First of all, an apology for the self pitying nature of the last post. I’m a good mother, I know, but too prone to self doubt, a state not helped by the consumption of Benylin and red wine. The Benylin is for the ongoing flu symptoms; this isn’t a cocktail I invented, honestly.
And now the week ahead, when L will visit the inpatient unit to discuss readmission. A refusal of treatment on her part would lead to s3 of the Mental Health Act being considered. But what if, on the basis that there has been a change in the last few days, I asked for her to remain at home to continue eating as she has done since Thursday? I know that really, this is too late. If only this change had happened a fortnight ago, perhaps if I hadn’t been ill, her weight wouldn’t have dropped again over Christmas. College starts again tomorrow and L seemed genuinely taken aback when I said she wouldn’t be returning. Even if she could carry on eating at home, college would give her an opportunity to restrict and I cannot take food to her throughout the day. I talk to my mother on the phone about options and she gently suggests that it would be easier for all of us if L was an inpatient, as I describe the daily battles with food.
My question is therefore; who is helped more by inpatient treatment: L or her family? Her therapy team all agree with me that the sole purpose of treatment at present is food and weight gain. Is inpatient treatment a place where we outsource the dispensing of food to the NHS because we are simply exhausted? And if so, could we not have it as back up, a place to send her at will. The answer of course is, No, because this is a ‘place’, a ‘bed’, in a newly refurbished single ensuite room facility, and this ‘place’ may be needed by another child. I wonder if it is possible to send her on extended days, for meals from breakfast through to her evening snack. I am older and wiser now. I know I can ask these questions, that my constant view that L will not get better until she has achieved a healthy weight has been proved right. But somehow I have to ask myself the biggest question of all – is it ok to ask L to be admitted against her will because we are all exhausted? Are we sending her away because we’ve had enough? She has wept and pleaded not to eat and to leave this until she is an inpatient, she has told us she can’t do this at home, that she can only eat in the unit and I have persistently told her she won’t be well until she can eat normally at home. I have promised her that no matter how hard it gets, I will not give up. Will admission feel like giving up, a long term equivalent of sitting on the stairs as a consequence of bad behaviour. Should she become an inpatient because of our impatience? The truth is I don’t know.