Waiting, waiting, waiting.
After stressing out about getting the referral, turns out that was much ado about nothing compared to the limbo that followed.
Usually what happens is the referral gets triaged and paced in line based on need. The line moves based on discharges, or you may be moved forward if they think your need increases which I’ll provide an example of later.
So when you’re next in line and there’s a discharge planned for the next day, you get a call informing you of there being a room free and could you be there the next day at a certain time? However, patients do discharge themselves before their program is complete – being a private clinic, we are all supposed to be there of our own free will, after all – and I’ve be called in on the day with two hours’ notice one time. By then the staff knew me well enough to know that I lived close enough to make it there in that time, and I have people who would take me.
You need lifts because patients are not allowed to drive to and from the hospital. I would organise that as soon as the referral is sent because you never know when the call is going to come – previously I’ve gotten it the day after, or a week after. This took two and a half weeks, which is the longest I’ve ever waited.
Turns out, everyone wants to go to rehab over Christmas. Funny that. I believe that the clinic was also trying to slow down their intake leading up to the closing of the ward three days before Christmas to reduce the strain on the staff who operate at half strength this time of year.
This doesn’t stop a lot of people looking for a convenient cover to get away from their families – and after some interactions with the residents I can’t help but wonder if some of the families were overly supportive of the idea. This isn’t speculation, we’ve had whole group therapy sessions on the topic and I couldn’t get a word in edgeways for all the venting.
I’m not looking to get away from family, we certainly don’t have the type of dysfunction that the other patients are dealing with. I need help. That’s the long and short of it.
So I waited a week. A week and a half. I called the triage nurse (I really didn’t want to do that because we can’t stand each other, but luckily I only ever spoke to her minions) to check the referral had gone through. It had. Alrighty then, I’ll wait some more.
I called again two days later, because I was suddenly anxious about the wards closing. I knew it happened, I just couldn’t remember when and I was convinced it was going to be in like three days before the line got to me. The nurse assured me that no, it was more like three weeks. Crisis averted.
Then the next day, the nurse unit manager called me. And yes, he’d been notified of my calls and was concerned that my need had increased. He had a spare bed for me if I wanted to come in…only problem was, it was a shared room. I’d had some bad experiences with shared rooms so I knew I had to decline. He said he thought so but just thought he’d check. More waiting.
While this was going on I was staying at mum and dads, my hospital bag, doona and pillows perched in a neat pile in the hall way, ready to go. Mum started asking with concern if they could have forgotten me. I told her about my calls and assured her that was not the case. All I could do was wait some more.
And then, two and a half weeks later, it finally came.
There was a room, ready for me. The time had come.
My boyfriend wanted to be the one that drove me, so we said goodbye to my parents and headed out.
And so began my stay…which you will be hearing more about in the next instalment of the rehab diaries.