Thursday, 17 December 2009

Goodbye, Friend

RIP Simon "Vampire Chaz" Martin.

A man found hanged in a secluded wooded area did not commit suicide, a coroner has ruled.

Simon Martin, 29, was found hanging in the early hours of Friday, August 21 – hours after he was reported missing by anxious family and friends.

Coroner Edward Thomas, however, ruled there was insufficient evidence to prove the popular call centre manager had intended to end his life.

Hatfield Coroner’s Court heard yesterday how the father-of-one was found, just metres from his Bucknalls Close home, sitting under a tree.

This unusual position, Mr Thomas ruled, meant he may have died accidently when a cry for help went tragically wrong.

Mr Martin, the court learned, had been struggling to cope with financial problems and the breakdown of his relationship.

It was also revealed that, just three days before Mr Martin’s body was discovered, he was assessed by a mental health nurse at Watford General Hospital when he was found by police officers “contemplating suicide” in another wooded area.

GP Dr Kay Mackell told how she had treated Mr Martin the following day, Wednesday, and advised a programme of counselling. Fighting back tears, she remembered how he had left her surgery in a “pleasant and positive” mood, vowing to tackle his problems head-on.

Later that night, however, Mr Martin left the flat he shared with his girlfriend after learning there was no chance of a long-term reunion.

The court heard how, in the early hours of Thursday morning, he left, promising to return in 15 minutes. He was reported missing later that day and his body discovered in the early hours of the following day.

Mr Thomas, after hearing two hours of evidence, said there was insufficient evidence to record a verdict of suicide. It was possible, he said, that Mr Martin had intended only to attract the attention of those he loved.

He added: “Did he know that that action would definitely cause his death? I think he would have known that this was a dangerous act. Whether he knew it would definitely cause his death – I don’t know.

“It doesn’t take very much [pressure around the neck] to cause unconsciousness and asphyxiation.”

Parents Helen and Mark said after the hearing: “He was the best son that anyone could have wished for. He was kind, caring and would do anything for anybody. He was a fantastic guitarist, a great skateboarder and one hell of a good guy. We all miss him terribly and always will.”

Mr Thomas recorded a verdict of self harm.

Also - Goodbye Scott MacNamara.
I miss the old days, me sitting on the sofa, brushing your hair.

Someone once told me by the time I was 30 a third of my friends would be dead by their own hand. I laughed it off but it does seem that way.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

A Sharp Reminder

I write this with tears in my eyes.
I have just watched the second half of the very moving "Can Gerry Robinson Save Dementia Care Homes?" [BBC iPlayer]. I feel so much for the residents of these homes, having spent most of last year seaching for somewhere suitable for my Nan before she died*.

I have also seen care of this sort, as it is often "the norm". People don't realise the capabilites of those with dementia. I had a placement on a ward, which I felt was generally good, but which certainly failed its usual standards in the early morning. Once staff had come on shift, following the handover, there was around 45 minutes for 6 staff to assist the clients to shower, dry and dress. Some where able to do this with little assistance, but normally there were around 18 people to assist. Most needed two or even three staff members to assist, mainly due to mobility issues, or because they could become aggressive**.
Older people have fragile skin, and often need much more care. A quick rub down is not sufficient to dry them, and they will often need to be assisted to apply cream etc. You need to check for pressure sores, bruising, soreness or damaged skin. You need to respect them as a person, assist them to change into their clothing, assist them to chose colours and textures whenever possible. I could easily spend a hour with someone, longer even, enabling them to wash themselves and choose their outfit, do their hair. 18 people, 45 minutes, staff working in pairs. Thats 7.5 minutes per person. It seems quicker to many staff to just do it for their clients to get the task done, because you simply don't have the time to take.
When I worked on a adult ward, I worked with a lovely lady who was very confused. I spent over an hour assisting her with showering, even washing and applying cream my own face to show her what to do, as she found it easier to copy than to follow verbal directions. Just spending time choosing her shower gel, enjoying the smell of it, or the feeling of having her hair done.

We need more staff, particually more regular staff. Bank staff simply do not know the clients and the clients do not know them. Staff need more training, and we need to have the time to spend with clients and families to find out the important things. What is your mother's routine? Does she shower or bath, morning or evening? What products do they use, lots of bubbles or just unscented soap and a soft flannel? Do they like to read books, or the morning paper? Do they take sugar in their tea?

How can we provide personalised, patient centred care, when we don't really know our clients?

I'm tired. I'll continue something along this line another evening, because the guinea pigs need their hutch cleaned out.

*On this note, I read each of the homes' reports in depth, for the past few years. I had whittled a long list down to just four which I planned to pay several visits to with my mum, in order to find somewhere that I was happy with. I forwarded this list to my uncle, to keep him informed, and he replied with the ones he had looked at. It was a list of every home in the area, including the ones I had sent him, with no attention paid to ratings or inspections.

**And why shouldn't they be aggressive? They've awoken in what may seem to them a strange place with people they do not know. They have been assisted half-asleep into a wheelchair, taken to one of several bathrooms, and these strangers are removong their clothing and putting them in water?

Thursday, 10 December 2009

1st Class Honours In Plotting Your Own Demise.


We just received our results for the 2nd essay of Branch, Bio-psychosocial Interventions, Unit 2. I got 68%, which should be making me happy. I have more than proved myself capable of completing the degree, in an academic sense at least.

However, the current placement isn't going well. To be frank, it isn't going anywhere. I'm low. I havn't been to placement since the first week, when I managed just 2 days. I can't think, make decisions, concentrate. I'm sleeping 14 hours out of 24, and despite trying to force myself out of bed every morning this week I'm sleeping though the alam, or simply to tired to be of any use.

I'm reconsidering my career, and looking at working part-time if or when I qualify. Maybe I can work for Mind, Rethink, or a similar organisation. I don't think I am going to maintain my health well enough to work on a ward or in a community setting.

That's bullshit. I was reconsidering my career. Right now I'm considering dying. I am still being plagued by suicidal thoughts, and they are becoming increasingly worse. My mind is plotting to kill me, even though I try to smother the thoughts, divert my attention. I find myself thinking of suicide every time my boyfriend leaves the house, wondering if I have enough time. Enough time to make a proper job of it, not get found vomiting or swallowing handfuls of pills. I wonder which to take first, whether I should throw in a bottle of vodka or a few packets of paracetemol to help things along. Maybe I could try and get my hands on some anti-vomiting stuff, to stop me chucking the lot back up.

Maybe I would get half-way through taking them, and have to phone for help, mortified and disgusted at myself. Would I be disgusted at myself for taking them or for not finishing the job? To be honest I am not quite sure.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Would somebody please...

... tell my mind to shut the F*CK up?

Numb, unfeeling, slumped in the corner and unable to move - I can deal with that, ok?

It's this round and round and up and down and the strange thoughts and feeling like I'm floating along, my feet bouncing off an invisible pavement 18 inches off the ground. I feel detached, unable to connect with anyone, I feel weird. I feel like a freak. I feel worried. This is not normal.