Today is the meeting at the unit, at which L is to decide whether to stay in the unit or go home. I ask her over the weekend if she has any views and she tells me she wants to stay, but doesn’t want to upset The Boyfriend. This is obviously worrying. I know he isn’t placing any pressure on her, but being apart from your first love, having to arrange supervised visits, especially at a time when he is ill. So, I suggest a compromise to her nurse, that she spends time at home at the weekend, which will stop her prevarications. Her nurse feels this would be good. Especially when there are further confusions about visiting, resulting in distressed calls from The Boyfriend’s family and L.
So, before the meeting I spoke to L. She was tentative about asking for this arrangement, fearing she would be different. But we agree to at least ask. In the meeting, I sense immediate problems. The most hostile nurse is present, a sour faced man who rarely smiles. Her total weight gain in three weeks is .2kg, but it is noted she has made progress recently in eating meals, even if strangely this has meant a weight loss. I ask about weekend leave. They look at each other and I know I am being ‘managed’. At present, their way of doing things is non negotiable and it would be harmful for her to be with me, as I would control her eating. I try and explain, once again, the advice I was given before by CAMHS, that my insistence on eating doesn’t make me a controlling malign influence. They look at the floor and I become tearful, saying how their approach previously made me feel like a dreadful parent, losing all confidence in my abilities to feed my child and it took a long time to get that confidence back, with help from CAMHS. The hostile nurse actually smiles as I begin to cry and I ask what is so funny and he sniggers in response. I leave before Iose my temper completely.
In the car, I sob and sob. Back home I cry more and realise the hardest thing – that I have to respect L’s choice, because, if not, she will be torn in two. If it is to be their way, then let it be their way. But I can’t visit and ask her about food and find she hasn’t eaten. Or weight and find she has lost again. I have to let go and give them full control. Because I just can’t fight them any more. I can’t even go back there. I wish I had never allowed her to be referred. I also hope that they prove me wrong and make her well again. Worst of all, perhaps they’re right and it really was caused by me all along