Hospital Memory

The #dispatches documentary reminded me of some memories in hospital last year. I remember at one point the staff said we would have to sign before we could go and eat a meal. I refused to sign and said I would stop eating. Other patients then said the same. They backed down.

At one point in hospital I wrote my NHS number on my left wrist. I went to have my meal. Patients like myself were eating our dinner. An agency member of staff then went around asking everyones name (obviously for this new form they have to fill in).

The member of staff then came up to me to ask me my name. I felt it was rude to be disturbed as I eat my dinner for their tickbox exercise. I just repeated my NHS number. He left without my name. I don’t think he ever understood what I was trying to say. I felt dehumanised.

The irony is they seem to know who you are for medication and ward round. In my decade plus experience of psychiatric hospitals I’ve never had to sign for meals. I probably would have if I got hungry. Maybe not if I saw no end in sight.

I found the hospital easier to accept emotionally by perceiving myself as a prisoner in some kind of concentration camp. I got a lot from Paul the Apostle’s similar experience in the Bible. The Bible was a good book for me in there. Unlimited wisdom in a little book.

Quite a good movie about him here