Anyone who has been a patient in a psych ward knows that they are very boring places. If you're lucky, the psych ward will have an activities programme as well as nurses and HCAs (Healthcare Assistants) who actually engage with patients. If you're not as lucky, the ward will have no activities whatsoever and the nurses and HCAs will just sit in the office with a cup of tea and Heat Magazine. Regardless of how enjoyable the activities are and how good the nurses and HCAs are though, psych wards are still really, really boring. As a result, I thought I'd post some activities that can liven up psych ward stays.
Anyone who watched 'Dick and Dom in da Bungalow' will know what game I am talking about. Basically, the game was for one person to whisper the word 'Bogies', followed by a second person saying 'Bogies' a little bit louder. The players take it in turns to say 'Bogies', each person getting louder than the last until you are both screaming the word. You will need another patient to play this with you (obviously). Timing is everything in this game, so make sure you play it when the staff are particularly stressed or if they are trying to have a quiet day. Quiet? In a psych ward? Yeah right. It is particularly useful to play when there is a Screamer on the ward (a Screamer is someone who shouts and/or screams with every waking breath). If you play this game enough times, just whispering the word 'Bogies' around a nurse/HCA will send their blood pressure soaring.
2. Prank Phone Calls
It is easy enough to get the direct phone number for your psych ward. Once you have it, ring the ward and tell them in a dodgy Italian accent that [insert evil nurse/HCA's name here]'s pizzas are going to be a little bit late but should arrive in the next 10 - 15 minutes. Remind them that they will need to have their company credit card on hand to show the delivery driver. Obviously make sure that you have withheld your caller ID so that they won't realise it's you who phoned them. And make sure that evil nurse/HCA is in that day. It's no use doing it when evil nurse/HCA is off on holiday.
3. Laugh at an unfunny joke
This will require a couple of other patients with a sense of humour. Before you tell the joke, tell the 'punch-line' to the others who are in on this and make sure they laugh at the right moment. Whenever evil nurse/HCA is around, tell them you've just heard a great joke and start telling it:
"A woman told her son to get two loaves of bread from the baker, one brown, one white. When the boy arrived at the baker's shop, he gave his order, one brown loaf and one white loaf. The baker told the boy that he only had brown loaves left, to which the boy replied, 'It's OK, my bike's outside!'" At this point, you and the others who are in on it need to start laughing like it's the funniest joke you've ever heard. When evil nurse/HCA doesn't get it, pretend to start explaining it but then give up, saying that jokes are never funny when you have to explain them. Alternatively, if evil nurse/HCA starts laughing at the joke with all of you, everyone needs to stop laughing. Ask him/her why he/she is laughing when you hadn't got to the punch-line yet. Start sulking and refuse to tell the rest of the joke.
4. The Hole Puncher Trick
Most people will know this one. Find the Hole Puncher (or 'Hole Punch' if you're across the pond) and collect the tiny circles of paper inside. Wait until it's a really rainy day and fill the umbrella belonging to evil nurse/HCA with those circles of paper. Whenever they come back from their lunch they will have endured a paper snowstorm. Spend the rest of the day telling them about bits of paper in their hair.
Any form of Poker will do. In fact, any card game will do. However, it will need to be played in secret. It's a great way of winni... sorry, earning a bit of extra cash whilst stuck in hospital. If you're in a really bad hospital, you might find the odd nurse or HCA who will also join in.
6. Hide the Pens
Hide the Pens is as simple as that. Hide all the pens. The nurses and HCAs all need a pen at some point in the day and they are always losing a few here or there. If you hide all of them, nobody will have a pen, nobody will be able to work properly and hopefully, they will close up shop at 2 pm. That way everybody can go home, patients included. After all, if a shop is unable to take money because the tills are broken, customers are all sent away. If nurses/HCAs are unable to take notes because the pens have all mysteriously vanished, the patients should be sent away. Makes perfect sense to me.
Most psych ward bedrooms have a window in the door (providing they aren't dormitory-style bedrooms). If it's possible, hide underneath the window and wait for a nurse/HCA to come and do their checks. When they look through the window in the door, pop up and shout "PEEKABOO!" If you do it enough times, the nurses and HCAs will be terrified to do their checks on you. It could even get you off all obs (observations) altogether.
9. Hide and Seek
This is by far the most enjoyable game to play when you are a patient in a psych ward, especially if on a section. You don't need other patients to play this game with you but it can cause even more giggles if two or more patients play it at the same time. You (and any other psych patients who want to join in) go and find the best place in the ward to hide but don't actually tell the nurses/HCAs. This makes them take the game really seriously. The only problem with this game is, sometimes the staff take the game too seriously and use underhand tactics to find you, such as calling the police. Whenever you know that they are looking for you, start a timer to see how long you can remain hidden for. Any time over 5 minutes is impressive but try and beat my own personal record of around 20 minutes.
10. British Bulldogs
Yes, it is called BRITISH Bulldogs. We invented it. It is a playground game that was banned in many schools (including mine). The game involves two or more 'bulldogs' in the middle of a field that try to catch the non-bulldogs who are running from one end of the field to the other. If a non-bulldog is caught by a bulldog, they become bulldogs themselves, but if they get from one end of the field to the other without being caught, they are 'safe'. It was pretty simple and a great game to play, when the teachers weren't watching. It can be adapted for psych wards too. One side of the field can be the psych ward itself. The other end can be the front door of the psych unit. The 'bulldogs' are the nurses and HCAs, while the non-bulldogs are however many patients that want to play. You can see where I'm going with this. If you get to the front door of the unit without being caught, you are deemed 'safe'. Although you might want to keep running a little bit longer if you want to be truly safe. If you are caught by a 'bulldog', you must go back quietly. You need to give the 'bulldogs' a chance to catch the others. If you can get every patient on the ward to join in, it will make for a truly incredible game. Good luck!
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Katy needs to point out that these games shouldn't really be played in a psych ward. If you do attempt any of them, she takes no responsibility for any injuries or medications that come about as a result. However, if you do attempt any of them, send video footage of it. She'd find it hilarious.