Saturday, July 30, 2005

I'm reading the "Life of Pi" by Yann Martel at the moment.

One chapter talks of animals that try to escape from zoos and their reasons. When I thought of Sam locked on hospital wards as he has been so often I thought of him and why he now often escapes.

Here are a few sentences from that chapter:


Yet there will always be animals that seek to escape from zoos. Animals who are kept in unsuitable enclosures are the most obvious example. Every animal has particular habitat needs that must be met.


Everything in an enclosure must be right - in other words, within the limits of the animal's capacity to adapt. A plague upon bad zoos with bad enclosures. They bring all zoos into disrepute.


All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways. This madness can be a saving; it is part and parcel of the ability to adapt. Withoout it no species would survive.


Whatever the reason for wanting to escape, sane or insane, zoo detractors should realise that animals don't escape to somewhere but from something.

Friday, July 29, 2005

When Sam turned up at our friend's house yesterday she didn't know he was supposed to be in hospital. She thought he seemed very well at first. He'd been climbing near by and popped in to see her. It seemed the most natural thing.

It was only when she started to ask about us and other things that she became suspicious and Sam owned up that he should be in hospital.

He ate three apples, an avacado pear sliced in half with olive oil and a huge plate of chips with two eggs. It was wolfed down in no time. He said he couldn't remember the last time he had eaten.

He had a shower and our friend gave him a massage.

He behaved perfectly normally throughout.

When he left happily with the police he gave her a hug. It was as if he had just had a nice day out.

Our friend said Sam somehow seemed to have a kind of "purity", a calm attitude to the world. He certainly seems untouched by life's usual cares and worries.


His social worker had seen him that morning. He said he'd never seen him so poorly. he was banging his head against a perspex screen and ran at him angrily.

Being detained is just not good for Sam. So now they're worrying about the medication again instead of the environment.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Today ...

Well had been quite good. We went into the local town this morning, had stroll, bought some postcards and a paper, had a beer in the bar by the fountain then wandered home for lunch. A quiet afternoon then a call from the hospital.

Sam had gone missing this afternoon. Climbed over the building again. He'd been seen by police but not picked up.

Phoned Jane's brother who was on his way to see Sam. He was already there. He'd been showed into a room to wait. Now he knew why.

A surprise call from Nell from the other side of the world. Okay - I think, but rather quiet and subdued.

Then a call from friends. I've mentioned a friend before who has downes syndrome. She stopped breathing on the beach yesterday in France. Her uncle made up how to do mouth to mouth resuscitation until the lifeguard appeared with the oxygen. At least she was in a place where there was oxygen. Overnight in hospital and she's right as rain - well kind of.

Meanwhile we've been trying to keep in contact with my sister in law and my brother. I became an uncle again yesterday. Things seem kind of alright with the usual kind of worries.

Then phoned my sister. I knew an old friend had died suddenly last week. My mum had told me. I hadn't realised it was that very close friend from so long ago. The funeral is tomorrow. My sister didn't even know we were back in France. She was looking forward to seeing us this weekend.

Then a text from some other friends. Sam had turned up. She was giving him a massage and waiting for the hospital to pick him up.

Didn't she know it would be police?

When the police came they promised they would stop on the way back to buy him some tobacco with the money she gave. MMMmmmm!

Sam went to friends but he just got sent back to hospital.

We were going to go to another jazz concert tonight in a local village. What a good job we gave it a miss!

I was very tearful again tonight though Jane coped.

I keep saying - I can cope with everything except for peoples kindness.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

This evening we drove into the local town and strolled throught the evening market. A jazz band were plaing in the main square. We managed to grab a table at a bar and sat outside with a couple of coffees to listen to the music. Later we strolled across the square and listened some more before walking down a lane back through the market. We tried to get a table at the bar by the fountain for a couple of beers and to watch everyone walking past but we were just beaten to two tables as they emptied. So we looked again at the rest of the market and came upon some more jazz squeezed into an atmospheric space by the lavoir. This was Coltrane inspired and more to my taste. The audience here seemed to be more music lovers than the tourists in the square, though a number of young couples with children. The kids were enjoying walking on the edge of the ancient washroom. It was only a matter of time before one of them fell in. But fortunately it was the dog that did so first.

Then a text from Jane's brother. He's kindly driven a long way today to see Sam and plans to again tomorrow.

Are we in now? Can he phone to talk about Sam?

Back in half an hour, we agreed.

So Jane's on the phone with him now. Intense conversations about Sam's progress and yet more changes to his medication.

I don't want to hear just now. Is that so awful? I just want to switch off from it all.

I'm on holiday.

Monday, July 25, 2005

So we phoned the ward today.

Well, they hadn't phoned us. That was either good news or bad news.

Not so bad - at least Sam hadn't disappeared again or worse and they were still drawing lots on who was to tell us.

At the ward round on Thursday there had been a discussion about Sam's medication. It was being reviewed as we had brought to their attention that much of the medication down as prn - or when required was being given daily.

The doctor prescribes this so if needed the nurses can give it. What we've found on most wards is that the patient then gets given everything - especially if they are at all difficult. This isn't what the doctor intended but nobody seems to have an overview and it's not clear that what has been taken as opposed to what has been prescribed is rigorously checked.

So they have now taken all the additional medication off his prescription and also some that was deliberately prescribed.

There seem to be too many sudden changes again. Sam reacts badly to sudden changes. But if we mention anything it will be - what do we want?

They thought we wanted his medication reduced.

Yes ...

But ...

It's all so complicated ...

They should know that.

For instance we've been advised by more than one authoratative source that benzodiapines should be the last to be taken off. Sam was coping for a while in France just on those and no antipsychotics.

Now he is just on one antipsychotic.

It may work but he will need lots of help and support.

I still don't know if it's good news or bad news.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

I've enjoyed just resting a few days.

Long sleeps, late breakfasts, a stroll to the nearby village if I've felt up to it, a beer in the bar watching the world go by, afternoons reading in the quiet shade, watering the garden, a pastis before dinner, a nice meal, some talk, check the news and cricket on the internet, a last glass of French wine then time for bed.

No mention of Sam.

Often when we've been away we've phoned about Sam daily to the ward.

Maybe it's a recognition that just now there's nothing we can do except get ourselves strong again.

Jane phoned my mum and dad tonight. She knew they were likely to have visited today. They thought he was poorly but their descriptions of him were as quite well.

So we talked about Sam again a little tonight.

I think we'd been avoiding it.

Earlier we went for a walk up the lane.

The last time I'd been on that walk was with Sam,

a few months ago,

when he was straight out of hospital,

scared he was going to disappear.

But he was saving that for later.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Yesterday - was it only yesterday - we flew to France.

For a holiday.

We decided as soon as we came back to England that we would return to France for a holiday. I knew I needed one and deciding first meant we might do it - rather than just getting caught up in the day to day stuff.

We had the great excuse of having to pick up the car - having brought Sam back by plane.

Despite trying to make sure everything was as it should be - it's very hard. It feels like walking away from all the problems - and in a way it is. That's the point. We need a rest.

So why feel guilty?

There's always that feeling though that we need to be there when decisions are being made. And Sam certainly isn't stable at the moment.

So yesterday we set the alarm for 4.30.

It didn't go off.

But that was okay as Jane had been up since 12.30.

Waking early was a shock for me.

So we got a taxi, then a plane, then a bus, then a train, then a car.

We thought we should have tried to go for a boat ride while we were waiting for the train to try to fit in the most different types of transport in the day.

L picked us up from the train station - in our car!!!!

She'd suddenly realised everyone was out and no other car was available. Luckily we'd left the keys.

We'd climbed out of the train and were hit by the stifling heat. I'd forgotten it so quickly.

I dragged the suitcases of the train before it set off again, then up and down the steps between platforms and felt exhausted - though I'd done nothing else that day but sit in different forms of transport.

L was pulling up outside the railway station just as I stepped onto the street.

It was lovely to see her again.

A big, beaming, smiley welcome that seemed so genuine.

So we climbed in and talked of the journey and Sam and soon found ourselves at L's where we had tea and cakes and gossip and talk and could we stay overnight and go out for dinner and ... ?

We thought about it and decided to press on.

The tea and cakes had revived my flagging energy.

It would be good to finish our journey.

Also there was something strange about being back.

I knew there would be.

I couldn't put my finger on it though.

L tried out a few words but they weren't quite right.

And she's good at words.

It's her job.

I'd just spent three months there with Sam. A plan. An adventure. Trying to help him get better. It was a big commitment, a great enterprise, a huge emotional investment. Now over. Unsuccessful (?) - I'm still not sure.

Being back there. Without Sam. I didn't know how I would feel. Well I suppose I did. I knew it wouldn't feel right. That it would stir my emotions.

So I suggested we left. To drive for another four hours or so to the house of other friends where we plan to stay for a couple of weeks.

L repeated he kind offers to stay overnight. She was alone in a bit of peace and quiet for the day. A great opportunity to get on with her so often disrupted work. Yet,

" Are you sure you don't want to stay the night?"

With final kisses and goodbyes and hopes and promises that we will meet again we jumped into the car and sped off a few hundred yards before stopping to find sunglasses and the map and ...

As we drove down the road I tried to explain to Jane how I wasn't ready to be there just yet. I do want to go back. I like it there. I have lots of fond memories. But I could feel tears welling in my eyes.

I'm not ready yet.

This was followed by frustrations at diversions to the motorway and getting slightly lost and wasting time at the beginning of a long journey when already tired.

But before we knew it we were off the motorway again and winding our way in the early evening light through beautiful countryside.

Countryside that as we got closer we recognised so well from previous visits.

A stop in the local small town. In the market square. Outside one of the packed bars were people shouting into microphones.

"What's going," on asked Jane?

"Quiz night," I quipped.

But I was right.

"What is the capital of Uruguay?"

Further down the road outside another bar a jazz band was playing. Of the two I was more tempted by the music.

We banged on the door and finally managed to let ourselves in to the flat of the chap who we were to collect the keys from. It was over a pizza restaurant and through his open windows the jazz band and quiz night were competing as we asked him how he was coping now alone since we last met him and his partner had sadly died.

Promised invites for lunch and we scrambled back down the rough steps and strolled away from the noise of the square to a favourite restaurant.

We sneaked the last table.

New owners, a different (more expensive) menu but still friendly service and a nice view for me of the church and hills beyond as we sat outside drinking too much cheap white wine.

We were on holiday.

At last.

We drove up the steep and winding road to where we were staying. We strolled round the garden looking at the changes and improvements. We took our overnight bags from the car and left the rest unpacked.

Then we went to bed.

It was about ten o clock.

Despite the heat I was soon asleep.

Thirteen hours later I was struggling to wake and get up.

I think I needed the rest.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Sam's climbed over the roof to get out yesterday and today. We know because yesterday my parents were there when it happened. Today Jane and I were. Each time he came straight back.

I wonder how many more times it might have happened that haven't been mentioned?

We're worried as Sam seems to be more poorly at the moment. Also, although his prescribed medication is low the consultant put a whole range of other stuff down - if needed. So of course they give him that all the time as well. Sam knows the Haliperidol is causing problems.

We're lucky though that there is a senior nurse who is against the medication and is trying to work with us and Sam. Although Sam is so poorly and keeps absconding this nurse is eager to arrange outside visits to get him involved in other things. He is prepared to take risks and really wants to help Sam. It's good to have an ally on the ward with some influence.

Early tomorrow morning Jane and I fly back to France. The excuse is to pick up the car.

But we both need a break - a holiday.

I think we deserve it.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Sam is back safely on the ward.

About ten thirty I got a phone call from my mum. She'd had a call from a police station near a neighbouring town to say they'd picked Sam up. She explained he was sectioned and should be in hospital.

We phoned the hospital who were already talking to the police. They were taking him back to hospital.

A little later we got a call from our local police station. Did we have any news about Sam?

they'd put his details on the police national computer. The other station obviously hadn't looked at it.

Just like France really.

Friday, July 15, 2005

It was only today that I discovered that Sam had gone missing earlier yesterday.

In his black dressing gown - and nothing else.

He'd managed to go over the wall in this state but was collected a little later from a local church.

Today he told me he'd met Jesus in the church and god had told him to be normal. So today he was relatively well - so that seemed good.

Well until we got a phone call early evening from the hospital. Sam had climbed out twice this evening. The first time with his bag packed - but they got him back. The second time he climbed right over the building to get out. This time without his bag. He was chased but escaped.

I drove over and looked on the routes he might have taken but to no avail.

A little after I got back Jane took a phone call from the ward. As she was talking a police car pulled up outside.

But without Sam. They were just looking for him. The phone call was from the ward. No news but they were obviously worried.

This is more action than we usually get when he goes missing.

He's now gone missing from the ward more times in a week and a half that he did in three months with us in France.

Where was he safest?

The worry is that if they are worried about guaranteeing his safety then a secure ward might be discussed again.

The immediate worry though is -

where is he now???????

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Today he was naked - apart from a black towelling dressing gown.

He'd put all his clothes to wash.

Nothing else to be found.

I'll take him some more clothes in tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

My aches and pains seem to have got worse today. I've even developed some lower back pain as well. I wasn't as bad as this all the time I was in France. Perhaps I'm allergic to England!


I visited Sam this afternoon but didn't stay long.

I had a statement for him to sign so that I could talk with the benefits agency about his benefits. He doesn't seem to have had any receipts into his bank for the last month or so. I know if I go along to enquire they'll say they can't talk to me because of confidentiality. So the form I'd written for him to sign.

He seemed pleased to see me and we went to the "visitors centre". We chatted as we walked and as we passed a table I asked him to look at it and sign it before we headed outside. As I explained he looked at me strangely, obviously saw or heard something frightening from me and ran back to the ward.

Eventually I got him back from the ward and tried to chat.

"I can hear the voice from your heart. You may say you love me but your heart says you hate me. Your heart is full of lies and hatred. You want to kill me and eat me. Your heart says you want to kill. What does it feel like to be a murderer? Where do you hide your gun? You want to kill Nell. You are full of hate. I can see into your heart. I know what your heart is sying. Whatever you say to me your heart is full of hate. I can hear it now. I'm not hearing voices, I'm not telepathic, I can just feel the messages in your heart. Your heart is speaking to me. You are evel and bad. You want to kill people. I can hear it in your heart."

"I can hear it in your heart."

I tried to get Sam to concentrate on my words and ignore the other thoughts. i tried to talk about other things. But he was fixated. I got through for a couple of brief windows but then he was off again.

So I gave up and decided to go back to the ward.

Briefly he looked at me with affection,

said, "I love you"

and gave me a hug.

Then on the ward he started again.

Then he started shouting.

He wanted everybody on the ward to know.

He was shouting it out and everyone came to hear,

so I slipped quietly away.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Did I tell you I have a ‘shrink’ too?

I visited my psychiatrist today. - This afternoon. I’d had an appointment in the morning with my occupational therapist.

Oh dear! Should I have told you that? You’ll all think I’m mad and stop listening.

“Well I always knew there was something funny about him …”

It’s at the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME) Clinic. They tell me I haven’t got classic ME and that that’s good news as they think they can do something to help, whereas with ‘classic’ ME – there’s nothing they can do.

They’re all really nice. The Occupational Therapist gives me lots of support for what I’m trying to do and suggests sensible ways of trying to cope and work at improving my fatigue, aches and pains. The psychiatrist also tries to be supportive and keeps offering me drugs. I’m sure that’s very kind of her. It’s what psychiatrists do. It’s their job. They’re trained to do that. Here’s someone who’s poorly – lets give them some medicine.

No thank you.

I only found out today that the medication she is suggesting won’t help my fatigue – just my anxiety with little likelihood of a knock-on effect for my fatigue.

So again – no thank you.

She keeps asking me about my “mood”.

She clearly thinks I’m at risk of topping myself. She must have asked once if I had ever considered suicide. Doesn’t the thought go through anyone’s mind when things are really bad – but with no serious intent? Maybe not, but I must have said this to her once.

So each meeting – how is my mood? Any thoughts of … ?

But I feel grateful. They are trying to look out for me. They know it’s difficult and want to help me get better. I think they respect what we’ve been doing for Sam.

I told them how well I’ve been doing physically. How the space and peace and calm out in France helped me also. (At least when it was calm!)

But I’d tried to do too much gardening at the weekend and then driving some distance to the clinic twice today has exhausted me. So I no longer feel well physically. Having been away from home for so long I’ve maybe been trying to do too much – but there’s still so much still to do.

I need to get back to France!


Monday, July 11, 2005

Sam was once sectioned on Jane’s birthday.

He was being admitted to hospital last Wednesday on my birthday.

As a voluntary patient – but with the possibility he might be sectioned by the end of the day if he tried to leave!

But no, he wasn’t sectioned on my birthday.

However the next day he kept trying to leave the ward. We had a phone call to say they were trying to section him under section 3 of the Mental Health Act because of this – but the GP wasn’t available until the next day. So they would detain him under section 5(2) and that was being arranged.

We were talking about this as simultaneously the phone rang and we heard someone calling from the door.

I went to the door to find two policemen with Sam.

He’d been found on a school playing field without shoes and behaving strangely and they had brought him home. He’d been able to give them clear directions.

I told them he was detained under a section and that they should have taken him back to the hospital.

However Jane’s phone call was to say that the hospital hadn’t managed to section him before he had wandered off.

So we had to take him in as a voluntary patient again. If we could get him onto the highway the police could take him – but not from private premises. By now Sam was in the bathroom taking his clothes off for a shower.

It looked like it was up to us again.

After his shower and a chat and a cigarette I explained to Sam that the doctor had taken all his medication so he would need to go back to hospital again.

“All right then,” he responded without complaint.

So we bundled him into the car and took him back again, hoping they would lock the door a little tighter this time.

… … … …

Since then we’ve visited Sam each day. Each day his tobacco has disappeared. Probably a good thing – but expensive. I thought on Saturday he seemed really good but Jane thought Sunday much less so. Today, Monday, I thought he seemed really, really psychotic. Maybe it’s the effect of coming off the French drugs. It’s just hitting in now. I don’t know. I guess we just have to be patient.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Back to Tuesday!

The flight was fairly uneventful. I’d worried that Sam might find it difficult but no – he was fine. He took it in his stride.

We’d left France in clear, hot sunlight. Now we descended through the clouds. A brief parting gave a glimpse of deep green fields and dismally black stone walls.

As we got off the plane we were met by a cold drizzle. England. Home.

We were met at the airport. Welcoming hugs then into the cars to return home.

On the journey back Sam had been really calm.

He seemed to get better as the day went on despite all the waiting and messing about. At home to start with he seemed okay.

Maybe it was the long day and tiredness. Perhaps the big changes got to him. But by late afternoon he was no longer holding it all together.

As we tried to unpack his bags he kept trying different clothes on – sometimes on top of the last lot.

He dialed 999 for the emergency services.

At first I thought he was acting it out but he answered “police” to the first question and I could then hear someone replying to him.

“There’s a man here called JD (L’s husband in whose house we had been staying in France). He’s pretending to be my dad. He’s a lunatic and is dangerous. Please can you send someone.

I managed to get the phone of Sam and attempted to explain. They seemed to believe me but were concerned that everything might not be okay and asked if I needed support.

It was about this time I decided it might be sensible to hide Sam’s shoes away. It must have been a premonition but a few minutes later Sam appeared in yet another set of clothes and with an old pair of trainers he must have found somewhere. He was going out despite our protestations and set off down the road. Of course we didn’t have shoes on!

By the time I got my shoes and to the end of the road Sam had disappeared. As always whichever direction we searched was not the one Sam had set of on. Again he had vanished.

Less than an hour later he turned up. He had found his way to a friend’s house down the road.

Surprisingly overnight he slept.

We were expecting the doctor and social worker in the morning. Of course it was early afternoon when they arrived though I still hadn’t had lunch. Sam was in the middle of shaving for the first time in the last couple of months.

They were really nice – with me and Sam.

I’d been worried that they would be funny with us about it all but they weren’t. There was no judgment. They just wanted to help work out the best for Sam.

They listened well. To me and Sam.

They also didn’t pour scorn on our attitudes to the medication issues.

They asked what I wanted, what I thought was best. It was hard but the discussions we had and Sam’s interactions as we were talking and attempts to wander off made it clear he needed to be somewhere safe.

We agreed it would be ideal if Sam would agree to go into hospital as a voluntary patient whilst his medication was sorted out.

We asked Sam and he agreed.

“Shall I bring him in this afternoon?”

“I thought now would be best.”

I did too but had assumed there would be things to organize.

They were organized by mobile phone while Sam had a cigarette and I found his shoes.

The doctor was horrified by the medication that Sam had been put on by the French hospital. I tried to explain what we had found out about them and we gathered them into a carrier bag for her to take to the pharmacy to try to be sure exactly what he was taking and why. The first anti-psychotic he had been put on has been discontinued in the UK for the last couple of years.

Sam was happy to come to the hospital.

On the ward he strode around as if he owned it.

He’s been on that ward twice in the past – but it was a different regime then. It seems to have improved now.

The doctor – having talked with the pharmacist decided on the proposed medication. She explained to Sam what she was doing.

It was the same medication that he had been on as he went in to the secure ward over a year ago – but at about half the dose. It’s something that could work for Sam and that it would be possible to look at coming off in a controlled way.

I felt she had listened.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

I visited Sam in hospital today.

He seemed to be making really good progress.

We were sitting outside in the visitors' centre. I was ready to go.

A family arrived.

A young man came and introduced Sam to his mum and dad and sister. I introduced myself.

He seemed about the age that Sam was when he was first admitted. His sister looked to be the age that Nell would have been at the same time. They all looked anxious but were trying to be positive.

At last someone was trying to help them. Perhaps now the difficulties would be addressed and perhaps solved. That's just how we were a few long years ago.

I do hope it works out for them.

They waved goodbye as I left.

I hope I see them again and can offer some support.

Do I tell them we were there a few years ago but are still in such difficulties? What can I do to offer them hope but also give them the information they might need to take control?


Once going to the ward to visit Sam a man was leaving from another ward. He had two young children. One was in his arms. The other was holding his hand, crying.

"Don't worry. Mummy didn't mean to be angry with you like that. She's not well at the moment."

His face reflected despair.

I've worried about him regularly since but have never seen him again. I wonder what support he was getting - and if things are better now.


Another time when Sam was in the secure ward I met a husband and wife who had driven a couple of hundred miles to visit their son - having had difficulty on finding out where he was. He'd been in prison for two years and it was only on discharge that the prison decided he needed to be in a psychiatric hospital. The hospital were horrified that he had to be admitted in handcuffs. The prison would give the family no information and it was only after lots of fights that they managed to get information from the Home Office - government department. Eventually he was transferrred to a hospital nearer home.

They were lovely people and had time for Sam.


I could see Sam in the young man today. He's moved so far since then. He knows the ropes now. He's been in and out of hospitals so often. He's experienced. That young man looked young and anxious, his family wanting to support him - hoping for the best. I do hope he gets better help than Sam has received over the last few years.

I hope he gets well.


I found it hard to look at that anxious, desperate hope in his family's eyes.


I'll try to bring you up to date with Sam tomorrow.

Friday, July 08, 2005

We woke early on Tuesday morning. We had to leave the house soon after 5.30 to get our lift to the airport. A friend was catching an earlier plane.

The day before we got Sam out of the hospital with no problem. We rushed off before bills were mentioned again but clutching a prescription. At least we now knew what medication he had been given. A stop off at the pharmacy – two of the four meds they only had enough for three days. That will do. Let’s go!

(Though three of the four were in liquid form requiring us to count out up to 160 drops of each three times a day. Fortunately one had a measures syringe to save counting the drops. It was only when we got home that the pharmacist pointed out that the droppers could be different for each medication …)

Goodbyes to be said on an early clear morning with last glances at kind friends through sleepy eyes. Quick hugs then pile into the car.

Views of a silver sea as the early morning sun climbed gently with the sharpest views of mountains behind that I’d seen during our visit.

By the time we were at the airport the sun as already becoming bright and strong. More farewells then into the terminal. Croissants and coffee and innumerable cigarettes for Tom, putting in time until we could check in. When it was time there was of course a queue.

So far Sam was coping very well. Could he continue to hold it together now? We hung around in the queue waiting for the check in staff to arrive. Eventually we started to move. A message flashed up – flight delayed by thirty minutes. Sugar. We wanted as little hanging around for Sam as possible.

An officious man started to try to move the queue to one side to make way for others to get past. We and a few moved but of course the rest didn’t and we suddenly found ourselves to one side having now lost our place. I was angry. It was me that wasn’t coping not Sam. I remonstrated with the man to no effect. He seemed incapable of organising anything. I calmed quickly – this was doing nobody any good. The people in front of us kindly let us back in as the queue moved past us.

Sam was still doing fine. As long as he didn’t play up at the check in. We didn’t want any difficult questions. They didn’t want someone on the plane who could cause serious problems.

It went fine.

But as we checked in the news came through that the flight was now delayed by an hour.

We went back outside the terminal found a seat and watched the hubbub of people arriving and leaving. Taxis with eager travellers embarking and disembarking. The variety of dress especially amongst the women was fascinating. Some looked as if they had just stepped off the catwalk. Others were dressed as if for the beach. Sam smoked and we drank water. We took strolls up and down. A walk round the car park. And another.

It looked now as if the flight was delayed by an hour and a half.

Eventually we decided to go through into the departure lounge.

We had to get through security. Another challenge where we didn’t want Sam to act up. I tried to get him to take off his denim jacket as it had metal buttons. He couldn’t understand. Eventually he took it off to go through the X-ray machine. But of course he was still pulled over to be searched. I pictured the scene of him refusing, being angry and confused and whisked away.

But no. He stood there calmly. Then we led him away.

We bought some tobacco and then found some seats. Sam was happy to sit with the occasional visit to a glass cubicle where smokers were temporarily imprisoned.

All morning with only a couple of minor glitches Sam had been calm. He had been able to communicate with us. He seemed to be getting better as the day went on. Maybe the reduction in stress from being incarcerated was helping him improve.

He sat calmly and quietly as we waited and waited for the departure as further delays were announced and we watched gaggles of excited teenagers from a school trip being herded to their plane.

Eventually boarding was announced. Of course our seats weren’t in the first to board. So we sat calmly. No point in rushing and pushing. Eventually it was our turn. They took our boarding cards and we were walking on to the plane. This was it. We’d done it. Barring Sam having a major do on the plane and us being diverted we were on our way home.

Sam gazed ahead with a fixed, staring, frightened look on his face as the plane gathered speed for take off. We'd been at the airport for five and a half hours. But now we were about to enjoy that miracle. We were starting to fly.

We were on our way home!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


I'm not sure if it's good news or bad - but I guess it's news, and I know many of you are wanting to hear.

The last couple of days have been hectic - and today still is.

But just to let you know we are now back in the UK and that today's return by plane went very successfully (despite the two hour delay!)

Maybe back home becoming less so ...

... I'll try to write properly soon.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Today Sam was quiet, polite, calm, sleepy, dozy – drugged up?

A few days ago I was talking with L about a watercolour Sam had painted for her a little while ago.

“You should keep it,” I said. “It might be worth a lot one day.”

“It’s worth a lot now,” she said with the most genuine of smiles.

Friday, July 01, 2005

As soon as we went into the little room they let us use Sam went for me.

You’re evil. You don’t love anyone.

You don’t love me, you don’t love mum.

Stay away from me you’re a bad person.

How can you live with yourself when you’re like that?

How may people have you killed?

Mum? How many people has dad shot?

The thing is since I’ve met Jesus I’ve special powers. I can pass healing energy between us. I can choose to give it to you and to take it away. I’m a guru. I can heal. I can do magic.

Take that!

- He threw a cup of cold water at me.

How does it feel to be hurt?

I decided it was best to leave but Jen moved to calm him and I stood away, out of his eye-line. After a while and a cigarette – he’d been out of tobacco all day – he calmed down. He settled. He apologised.

I wasn’t upset about the things he’d said.

Just worried that like this how were we going to get him on a plane in a few days?

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