Beds are like buses

Anorexia seems to be infinitely creative. It always finds a way to make things worse. 

We thought that Monday had to be rock bottom. We had held up our hands, and asked to be rescued. The cavalry came and Ollie was transferred back to our local hospital. He was to have 1:1 nursing whilst we waited for an inpatient bed. It was going to be ok. He was going to be safe. It was temporary but it was workable. 

On Tuesday morning we went to visit. He had a mental health nurse with him in his room, as well as general nursing on the ward. He looked ok. Unhappy, still mute, but ok. The nurse assured us that they'd wash him and adhere to his meal plan. 

By Tuesday afternoon, he had to have two mental health nurses. The ward staff talked to us about sectioning him. Things seemed to be escalating, and fast. There was talk of sedating him. Luckily he slept without drugs. We thought that this would only be for a day; there would surely be an inpatient bed for someone so very ill. 

By Wednesday Ollie had three mental health nurses on him, sedation, and a look of abject terror, exacerbated by our presence. One of the mental health nurses was sporting a fat lip: Ollie had injured her. His mealtime - a tube feed - was so traumatic that when my husband witnessed it, he was so panicked that he phoned our London experts and screeched for immediate help. We still had no news of a bed. We felt desperate, that the situation was intolerable, and we saw no way forward. 

Ollie was gone. We could see no future. No-one could help him. The house felt empty without him. We could see no way that he would ever come home. 

Then Thursday dawned, and help arrived. Expert care and news of a bed; in fact, of three beds. One in Edinburgh, one in Birmingham, and one in South London. Each requires an assessment and therefore a journey; due to Ollie's high-risk status, he will have to travel by secure ambulance. We had never heard of one and googled the term: my advice is don't look. It's not pretty. Ollie will have to stay where he is for a few more days before we can start the assessment trips, and our local hospital is not thrilled by this. Ollie is a risky, high maintenance patient, and not a welcome addition to the ward.

Ollie also received some welcome care from his expert nurse who travelled to see us. A wash, clean clothes, the ability to move around the ward, conversation (albeit one-sided). It would seem that the local staff were totally  scared of him and were only concerned with his risky behaviour. I felt so grateful for these acts of kindness, for the care that I wasn't able to provide myself. 

On Monday Ollie will be assessed by the London unit. All being well, he could be admitted the same day. We don't believe in any deity, but this is the closest I have come to praying for salvation. 


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