In fairy tales it’s always the children who have the fine adventures. The mothers have to stay at home and wait for the children to fly in the window.
-Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife
The weekend is pretty quiet on the ward. I think most people are out on passes. I will take my first 1/2 hour pass today (Saturday). There are no organized groups or doctor visits on the weekend, so really meals are the only thing to break the day into maneagable chunks and relieve some of the boredom. Of course, with no family or friends, I think I am the only patient with no visitors either.
I was thinking this may be a good chance to describe the ward. When you walk in, there is a nurse station directly in front of you with hallways to the left and right of it leading straight ahead. These halls meet at the far end of the ward so that the nurse station and the two or three private meeting rooms behind it occupy an island surrounded by the halls. On the outside of the halls are patient rooms, two washrooms with showers and a small laundry room for patients. Immediately to the right when you come in is a large TV lounge with an exercise bike. The TV room is connected to a dining room shared with the ward opposite mine. The hall at the other end of the dining room leads to a smaller TV room with movies, books and magazines. Past that are large doors leading to the other ward, so essentially this is the end of the ward I live in and I haven’t been past those doors.
My room has one hospital bed, a locking cabinet and one of those adjustable tables that you can move over your lap while in bed. It also has three plastic chairs and a reading lamp bolted to the wall. The back wall is windows all the way across with a waist high ledge that I use to store things. If I sit at the head of my bed the view is just the building and a little piece of sky. The foot of the bed faces East and I have a glimpse of the mountains, plenty of trees in our courtyard and a large slice of sky. My room is the second one on the left hallway, right across from the nurse station. Because I am a trans woman, I have a room to myself. That is not so bad, but at the same time it does reinforce my isolation, lonliness and sense of being different.
The locking cabinet in the room has my clothes in it. The nurses keep it locked until you are allowed to wear clothes insread of pajamas. They keep cellphones and valuables in a seperate locker near the nurses station. You are only allowed to use your cellphone when you are off the ward on a pass.
Just outside my room in the main hallway are two large whiteboards. The first has thevday and date and a list of patients and which nurse they are assigned to for that day. It would honestly be difficult to keep up with the day and date without that board. The other board lists the day, time and location for the weekly groups.