I sat back down on Chris bed, my head still spinning with thoughts about where he was, was he ok, why had he run away? I was just trying to work out what to do; I didn’t know the night staff and sitting here seemed pointless. My phone started to ring, I glanced down and saw his dad was calling, ‘Sarah, he is here, he has just gone upstairs to see the girls’ I asked if he was ok, told him I would tell the staff because they would need to let the police know. His dad asked him if he was ok and it was then he told him that he had taken an overdose. I told his dad to keep him there and I would speak to the nurse in charge, who at the time was trying to get medication given out, he locked up the treatment room and asked me into the office where he took all the information he needed and then suggested I went home.
How do I go home? I mean I know how to get there, I know that is probably the best place for me, to get some sleep but how do I sleep now? I left the ward, not knowing what was happening, so I telephoned his dad and asked, the police had just shown up and were going to take him back until he said he had taken an overdose, obviously with the officer not being medically trained to deal with it she said they would have to request an ambulance to take him to accident and emergency. I agreed with his dad to wait there until he arrived.
I made my way across the hospital grounds, it was dark, damp and miserable, I was starting to feel a sense of relief that Chris had been found and was somewhat ok but I was getting tired, very tired. I stood outside the entrance to accident and emergency and watched the ambulances coming in and out then I heard an ‘excuse me’ I looked behind me and a tall young man stood there with his hand in a cast. ‘could you help me put my coat on please’ I responded with of course and helped him get his arm into his sleeve, I asked him what he had done to which he replied, broken his hand and now needed it pinning. I asked him how it happened and then the questions turned on me. ‘So how come you are here?’ he said. What did I say? Would he just think I am some stupid idiot like most people, wasting her early hours of Saturday morning standing outside accident and emergency waiting on someone who had taken an overdose. I thought to myself no Sarah, tell him the truth, and don’t worry about his opinion, your tackling stigma in small ways. So I told him it was complex and explained he was on another ward when he went off and took an overdose that Chris was currently sectioned and I was waiting for him to be bought in by ambulance. He said he was sorry and seemed genuinely concerned, wishing me well and hoping Chris would be ok. As it started to rain I put my hood up over my head, he suggested I wait inside in the warm but I refused saying I was ok. He said goodbye, I told him to take care and he walked towards the main road.
An ambulance pulled in and the doors opened, Chris got out with the crew and was taken into the ambulance triage area, I had followed. The nurse was quite dismissive ‘we can’t have him here he has to go back to the psychiatric ward, it’s for their SHO to deal with not us, we have spoken to them and they agree he can go back..’ So we all hopped back into the ambulance and around the corner to the ward, the ambulance handed over to the nurse in charge who I had said goodbye to not so long ago and they left. He called us into the office where he explained that Chris would be going back to accident and emergency with one of their members of staff. What a complete nightmare this was turning into now!
Walking back over to the main hospital with Chris and the nursing assistant in the cold and rain, back to where we had just been, booked in at reception, took a seat and waited… and waited.. It was now half past twelve, early hours of the morning and he had only been triaged, the waiting room was quiet busy, ambulances were constantly bringing patients through and I wondered if I would be getting home anytime soon.