The Longest Day.
We didn’t go home to count tablets. We knew there was no point. We had a medicine cupboard overflowing with medication, unlocked; after all we were three adults and a teenager living in our home. My husband and I both had medical conditions that required daily doses of something. The joys of middle-age!!
Our children had always been told, “you’ll die if you take medicine that doesn’t belong to you!”, “take this and it’ll kill you!” I was always direct and truthful with my children, I never wanted them to be disillioned with life or feel that their parents couldn’t be approached for an honest answer.
A nurse informed us Social Services would be contacted. Did we have a social worker? “No” was our reply. One would be appointed. Our daughter would not be allowed home without the authorities agreeing it was appropriate. We’d no words. Silence and tears. All we were doing in those moments was remembering to breathe.
I remember asking my husband “how are you feeling?”, his response summed it up, even now three months on it’s appropriate, “I feel like someone has taken my heart out with a spade, and it’s gone, there’s just a hole with someone standing in it”
We were asked more questions about tablets in our home. Paracetamol, Ibrofen, Tramadol, Olmetec and Tegretol to name a few. Tegretol was the one that attracted the most interest. This was the one I’d told the girls would kill them if they ever took it. It had come into our house ten years ago. It was to control my epilepsy. It literally saved my life. The doctor disappeared again. My husband and I started googling. My advice looking back to anyone, a little knowledge is a depressing thing!
Shortly afterwards we noticed staff had a piece of paper in their hands when dealing with our child, “what is that?”, “information on Tegretol overdose” came the reply. I was devastated. My medication was to blame. Throughout her treatment since this has been the highest concern, she did want to die.
I’d brought my daughter’s Hudl with us. I opened it up to check the internet for more information on the issues with the overdose. I saw her instagram account open and had a nosy. What I then saw shocked me. I put the Hudl back in my bag. I’d simply no words. How had this happened? I didn’t know. I’d simply trusted her.
At 4pm I remembered I’d to take my dad to hospital the next day. I decided to phone my mum. My daughter’s nanny. She didn’t believe in suicide. She’d no time for people in my past who she viewed as selfishly ending their lives, leaving family and friends to pick up the pieces. I felt so sick dialling the number. What a terrible way to deliver news, I prefer face to face but I was not going to leave resus. My daughter still hadn’t come round. Nothing. Just the beep beep beep beep beep …………
My dad waffled on asking if I was all set for his hospital appointment, I remember thinking “shut-up”…… “yes dad, is mum there?” Mum came on giving off about my dad.
“Are you sitting down?” I ask mum “yes”. ” No really mum, are you sitting down?”
She didn’t believe me initially, there were a few aggressive questions, then I heard the penny drop as I relayed the previous nine hours events of our shattered lives. I apologised for telling her over the phone, but she was relieved I’d told her.
Doctors, nurses and consultants were coming and going. Tests were carried out continually. The Emergency Department is very different from the A&E department you visit.
I pulled out the Hudl, I felt I needed to be sure of what I’d seen. It was still open at her page. #emo #cutter , along with various other hashtags, including her age.
I ventured further. An image was in front of me. A persons slashed and bloodied arm. It looked like our duvet cover……. It looked like my child’s arm. It was my daughter. 24 people ‘liked’ the image. This broke me, it broke us both. My husband and I sobbed in each others arms. Suddenly there was a reason for her hoodies always being on. Why had i not questioned her more… I’d put it down to her teenage hormones. She’s become like the Harry Enfield and Kathy Burke characters – Kevin and Perry. Some days you were afraid to make eye contact. It had been more than that. In hindsight everything becomes clearer.
A doctor came and talked to her. No response. Eventually he placed his fingers on pressure points on her neck. He told us not to worry. She moved and made a noise.
She needed a bed, urgently. She needed care and attention. Simple enough, except she was 14. The Children’s Ward wasn’t appropriate for her due to the level of care required, she needed to be on an adult ward, but as she was only 14 she required a side ward, and so the search began.