The problem with having bipolar and cancer is that you spend a lot of energy monitoring your moods. Every time your mood fluctuates you end up wondering if this is the beginning of a high or a low but being in a shared ward means that you have no privacy to really figure things out. Add to that the fact that the Beatson is situated right next to the Gartnavel Royal and it makes things slightly more interesting as various jokes and comments are made by the other patients and while you know they are not directed at you personally it can still be jarring
So last night I was having a bit of a down missing my family, friends, work (yes I know I am sad like that), health, the outside (yes Prisoner Cell Block H is an ongoing theme) and found myself sitting at dinner fighting back tears. On a side note some of the food we are served here would make a grown man cry. It took me a while to get it together (not one tear fell though) and acknowledge that it was not my bipolar that was the problem I was just exhausted. Today has been a much better day, although that may also have something to do with the homemade cheddar cheese rolls and cupcakes that were smuggled in for me. Unless you have been in hospital long term you will have no idea how much you begin to hate the menus that are brought round and let me tell you something there are some foods that I will never be able to face again. I am not the only one struggling with this issue and it is amazing how often the conversation comes around to food in this ward. Bacon rolls, takeaway foods (we are banned from them), salads (also banned), sandwiches, cream cakes (banned), homemade soups with real stock, veg and meat, fruits that don’t need peeling and now we are even planning our Christmas dinner menus and let me tell you something they are amazing.
So anyway last night, after the baked potato that brought me near to tears, the conversation turned to ward life and how unique this situation is. The four of us on this ward are cut from completely different cloth, we are nothing alike, and yet we are all here for the same reason. Each day we get up and work together to make the best of a bad situation. The fact that you have no privacy means that you can’t feel down or sorry for yourself for long and there is always someone there to keep you company. Sure sometimes the ward can be loud, especially when everyone has visitors (some are louder than others) but to a person each patient and family member goes out of their way to make things brighter and cheerier for all on the ward. Good results, bad results we all hear them and as soon as the curtain is drawn back we are there for each other. We laugh and we joke, we share about our pasts, our families, jobs, pets, faiths, what we want to do when we get out of here and so much more. While the chances of us staying in touch is slim one we leave here that is not important, what is important is that fact we are here now, we understand exactly what the others are dealing with and tomorrow we will get up and be there for each other no matter what is said behind the curtains (I feel a Wizard of Oz moment coming on now). So yes while ward life may offer you no privacy the benefits you get from being here are well worth it.