Having Asperger's I always thought if I had to go into hospital again I would want my own room to have privacy. Little did I know that that time would come in February this year. I didn't have a room of my own at any time.
I first went into University Hospital Lewisham, London, on 4 February. I was admitted to a ward with only women and in a bay of four beds. The beds were spaced out well so I didn't really have much to do with the other patients. After a couple of weeks and lots of scans and tests, including daily blood tests and being on an IV antibiotic drip, I was transferred to King's College Hospital, London. It had been discovered that the slow growing bug in my blood had damaged my heart, and King's had a specialist team. So off I went.
In King's I was in a smaller room where it was only the two of us, so more chance to talk. I only started to talk to the other lady there when she began to get out of bed when she shouldn't have. I had another test which revealed it was endocarditis I had. They decided I needed surgery and St Thomas's Hospital, London, would be best for me as they have an even more specialist team there who deals with adult congenital heart disease. So off I went.
This is where I did talk the most to other patients. I now think it was due to us all being there with heart problems (one lady even had the same condition as me) so had things in common to talk about. I introduced myself and we talked. I feel that having others there in the same situation helped me to cope with it all. I was in that first ward for two weeks before I had surgery. The next thing I remember is being moved to the High Dependency Unit. The beds were spaced out well and I was too weak and focussed on recovering to talk to others, except the nurses who took care of me. A few I did chat to, when I got my voice back, and told them how I felt about being there. It helped me. After a few weeks, and a pacemaker being fitted, I was moved back to the first ward I had been in. I talked to the lady in the bed opposite to me. Again, I think I was able to as we were all there with heart problems. And again, I feel that it helped me to talk to others, which helped me to cope being there on my own. I did chat to my brother and friend on the phone nearly every day but having others there helped. In the last ward I was in, only for one day, I briefly talked to one of the ladies there.
So my experience as being an Aspie in hospital wasn't how I imagined it to be. I now feel that if I had been in a room on my own, I would have felt lonely and miserable, and wouldn't have got better as much as I did.
I realise that not everyone with Asperger's would want to be in a bay with others and want to be on their own.