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

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Bank Holiday Monday – Part Two

Following on from Bank Holiday Monday – Part One

From behind the curtain came a nurse, she requested to take Chris bloods and once the little tubes had been filled, disappeared off again. After awhile a Dr appeared and 6006288658_7a2070ca96_bstarted to talk to Chris, he asked a few questions, did some examinations, and then turned to me and said ‘what do we normally do for him when he does this?’ After picking my chin up off the floor, double checking my ears to make sure I was hearing correctly and feeling my neck for a stethoscope to make sure I wasn’t in fact a doctor and I had somehow just been plonked there by aliens. I looked at him and said ‘well normally he would need so many hours of monitoring, his blood results back, he would be then moved to AMU and when medically fit they would call down to psych.’ He turned round and said ‘yes I think that is what we shall do.’ Oh excuse me then, have I just answered how you are meant to deal with this so you can go back and run it past the consultant to make yourself look good? I never did see that doctor again, and perhaps as well, who was the DR, him or I?

Another nurse pulled back the curtain and came in carry a drip bag, I was slightly baffled by the fact she then promptly turned around and left again, also because no one had actually said they wanted to give Chris any fluids. I could hear outside the curtain there was a conversation between nurses going on, including the one who had just walked in with the drip. She was asking if she had got the right patient, to which the other nurses repeated the cubical number and no sooner had I heard that she walked back in, once again carrying the drip, only this time she set up the stand and hooked it up. Only one problem with this was the fact no one had actually realised yet that Chris didn’t have a cannula. Both he and I were also starting to ask why he was being given a drip but only managed to be told ‘the doctor wants you to have some fluids’ ok I could have guessed that but why? She left the cubical to go and get a cannula but instead of coming back with one, she came back and removed the drip, now as you can imagine it was almost one in the morning and I couldn’t understand if he was actually having a drip in or not and if he was WHY?

Nurse number three of the evening had now entered the cubical with a tray in her hands, just like the ones they carry around for taking bloods, she told Chris she was going to put a cannula in him. No sooner was she securing that into location did the nurse with the drip bag from before re appear and hook the drip up, so yes he was having fluids and guess what… we STILL didn’t know why, before we even had time to ask again he was being wheeled round to AMU!

The porter wheeled him down the empty corridors, on arrival to AMU Chris was handed over and given a side room of his own. I made sure he was comfy and didn’t need anything and then asked the staff if he was definitely going to be in overnight, they said yes, so I told them I would be going home now and I would return to see how things were in the morning. I walked back down the silent corridors to the main entrance of the hospital, there were not many people around, I got on the phone to the taxi company and he told me to wait inside and they would ring me when the taxi was outside. I sat on a cold wooden bench inside the doors, I could barely keep my eyes open and my brain still hadn’t had the chance to take everything in that had just happened. Before I knew it my taxi was outside and I made my way home.

It was pretty typical of how sods law works when the following day Chris called me to say that he had already seen the psychiatrist by around 11 o’clock, he was however now waiting for her to get back to him after speaking to the consultant. While he was waiting and didn’t know how long that would take I left the girls once again with their Grandad and made my way up to the hospital. I hadn’t been there long when in walked the psychiatrist and stated they had decided it would be best that Chris remained in hospital and he would have to stay on AMU while he waited for a bed on a psych ward. She asked if we had any questions, which at the time this was all too much to take in and my brain was well and truly on overload. We said we didn’t and she left, that was then when the wait for a bed began. After talking to the nurse who had seen us and been amazing when he was last on AMU, she was able to tell us that she had a patient who had currently been waiting for two days for a bed, once we were made aware of this we accepted that he was probably going to be there for quite some time.

Now it was Wednesday evening and the nurse had received a phone call to say they had finally found Chris a bed on our local psychiatric ward, it was the opposite one to where he was on his last admission when he was sectioned. The next problem was how he was going to get there, they are on the same site but they are two different trusts, which would normally mean they wait for an ambulance but the ward sister today had asked me if I would go with him, to which I said that was fine. What I hadn’t accounted for was the fact she then rang security to escort him over as well, I don’t think that she realised I could hear her conversation from where I sat in Chris side room to where she was stood in the nurses bay close by. Basically the conversation was her trying to convince that Chris was in fact okay enough for them to take him there and ‘he is fine, his girlfriend is happy to go with you as well’ and then ‘but why do you need staff from there, I will send a member of my staff… ok come down in about fifteen minutes, he will be ready’ She then came in to let us know he would be taken over shortly.

Fifteen minutes later, Chris was told we would be walking over so we left his bay and in front of us stood two big hospital security guys, in their stab vests, Chris turned to me and said he felt like a criminal, to be honest, so did I! What could we do though? A healthcare assistant walked over, all the time we were being followed by security and once again my body’s reaction to this was to shake, as much as I tried to stop it, it continued. We got into the same old lift I had got into every day a few months before, it still hadn’t been fixed so you still have to hold it shut before it will move, we then spent about ten minutes standing in the same air lock before someone answered the door and  let us in. Once we were on the ward the healthcare assistant handed over the paperwork and her and the two security guards disappeared. Here we were again…


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Bank Holiday Monday – Part One

Bank holiday Monday, and the weekend had already been much of a disaster, I was just hoping that we could get through the day, well famous last words. Today was going to be no different than the way the rest of the weekend had panned out except this time one trip to A&E wasn’t enough, Chris was going to make it two!

The morning started off pretty normally, waking Chris up, breakfast, wash, dressed, sorting out the girls, watching them having the most amazing time outside on their trampoline. Preparing them their lunch, and generally having a pretty average day, the only thing was Chris mood was low, it wasn’t improving and as he was pacing around, getting more and more agitated I was starting to worry about him. I asked him at varying times to give me a number from 1-10 with 10being the worst, he wasn’t able to give me anything lower than a 9, for most of the time he was scoring 10’s. It was now I was realising we needed to get him some help, prevention is better than cure and after Friday night and his overdose I wasn’t going to take any chances and followed the only plan we seem to have, and took him to A&E.

Arriving in A&E we waited to give his details to a lovely receptionist, before taking a seat and waiting to be called through. I was a bit anxious as well because we had never used the psychiatric liaison nurses in there before and didn’t really know what to expect. Triage called Chris through and he expressed a wish, once again to see someone regarding his mental health, we were told to sit in the waiting room and they would call us through shortly and true to their word someone did. Across the tannoy came Chris name and we made  our way through the doors where we were greeted by a nurse, she showed us through to the special room, with two quick escape doors, four very heavy, sturdy looking comfy chairs and a big brown boxy looking table. This room was plain; it was however slightly more appealing than the last time we found ourselves sitting in it.

She started by introducing herself as a psychiatric nurse, she asked what had brought Chris to there today, what was going on, what he was thinking, it was the same old questions once again, she asked for a copy of his care plan, only problem is, we don’t have one, in fact, I’m not even sure what is written on it! After a brief chat about what had been happening, including his plans of suicide and means of harming himself she said she would ask the home treatment team (crisis team) to visit him and help him through what seemed to be a difficult time, that she would also speak to the doctor about getting him some more of the medication he had run out of, this would however take around twenty minutes…

I stood outside the hospital in my usual spot, with Chris beside me, thinking about what had just happened, how honest Chris was and how little emotion she showed towards him, I felt like once again it was a case of if in doubt, give him more medication, drug him up. She came out to find us, carrying a piece of paper with the home treatment teams number written on it, they were going to come out to him the following day, at three thirty. I couldn’t help but think why we had gone up there, Chris clearly needed help now, help that wasn’t drugging him up and help that wasn’t going to follow twenty four hours later, or he would have held on for the community team the following day. We took the paper, collect his medicine and called for a taxi back home. Chris was no different, he was anxious, agitated, shaking and really down, you only had to look at him to know there was something wrong.

We arrived home, I thanked his dad for watching the girls, and he got on his way. I made their tea, put the littlest ones to bed and started about the usual household chores, dishes, clothes, tidying, putting away shoes and toys with the help of my eldest. It was now around seven thirty and I was taking her up to bed, she was tired and it had already gone past her usual bedtime of seven o’clock. I snuggled her up into her bed, gave her a big cuddle and a kiss and turned out the light. This is when I usually go and pick up any dirty washing on the landing, have a quick clean around the bathroom, and then I went downstairs. As I got to the bottom step, where my front door also is, Chris was about to leave the house, I asked where he was going, he seemed slightly confused and not quite himself, his speech was a little slurred, he told me he was going out but wouldn’t answer why or where. I became suspicious; I knew I had seen this before, when he has overdosed. I went to the bin, the safe and the cupboards to find out what he had taken. Managed to find the empty blister packets of tablets he had taken along with the empty bottles, gathered them all on the table and asked him why. He was too tired to string a sentence together, I told him to sit on the sofa while I called his dad who said he would come up right away. While I kept talking to Chris and asking him questions and reassuring him he was ok his dad arrived and rang an ambulance. I took Chris pulse it was 154bpm, his dad was asked loads of questions and then told that help was on its way but that we might get a phone call back from a medical professional.

I left Chris with his dad and went to turn on the outside light, it was dark outside with a slight cool breeze, and my body was shaking in reaction to what had happened. I stood for a moment to gather my thoughts. After quite a long time waiting, perhaps twenty minutes of popping in and out from Chris to check if they were there, realised this ambulance was going to be awhile I shut the front door and helped Chris dad keep him awake and responsive. This was now by no means an easy task, luckily the healthcare professional rang us back, he asked loads more questions and said that an ambulance was coming but we could be waiting up to an hour, did we have any means of getting him to hospital quicker. Sadly we didn’t, this had been a last resort.

I heard a big clunk of a door closing outside it was the ambulance almost one hour after we called, out stepped two men, one carrying a bag and the other introducing himself to me, I let him in and pointed him in the direction of Chris. One sat at the table looking closely at all the tablet packets, the other went to Chris and started to get him more alert, took his blood pressure, blood sugars and asked various other questions, checked his pulse and yes 156bpm, he announced he was ‘very tachy’ and would ‘need to hook him up to the machine on board.’ Once they were happy they had everything they needed they asked if anyone would be going to hospital with Chris, to which I said I would. He managed to get a very dizzy Chris to his feet and accompany him into the ambulance where they lay him down on the bed. I followed closely behind and sat in the chair they had pointed to. Our journey to hospital was pretty short, loads more questions were asked, he treated Chris with the upmost compassion and understanding, he didn’t judge and he made Chris feel like he was valued and not a hint he was wasting his time or not worthy of the ambulance. All throughout the journey he remembered and used my name, I was quite struck by that, normally healthcare professionals remember their patients name but never the relatives, that really stuck with me.

They pulled up into the ambulance bay outside A&E where we had only been standing a few hours before, they took Chris inside and I followed, while we waited for the nurse they were asking where my accent was from and sharing their knowledge of London with me. Soon Chris was taken to a cubical where they helped move him onto the trolley. They told Chris they hoped he felt better soon, and to stay and get sorted. I thanked them ever so much for everything they had done, I told them the ambulance service is the only group of professionals that I have come across that have never been judgemental to Chris or myself and I was truly grateful to them for their compassion and understanding. They brushed it off like it was no big deal and they do it for everyone, I don’t think they realised exactly how big a deal this is to people like Chris and me. So thank you to the two men from North West Ambulance service who crewed Chris ambulance that night, you were amazing.

No sooner had we seen off the ambulance crew, did I get a tap, tap, tap on my shoulder followed by a ‘Hello Mrs B’ now there is only one person known to call me Mrs B and that is my old next door neighbour, who is also a frequent A&E visitor but for very different reasons to mine. ‘Mrs K?’ I said as I turned around, it was indeed Mrs K standing in front of me. She asked what I was doing there before taking one look at Chris and another at the vomit bowl filled with tablet packets sat between his legs. ‘Oh Chris’ was her answer. But why was she there? Well it wasn’t one of her adventurous children this time it was her next door neighbours who we also knew, seeing as they were once ours too, now this was starting to feel like a reunion and less like a hospital trip!

Continued here


Part Two – One 24hr period. One overdose. One patient. One partner/carer… thats me!

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!

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One 24hr period. One overdose. One patient. One partner/carer… thats me!

Standing outside Accident and Emergency in the dark with street lights glistening and the reflection of blue lights lighting up the place every now and again I couldn’t help but be reminded by the times I used to do this ‘Every night on my way home’ Only difference this time was Chris wasn’t sectioned, he wasn’t even in a psychiatric unit, in fact he wasn’t an inpatient in hospital at all, at the moment. He had taken an overdose, was mentally distressed, very tachycardic, clammy, sick and we were waiting to find out what was happening with him.

He had been seen by a doctor, who said he would have to stay in to be monitored for a few hours so he was being admitted to the Acute Medical Unit. To be honest we were told very little about what was happening, there didn’t seem to be a plan that we knew of, the only thing they kept saying was ‘you will need to see the psych team before you leave’ The doctor was talking like he would only be there a couple of hours, she said until 10.30pm and then nurses were saying he couldn’t go home because they were keeping an eye on his heart rate as is was still going too fast.

The nurse was happy for me to stay there with him until we knew if he was going to be allowed home by an AMU doctor, he was a lovely nurse, asked if he could get me anything, if I was comfy enough sitting in one of those high backed patient chairs. Only problem was, Chris wasn’t happy now at around midnight to be, what he believed, was still waiting around on a medical ward for a psych team to see him. He had given up waiting and walked off the ward, as always I followed him, trying to suggest ways to make waiting easier but he was far from being rational. By the time we got home I had a voicemail on my phone, my battery was drained, and about 4 calls to my home phone. I answered the phone, just as his dad left after babysitting, it was indeed the ward, they explained to Chris they needed him to go back, he needed to see the psych team and if he didn’t they would be left with no choice but to call the police. He wasn’t having any of it, so they asked to speak to me, I explained that he wasn’t going to go back, I tried again with them on the phone to get him to go, and I explained they were going to send the police here, but I could see it wasn’t making a difference to Chris. He said he didn’t have any choice but to follow protocol and the Drs wishes to have the Police notified, I thanked him for speaking to me and put the phone down.

My stomach sank, I really don’t like dealing with the police, when they are great they are fantastic when they are not they are appalling and can make a situation much, much worse. It is so hit and miss I just didn’t want to deal with it at what must have been 2.30am! I sat and waited, and not long later someone pulled up outside, I didn’t see who it was, I heard our gate go and as I braced myself for dealing with the police a familiar little torch light shone through the glass window of our front door. I now hadn’t slept since Thursday night, I was tired, quite hungry and the familiar shaking that tends to happen during these occasions had started. The knock knock knock on the door came; Chris was still sat on the sofa so I went to answer the door. As I opened it expecting to see the police it took awhile for my eyes to adjust so that I could see exactly who and how many people were standing at the door. After a quick glance at an, Ambulance? And then wondering why one of these police officers was carrying such a big bag it clicked this was actually an ambulance crew. I invited them straight in, if nothing more than to actually see who they were!

In walked a male and a female in indeed green, asking if a male lived here, I pointed them in the direction of the living room and they started talking to Chris. At this point I didn’t say anything, I waited to see if any of their questions were directed at me (thanks DiagnosisLOB ‘Relatives: Take Note’) Chris was becoming more and more agitated, muttering under his breath, refusing to go with them, swearing, his distress was increasing, they said they would just take him back and if he didn’t they would have to involve the Police, I suggested it would be nicer to go with them than in the back of a police van. He said the police wouldn’t do anything, so she said she would use the mental capacity act to get him the treatment she could see he needed. He started swearing, he was shaking and agreed he would go with them, he wanted me to go, but with the girls asleep and his dad not long since left I would have to arrange that first. He got into the ambulance and away they went back to the ward via A&E.

At gone three in the morning my now very boggy eyes which were once again adjusting to the dark, I climbed into a taxi to a familiar voice and a ‘Hello, Long time no see how are you doing, are your girls well, are you off to the hospital’ It was so nice to hear, once we reached the hospital I paid my fare and said goodbye. Now navigating the long corridors to find the ward I had left with Chris a few hours earlier, the place was silent, there was no one around, I rang the buzzer, no answer, then Chris nurse came over and let me in, Chris was pacing around, the nurse told him to go back to his bed and wait for the Dr to come and see him.  The next few hours are a little hazy, Chris managed to get a bit of sleep in between obs, I was offered food, drink, a blanket, and they were genuinely really lovely. Chris was cleared medically as far as I was aware at around half three in the morning when they said they would be ringing psych, this actually didn’t turn out to be the case, again comes down to Junior Doctors and not understanding hospital policy and that psych won’t see him until he is well, they were actually still keeping an eye on his heart rate.

I dozed on and off as much as I could in a high back patient chair, that until then had actually looked quite comfortable but now by almost 6am my bum was having second thoughts, it was numb, my back was starting to tweak a little and every time I got into some kind of position in which to grab a few minutes sleep my head would drop and wake me up again. Soon the quiet hospital I had walked into once again became a buzz of activity as shifts changed over; patients were moved around, before I knew it the breakfast trolley was being wheeled in. A lovely health care assistant asked me if I wanted a drink and said she expected I must be shattered, to which I couldn’t do much more than just nod my head.

Continued here.


MH problem? A&E fixes everything…

Today has been far from a good day; in fact earlier today I decided to suggest to Chris that he go to a&e to seek help because it was obvious he was very distressed, he was having urges to hurt himself and he had cut his arms. So I set about trying to get the girls looked after, what a palaver and in the end to no avail. I then remembered part of the plan for Chris if he wouldn’t take himself to hospital then we would ring EDT (Emergency Duty Team) so I dug out the number. However EDT suggested that he take himself to a&e or ring the out of hours doctor, so because we still had no one to watch the girls we opted for out of hours. After a doctor rang back to speak to him they then decided to ring EDT and get back to him, on getting back to him she said he would have to take himself to a&e… why was it so hard to understand that I couldn’t get four little children up there and Chris wouldn’t go without me, nor did I feel he was safe enough to be on his own. The doctor asked Chris if she could speak to me where she basically told me childcare isn’t the problem of the NHS, a neighbour or something would have them (I has asked EVERYONE) and that I just needed to get him up there. I again explained the crisis plan and the fact he wouldn’t go without me and she just said well you will just have to sort it won’t you, because

‘He doesn’t warrant an ambulance now does he it wouldn’t be appropriate use of the ambulance service’

Now what I really wanted to say was… no he doesn’t at the moment but when he has been left to take all his medication, has left the house and gone missing, has the Police out looking for him and they call an ambulance it would have been easier if someone could have helped him. PREVENTION! (Not a word that goes with mental health)

So what do I do? Oh yes, I sit here watching him suffer and praying to God he can just get through the next minute and the next until something changes and enables him to seek help. That is just it though, if our Home Treatment Team had accepted his referral upon leaving hospital it wouldn’t have come to this, he hasn’t even been out of hospital a week and he is really very unwell again.  I think it is safe to say, his ‘crisis plan’ isn’t even worth the paper it is written on, because what help have we been able to get today? Nothing, just a lot of pointless phone calls with the answer, ‘go to a&e’ which actually is the least appropriate place for a person having a mental health crisis!!!

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‘I am going to have to section him’

Last weekend was one of the worst I have ever experienced, I spent all of Saturday night trying to keep Chris safe, using distraction of absolutely anything I could think of before giving him his medication and then crossing my fingers that he slept. He didn’t so subsequently I didn’t sleep either. I knew I just needed to get him to Sunday morning when the Home Treatment Team would be out to assess him. They arrived late, but they did call and let us know, which makes a welcome change. I couldn’t be there because I had the girls and didn’t want them to hear the conversation as it isn’t appropriate. I went upstairs with them to make dens and play teddy bears picnics until they had been and gone. I returned downstairs once I had heard them about to leave and after they had walked out the door, having said nothing to me I asked Chris what they had said. He told me they didn’t know how to help him and that he already had distraction techniques in place and that they would write to his social worker with some recommendations. My jaw nearly hit the floor and I went outside to see if I could see them to find out their reasons as to why they hadn’t been able to help but they had gone, I had no idea where but they had just vanished.

Early afternoon Chris went out without saying anything and I didn’t know where he was, I text various family and he wasn’t with them, I managed to get hold of him, he said he didn’t want to come home and that he wished he was dead. I managed to talk to him and get him home, I reassured him things would be ok and he wouldn’t feel like this forever. He came home and it was obvious he was finding things very hard, I tried to keep him busy and suggested he try and have a sleep on the sofa.

I had just started cooking tea, the smell of Pork and caramelised onion sausages was starting to fill the house, between sorting the tea and answering to the demands of the children I hadn’t noticed that Chris once again was not in the house. At this moment in time I needed a few more hands and eyes than I actually had. I went to grab my mobile to ring Chris and see where he was, to find the message ‘No one is going to stop me this time, I haven’t taken my phone. I love you all bye’ I felt sick, my stomach sank, I got my neighbour to grab the girls because once I had checked with family, if they hadn’t seen him then I would have to call the police and there was no way I could make that call in front of the girls.

No one had seen him; the girls were now next door completely unaware, I began to dial 999. I managed to explain everything, at some points barely holding it together, the man on the other end of the telephone was very nice he did everything to try and make things slightly easier and assured me that even though we were still on the phone there were already units being made aware of his description and the areas I suggested he may be. He ended the phone call telling me I needed to stay at home and if I heard or knew anymore then I was to ring them back. I just remember sitting on the sofa with my head in my hands trying my hardest not to fall apart, I didn’t know what to do, I felt helpless.

The police had rang Chris dad and let them know they had found him and that they would be bringing the car back to our house and then taking Chris to hospital. They showed up at the house and I recognised the officer right away, I had dealt with him twice before and he was always very good, never treated Chris with anything but kindness. The other policeman who it turned out was a traffic, asked me how old he was and we all agreed it was just so sad. The officer I had met before said to me Chris wasn’t agreeing to go to hospital so he didn’t have a choice but to section him, he told me he would come back and see me at some point before he finished for the night at nine.

I closed the door to them and I broke down, I walked into the kitchen where I had been previously cooking to see the half cook sausages lying on the grill pan. I messaged my neighbour who told me she was giving the girls tea and she would bring me some round and I was to get the girls once I was ready (she is an amazing friend that is for sure). I couldn’t really eat though, but I knew I needed to force even a little bit in because I would need my strength. I got the girls home and to bed, the police officer came back and we had a chat, before he left and then a doctor from the hospital rang (He had been taking to a POS and not a Police cell) asking me what had been going on recently and I filled them in on everything before she said they would be keeping Chris in and he had agreed to stay informally. I got myself into bed but needless to say it was going to be a looooong night!

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‘The Home Treatment Team is oversubscribed’

Things this week haven’t got any better, if anything just continued to get worse. All his social workers, yes still those ‘temporary’ ones could do was tell him he had an appointment to see his psychiatrist on Wednesday like she was going to be able to perform some serious miracles and make everything go away. I managed to get him to his appointment with a lot less sleep than one needs to function somewhat normally and we sat down in the large waiting room in a notoriously hot NHS building. His psychiatrist called him through so I followed with his social worker and sat down in one of the little rooms where they often do depot injections. His psychiatrist talked through all the current problems, his social worker and I filling her in on the bits that Chris would forget about and giving our own opinions. After making my point about his diagnosis and how I thought he had some sort of mood disorder as well I was expecting her to come back with a few different things but not what came next, that shocked me. She actually said, yes I agree and said it sounds likely he has Bipolar, we discussed mood stabilisers for this and it was agreed he would start taking Depakote.

As much as I was pleased we were finally getting somewhere with what is wrong and how to treat it, I was disappointed knowing I was right; she wasn’t able to perform a miracle and that Depakote takes awhile to work so I would be returning home to face the same things as I had been dealing with all week and I was by this point really tired. After leaving the room the psychiatrist was in he went to ask for his depot, his social worker then dropped the bombshell that no one would be seeing him until Monday. My first thoughts were ‘Monday feels a lifetime away’ it really did, was no one taking me seriously, had my letter fallen on deaf ears?

Wednesday night was awful, I was awake all night, Chris kept leaving the house, he was agitated, suicidal, was suffering flashbacks and then coming back, he ended up drinking a bottle of Malibu before falling asleep at 4am, needless to say I was struggling, and I knew that regardless I had to be up at around half past six when the girls woke in the morning to get them all to school.

All week I have been trying to get people to listen to me, all week I have left messages, spoken into one ear of a person for it to float out of the other one, or so it feels to me! All they kept telling me was ‘phone EDT’ or ‘take him to a&e if things change’ which honestly isn’t the best of things like I have pointed out numerous times before. I managed to get hold of someone yesterday who I had been leaving messages for all week and they cut me short to go to a meeting saying ‘it sounds important so I will ring you back later’ Well they never did, and they don’t work Fridays so today I could have just cried while walking back from the doctors, but there was little point, it was so cold the tears would have probably just frozen to my face. Instead I had to hold it together, I was after all pushing the gorgeous little girl along who was looking into my eyes and it is up to me to make sure she is happy, she makes me strong when I could otherwise fall apart.

My health visitor was due to see me this afternoon, and I just went into everything, explained that I had thought about ringing CMHT again but I didn’t feel they were listening and I wasn’t sure how many times I could listen to them find excuses or problems. At least if I didn’t ring I didn’t have to put up with the upset it caused afterwards things for example wouldn’t be any worse. She decided there and then she would ring them and see where on earth we would get, when she finally got through both his social workers were on leave, the manager was also on leave to our astonishment so she asked to speak to the next manager in line. She started explaining everything that was happening, how there was just little to no support, how Chris was getting worse and that again no one was listening. The CPN who had actually only just given Chris his depot injection last week then asked to speak with me. I confirmed everything that had been going on, Chris disappearing, sitting on edges of cliffs, drinking, suffering flashbacks, not sleeping, struggling to keep himself safe and she asked what I think they needed to do. I again said he needed extra support in the form of the Home Treatment Team  but to this she stated that they were ‘over subscribed and were asking the question does this person need to be in hospital’ and ‘how would you feel about that’ for a start I made it clear the fact they were oversubscribed wasn’t my problem and that yes then he would need to be in hospital. She said she would speak to the team and get back to me. My health visitor left promising to phone me later to discuss the outcome.

Basically what happened in the next few hours consisted of the CPN from the CMHT coming out because ‘the HTT wouldn’t accept a referral without me having seen you’ This was far from ideal with me having all the girls home and not wanting them to hear what was going on, so I kept them playing in their bedroom while she was here. She again went through everything again and then she came out with the line ‘This is an ongoing problem for you though isn’t it Chris and do you agree with me that Sarah is just struggling to cope now’ Well I didn’t let him answer before I cut in saying I didn’t agree, that I had written a letter stating every reason why I felt this wasn’t an ongoing problem how Chris was in Crisis, how the flashbacks, severe suicidal thoughts, disappearing, drinking, not sleeping was all new and only happened when Chris gets to Crisis point. How it was obvious no one was listening to me and that I had sat there at the weekend and wondered what had happened with the Chris I know, because at the moment I didn’t recognise him. At this point tears filled my eyes while I battled to hold it together. She apologised and said she didn’t know about this, perhaps this was the junk the HTT had filled her head with? Who knows?

She said she would go back to the office and make the referral but if they accepted it he would ‘be lucky to get a phone call tomorrow and probably wouldn’t be seen until Sunday anyway’ in my eyes this was at least better than nothing and he now waits to hear off them, if he doesn’t then he hasn’t been accepted anyway. Again who knows?

My health visitor gave me a ring to see how things had gone, once I had explained it all and we had both agreed it was far from ideal she said she had done slightly better. She had spoken to our GP who had prescribed Chris some Temazepam to take before bed in the hope he would be able to get some sleep. At least if he got some sleep he would be safe at night time and I would be able to function better during the day because I would get some sleep too. He then booked him in to see Chris on Monday and see what they could help as well; they seemed to put themselves out more than anyone else has so far. I thanked my health visitor for everything she had done and she promised to ring me again when she was back in on Tuesday and see how things went. Weekends come around far too quickly at the moment, what a week!