In The Hospital, Days 9 and 10

I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to post yesterday, there was a lot of stuff going on. Most notably, I’m at home on a two-day pass! Yes, it’s true – I got to sleep in my own bed, eat supper and hang out with J, watch some TV, do some laundry, mow the lawn, and listen to some records!

The pass has been great so far. Two days ago, I suggested to Dr W that I was feeling well enough to get out of the hospital but he recommended trying a pass first. The last time I was in the hospital, he suggested the same thing and he was right – I wasn’t ready to be at home by myself. This time feels different, though. I think I might be okay.

It was so nice to just be able to hang out and chat with J. We had pizza for supper and spent a lot of time catching up. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m a very lucky guy. J is a fantastic person and a wonderful wife. I don’t know anyone who got more visits from family than I did during all of my hospital stays. She just shrugs it off, saying that it’s something she wants to do, but it really makes a huge difference in how I feel and how my recovery is going.

I didn’t sleep really well last night but it’s just because when I closed my eyes I would see my hospital room and when I opened them it would take a second to remember where I was. That will go away soon enough. When I slept, I think I slept pretty hard. My back was sore when I woke up – that’s usually a sign that I slept in one position for too long.

So far today I’ve listened to some more records, done some exercises, and given a lot of thought about who I want to be and what I want (and need) to do. I’m still finding it really difficult to come up with answers about that sort of stuff. It’s frustrating – I want to be able to help people, but at the same time I’m afraid that I will screw up and end up hurting someone. I can’t do IM/IT stuff anymore but I have no training in anything else. Many of the trades interest me, but I don’t know many companies that would hire a 40+ year old apprentice when there are tons of people half my age who are looking for the same jobs. I want to work, but I’m still not at a point where I can volunteer somewhere once a week, nevermind working full time. It’s a bit of a conundrum.

I’m really hoping that things will continue to go well on this pass and I’ll be discharged from the hospital on Thursday. Fingers crossed!

Stay safe!

In The Hospital, Day 8

Today has been a good day. I slept well again last night and enjoyed a couple of good naps today. Even the food was really quite good today – hot turkey sandwiches for lunch and BBQ ribs for supper. Good stuff.

The big news today is that during my Dr W appointment, the subject of me being discharged came up. I feel I’m ready and Dr W thinks so too. All I need to do is try going home for a two-day pass and seeing how that goes. So, if everything goes well, I’ll be home from tomorrow morning until Thursday afternoon on a pass, and then once I get back to the hospital and talk to Dr W, I’ll be discharged!

It will be nice to be home. I have no idea what I’m going to do first, but it will be at home!

J came by for a visit this evening and we had a great time. After a small snack, we moved out into the comfy chairs near the front of the hospital and just sat there and held hands. It’s so nice to be so comfortable with a person. We talked quite a bit, but even the times when we were quiet were wonderful. I really am a very lucky fellow.

I can’t wait until tomorrow morning. I think I’m going to go to bed early to make tomorrow come faster!

Stay safe!

In The Hospital, Day 7

Before bed last night I had a little breakdown where I was hit with a huge wave of sadness. I don’t know where it came from, but it was brutal. I had a good cry, then went and talked to my nurse for a while. The simplest thing for me to do was get to sleep and wake up to a new day.

I slept pretty well and woke up feeling much better than I had the previous evening. I was also excited – J was coming to visit today! It felt like forever since I saw her last and I really miss her.

I did some laundry today, the first batch since I’ve been here and my clothes came out with soap residue and other peoples’ hair on them. Just like I remember.

I went to the gym today and walked around the track for a while. It didn’t take long to find out that I’m in way worse shape than I thought.

J arrived this evening for a visit and I tell you, was it ever good to see her! She brought along some of the things that my folks picked up while they were in Mexico and we talked for almost two hours. J picked up milkshakes on her way into town and got me a strawberry one. It was really good. I now understand why my mother-in-law stops at that place when she comes into the city.

I had such a good time hanging out with J. I can’t wait until I’m discharged so I can go home and the two of us can watch a movie or hold hands or whatever. I miss her an awful lot while I’m in here. I hope she knows how much I appreciate her and all of the unconditional support she gives me. She is a very special person. Everyone should have a very special person in their lives!

Stay safe!

In The Hospital, Day 6

As far as weekends on the ward go, this one has started out not too badly. Even though I slept well last night, I’ve been feeling pretty groggy all day today – I took what I thought was going to be a short nap but ended up sleeping right through lunch. Fortunately, they saved my tray so I still got to eat. After lunch, I took another two hour nap. I’m not sure why I’m so tired but I wonder if it has to do with the new dosages for the sertraline and venlaflaxine.

It’s the weekend so there are no groups so other than napping I really didn’t do or accomplish much today. I was thinking of doing some laundry but the washing machine has been running full tilt all day.

In addition to being tired, I’m feeling a little “off”. A little nervous but I can’t figure out exactly why. I tried clearing my head and doing mindfulness exercises but they didn’t help much so I’m going to assume it’s related to the medication changes. I don’t feel terrible, just a little anxious.

There are so many things that I want to do when I get out of the hospital this time. I’ve felt this way before but my motivation has dissipated pretty quickly; I really hope this time is different. I’ve got a motorcycle that’s 99% ready to ride, steel that’s ready to be welded, stuff to write, music to listen to, and things to look at under the microscope. I just need to keep focused.

Another thing I need to do something about is my weight and fitness. I have put on approximately 50 lbs since this time last year and I really need to lose them. I know some of it is likely because of the medication but some of it is certainly due to me eating too much of everything. Making things a little more interesting is that I still have no appetite and need to eat by the clock. On the other hand, I have no off switch – once food is put in front of me I will eat until everything’s gone. My hips and back are noticing the extra weight so I really need to get things under control. I’ll be sure to post what works for me and what doesn’t.

Stay safe!

In The Hospital, Day 5

Things are continuing to look up. I slept well again last night, my mind isn’t playing any tricks on me, and today has gone quite well.

The novelty of being in the hospital has worn off, though. I’d really rather be home at this point. I don’t feel like I’d do anything bad, and I’d enjoy a few hours in front of the record player right now.

Groups today were good. Morning group was about spirituality and the afternoon was about Canada since Canada’s 150th birthday is approaching.

I had a telephone meeting with Dr C at noon today. We mostly focused on what led me to this particular stint in the hospital. When I think back on it, I find it difficult to accept how badly I felt at the time even though it was less than a week ago. So many things have changed; so many other things have stayed the same.

Am I “better”? No, not by a long shot… but I’m definitely headed in the right direction. When I spoke with Dr W today, he predicted that I wouldn’t be in the hospital for very much longer. That would make this stay the shortest by far. J is fond of saying that I need to shake things around and see what falls out next and I think she’s got something there. Each time I’ve been here it’s been because of a different trigger, which then gets worked on until I can handle it for the most part by myself. That leaves one less thing that can creep up on me and kick me when I’m down.

Tomorrow we’re changing the sertraline and venlafaxine dosages again. I’m really hoping that I experience few or no side effects from either withdrawing from the sertraline or adding the venlafaxine. I’ve been extremely lucky so far and haven’t run into any show-stopping side effects.

This afternoon, FA stopped by and we visited for about an hour and a half. We went outside and sat in the hospital garden area and had a really good talk. I really appreciate the time she takes out of her schedule to come and visit. The hospital is pretty much on the other side of the city from her house so it’s not a trivial amount of time and effort for her to get here. I know I’ve said it before, but she’s a really good friend!

This evening, J and I had another video chat. A phone call is good but a video chat is so much better. I miss her an awful lot and any way to feel closer to her helps. It’s because of her that I’ve made it to the hospital instead of ending up someplace worse. I’m really looking forward to her next visit!

This weekend is a long weekend, so here on the ward it’s going to be a LONG weekend. I got my gym pass today and I am allowed off the ward for an hour at a time so I think I’ll be spending some time walking the track and listening to music.

Stay safe!

In The Hospital, Day 4

I slept pretty well again last night. Woke up once from a nightmare but it didn’t keep me awake for very long. What finally woke me up for the day was someone tapping my shoulder and saying my name. I woke up, startled, and flipped over to see a lab tech standing there with her case of blood drawing equipment.

When she was done taking blood, I looked at the time and realized I’d almost slept through breakfast. I wandered over to the dining area, grabbed my tray, and sat down to eat. My nurse this morning was K and she brought me my morning medication. We’re on day 2 of the sertraline to venlafaxine migration and I haven’t noticed any side effects – negative or positive – at all, which makes me pretty happy.

This morning’s group was about healthy eating and how many foods out there claim to be “healthy” when they are actually full of salt, sugar, fat, or a combination of the three. We looked up a bunch of different foods and it was pretty shocking what was in some of the stuff. Another thing that caught most of us by surprise was that the serving size for a lot of things was really tiny.

Group this afternoon was about gratitude, a topic that I could write a ton of posts on. We spent quite a while discussing gratitude journals and how to express gratitude in particular situations.

My meeting with Dr W went well. I feel okay today – not as good as yesterday, but certainly not bad. I can now leave the ward for half an hour by myself as long as I stay on hospital property.

Oh, and speaking of hospital property, FA is coming to visit me tomorrow! I’m really looking forward to hanging out with her for a bit, she always has interesting stuff going on. She should be here around 4PM or so and we’re going to hang out until about 5:30.

I spoke to my parents today for the first time since they got home from their vacation. They had a really good time (which is excellent – they deserve it) but were happy to finally get home and sleep in their own bed. It was also the first opportunity I’d had to talk to them about why I was in the hospital. I am very lucky to have parents as supportive as they are.

This evening, J and I had a video chat. It was really good to talk to her again, I miss her very much. We talked about our days and plans for about half an hour. I’m really glad we have the video chat option – it’s still not the same as being there in person, but it feels a lot closer to real than a regular phone call.

This evening I think I’m going to do some writing (assuming my laptop battery holds out) and get to bed a little early.

Stay safe!

In The Hospital, Day 3

I slept better last night than I have in weeks. It wasn’t just a good sleep – it was one of those woke-up-in-the-same-position-I-went-to-bed kind of sleeps. I had a bunch of weird dreams, though – the weirdest one was where I was a journalist, covering a roller derby event but the players would stop playing and form a chorus line and start singing every time I tried to take a picture. They say dreams mean something but I have no idea what that one could possibly mean in the real world.

Weird dreams aside, I feel good today, too. My mood is good, I don’t feel down… everything seems like it’s turned around and is headed upwards. Part of me is waiting for the other shoe to drop, but for the most part, I’m just glad I feel okay.

Dr W and I discussed depression yesterday and we agreed to migrate me from the sertraline over to venlafaxine. I had my first dose this morning, and… nothing. I didn’t notice a thing. Hopefully that’s a good omen for how the entire migration will go.

My appointment with Dr W today went well. He was surprised at the difference in how I was compared to 24 hours earlier. He told me to be optimistic but remember that there may be downs with the ups. Since my head is clearer and I’m not thinking of bad stuff, he gave me privileges so I can go off the ward by myself for 20 minutes as long as I stay on the hospital grounds. He also gave me a two hour pass that I can take with family or close friends.

This morning in group we made cookies and two types of oatmeal cups. Everything turned out really well and I got the recipe for the cookies to use when I get home.

By the time the afternoon rolled around, I was feeling a little groggy so I took a bit of a nap. I missed the afternoon group but woke up in time for supper. I have to say that the food here is really not too shabby. Sometimes it looks like it’s been in the warmer for too long but considering how many people they’re feeding, I think it’s pretty good.

J came to visit after supper! Since I’d been given a two hour pass, J and I could go down to the cafeteria on the main floor, talk, and hang out. It sure was good to see her again, I really miss her when we’re apart. J had some exciting work news too so that was great to hear. We talked the entire time and it was wonderful. I used my two hour pass right to the minute. The hospital is not overly convenient to get to so I really appreciate her showing up and bringing supplies along.

This evening I’m just taking it easy and enjoying how I feel. I really hope things keep on getting better but if there’s a down, that’s okay. I’m definitely in the right place to have it.

Stay safe!

Voices Gone!

I have no idea what happened but when I was eating supper I suddenly noticed that the noise in my head was gone. Not all of it – there’s still a dull rumble that’s always been there… but what’s been really kicking my butt lately is nowhere to be heard. If it stays like that I should be able to sleep better tonight which will hopefully work WONDERS. Fingers crossed!

Stay safe!

In The Hospital, Day Two

I slept very poorly. Part of it is the noise in my head while another part is probably because I don’t sleep well the first night at a different place.

I haven’t done much more than eat and lie in my bed. This afternoon I did participate in one of the groups where we did some writing. I decided to write the beginning to a mystery story.

I’ve been in touch with my family and FA since I’ve been here. Being able to text and do things like video chat sure makes it a lot less lonely.

The staff here has been exceptional and has made being here as easy as possible.

I had a meeting with Dr W today and tomorrow we are going to make a medication change. Slowly reducing the Zoloft and slowly adding Effexor. I’m lucky to be in the hospital because we can make the change faster than if I was seeing Dr W once a week.

I also heard from Dr C today andshe is willing to do a telephone session if I can’t make it to my appointment on Friday.

II feel a lot less down and unsafe than I did yesterday. I think once I get some good sleep and the Effexor kicks in things will progress rapidly.

Stay safe!


Back In The Hospital

Things got pretty rough over the weekend. I called Dr W’s office and when he called back I told him what was going on. The short version is that things in my head were so loud that they were drowning everything else out. J, as always, was super supportive and kept me together until I got to the ward. I’m feeling pretty rough right now so I expect the posts over the next while to be brief (if I post at all).


Stay safe.