This is the first in a series of blogs about what to expect at Schick Shadel Hospital. Sometimes taking the mystery out of the unknown can help you make a decision. This blog deals with the first day.
If you’re being admitted to Schick, you’ve already gone through some tough times—owning your problem and deciding to do something about it, perhaps not for the first time. If you’ve read my book: “Drink Up! How Ten Days Ended a Lifetime of Addiction” you’ll know that in my case, there was never any doubt that I had progressed to the chronic stages of alcoholism. The space between my binges was growing ever shorter, the effects lasting ever longer. I decided on Schick after listening to an ad on the radio telling me I could get my life back after ten days. My decision was also based on the fact that the treatment was medical.
The night I was admitted my husband and I went to dinner and I had one of my favorite meals—my own last supper. I hadn’t drunk the day before, and I wasn’t going to drink that night because I didn’t want to detox at Schick. I didn’t want to detox at all. I wanted in and ten days later I wanted out.
The admitting process is lengthy but easy. An admissions counselor takes all the necessary insurance information and asks a lot of questions. You’ll sign the necessary documents and have your picture taken. This is a lovely photo showing you at your absolute worst – addicted and scared. The “before”photo.
At some point early in the process, a nurse will come in to ask a series of questions and give you a breathalyzer test. You can swear up and down you don’t need one, but guess what? They don’t believe you and prefer to see for themselves. Hard to believe, but some folks actually come in and lie… If it’s too high a number, then hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to detox you’ll go.
You’ll be weighed, get your vital signs taken, and give a medical history to the nurse. She’ll clip a plastic ID bracelet on your wrist with a number and letter. In my case the letter was “A” for Alcoholic. It was at that moment that it really hit me. My disease had gotten so out of control I was in an inpatient facility being treated for alcoholism! I have to admit, I was scared. Unbelievably scared. Scared to be here, scared even more not to be. What had my life come to?
Because I was admitted at night, the rest of the process took place the following day. But generally, on day one, you’ll do all the things I just described, and you’ll get a packet of information about various parts of the treatment. There’ll be a general orientation. You may meet other patients. You’ll get a tour of the facilities. Spoiler alert – it’s not a big place, so the tour doesn’t last long. Day one is relatively easy.
You’ll have blood tests with a full tox screen and a physical. My biggest surprise was that my liver was enlarged. I had had routine annual physicals and no one ever mentioned it before. When I expressed my concern, the doctor told me that once I stopped drinking it should return to its normal size.
The doctor will explain the treatment program in exquisite detail, which will be described in the nextblog of this series.
To be continued…