Thursday, January 23, 2014

Now We Have a Psychiatric Ward

"Several hours later I'm the only one awake
All these streets are empty it's just me and my mistake
One by one the stars go out this black sky turns to gray
One more blue sunny day"

Blue Sunny Day (2009) by Jonathan Coulton

Best song about an emo suicidal vampire ever.

Our Psychiatric Ward was officially open on Monday - 20th January 2014 - after languishing in development hell for most of last year. It was mostly due to poor planning and shoddy workmanship that delayed its readiness. It is still pretty rough around the edges but it is serviceable. My Head of Department is really progressive in his ideas regarding the treatment of the mentally ill and is very respectful of their rights. He believes that the insane asylums of old (which are basically leper colonies slash gaols intended to separate the crazy from the"normal" folks) belong to antiquity and in the pages of Batman comics, and have no place in the modern practice of Psychiatry. He insisted that the ward should be designed and run "like any other ward in the hospital". We do have two of those classical padded rooms though, but no word on straitjackets yet.

Yesterday, now that we actually have a room in the ward for the on-call officer, I had my first stay-in call since I joined this department. We only have one patient currently and she was amply tranquillised and posed no problem to me the entire night. And very fortunately for me, I received zero referrals in my entire 24-hour watch. I only received one call from my staff nurse at 8:00 PM asking me if our sole patient can keep her cellphone. Since we are running this ship "like any other ward in the hospital", I said "why not?"

The on-call room is situated on the first floor above the ward proper. It was so spartan that I seriously contemplated printing some of the landscapes I've photographed, frame them and hang them on the walls. One might start seeing things staring into so much white.

MO On-Call Room Psych Ward SGH
The captain's quarter.

There was a Sony Bravia flat-screen TV still in its box sitting in one of the corners of the room which got excited me for about 4 seconds. Then, realising that it wouldn't do me any good that night, I promptly lost all interest. After a cursory survey, I also noticed that some essential amenities were no where to be found. There was no chair so I went out and wrestled one in. There was no hot water so I had to jog vigorously in place while I showered to stave off hypothermia. There were no curtains, so I had to kill the lights before I change my clothes. I seriously didn't want to give the patients in the cancer ward opposite a striptease (unless they can pay me really well for it).

Looking out of the window, I saw that I had a splendid view of the mortuary...

View of Mortuary
So I'll be the first to find out when the first wave of the zombie apocalypse hits.

... and the posterior facade of the main hospital block.

View of Hospital
Shot using a 15-second exposure time.

Now, one feature of the architecture I really liked was that I could look right down at the ward from upstairs and quickly take stock of the situation on the floor.

View of Ward
I am watching you.

I am not sure how having strange people surveying them from above behind a pane of glass would affect our patients afflicted with paranoid delusions, but hey - you win some, you lose some.

The other architectural quirk I liked was that the 1st floor where my room is located is accessed via a staircase on the outside of the building, so I could enter and leave the building without anyone knowing. I do so enjoy my privacy - which is why some curtains would be peachy. Also, I already look like I dress in the dark most of the time so I'd appreciate it if I don't have to actually dress in the dark. Of course, the outside staircase also meant that I could be murdered in my room and no one would find my corpse until it had already stiffened.

I'm going to enjoy working here.

Slept like a baby,
k0k s3n w4i


Hsu Jen said...

At first glance, those lumps under the sheets creeped me out.

Anonymous said...

Cool stuff. Are you a Psy MO or is this part of the new policy allowing Psy as a HO rotation that I've been hearing about?

darshan said...

When you use the terms 'languishing in development hell ... due to poor planning ... shoddy workmanship', I read the subtext as 'the ward project was held up until every rightful party got its cut of the budget to the last mutually agree upon sen, and what was left over was used to pay for the actual construction'. Am I right?

k0k s3n w4i said...

Hsu Jen: Why? What did you think they were?

Anonymous: I am a MO in the department. The Psy rotation for HO have not started yet.

darshan: No, I meant what I meant. We could not start using it due to poor workmanship and lack of adherence to specifications required for a Psychiatric ward.

darshan said...

Ok I understand. I look forward to your posts on the adventures of a MO in the psy ward ... it is not an asylum, is it? Just a holding place to observe and restrain some colorful characters?

shanaz@RS said...

This was some chuckle-inducing post. Thanks KSW!