Following on from One 24hr period. One overdose. One patient. One partner/carer… thats me!
In walked what I didn’t know at the time was the consultant, the first thing he said was ‘long time no see’ as he had only seen Chris in the clinic two weeks before hand after an episode of vomiting blood. He asked Chris what had led to him being in hospital so Chris explained he overdosed, the doctor said he wanted to help him get sorted and would ‘ring psych to see him shortly and they should be round sometime this morning.’
Famous last words, all day we waited around and were looked after by probably one of the nicest nurses I had come across for a long time. Chris however by this time had had more than enough of waiting around and was now started to get agitated, he had had lunch and still no sign of the psychiatrist. The nurse said she would speak to the doctor about chasing them up but they were aware that he was waiting to see them. After a couple more hours of Chris trying to get some sleep, tossing and turning in his bed and me trying to get comfortable on the same high back patient chair he had decided he had had enough of waiting and was going to discharge himself. The nurse said she didn’t recommend that but Chris was adamant, she said she will go and speak with the doctor and bring back the paperwork for him to sign. She did just that, although on her return Chris was now told he wouldn’t be able to self discharge, if he tried to leave security would be brought up and he was now no longer trusted to go out for a cigarette and return. He looked at me, sighed, I asked him if he wanted them to get him a patch to make going without a smoke a bit easier, he agreed and the nurse went to get a doctor to prescribe him a patch.
The smell of vegetables started to fill the ward as it was now tea time, healthcare assistants walked around handing out a choice of sandwiches or soup, followed by a yoghurt, fruit or ice cream. There was still now, at almost 5 o’clock in the evening no sign of the psychiatrist. The latest update was that he had been called to an ‘emergency’ and would be off the ward for an hour but he would be back shortly. We were now made aware of another patient on the ward who also needed assessing so they really didn’t know when Chris would be seen.
At 8pm a doctor walked over to Chris bed and introduced himself as a psychiatrist, he asked Chris to follow him to a more private place to talk. By this time Chris wasn’t too bad, he said all the right things, answered all the right questions and generally came across as fine, Chris was asked to leave while he spoke to me alone, which he did. I expressed my concern that while Chris seems ok at the moment and says he doesn’t need any added support or anything else, that if he had seen him an hour ago or the previous evening when they were threatening him with the Mental Capacity Act, that he would more than likely have a very different opinion. I made it clear that he could be very different again when he woke tomorrow and that for all I knew he could end up back in here. He wanted so much to help us, which actually I haven’t come across often from a Psychiatry SHO but he realised that the reality of that was going to be very different because where we are there just isn’t the facility to do that. He wanted a plan, so I had somewhere to go if I was worried but as I know the Home treatment (crisis team) is always so reluctant to deal with Chris he wasn’t sure what to do. He said he could give us their number so we could just call them, what he didn’t realise was, you can’t do that in our area, they are referral only, which defeats the object of out of hours support. I told him of the only plan that anyone has come up with so far and that was ‘take him to accident and emergency’ he looked at me, his face said all that he probably couldn’t say to be for want of being professional. That was the plan… accident and emergency if he got worse, it was all we had.
I went to find where Chris had gone, and we made our way back to his bed, the nurse came straight over to use to ask of the plans and see how it went. I explained all the problems, the plan and she sorted out his medication to see him through the weekend, she spent a long while talking to us and making sure we knew what was happening and asking Chris if he had any needles or anything in that needed taking out, which is something because I have taken out many a cannula they have left in, once he has returned home.
She offered to book us a taxi and sat at the reception desk while it was being done, the time was now leaving nine fifteen, and she was chatting about our children, when she finished her shift, where she has worked before, just general chit chat. Next minute someone walked up beside me and put his hand on my shoulder, it was only the nurse who had been on the previous night, we had said goodbye to that morning at around half past nine, who had been to bed, eaten and returned for his next shift since! The first thing out of his mouth was, please don’t tell me you are only just going home, to which the other nurse just smiled, held up her hand and said ‘just don’t’ I explained we had been there all day and were only just leaving he said ‘what happened to the psychiatrist? I heard them ring down this morning’ to which I said it took him all day to come and see Chris which in the end turned out to only to be his third patient of the day!