleep, so I didn’t need a lot of convincing.

It wasn’t until 6am that they finally moved me. As I was waiting for an intern to escort me to the ward I was able to see the girl who was next to me. She was still in her clothes as well. Good girl, at least we stuck together. She was about to get moved as well, but by the looks of things we were heading in different directions. We weren’t able to talk because we both had nurses fussing over us.

When we finally left for the new ward I was happy. I trailed behind the intern and my guard but they didn’t seem to care.

“Where are we going?”, asked the guard

“Back down the back of the hospital. I don’t get to go there very often”, replied the intern, “Get ready to walk the green mile”, he added.

I didn’t really appreciate that comment but it wasn’t directed at me anyway. Neither of them seemed to notice I was there as they started talking about work issues. They were trying to find other jobs that paid better, maybe even start to work fly in fly out on the mines. I get paid more than the two of these blokes combined, but hey I’m the one going off to the psyche ward aren’t I?

The intern hit the intercom for the ward. All of the doors were locked so one of the nurses had to come and unlock them. It was a little disconcerting to be entering a locked ward, but later I found out that it was only because it was so early in the morning. Once the door was unlocked both the guard and the intern looked at me. There was no way they were going to step foot over that threshold. So I walked in by myself, under the soothing influences of the night shift nurse.

The ward was dark, and there were a lot of strange people walking the corridors. I had to descend a set of stairs to get to the rooms and the whole thing reminded me of the execution chamber from “Darkness at noon”. I was given a room by myself which I later found out was considered quite a luxury. I had the bung removed from my arm and I declined sedatives.

I was about 6:30am before I was finally able to lie down by myself. I took of my shoes and shirt and crawled into bed wearing my jeans. I had missed my flight, but it was only two and a half more hours before I would see the person who could send me home.

I slipped into a restless sleep.


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