Friday, December 31, 2004

I would like to wish all readers of this weblog a very happy and peaceful New Year.


We've got some friends from France staying for a couple of days so have invited a few more friends round and my parents for a small party.

Sam phoned a little earlier, probably miffed to be spending the New Year in hospital - so we did find ourselves saying, "Well, if only you hadn't ..." He needs to recognise the consequences of his actions.

Have a great time tonight, all of you.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

When we heard that Sam was safe I phoned my sister. She was out with my father checking on another place they had thought of that he had mentioned recently.

When I told her my sister let out a sob.

We rang as many others as we could to let them know, had a quick lunch and then drove over to see Sam.

He was annoyed to be woken up.

He'd only been asleep a couple of hours and hadn't slept much the night before.

We sat together in the lounge and asked Sam to tell us where he had been.

It seems that when he had run off he cut into a small park near by. So I'd gone sailing past. It had occurred to me to look in there but it's so small and I couldn't think of anywhere in there he could hide for long. I expected him to go further afield. Later he did.

He'd been to many of the places where we'd looked for him. This included our local railway station where he'd lit a fire on a patch of land adjoining it as there were no trains.

He was walking the streets of a nearby city for many hours, talking with people on the streets including a prostitute and people taking drugs. He said at one time he'd been threatened by a pimp with a gun that turned out to be a piece of wood. I've no idea whether he was imagining all that.

Although he was rational he was more psychotic than the previous day. I suppose caused by the lack of sleep and missing his medication.

He lay on a patch of grass to try to sleep but there was snow on the ground and it was too cold to sleep. He headed for the city centre.

He stayed in the bus station for a while but got thrown out when he lay down and tried to sleep. Then he went round the back of Pizza Hut and lit some cardboard to try to keep warm. He knew though that the fire wouldn't last long and he was frightened to go to sleep in case he got exposure.

He went back to the bus station and ended up getting the first train from the railway station next door.

This took him to another nearby city where he tried to go to the bank. Monday was a bank holiday but I think it was in any case too early for them to be open. He found a half empty bottle of a vodka drink and a can of beer left by the previous night's revellers both of which he drank. This was all he had to eat or drink during the time he was out.

He went back to the railway station and tried to get a train to the town where he had been at university - but the train had been replaced by a bus because of work on the line. It was more difficult to get on the bus without a ticket so he got a train to another town. Here he went to the local climbing wall and asked to be let in. He told them he was the best climber in the world - but they still wouldn't let him in. He went away for a while and then went back saying,
"Okay, I'm not the best climber in the world but I'm better than AL."

AL is someone Sam used to climb with. He was a well known local climber who now designs climbing walls. It turned out he had installed that one.

But they still wouldn't let Sam in.

Sam got confused as to what town he was in. He went looking for the house of someone he had met on the streets some time ago when he was again on the run from hospital. This guy had put him up for a few nights and fed him on dog biscuits and tomato ketchup. He was a heroin addict but Sam said he hadn't indulged.

Fortunately as Sam was in the wrong town he couldn't find his house.

He went back to the train station to retrace his steps back to the previous city. However the train he got was going in the opposite direction. It was going to the town where his hospital is situated though he didn't realise this.

As the train was busy Sam sat in the quieter first class compartment. The only other occupant clearly didn't want to share it with someone looking as disreputable as Sam and called the guard. Sam had no ticket or money so the guard rang ahead for the police.

A policewoman was waiting for Sam. She found out who he was by the sneaky trick of asking him his name and date of birth. Sam gave truthful answers. Maybe he was tired and hungry enough to want to be found now.

Sam did well to remember all the story. It wasn't told in sequence as I have done and we've had to put it together from ramblings that went backwards and forwards. At times we were laughing with him about his exploits.

We did have a go at him about the worry he had caused others and the fact that he has put further leave at risk. He didn't really respond to these thoughts so we left them for a future time.

At least he is safe again.

That seems to be the only reason for him to be where he is.

But he can't be locked up for ever.

Can he?

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

I picked Sam up on Christmas Eve.

He seemed well but as the day went on he became more confused and described irrational thoughts. We thought perhaps the change of scene might have been too much for him.

The first thing he wanted to do was to go climbing and was keen to go to a local spot where he could do some bouldering. The limits of his climbing activity had been carefully agreed by staff before he left. He enjoyed the climbing and I could see he had not lost his technique as he hung upside down from an overhang, swinging and grasping new holds. However he hadn't the strength and became frustrated after a little while. He didn't attempt anything silly but just climbed safely within his limits.

During the afternoon a close friend of his came round and they chatted and played chess. He couldn't manage the chess and was clearly becoming confused.

Early evening we had just finished eating and he went to his room then came down wearing a jumper but with his rucksack on his back containing just his climbing shoes and some climbing chalk and went out of the door without saying anything.

Jane rushed after him. He was going climbing again. It had already been dark for some time. He was persuaded inside again.

I realised I was finding it hard now but managed to keep going. There were still Christmas presents to wrap and deliver. Sam helped me take a large piece of garden furniture round to my father's place. He enjoyed playing Santa.

Later we went round to some friends for a small party. Sam's friend sat and talked with him and others sat and talked with him as well. It gave us a bit of a break and I found I was coming round.

We left early and Sam was persuaded with some difficulty to take his medication. He went to bed and seemed settled.

I wasn't looking forward to the next couple of days. It looked as if it was going to be hard.

Jane and I stayed up late and finished wrapping presents. It's a tradition!!!

(That is, we're always as disorganised as this!)

On Christmas Day Sam was great.

He seemed quite well and coped really well. He even got used to one of us insisting on accompanying him each time he went outside for a cigarette. (We felt this wise after the episode where he had set off to go climbing.)

In the evening we played cards. Sam had been looking forward to this. He has a favourite game that we only play at Christmas - it's good for a large number of people. He started scoring but the game has a complicated scoring system. I was worried he would get it all wrong and not accept help so started off trying to help in a quiet and diplomatic way. He realised himself that he wasn't coping and suggested someone else take over. I thought this was a really positive example of how well he was - he could have continued, got it all wrong but insisted he was right.

He went on to win the game - that requires quite a degree of thought and strategy. He then went on to win the next game too, that was more a game of chance. He always was lucky!

Earlier he had tried on a smart shirt that his granny and grandad had bought him. Not quite his usual grunge style. He looked at himself in the mirror and after a second take clearly liked what he saw. He held himself straighter and kept it on for the rest of the evening.

Again he needed some persuasion to take his medication at bedtime but finally agreed.

On Boxing Day he still seemed well. It was a lovely bright day. I'd agreed with Sam the day before that if it was nice we'd drive out to a local beauty spot.

We enjoyed a walk in the cold winter's sunshine. Sam was quiet but he enjoyed it.

As the day drew on though, he went more into himself. He was clearly thinking and worrying about going back. He started to chain-smoke.

He'd kept asking over the time with us if and why he needed to go back to the "mental home" as he insists on calling it.

We talked about how, as things had gone well, he'd get more leave soon and things would be better.

I stopped off at my parents with Sam on the way home so that he could say goodbye to them. I started to make him a late lunch while we were there.

He insisted on going out for a cigarette. I'd taken my shoes off as they were muddy. Sam went round the corner from the front of the house where I could see him. I went out in my socks to ask him to come back round to the front.

He suddenly took off without saying anything and sprinted round the corner.

I dashed inside to put some shoes on and ran out to the road. He had already disappeared.

A couple were standing opposite on some open ground where I thought he might have run. They were watching, clearly recognising that something was going on. I asked which direction he had gone and they pointed.

I couldn't see him and wasn't going to catch him on foot.

I phoned Jane on my mobile. She was heading in one direction by car. I grabbed a coat and my car keys and set off in the direction I thought Sam would have taken. My dad and my sister soon set off looking in another direction.

After twnety minutes or so we realised we would have to inform the authorities.

Between us on foot and by car we covered all the places we thought he might have gone, spreading out and moving further out as time went on to include pubs and local railway and bus stations.

Meanwhile a police woman turned up at the house. It's one of the few times that Sam has gone missing where the police have seemed to be active other than just circulating his description as a missing person.

She thought she might have seen him on her way to the house - down by the river. She set off back there with Jane following in the car.

Jane phoned me - out walking in local woods where I thought he might have been hiding. It was already beginning to get dark.

I rushed to join them.

It turned out not to be Sam.

Later in the evening Nell and I were searching the main railway and bus station near by. I talked to two security guards but they weren't interested. They were too busy trying to get rid of a bunch of young kids who were running around the bus station like a playground.

Sam was later thrown out of that bus station as he tried to sleep there in the middle of the night. If the security guards had taken notice then they might have been able to inform the police sooner.

In the end we all returned home.

Two policemen visited again. They had to search the house. After all - we could be harbouring Sam.

This is something that has never happened before.

They were really nice and understanding. They talked with us about what had happened and where Sam may have gone. They looked in his room.

Otherwise they only joined us in rooms that we had invited them into.

They were satisfied that he wasn't there. But given that they gave us ten minutes warning of their visit we would have moved him out if we had been hiding him!

They went on to look in the dark at a couple of places in the open nearby where he might be hiding.

We left the door unlocked that night so that he could get in if he returned - but with the alarm on so we would know!

In the morning he was still missing.

It had been below freezing all night.

I decided to look at some other country spots where he could have been hiding overnight. I didn't expect to find any sign of him but it was better than staying at home waiting.

I walked for an hour or so. I was watching my footsteps, careful not to fall on the slippery ground. I had to remind myself to keep stopping to look around where I was supposed to be searching. I knew Sam would have lit a fire the night before and I saw no sign of fresh fires.

As I drove back home I saw a woman who had been a close colleague many years ealier. She seemed to be out walking with her family. She leant over, holding hands with a toddler who was stretching up to hold her hand. She laughed and chatted with another adult.

Happy families.

I got back home and sat in the living room to drink a cup of coffee. The Christmas tree lights were on and Jane had lit two candles.

I started to cry.

I hadn't known I was upset.

I wanted a bit of peace but soon I was involved in discussions again with Jane - and then the phone rang.

It was the police.

Sam had just been picked up.

He was safe again but had lost his freedom that is so precious to him.

Monday, December 27, 2004

We've just got back from visiting Sam. He's back safe in hospital.

We got a phone call from the police this morning to say he had been picked up at a railway station.

Sam's given us a long tale of his adventures.

I'm really tired now so I'll try to bring you up to date with some more detail of the last few days tomorrow.

Thank you to those who have sent me best wishes and kind thoughts.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

It's a beautiful, clear, frosty, moonlit evening.

I watched the moon rising through a wispy cloud on the horizon earlier this evening as I was out looking for Sam.

He ran off this afternoon an hour or so before he was due to return to hospital. He clearly couldn't bear it.

We've searched for him - and even the police have taken much more of an interest than is usual. He has no money on him. The trains and buses don't seem to be running. So he may be about to endure a freezing cold night out in the local countryside.

It was easier looking.

It's hard just waiting - but we've had to do this before.

I'll try to write more tomorrow.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Sam's coming home tomorrow.

I pick him up in the morning - once his medication has arrived from the pharmacy.

We've been waiting all day yesterday and much of today to know what's going on. It was after lunch before we got a clear answer - even though the ward round was yesterday. At least the new consutant is talking closely with our local Assertive Outreach team.

Lot's of conditions - but he's coming home for Christmas. Two nights - from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day.

I know Sam will enjoy it

- I'm sure we will too.

I'm feeling lots better.

Happy Christmas everybody!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111


Love and very kind wishes to all readers of this blog.

(If you click on the picture - of our Christmas tree this year - you will see it in full screen format.)

I know many of you live in situations more stressful than my own. If I haven't managed to write to regular correspondents please forgive me - and I do wish you a peaceful and fulfilling time. Be kind to yourselves.

M xxxx

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Still lots to prepare for Christmas ...

... but we still don't even know if Sam will be granted leave.

Even if he is - for how long???

And does any of this take into account that we will be traveling for an hour and a half (if we're lucky!) across a road that can be closed in the freezing weather that is forecast?

Nobody could tell us today even though it was ward round yesterday at which it was discussed and should have been decided. But could anybody tell us?

You already know the answer, don't you?


They were passing the buck and maybe we will know tomorrow.

Jane's been upset - and so have I.

So preparing for Christmas - which we seem to be in charge of organising for us, my parents, my sister and maybe my brother and his wife ...

... but they may not be able to come because of medical problems and flights, etc with his wife ...

... and my mum and dad don't know this and we're trying to support everyone else and wondering when it will be our turn for everyone else to care for a change.

That sounds so harsh.

Not how it as intended.

But I think we spend so long thinking about others rather than putting ourselves first.

I think we're aware of it - but haven't yet got good about doing anything about it.

As Jane got more and more angry about not knowing what was happening today I found myself getting more and more upset.

I'm the one who has always loved Christmas in a stupid, sentimental way - yet this year I have just wished it over.

Maybe I can't face it without Sam.

Maybe if he can't be part of it then it's not Christmas.

I don't feel this consciously - I'm just trying to work it all out.

I was drenched in tears trying to explain this to Jane over dinner tonight.

Then we went to see my parents and had to explain why my brother can't come home for Christmas - because his wife is so poorly and he hasn't been able to get through to them yet.

Jane was tired and on the way home said she felt they hadn't reacted appropriately somehow - and I just thought - well, what do you think?

I felt distant. I've had enough.

Jane's just gone to bed and I'm still writing this.

And still there's Christmas to organise.

I'm sure we'll manage.

We always do.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Some Christmas shopping today.

Did that make me feel festive?

Well perhaps - but not sitting for so long in that traffic jam!

It went well when Jane took Sam out yesterday. They had lots of time in the countryside in the cold, bright, crisp, winter sunshine. This finished off as it started to get dark with a pub meal, Sam going and sitting near the log fire to smoke a cigarette.

When the six hours were nearly up they had to return to the hospital.

Sam became withdrawn and quiet at this time. It must be awful going back to a secure ward - in all intents and purposes a prison - having enjoyed freedom for a few hours.

Nobody answered the ward intercom and a friend who had accompanied Jane went back to reception to see if they could phone. Sam suddenly turned to follow her. Jane was concerned so decided to follow them too. She caught up with Sam as he was about to walk out of the hospital main door.

She put her arm around his shoulder and talked with him calmly, persuading him to return. She didn't mention this to ward staff. We don't want to give them an excuse to refuse leave over Christmas.

He went back sad depressed.

Although in theory it is for his own good, one has to question why people are put in such prisons only because they are not well.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Jane's been to take Sam out today. I'm writing this as I wait for her to return.

The consultant allowed six hours leave as a prelude to a possible overnight leave at Christmas.

Meanwhile I have been putting up the Christmas tree and some decorations.

I'm trying hard to feel festive.

I really am.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Part of the discussion with the new consultant was about leave over Christmas.

Sam wanted a week - well for ever really - the consultant was talking about one night.

It takes us an hour and a half to get to the hospital. That would mean two days running we would be at least three hours travelling so that Sam could stay overnight. It's not what you could call ideal.

We asked for two nights.

He has to consult his team.

We persuaded him to allow Sam to have six hours leave on one day to see how it goes. That's tomorrow.

Jane's going to pick him up with some friends and has some nice ideas planned.

Sam phoned tonight and seemed positive about it - but negative about the hospital. Not just being detained - but the things that go on there. He doesn't want to say more. The mind boggles.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Glass of red wine in hand again now - not for any stressful reason, just relaxing and looking for the energy to complete the blog this evening after some rather unsuccessful Christmas shopping.

I always used to love Christmas.

I used to joke that I was the only one left in our family that still believed in Father Christmas (- not Santa Claus, a totally different animal) now that the children had grown.

But somehow it just seems like a job this year.

I'd never understood that attitude in others until now.

The meetings yesterday went well.

We've been supported well from assertive outreach over the last few days with some really good phone conversations. Even though Sam's care coordinator has been off others have worked really hard to fill the gap - more than we could have expected.

There's a really good advocate at the hospital who met us and offered support.

Although we tried not to say much in the CPA meeting and the managers hearing - well ...

We were quite reserved though.

The consultant against whom we have made a formal complaint was professional and tried to work with us as if nothing was amiss. The ward doctor though was clearly finding it very difficult.

It was a handover meeting to the new consultant who tried to interject in a way that was positive to us and to the other professional staff.

Next we had the managers meeting to confirm the renewal of Sam's detainment. Sam's solicitor had not turned up. He thought it was tomorrow. I wonder whether the fault was his office's or the hospital's?

The managers were reluctant to continue though legally it was okay. The representative from Assertive Outreach talked with Sam who agreed to go ahead. He has in any case a right of appeal.

I was impressed by the rigour with which the professionals were questioned by the managers. It clearly was not a rubber stamping and they were made to justify themselves. It was all very formal as it is a legal body and at times was conducted in a way that precluded discussion. However at the end they all loosened up and talked with us in a very friendly and relaxed way.

They gave their impression that although they have to go through a very formal process they really do care and have the interests of the patients at heart. We found ourselves in a friendly discussion with them about rock climbing at the end.

Sam's detention was confirmed - but they genuinely wished him well.

We then met with Sam's new consultant. We must have been with him for nearly two hours. Sam had seemed withdrawn, confused, distracted and having very strange thoughts during the earlier meetings but he started chatting with Jane in a very rational way while we were waiting for this last meeting.

Although there were some confused thoughts he managed to talk in a constructive and largely rational way in this informal meeting. It was if he was with sane people talking with him as a sane man he Could be sane if he wanted to.

But on the ward - he is expected to be mad.

If you are treated as being mad, living with other mad people, then maybe you behave as if you are mad.

The consultant was very patient. He listened and seemed genuinely interested.

He is one of the few recently who have seemed to have any interest in what is actually going on in Sam's mind as opposed to what his behaviour is like and whether it is time to increase the medication again.

This is the first psychiatrist in ages who seems positive about reducing the medication - albeit in a slow and controlled way.

We like him.

He listened.

We're hoping we can work with him well.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Just a quick note to let you know the meetings today went quite well.

I even got up in time despite the red wine last night (having slept very well!)

I was wating for Jane in the end - but we just made it in time.

I'm tired now so I'll tell you more about it soon.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

I've just poured myself a glass of red wine.

Yes I know it's half past eleven at night. I can ell the time you know.

Sorry, I'm not being short tempered - just joking with you. I'm in quite good humour.

We've just got back from a nice evening out. We took my mum and dad to a Victorian music evening by a local operatic society. It's not usually my cup of tea (jazz, blues and world music are more my thing!) but it was really well done at a very atmospheric venue. I realised I knew one of the singers - I'd spent a week with him on a study visit abroad some years ago and Jane had come over for the final weekend and also got to know him. He's quite high up in his field - though may have retired now. I'd hoped to catch him at the end for a chat but somehow missed him.

Though part of me was not wanting to talk about having retired - and through ill health. It kind of feels like admitting failure.

Excuse me. Just off to refill my glass.

- Just done that and chatted with Nell on her return from the pub - working, not drinking!

If I don't have a couple of drinks tonight I won't sleep.

Tomorrow we have three meetings about Sam.

CPA (review and planning meeting), manager's hearing (kind of appeal for Sam about the renewing of his section - the lack of which triggered our complaint) and a meeting with his new consultant psychiatrist.

The old and new psychiatrist will be at the CPA. It's a handover meeting. How do we play that when we have a complaint outstanding against one of them?????

And we have a pre-meeting with an advocate. She's really nice. We bumped into her, almost literally, when we popped into the hospital to see Sam yesterday. It's the first time we've met her.

Jane's found her very useful to talk with on the phone. She also had useful conversations with a couple of people from the assertive outreach team yesterday. Much of that was as we were packing and in the car on the way back.

I suddenly found myself immersed in it all again.

It's good for Jane. It's what she needs to do.

For me ....

Well ...

We all cope in different ways - but it was a sudden end to a lovely, peaceful few days away. Though it was mediated by an hours phone call Jane had with another carer the previous evening.

I'd encouraged her to phone to return a call but as soon as she did found myself regretting being drawn back into those issues.

Must go to bed now - other wise I'll need to pour a third glass of wine and it will soon be tomorrow.

And if I wake Jane up when I go to bed then she won't sleep tonight either.


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Just got back.

It's been great to have a few days away. Even better when we don't talk about Sam or mental health issues for a while - though we weren't so good at that!

Stopped off to see Sam on the way home. He's not so good. We're still hoping he'll be okay to come home for Christmas - though some of that fills me with dread. Was it last Christmas or the Christmas before where Sam managed to ...

... well just get me so stressed on both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve through messing up.

Why can't I even remember when it was? I think two years ago - and I just have a premonition.

Lots of phone calls today. Jane's found them very helpful - but for me it's like being back home again where everything revolves around Sam even though he's so many miles away.

We've a few very dificult meetings on Thursday.

I'll try to write more tomorow,

- just too tired now.

Friday, December 10, 2004

We're going away for a few days - so if you don't hear from me, I've not forgotten you!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Nell (Sam's sister) met an old friend of Sam when she was out last weekend. He and Sam used to go climbing together sometimes.

He chatted with Nell for a bit and then asked how Sam was.

Nell just found herself unexpectedly in tears.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

When Sam rang today he said he'd had a spliff last night.

A couple of weeks ago we were concerned that Sam might have been smoking cannabis because of the wasy he was talking. We'd got used to recognising it - but it's so close to his psychotic symptoms that we could never be sure. Staff just said that he was very up and down and left it at that.

But he's also mentioned to both of us that one day a patient had brought him in some cocaine. He hadn't liked it - it hurt his nose!

Today Jane rang the ward to mention this. Not a complaint - just passing on information. Fortunately the ward maanger answered and took it in that spirit.

There may be some random drugs tests soon.

After all - it is supposed to be a "place of safety".

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Jane went to see Sam again yesterday afternoon.

It was just a good opportunity for her as she was heading that way. We knew it was ward round and that the new consultant was attending as well but Jane hadn't expected to meet him. However as he couldn't meet us on the later days we suggested he made time to see her today.

He was very nice. He just wanted to listen and hear all about it from Jane's point of view. Of course she hadn't prepared herself and so what came out was just what was at the top of her mind at the moment. First impressions though were very good. We hope we will be able to get on well with him.

We had understood that the transfer to the new consultant would be at ward round today - but it seems that it will be at the CPA (Care Programme Approach) meeting in a week or so. The delay is annoying and I think the meeting will be less open and productive if both consultants are there. We just want to get on with working with the new consultant and negotiating a new care plan.

After this Jane took Sam out for a meal. He phoned me from there and told me all about seeing the space ship and the aliens. An aeroplane was following it slowly so it will all be on the radar. But at other times he was having very rational discussions with Jane.

Monday, December 06, 2004

We had a phone call from the ward yesterday.

It was an older, senior nurse who always seems quiet, calm and gentle.

Sam was refusing his medication. He'd refused it several times during the previous week. Could we help by talking with him?

It was the first we knew that Sam had been refusing his medication. He has always been against medication and often goes through periods of refusing it.

But I'd seen this nurse the day before. He hadn't mentioned it then. Jane had spoken to someone on the ward by phone the day before that to ask if everything was okay and nothing was mentioned then. The doctor on the ward earlier in the week had said how good Sam was.

Communications ................. ????

Sam had a numbness in his arms. He'd mentioned it to me yesterday. He was clearly worried about it. It could be to do with the medication. Sam clearly believes so. He may be right - or not - but he did have complications with his heart as a result of previous medication. It should be checked out. But the nurse seemed to lack interest in this.

We eventually managed to persuade Sam to take his medication - even though we have serious doubts ourselves about the current regime.

But isn't this part of working in partnership?

Why do they so rarely see the value of it???

Sunday, December 05, 2004

I hadn't seen Sam for a couple of weeks so it was good to visit him again yesterday.

I was unsure how he had been. The ward doctor had rung during the week to say how well he was now that she'd made him better. Jane thought he was still very confused and psychotic when she saw him last weekend - but probably better than when I had last seen him.

The ward door was unlocked by a new nurse when I buzzed through. He introduced himself in a very cheery manner. It's the first time I've visited since the complaint and I was unsure of what reaction I would get. So this welcome was nice.

It took a time to rouse Sam and get him up. (After all it was only 12.30!)

Eventually we set off, had a walk, lunch and another walk. I was pretty tired by the end but still had a long drive home.

Sam was very quiet. I chatted a bit but left lots of pauses for him to fill if he wanted. I also didn't want him to be disturbed by me just rabbiting on regardless and didn't want to quiz him too much.

After a while he volunteered some of his thoughts. He'd died twice last week - that's three times now after the time he wrecked Jane's car and came back to life again. (The bit about wrecking the car is true, sadly!) He said knew he'd died and come back to life again because he could smell death. He wasn't frightened of death he said.

He was still seeing the future.

Talking to the doctor during the week he couldn't concentrate as he was fighting the devil.

I'd wondered whether Sam's quietness and reticence could be an effect of the medication. But just as we were getting out of the car he commented on the car indicator clicking, reached over and switched it off. He announced that he was looking inwards because when he looked outwards voices from outside came flooding in and overwhelmed him. Of course he hadn't discussed this with anyone else - but it was only at the very end of spending a quiet two hours with Sam that he had volunteered it to me.

But the doctor thinks he's better. Upping the medication, she thinks, has worked.

We have heard that there will be a handover to Sam's new consultant at the ward round on Monday. We've had an email forwarded to us from him already and he sounds very nice and thoughtful.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

There was a conference about cannabis and schizophrenia in the UK this week.

There have been a number of media articles about the risks of cannabis in relation to psychosis.

This link is to a document circulated at the conference by the legalise cannabis campaign. They are now taking a really responsible line on this.

That has much to with the tireless efforts of Helen whose son, like ours, is diagnosed with schizophrenia and has a history of excessive cannabis use.

Thank you Helen.


Friday, December 03, 2004

Lets play "good doctor/bad doctor".

Lets start with the bad doctors. Last Friday Sam's consultant, who is one of the main subjects of our complaint, phoned Jane at the end of the day. I think I wrote about it.

It was completely inappropriate. We've made a formal complaint about him. He shouldn't be phoning up to try to smooth it over.

Then yesterday Jane got a phone call from the ward doctor. She's had some run-ins with her. They just rub each other up the wrong way. The doctor just can't understand where we're coming from.

She rang to say how well Sam was. She's increased his medication and has been seeing him twice a week and now he's better.

Jane calmly - oh ever so calmly, as her heart beat raced and her stomach clenched - explained to her how psychotic and confused Sam had been on Sunday.

Oh but he was better now, but she wouldn't be having any more to do with him now he was being transferred to another consultant.

Thank heavens!

It's the first time anyone has confirmed that it really is happening although we've requested it.

When Jane put the phone down she was shaking. She'd been in good humour and looking forward to other things in the afternoon and evening but now all that was taken from her as panic symptoms engulfed her.

Just trying to calmly deal with that woman had taken so much from her.

And what was the purpose of the call? The doctor had also been criticised in the complaint. Why was she phoning? Again - totally inappropriate.

It took Jane a while to calm down which left her late for her afternoon appointment. The afternoon and evening went well and she has returned refreshed.

During the afternoon we had an email from the hospital.

It was the woman dealing with the complaint passing on an email from the new consultant. It wasn't intended for us - but just forwarded to us.

He sounded though so conscientious and reasonable. He talked of wanting to meet with us and talk with us about Sam.

It's full of hope and promise - let's hope he is the "good doctor".

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Got back safely yesterday.

It was nice to be back home - my sister had been trying to persuade me to stay longer and it was very tempting.

I'd been really upset by Jane's phone call about how she had been treated on the ward. It was as if the complaint was going to rebound on us and make everything just too difficult.

Then on Tuesday talking to Jane on the phone she told me of all the phone calls she's had all day with people trying to sort out all that was going on with Sam.

It all just seemed too much for me.

I was still upset about the Sunday episode and Jane just spending all day on the phone to people just seemed too much. Last week had been like that all week.

I really wasn't looking forward to going back.

Not at all.

But it's nice to be home.


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