My dad has been in hospital for a few weeks now, and is pretty much at his wits end with the whole charade. This is more than understandable – as if the pelvic fracture from the motorcycle accident wasn’t enough, he’s now managed to contract an infection. Apparently, this is not something to be massively worried about; it’s more of an inconvenient setback in terms of dad’s rehab program.
After the doctors told him about the infection last week, he was seriously dejected, to the extent of refusing to eat for a couple of days. My sister ended up requesting liaison psychiatry, which (from what I understand) is where a psychiatrist treats people having mental health issues while in hospital. In dad’s case, this meant assessing whether his display of anxiety was in response to his new diagnosis, or because of the new drugs he was on to treat it.
The psychiatrist established that dad was upset about being in hospital in general, and provided him with some counselling that seemed to go a long way towards getting him to eat, at least. After he’d done that, he seemed pretty philosophical about the episode, and was happy to have been supported by a professional. I guess he was lucky that, here on the Mornington Peninsula, psychiatry services are relatively easy to obtain.
As for me, the whole thing made me think about how important mental stability is when you’re undergoing some significant, stressful life event – especially when the people around you haven’t undergone it themselves, as is the case with dad’s experience. I’m wondering if it might be a good idea to find him a good psychologist on the Mornington Peninsula – someone he can talk to about his rehabilitation process without his feelings around it necessarily being treated as a medical condition unto themselves (even though that was a useful approach in the liaison psychiatry sessions).
Perhaps one of the doctors at the hospital can refer dad to a suitable psych clinic when he’s ready to leave. I’ll see what dad thinks about it first, though.