15

A long day at A&E

This morning Gog phoned up the nearby mental health service that’s supposed to be treating me.

He said that he called 111 a few days ago, and was told that psychiatrists should be able to do home visits. Gog said we needed a home visit asap, because we are really, really struggling.

The receptionist said the duty professional would call us back and, three hours later, they did. They said they couldn’t do home visits (not enough staff) and the only reason they would do home visits was if they were sectioning someone.

Gog explained appts were too hard for us atm, and they had no suggestions. The duty professional did say she could get me sectioned, which he declined.

Gog then phoned 111, who were really, really good yet again.

The man said we needed to go to A&E, and they would prescribe us medication to help. He said he would send us an ambulance out, because travel was too stressful, but Gog declined as the thought panicked me a lot, and we said we’d get a taxi.

We got a taxi to hospital and checking in at reception was horrible – the receptionist was very cold and not at all understanding, she also kept asking my partner to speak up about what was wrong with me and why we were there…my partner was having to practically yell that I was struggling with suicidal thoughts, and the woman in the queue behind was standing really close and just staring at me, it was absolutely horrible.

We were told to go sit in the waiting room.

I was feeling terrible. I felt like I was going to vomit because I was so scared, and I was trembling. I felt like everybody else was staring at me and whispering about me, and the lights in the hospital were so bright I had a really bad headache.

We waited for three hours and weren’t even seen by the triage nurse.

The emergency room was virtually empty, just us and three other people, and everyone else came and went.

After over three hours, we were seen by the triage nurse. Gog spoke for me because I was far too panicked by that point, and she said we’d have to be seen by a Dr who would then get Crisis Team to come and see us.

I was so terrified and overwhelmed at that point I told my partner I wanted to go home, and he went and asked the triage nurse if we could go home and see CRHT there. She said we’d have to wait to see a Dr, and then we could go.

A while later a Dr took us into a room and said “you don’t need to tell me everything again, I know it gives you anxiety. I will just go phone Crisis Team and then I’ll come back and let you know what is going to happen”. We were in the room with the Dr for less than 30 seconds.

The Dr left us in the waiting room and, half an hour later, he still hadn’t reappeared.

I was completely done; I was stressed to the max, I wanted to cry and, as we’d been out almost five hours, I was getting increasingly stressed about our dogs.

My partner went to look for the Dr we’d just spoken with, to either ask what was going on or tell him we were leaving. He couldn’t find the Dr anywhere, and when he asked a nurse she told us to go check ourselves out at reception.

We went to the receptionist and said we wanted to leave; we gave my name, date of birth, and she said we could go. My partner called a taxi on the free phone,  we waited for it, got in, and set off home.

When we got back my partner had several missed calls on his phone and an answer phone message. Upon listening to it, it seemed the hospital had called the police on me.

They’d told the police that I had escaped and that I was a danger to myself and planning to kill myself. They had patrol cars out searching for me near the hospital, and had been told to bring me in to be sectioned.

After a hellish day when I was already feeling like utter shit, I had just begun to de-stress…the knowledge that the police were coming to section me obviously didn’t help with that.

I have never felt so stressed and desperate in all my life.

My partner phoned the police and said I was safe. They wanted to talk to me on the phone (I am terrified of talking on the phone, I have been since I was a child). The police then wanted to send officers around to come talk to me and check I was safe – again, needlessly stressful and held the threat of me being sectioned.

My partner explained that we were just eating our tea, we needed to walk our dogs, and I’d had a highly stressful day and did not need it making worse. He explained we had told the hospital we were leaving, we had been told it was fine, and we were there of our own accord. I am perfectly safe when he is with me.

The person on the other end said the sergeant would call us back in five minutes.

Twenty minutes came and went. I was sat on the stairs rocking and trying to remember to breathe amidst the panic. My partner phoned the police back and asked what was happening, because we really needed to walk our dogs.

After an agonising wait the person on the phone said the log was closed, they were happy I was safe, they had told the hospital so and said that they should contact us themselves if they want to.

We have wasted hours and hours trying to get help today. We spent £40 of money we don’t have on taxis there and back.

We were ignored for hours on end in A&E. Nobody told us how long our wait would be or what was happening. We were made to wait in the main waiting room, where it was busy and scary and I was very distressed. When we decided to leave they then set the police on me and told them I needed to be sectioned.

I’ve never felt so low and scared, or threatened by the NHS.

I am broken. I am stressed and scared. I am sat here crying.

I do not want to try and get professional help again…

0

1 call missed, no call back

Gog here.

Yesterday was the last time Anon had been told to take Valium, because the crap GP we saw optimistically said “things will be sorted by then and she will have an appointment with a psychiatrist” – HA!

We do still have a lot of Valium left over though, in case of emergency, because the dose we were supposed to take left Anon drooling in a chair unable to move.

The GP told me to give her up to 40mg a day, and I could give Anon 10mg at once if she was extremely anxious…I then read on a few drug info sites that only people with a tolerance should take 10mg at once. This was Anon’s first time taking Valium, AND she is sensitive to most meds. Wow.

Anyway.

If you remember, the mental health nurse from Single Point of Access was originally supposed to ring the Tuesday before last, but didn’t. You can read that here.

She then said she would phone us this (last) Tuesday, but because the Valium completely fucked with Anon’s sleep (which we spent so long sorting out prior to this…) we have been sleeping weird.

Anon takes a Valium, it knocks her out and she sleeps for 3-4 hours, she’s up for a few then supposed to take another Valium etc. So not only is her sleep screwed but mine too as I tried to fit around when she was awake.

This meant that when an unknown number phoned at 11am, which I have since traced back to the NHS, we were both asleep. Shiiiit.

Of course when I saw the missed call I tried to phone back, but it’s a number where they can call you but you can’t call them – you just get diverted to a message that says ‘we will try phone you again soon.’

Only they haven’t. 

That was Tuesday morning and now it’s almost exactly two days later and they haven’t tried to call once, and I can’t get in touch with them. I just want to type lots of expletives at the moment.

So much for “things being sorted”…

I don’t know who to ring or where to ask to get help. As if that isn’t confusing enough Anon is saying point blank she DOES NOT want to see anybody else, and especially not a psychiatrist. I completely get this. The last few appointments have done nothing but break her and destroy her trust in medical professionals.

She saw one person she liked and actually trusted; they let her down. Another Doctor told me to take her to A&E and get her sectioned. I wouldn’t trust them either!

There’s also the issue that almost all the psychiatrists we have seen have relied on bullying tactics, and have really pressured Anon into taking meds she doesn’t feel at all comfortable with. I have a few ways to get around this…

  1. Contact the psychiatrist via email before a physical appointment, so we can tell them which meds Anon would like to try, and they can research them / see what they think. Saves us going to a pointless appointment and being disappointed when they try give her Quetiapine again.
  2. Have a video call / appointment with the psychiatrist. That way Anon can be seen in an environment where she is comfortable, and she can have one of our animals nearby to comfort her. There’s no stress from travel to the appointment, it’s not in a scary place…let’s be honest it’s just much nicer
  3. Have negotiations about medications go between either myself and the psychiatrist, or Anon’s GP and the psychiatrist, over the phone. This has been done in the past; the first psychiatrist Anon saw was obnoxious so our fabulous GP at the time asked what med Anon wanted to be on and phoned the psychiatrist herself. A day later Anon was on a new med.

So. That’s where we’re at.

6

NHS: won’t help, will section you

Gog here.

After the last blog post I was feeling very frustrated and like nobody was listening to me or offering us any help. Nobody seemed to understand that every single day was a living nightmare.

The GP surgery had given me a 4 week wait for an appointment with Anon’s GP, or a 5 day wait for a telephone appointment with any GP.

I decided to phone NHS 111, and spoke to someone there.

I told her about Anon’s hallucinations, anxiety, terror, and the difficulty of everyday life. I told her about the help (or lack of) we had been offered.

I was put on hold for 10 minutes, and when she came back on the line I was told “I want you to phone your GP surgery back and tell them that NHS 111 has told you that your partner needs to be given a physical appointment with a Doctor in the next 24 hours. If you have any problems phone 111 back.”

This was on a Friday night too! Thank you so much NHS 111 🙂

I phoned the GP surgery back and the receptionist (one who has helped us before) said she would get a Doctor to call me asap. Ten minutes later I had a phone call.

This Doctor was the rudest medical professional I have ever spoken with. I am so glad it was just me talking to him on the phone and not an appointment with Anon there, because she would never want to see a Doctor again.

He asked to speak with Anon five times throughout a 5 minute phone call, even though there is a note on the system saying she cannot speak on the phone, and I am her carer and everyone should talk to me.

When I repeatedly said he couldn’t talk to her on the phone, he said there was nothing he could do, he couldn’t assess her. I told him “I called you in a desperate situation asking for medical advice, and you are telling me there is nothing you can do?”

He replied: “What do you want me to do about it?”

THIS IS A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL, A DOCTOR! I NEEDED HELP URGENTLY!

I again said I needed help and asked what I should do, and he implied I should take Anon to A&E and have her sectioned!! I almost threw the phone against the wall, but instead I calmly said he hadn’t helped at all and hung up. I then phoned the surgery back and asked for the Doctors’ name that I had just spoken with; I did this so I could have a formal complaint made against him.

The receptionist asked if I was unhappy with the phone call, and when I said yes she told me she would get another GP to call me back, bless. I got a phone call from her five minutes later saying if we could get to the surgery in 10 minutes we could have an appointment.

I persuaded Anon, and we ran to the GP & were taken into a room with a Doctor neither of us had seen before.

Anon was in a state, obviously, but the Doctor didn’t even attempt to include her in the conversation – when Anon’s GP saw her looking just as bad, he made sure to tell Anon he understood this was difficult, tell her she was doing well, thank her for coming etc.

This Doctor didn’t talk to Anon once. He talked to me and his questions were: “Is she a suicide risk? Is she experiencing hallucinations? Has she hurt you?” It was disgusting.

He also got several things wrong, very obvious things.

  1. He thought Anon was taking 30mg of Quetiapine (she hasn’t been taking Quetiapine for 8 months, and even then it was 300mg not 30mg)
  2. He said that the note on the system said we were supposed to have seen SPOA but “never turned up for the appointment” – I had to as calmly as possible explain that they messed up and sent the letter to the wrong place!
  3. The GP phoned Crisis Team (who offered no help) and told them that Anon had been taking Olanzapine – Anon has never taken, and never would, take Olanzapine: it said Quetiapine on the computer right in front of him!
  4. He told Crisis Team that we “didn’t bother to turn up to an appointment with Single Point of Access” – I JUST TOLD YOU IT WAS THEM THAT MESSED UP!!

As it stands we are still waiting for the nurse to phone us back on Tuesday (that’s if she actually does this time) and the GP prescribed Anon Valium in the mean time. He said it would act as a sedative and essentially knock her out until hopefully a psychiatrist can see us.

Interestingly enough this comes with the Valium information:

Valium is not recommended in the treatment of psychotic patients and should not be employed instead of appropriate treatment

That is exactly what they are using it for.

They have prescribed it to a psychotic patient to knock her out, because they don’t want to rush for an urgent appointment where she would be prescribed treatment that could actually help, eg. anti psychotics.

The GP told us to keep the telephone appointment we have on Wednesday, in case nothing is sorted by then, but I need to phone up and switch Doctors because the call is supposed to be with the “what do you want me to do?” Doctor…

I feel like this blog is good not only as a place to vent, but as a diary of what happened when and which services fucked up.