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

Escorted leave Chris went AWOL

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013Sunday, what an eventful and emotional day it was. The plan was, to go and see Chris after lunch, take him out for his hours leave and then once he was back at the ward say my goodbyes and go home to makes the girl’s tea, bath or showers them and get them into bed nice and early for school on Monday. It was all going so well, I had got on the bus and headed up to the hospital, my day to that point had been uneventful, helping the girls with their homework and drawing and colouring in pictures. The bus journey was alright, as good as getting a bus is ever going to get I suppose. The bus pulled in to the stop outside the hospital and as always half the passengers got off alongside me. I walked down the pathway to the main entrance, people coming and going, standing around smoking, chatting laughing, some visiting, some patients and then even the odd staff member. It was quieter there on a Sunday than it is during the week. I walked through the hospital and out the other side and made my way over to the building where Chris was.

I walked to Chris room, knocked on the door and waited for him to let me in, gave him a hug as I usually do and he said he wanted to go out. I asked how he was feeling, he said he was feeling suicidal but was hoping the walk would help. I knew his flashbacks were really severe because he had told earlier that morning and again was hoping being out would be a distraction. We walked to the nurses office where his named nurse was on duty, Chris asked to go out with me for awhile, she checked his section 17 leave but didn’t have a copy so asked that Chris got his for her, we did, she was happy and walked us down to the doors. Along the way she was asking Chris how he was feeling, he said he felt suicidal but when asked if he had any plans he said no and was hoping going out would be good distraction. She double checked with him before letting us out and wishing us a good time.

We went to the hospital shop for a drink before sitting down on a bench; Chris made a smoke and suggested we went to the local fuel station to get some tobacco as he was running short. I agreed, at the station I picked up some Mars chocolate ball things to nibble, we paid and then left. As we were heading back along the main road to the entrance into the hospital nearest the ward Chris without a word just ran straight across the main road, four lanes of traffic and off into the distance, I stood for a moment shocked before grabbing my phone, I didn’t have the ward number stored or the credit to ring anyone. What do I do was going through my head as I part ran, part speed walked all the way back to the ward. Through the doors to the building, I pushed the button for the lift but it was taking what felt like hours, finally it arrived and I got in it, up to the floor above and hopped out. I pressed the doorbell to the ward and waited; ‘hurry up hurry up’ was being repeated in my head. A nursing assistant and nurse finally came along on their way home and let me through, neither either noticed or let on to the fact Chris wasn’t with me. I walked hurriedly through a set of double doors straight into his Named Nurse ‘How did it… Where is he’ she said, she too making her way out to go home. I told her he had run off, asking if I was serious she called to a nursing assistant in the office to speak to me. I made my way up to the office and they got me in and closed the door.

I could feel pins and needles creeping through my arms and legs, I was out of breath and I felt sick, a nasty feeling that I might pass out was sweeping over me as my ears and head buzzed. The nurse on was lovely, she telephoned the Police who were out looking for him straight away. I listened to her giving his description occasionally asking me to give information, she said he was by no way a risk to the public but he was to himself and then I heard words that will stick with me for awhile ‘we are concerned he will try and kill himself’ my head dropped and I fought off the tears, I can deal with thinking about that but for someone to say it, it felt even worse. Another of the nurses offered me a chair and I sat down, where it was just a waiting game. Awhile after he had ran off from me he appeared on the ward, the nurse took him to his bedroom where I followed, he looked pretty dopey and clearly had taken or done something. She managed to find out he had overdosed and the only reason he came back because he didn’t know where else to go. He looked awful, was pale, shaking, drowsy and getting more and more unsteady on his feet. She left to call the doctor, the rest of the day was spent waiting on doctors and blood results right up until visiting had ended and I finally made my way home, feeling emotionally drained from everything that had happened and trying to make sense of it all.


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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