Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sam was due home with a member of staff at about twenty past eleven. We had wondered whether we should have phoned earlier to confirm the arrangements but hadn't done so. When it got to twenty to twelve and Sam had not appeared we decided to phone the ward.

There had been difficulty getting Sam up but he was outside now smoking a cigarette. Unfortunately though now there were some problems on the ward which was very "lively". So it was not possible to bring Sam immediately. They would phone if and when they set off.

At one o'clock we realised they were not coming and phoned again to see if we could visit Sam instead. That was fine. We could come at four or six but when we asked if we could go for a short walk with Sam it was suggested six would be better.

Then several phone calls from staff and Sam. He was out of tobacco. I had a discussion with Sam about whether he would rather we came at four and he would get his tobacco sooner or if he would like us to come at six when he could go for a walk. Initially he plumped for four and the tobacco but then decided he could wait until six as he would enjoy the walk.

That is progress I suppose - but I just hope that we do manage to go for a walk or Sam will not be happy about being kept longer.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It took not quite a rant but some careful persuasion by Jane to arrange a visit for Sam on Saturday. They seem to have put themselves out to do it ... but without our persuasion othing seems to happen. We have had three meetings recently agreeing the importance of Sam getting out but does it happen ... ?

Regular readers will not need the answer!

Sam was chatting on the phone the other day saying he had been to the "Visitor's Centre" in the main hospital. There he said he had been chatting with drug dealers and prostitutes. It may have been his psychosis ... or it may even have beeen true! We have known both there.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Jane had a rant on Saturday.

She had understood, having talked to a member of staff on Thursday, that they were going to try to arrange for Sam to come out with us for an extended visit - escorted by a member of staff. We should ring on Saturday morning to finalise details.

Of course on Saturday morning they knew nothing about it and in any case were severely under-staffed. So Jane blew her top ever so gently.

It was certainly effective as several phone conversations later it was agreed that Sam could come home for three hours with a member of staff. We didn't even have to pick them up ... they would come in a hospital vehicle.

So it happened. A lovely afternoon with a walk and even a small climb by Sam despite the fears of the nursing assistant accompanying him. But there was little danger of Sam heaving his now huge frame high enough on the rocks to be able to damage himself if he were to fall. Though I was surprised at how high he did manage to get.

He was exhausted though - and was too by the short walk we did.

He phoned today and said he was now eighteen stone (about 250 pounds). It was alright though as he assured me he had been dancing all day and in any case it was all muscle. He said he had a "six-pack".

"A two hundred-pack," I joked.

He said he cold run faster than the new sprint record holder Usain Bolt.

And they think he is well ...

Friday, August 21, 2009

I had a bit of a rant over dinner.

We've been to so many meetings recently where it has been agreed how important it is for Sam to get out and have long walks in the countryside. Jane had been to a meeting again this week where she impressed that on them and reminded them of their agreement to it. I didn't go to the meeting because I knew I would just get angry.

It was agreed that ward staff would take Sam today to a meditation session and support meeting that he enjoys. Jane rang yesterday to confirm that would happen and to arrange for Sam to have some extended accompanied leave with us tomorrow. It was all agreed.

Then this afternoon Jane rang to find Sam had been in his pyjamas all day and that tomorrow's outing with us had not been arranged.

Over dinner I was slightly ballistic which Jane had to take though it wasn't her fault. I wanted to challenge the ward into accepting their responsibilities.

I eventually calmed. Then Sam called.

Another 'Sam' has been admitted to the ward - Sam gets on with him. He said that he had gone out this afternoon with someone from his home team - a long outing for a walk near a reservoir. Perhaps it was the new 'Sam' who had been in his pyjamas all day!

Though we still don't know what, if anything, we are doing tomorrow.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

We booked in to visit Sam last week before going away for a few days.

I had been feeling down. I was tired emotionally and physically. One tends to cause the other so I felt on a downward spiral. I wanted to see Sam but part of me didn't. I didn't want to see him unwell. I have been so upset recently that everyone seems to think he is doing well and making progress ... and then I look at him and see so many psychotic symptoms. It is as if we are talking of someone different.

It was nice to see Sam again and chat with him even though my distress at seeing him continue to be unwell. We were able to go for a walk and at least we were able to introduce yet another surprised member of staff to the field with the wonderful views just round the back of the hospital. For some reason they prefer just to walk around the hospital "grounds" which consists of a couple of patches of grass and several car parks.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

It went fine with Sam today. He rang beforehand to ask what the arrangements were so he was clearly aware and ready for it. He was fine and in good humour when he arrived. We walked to my parents house where my visiting family are staying.

As we were walking down the hill to their house we saw Sam's young cousin outside with his Dad. He waved and started walking to meet Sam. Sam held back. Perhaps he was unsure or nervous in some way. He was restrained at first. But later he suddenly gained his confidence and played with his cousin and chatted with the adults. He even made some sense at times.

He'd clearly had a good time and we had too.

Everyone seems to think it has gone well so lets hope that more outings for Sam can be planned soon.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

We managed to get leave for Sam tomorrow. A lot of people have put themselves out to make it happen. They know it will be good for Sam, they know it will be good for us but ...

... I suppose we all think for different reasons that it could be risky in different ways. I'm sure it will be fine. Of course it will. But I'm a worrier!

Sam's very young cousin who he rarely sees is visiting from an ocean away. He goes home in a couple of days. Everyone in the family wants them to meet again including each other.

So Sam's coming home for a few hours tomorrow.

Watch this space.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

It was a CPA meeting for Sam today. It is a planning meeting that is supposed to take place every six months. Different settings seem to take them with different levels of seriousness. With some everyone has done reports and it is very formal. With others it is just a very informal meeting. This was in between. There were a couple of brief reports but of course none had been circulated to us. So we were trying to skim copies quickly handed to us, depriving someone else of theirs, while the meeting started.

The room was full. Sam took one look and decided he didn't want to be there but just pointed out to everyone his view that he was "not schizophrenic" before he marched out.

I had been anxious all morning. I know the ward think he is making great progress but although he is calm the underlying psychosis still there. What is the point in taking dangerous anti-psychotic medication if it is not dealing with the psychosis? There was lots I wanted to say about this and his weight gain and the lack of leave that was promised at the ward round meeting a few weeks ago. But how to do it without just antagonising everyone?

I had wondered whether I should go at all.

But I did and I sat there and listened to them all say how pleased they were with him. How much progress he had made. So when I was asked for my views I just had to say what I felt. I praised them to the heavens first but then said my bit. They listen ever so politely then totally ignore everything you have said. So by the end I'd said most of what I had wanted to - but of course it had no effect.

I'm not sure in the end if anyone was clear what decisions had been made. A planning meeting from which no plan results. A typical CPA meeting I suppose.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

One of Sam's friends from his college days had planned to visit him today. We'd set it up so that he could go out for a walk with Sam and a member of staff.

He was coming to us for lunch first and was late ... then we got a call. He'd had a minor traffic accident. The radiator was badly damaged. Of course he had no breakdown insurance and it was his works van and he couldn't get through to anyone on the phone. We drove to him to try to help sort it out. In the end he managed to get a breakdown truck to take him home at some expense.

So all Sam got was a flying visit from me later in the afteroon. He didn't seem too down about it though. Lets hope this friend manages to arrange a more successful visit before too long.

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