Through the eyes of a carer for someone with a mental illness

The wait for a bed…

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The assessment was over, the paperwork almost complete and the wait for a bed had commenced. The section 12 doctor and the consultant psychiatrist had both left, the idea being that once a bed was found the AMHP would meet up with the psychiatrist and she would fill in the hospital. Chris social worker stayed awhile, while the AMHP rang the gatekeeper, who happens to work for our home treatment team (used to be known as crisis team) and applied pressure on them to find him a bed. It wasn’t the most professional arrangement I had ever seen, with the gatekeeper rejecting his calls and then turning the phone off all together. The gatekeeper is also making home visits as part of the home treatment team and it is generally a really bad set up in my opinion.

Chris social worker now had to leave, she had an appointment she had to keep for three o’clock and it was now heading for almost two! Once she had said goodbye to Chris and wished him well, I showed her to the front door, then she said something that shocked me, almost brought me to tears and something I had never heard before. ‘Thank you Sarah for everything to have done in helping us with Chris over the past couple of weeks’ This touched me, I told her how much I appreciated hearing that and that no one had ever said it before, she then told me ‘I don’t always say it Sarah but I really do appreciate all your help in this too’ I once again thanked her for acknowledging me because I am so used to being told how I must do xyz for Chris and then get the blame when things go awry. Today I was being thanked, a thank you that I will never forget and when things are tough I will use to pull me through.

I walked back into the living room; Chris lay there on the sofa, I sat down next to him and started to talk with the AMHP about his job, his daughter, my girls, the weather and anything else that helped pass the time. Every now and again he would make a phone call to see what was happening with the bed situation. At half past two we were told they were trying to get someone moved to a different hospital and that the bed in our local hospital was going to be likely after they had done some ‘bed shuffling’ indeed this was too good to be true when at almost half past three we were told that he would be going half an hour’s drive away. It was then we were informed that an overnight stop and transfer back wasn’t looking likely because there were already a lot of people waiting on beds in our local hospital. My heart sank, I knew there was no way the girls would see him there and I would struggle to visit, there was however nothing I or anyone else could do about it. I helped Chris gather his belongings, looked into his eyes for the last time, before kissing him goodbye and watching him leave with the AMHP, he was being taken in the AMHP’s car without the need for bothering any of the emergency services.

As I watched them walk away I felt my heart sink once more, it was over, the house was silent, everyone had gone, it was just me and I didn’t know where to start first, the girls, the lack of tea, who do I call, what do I do? The girls, they are always my number one priority and they were still with Grandad, I dialled his number, informed him of what had been happening and asked how the girls were doing. I told him I needed to nip out for their tea before we got them home, he told me not to worry, they were fine, to do what I had to do and to give him a call when I was back home. He would bring them back in a taxi to save me having to go all the way out again, which was really lovely of him.

I grabbed the house keys and my coat, I opened the front door and stepped out into the front garden, the cool air on my face was much welcomed, I hadn’t eaten all day, my head was starting to thump and I was unbelievably tired from my very early start. I hatched a plan in my head of where I was going, first stop the doctors, second the chemist, third stop would be Tesco and finally back home. I walked towards the doctors with my hands in my pockets, thinking about everything I had just been through, it was spinning around in my head. The streets seemed quiet, almost eerily so, I was trying to keep the tears away, I felt lost, for a moment I wondered if everything was real, I felt such a very tiny person in a massive world. It is a strange kind of feeling, one I get when overwhelmed with emotions, I looked into the sky as the rain fell on my face and wondered what life would hold for us all now. I reached the doctors and left a message for both our GP and community nurse, I left there and made my way to the chemist, I needed some paracetamol for my ever increasing headache. I was now so deep in thought I left without my change, he called back after me but I said he could keep it, forty pence, meant nothing to me in the grand scheme of things. I decided to try and get hold of my mum, she didn’t have a clue what had been going on, I didn’t want to worry her while she was at work. I text her to ring me, expecting her not to get the message straight away, today was different, my phone started to ring.


Author: acarerseyes

I am a mum to four gorgeous girls, and a carer to my former partner of eight years, Chris who has a mental illness, BPD. I blog my experiences.. life is tough! We live in Greater Manchester, UK.

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