Those of you who have been visiting me here for a little while will know that my Dad has had some mental health issues in the past. Sadly last night he had another one of his episodes. We have never had a proper diagnosis, but it does seem to be linked to his sodium levels, but nobody seems to be able to tell us why his sodium levels crash sometimes. Well, last night he was very agitated and was pacing the house touching every power socket and turning the lights on and off. Mum tried to give him the mild sleeping tablet that his doctor had prescribed (he hasn't been sleeping well lately) but he refused to take it and became very glazed and unresponsive. My brother couldn't get him to either swallow or spit out the tablet and in the end called 999 and a paramedic came out. It took him a long time to get through to Dad, and he had him admitted to hospital to the crisis ward.
This morning the hospital phoned to say that the psychiatrist was going to assess Dad, but needed Mum there too. So we picked her up and took her to the hospital, and my Sister came with us too. On one hand it was good that Dad was almost recovered, but on the other it meant that the psychiatrist didn't really see what the problem was. Yet however lucid he seemed, he is also terribly muddled. He hadn't eaten his breakfast because he didn't know it was his. He got locked into the toilet because he got in but couldn't work out how to get out again. I had to get a nurse to break in from the outside to free him. Mum broke down and said she couldn't have him home, that she just can't cope with it any more. He is just too muddled to leave alone, yet she has to work. When he has the episodes, they are terrifying.
Unfortunately I had to leave while the meeting continued as I had to get to work (I am the only keyholder about at the moment) but happily they have kept him in for today. Tomorrow the social care team are going to be involved. It is heartbreaking. I was sitting with Dad at one point, and he kept saying he was sorry for upsetting everybody and he just wants to go home. Mum and I are meant to be going to Knit and Stitch at Alexandra Palace on Saturday, and he is really worried that Mum might not go because of him. He can't understand why she doesn't want him home.
I just find it heartbreakingly sad. I can see why she is at breaking point, but I can also see that it isn't him who is there when he has the turns. There is nothing that can be done or said to help, and it feels hopeless. When he was very bad, just after I was married, he was hospitalised for months, and he would sit with tears running down his face if the nurse asked if he wanted a drink, because he didn't know the answer. It is all too hard, too hard.
When I got home, Mum and my Sister came back to ours, we gave them tea, then took Mum home. I went out to my first burlesque dance class (clothes stay firmly on) which was great exercise and a good chance to get lost in something else, to be absorbed in concentrating. I think I really needed that. I wasn't sure I was going to go, but I am glad that I did.
I am sorry this is not a cheery post...I did think long and hard about sharing this with you. It's just that I think for me, this little space is about the truth of things, not just the pretty bits of my life. To not share would be like telling a lie. Also though, there is still such a stigma around mental health still, so I hope by talking about it a bit it helps make it seem as normal as it would be to talk about having a broken leg. Oh how I wish this was as easy to fix as that though!
I will leave you with a goodnight, and if you haven't tried chamomile tea before, do. I find it so soothing. Chamomile tea sipped from a china cup and saucer, perhaps even taken in a warm bubble bath, before going to sleep in a room scented with lavender....a sure recipe to soothe the soul.