Later that morning I was told that the medication they had been giving me was causing me to have low blood pressure, which had caused me to collapse. Whilst I was on this ward I was given a combination of anti-viral medication and anti-inflammatories, and also a mysterious pill that came in a little white envelope that I was told to take with meals – this was the pill I would no longer be taking, due to my low blood pressure. Then came the corticosteroids. These types of steroids are different to the type that you hear about athletes abusing, and are used to help reduce inflammation in the body. I think the reason that people who have experienced sudden hearing loss are given this drug, is because many of the possible reasons for the hearing loss could have caused inflammation, e.g. infection or trauma. Hence, reducing the inflammation could increase the potential to hear again. Whilst on the A&E ward, the corticosteroids came in the form of a white liquid in a syringe. Every few hours, a nurse would come by and squeeze the syringe through the line, into my arm. This liquid stung like warm acid as it entered my body.
There was only one shower for everyone in the ward to use. There seemed to be some kind of shower rule about when we were allowed to use it, as it appeared to be out of bounds after around 11am, but nobody had explained these rules to me. The shower room was a tiled cubicle in which there was also a toilet and a sink, and a trolley where two material sacks hung: one was a laundry basket to put your gown in to be washed, and the other had a supply of clean gowns. In the mornings, it seemed impossible to shower as there was a steady flow of elderly patients; each with a nurse by their side, to aid them in cleaning themselves. This meant that anybody who was mobile, it seemed, was forced to the back of the queue. My first two mornings, I had managed to sneak into the shower between the old people’s shower appointments. However, each time a nurse knocked on the door and told me come out, as people were waiting. By the end of day 2 in A&E I was desperate to wash my hair. Enough was enough! I had been monitoring the activity of the nurses. The evening meal started to be brought into the ward around 8pm every evening, and I didn’t usually get my food until around 8.30pm. At this time, the other patients were promptly in their beds, obediently awaiting their food, and so wouldn’t be needing the shower room. My boyfriend and I waited until 8pm. I grabbed my wash bag and towel, and by boyfriend accompanied me. I got to the shower room door, looked both ways to check nobody was watching, and I quickly ran in. My boyfriend waited outside, guarding the door. It was amazing to step under the shower and feel the drops of warm water on my head. After washing my hair, I peeped around the door, and my accomplice told me that the ward was busy with the meal time routines, and nobody had passed by. He walked quickly, yet casually, back across the ward and grabbed my hairdryer. This cubicle was now mine, and I was going to use it to its full potential! I applied face cream, and dried my hair. I emerged from that bathroom refreshed, and feeling quite mischievous, after successfully completing our mission! We arrived back at my bed to find that my meal had just arrived.