On Thursday I attended a meeting at the ward with Elizabeth’s sister expecting to see RC – Dr Choudhury but we were told he had all of a sudden left Suffolk ward. I was surprised by this as we were not informed prior to the meeting. I asked if I could go in separately as there were private medical test results I wanted to discuss. I emphasised I wanted them to check out her physical health as a result as she had been complaining of physical chronic pain. I am hoping she will get the right support not just accommodation in the community as she is a trauma victim but unlike at Trent Ward when we met with Dr Rashid, we were not given much time at all to discuss. I was told “you have only 5 minutes”. I had taken the day off on holiday for just 5 minutes but luckily prior to the meeting I had copied lots of information that I would otherwise not have had time to discuss. My first question was “who is the new RC”. I was told that Dr Hussain from Enfield East Recovery Team is now Acting RC. It was a long time since I had seen him last at my house and I did not recognise him after all that time. Present also was the care coordinator who was once coming into my home during the titration of Clozapine in 2014. There was a new nurse, a student nurse and minute taker and the ward manager was not present.
It’s now been 9 weeks on various acute wards during – apart from at Cygnet Beckton where they put her back on Abilify, Elizabeth has been withdrawing from this drug which has caused no end of problems. She is drug free after 11 years but has been suffering withdrawal symptoms, stomach cramps, headaches, backache etc. Trent Ward tried to discharge her into a recovery house for two weeks pending transfer to accommodation but Elizabeth was not at all happy about this and things did not work out so she is back on Suffolk Ward but she is at least allowed out alone.
On every ward staff have tried to persuade her to take drugs and each and every time she has refused. There was the incident I was far from happy about where her slippers broke and brought these along to the meeting. Forcibly injected when she threw bags out of her room, Elizabeth was staring into space looking traumatised when I arrived in the evening. I criticised this course of action as over a four month period away staying with MH professionals in their home, travelling abroad with lots of changes how comes they coped without forcibly injecting or drugging her.
There was an incident where Elizabeth was attacked leading to her transfer to Edgware Trent Ward. Elizabeth has phoned me several times in distress as it is not always peaceful. She said of the other ward that every five minutes the alarms were going off and it was difficult to sleep. Whilst I feel she is in the wrong environment she has needed to stabilise coming off a powerful anti-psychotic drug that did not agree with her and I feel she cannot just be dumped into the community without ongoing trauma therapy. It is recommended in a report for court purposes that she should have intensive trauma therapy but this has never been provided and surely the best place this can only be done is in a hospital environment but somewhere where they have nice grounds and where patients are not treated like prisoners.
They seem to be going down the route of placement in the community and Elizabeth has been to see just one placement but did not like the area. There is another one lined up for her to view.
I was accused of confusing Elizabeth by identifying several other placements or hospitals where they offer intensive therapy but surely she should have that choice. It is for her to decide and she certainly has a mind of her own. I would ideally like to see her get the right support and therapy which could be a year programme but I do not want to see her in a prison-like setting like some of these private hospitals. No-one commented on these suggestions which I had previously brought to a meeting there.
It must be costing a fortune if a locked ward is £900 per day and on an acute ward how can anyone get better when they are around others who are also disturbed. I’m pleased now the weather has improved Elizabeth is allowed out. Elizabeth said tonight she needs therapy, not drugs which I would fully agree.
Elizabeth has told me she has now got an advocate which is good news.
After my 5 minutes at the meeting, Elizabeth was called in on her own for some length of time. Elizabeth had been complaining of stomach pains and I asked that she be thoroughly examined in terms of physical health. Elizabeth’s sister and I were then called in for the remainder of the meeting. I have advised Elizabeth to go and look at the placements but was accused by the CC of confusing her by providing details of other placements but I felt that choices should be given and not all my suggestions were local but some provided specialist therapy. The final decision is of course Elizabeth’s but it is wrong for only one scheme to be offered for consideration and Elizabeth was not sure about the area it was situated in.
After the meeting we all went to the café on the hospital grounds for lunch. It was a beautiful day and Elizabeth was very happy to see her sister who has now moved away from the local area. I then took Elizabeth to town for shopping and then dropped her back to the ward.
Today I have spoken to Elizabeth and she sounded happy. She has been out alone for a walk and went back to the café.
Tomorrow I will take Elizabeth out somewhere.
Sunday if she feels OK I have tickets for the R D Laing film “Mad to be Normal”.
Elizabeth told me they drug tested her today. Elizabeth had only been to the café and to one shop. I suppose they have to do such things occasionally but Elizabeth was not impressed. I doubt she would ever take illicit drugs now she is drug free – she is quite specific in her views about drugs.
Mention of drugs was made by Dr Hussain but what drugs exactly – no doubt anti-psychotics but none have worked as Elizabeth is “treatment resistant”. With diagnosis in doubt and police investigation, Elizabeth has said in her own words “I need therapy not drugs” . I would quite agree. We have seen how well therapy worked over the past four months when she stayed with professionals through “working to recovery” and there was no need to drug her during her stay. Coming off these powerful chemicals that contain ingredients such as poisonous dyes and aspartame can take time for the body to adjust but I know a lot of people who make a full recovery but this can take at least 1 – 2 years. There really does need to be more help for people like Elizabeth not just forced drugging for the rest of their life. There needs to be better facilities provided for this purpose in the UK. I understand from Elizabeth her psychologist has mentioned about her taking drugs and Elizabeth was not happy with this suggestion quite rightly.