WEDNESDAY 30th JANUARY 2018
6am. The rumble of the trolley signifies it’s early morning and time for everybody’s blood pressure to be taken.
6.50pm. The morning darkness is interrupted by the brilliant glare of a thousand Blackpool illuminations lighting up my eyelids, I hate those fuckin’ fluorescent lights.
7am. My teeth have been brushed and I’m now sat in the main dining room waiting quietly along with the rest of the patients for our morning medication followed by a bowl of congee and a boiled egg. I have to squint my eyes to stop the glare of the dining room lights melting my eyeballs because my night time meds are heavy duty giving me the blood shot eyes of a thousand Count Dracula’s and the brain of a single zombie.
7.25am. Jumped straight back into bed for a cheeky little sleep but one of the staff catches me ordering me to get out of bed and go and do something else instead. I’m completely spoilt for choice either I can read, do my journal, watch TV in the main dining room showing Cantonese programs or endlessly walk round the square shaped corridor on the ward reminding me of the film One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
8.50am. Woke up for a shower and a new change of pyjamas.
9am. We line up for O.T. This morning’s trip down from the 7thto the 3rdfloor isn’t quite the precision tactical manoeuver experienced yesterday. We get to the O.T. room where I read an English newspaper for twenty minutes then we all have 10 minutes of stretching exercises. I spend the rest of my time on the internet catching up on football via my favourite footie website, The Guardian.
11.10am. We are escorted by two male staff members – out the O.T. door – wait for lift – into lift – lift stops – lift open – out of lift – J7 door opens – into the ward.
11.30am. Lunch Time : Pork in sauce, two scoops of mashed potatoes and cabbage.
11.50am. I have been asked to be interviewed by a doctor and nurse in the lounge. The interview begins at midday and I’m told to tell my story to them which I try my best to convey in words while at the same time remaining stoic, without showing too much emotion. Inevitably under heavy medication as a patient on the psychiatric ward I crumble with tears slowly rolling down my face portraying the pain and torment that exists deep inside as my favourite emotion becomes all too apparent, sadness.
The nurse interrupted me to tell me about his story of how he too had ended up on J7 ward due to his dysfunctional childhood and how after getting better he now works as a psychiatric nurse on the ward dedicating his time to helping other men with mental illnesses.
He finishes turning to me to elaborate more on my childhood in him trying to understand my symptoms and causes, so I hesitantly start to try and portray a picture in words but revisiting my childhood is a dark sad vestige of memories where a humongous sign illuminates the entrance warning me “enter a your peril”. I know full well what lurks beyond the entrance, it is The Other Paul carrying a sack full of his favourite emotions – pain, hurt, anguish, heartache, loneliness and sadness. No wonder I don’t venture to this place unless I truly need to.
Slowly the tears start to roll at which point the nurse stops the interview. A little too much for me in this tender state.
12.30pm. With the interview over I sit down on my bed to compose myself feeling embarrassment that I was crying as well as trying to hide it from the rest of the patients on the ward and somehow remaining dignified within myself.
Suddenly my consciousness is propelled back into the ward when I hear Cassie’s name announced over the tannoy system telling me to go to the dining room to take her call. I sit down clasping the phone receiver slowly pressing it against my ear in the eager anticipation of hearing Cassie’s voice. Today it sounds sweet and upbeat which definitely instills determination inside me to get better and eventually leave the ward, though I realise my case doctor has the final decision.
1pm. I’m sat in the dining room pondering and worrying about the dire financial situation I’m in, and will be when I finally leave here. I’ve been unemployed since I left my DJing job at Rula Bula Bar at the end of October (2017) and avoid thinking about it or the worry and stress, (which are The Other Paul’s deadly weapons of choice) will fester deep within my soul as a virus gradually spreading throughout my whole being enabling him to gain even more control of what he has already captured.
1.35pm. I’m lay on my bed as my mind goes off on another tangent in which it is immerging from the dense fog I’ve been shrouded in trying to make sense of and understand what the fuck has happened to me in my life that has lead me to be patient number 18 lay writing this journal on J7 Psychiatric Ward at The Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong. WTF!
I really don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have my journal. It stays with me all day clutched tightly in my right hand with it’s black ball point pen clipped to its cover. I can sit down in the ward open up my journal and begin writing, which transports me away to other places away from the confines of the ward and patients. It’s catharsis helps me to minimise the full power of my bipolar (The Other Paul) keeping my mind attracted to the flow of words through my finger tips down the pen and onto the pages of my journal. Now that my medication is working properly and my bipolar is in check I can read back through my journal at each documented day making me realise the perilous position I was in and the wonderful place I find myself at now.
My journal also helped the other patients communicate with me because they associated me with my journal, and when they saw me they would scribble imaginary words in the air and smile or laugh.
2pm. Operation O.T. in the mofo house ! I surf the web reading the news and football especially regarding my bag of shite team Man Utd who are the masters at spending incredible amounts of money on world class players (questionable) and then turning them into talentless ludicrously rich prima donnas who’s loyalty lies in the cash money y’all. 300,000 GBP a game and they can’t even spell their own name, they simply don’t care?
I’ve just found out that all the helpers in O.T. used to be patients on the hospitals psychiatric wards, talk about the blind leading the blind or nutters teaching other nutters. Haha!
Thanks to the internet I can sit at a computer surfin’ the net looking really serious when actually I’m blankly looking at the screen shooting off in random Disneyland daydreams popping back into reality and hoping I look far too serious that nobody bothers to converse with me.
4.15pm. We are clandestinely ushered back from the third floor to the seventh and I’ve noticed it’s cold in Hong Kong at the moment which I can feel through my pyjama’s and flippin’ floppin’ flip flop feet.
5pm. Dinner Time. Two scoops of mashed potatoes, beef in sauce and cabbage. I somehow get the feeling I keep repeating myself.
5.30pm – 7.30pm. It’s definitely chilly on the ward this evening leading me to the decision to seek out my bed to get some sleep. Out like a light!
7.50pm. Medication Time. It’s late tonight.
9pm. Medication Time. Oh! Tonight I get mine in a small paper cup bringing a little smile to my face as I am suddenly stood in front of a very stern looking Nurse Ratched handing me my medication in HER favourite small white paper cup, HER eyes glaring at me resembling the teacher from Pink Floyd’s – Another Brick In The Wall and screaming in my face, “You don’t need no education, you don’t need no thoughts control”. I want me Mum.
Medication consists of 400mg Quetiapine and 500mg Epilim Chrono.
I can see that Tyson uppercut coming for a TKO.
10pm. As I’m lay in bed I can hear Johnny sing alone to himself in another dormitory after he completely lost the plot this afternoon leading to him being strapped to a bed in his own personal dormitory.
He’s been taken to the bathroom by a couple of male nurses where I can hear him making cat noises while he’s brushing his teeth. He’s having the time of his life out there.