24th November 2017 received at 18:38
“You always cheer me up love seeing you xx”
Two weeks on, and things have finally calmed down a bit. I’ve seen more of Bo in the last 14 days than I have throughout the duration of our friendship, which is the advantage of knowing where he is every day! Bo’s been detained under section 2 of the Mental Health Act, which basically means he will be in hospital for up to 28 days while they assess his mental capacity, and try to work out a diagnosis.
Today’s visit was mainly him telling me about his potential diagnosis (more on that later) and completing some basic paperwork tasks. When he was first admitted I bought him a cheap phone with credit, making it easier to arrange practical things like bringing in clothes or checking how he is without bothering the ward office. It’s amazing how quickly someone can become isolated without any technology or wifi these days. Trying to visit isn’t always easy due to my job and other commitments, but I do my best to work it around what I’ve got on, even if it’s just for half an hour on my lunch break.
Today’s visit was particularly pleasant, with several hugs and lots of positive statements from Bo about how he feels things have progressed. Compared to 48 hours ago when he told me he was going to escape, and demonstrated his rage by snapping his ipad into pieces (due to being refused any escorted leave and being incorrectly medicated) it was a step in the right direction.
9th November 2017 16:34
Sitting in the ambulance was a surreal experience. I had expected urgency, rushing around, and the blues and twos (whatever that means?!) to be blaring, but there was a slow and steady approach as the paramedic asked Bo general life questions and nonchalantly shaved his chest in preparation for the ECG stickers.
Bo explained to the trainee paramedic that he had been in hospital recently for a serious physical health issue, and that staff had raised concerns at the time about his mental health; but after a few extra days on the ward with no clear answers or meaningful support Bo did exactly what he always does when things aren’t going his way – a runner.
Eventually we pulled casually away from the bench in the direction of the local A&E, my lovely new car still abandoned haphazardly across the taxi bay. I did wonder briefly if I was going to come back to clamped wheels and a fluorescent note, and how I was going to travel back without any cash or cards on me, but I decided it could probably be worked out later. I glanced at Bo – squashed against the corner of the ambulance with wires sprouting from him like an alien life form, and realised that I was becoming part of something I couldn’t easily walk away from.
The wait in A&E was like a perverse game of musical chairs. Bo was confined to a wheelchair to reduce the risk of collapse given the vast quantity of pills he had consumed (not your typical paracetamol either, we are talking 60+ strong tablets that could do him some real irreversible damage). Every 20 minutes or so a rickety bed containing an ashen faced nonagenarian would be wheeled away, meaning we shuffled a few inches further along the crammed corridor towards wherever it was we were supposed to be going. Bo was insanely paranoid, eyeballing every passing staff member with suspicion and telling me they were planning to do something to him.
He said that he hadn’t intended on overdosing, but his original plan of jumping from a car park roof had failed when he couldn’t scale the safety fence, and the back up plan had to be aborted due to the crowds and traffic police at the railway station. Bo explained that he hadn’t wanted to ruin any more lives by allowing the train driver to hit him in front of so many passengers, but that the voices had kept telling him he needed to harm himself quickly, hence the compromise of necking all his prescribed medication.
In that moment there was a miniscule scrap of awareness of other people, haphazardly trying to shine its way through the charcoal mist… and for that I was extremely thankful.
It probably wasn’t the right moment to say it, but one thought popped into my head and out of my mouth as we waited in that bustling corridor (and who doesn’t come out with stupid stuff under pressure right?!)
“well, it wasn’t quite the second date I had expected us to have, but at least I can cross riding in an ambulance off the bucket list now!”