Well it’s happened. 2son has been sectioned and is now in hospital.
At 12:20 yesterday lunchtime came the first knock on the door. This was the AMP (approved medical practitioner) to whom I’d spoken on the phone the day before at length about 2son. He was a very friendly New Zealander who asked for more story about 2son while we were waiting for the others. The consultant psychiatrist turned up, closely followed by a GP who spends his time flying about London on his motorbike doing mental health assessments. We talked through the history and through concerns over sectioning one so young.
The the four of us trooped upstairs to talk to 2son, who had vanished upstairs minutes before the first knock. We talked at him hiding under the duvet, explaining what was going on and getting no reaction at all other than a faster breathing rate. So we returned downstairs, had a little conversation and signed off the paperwork. The AMP called for an ambulance and we went and told 2son what was about to happen, stating all along that he was free to get up, to make any comments, to choose to walk to the ambulance.
Then we waited. The other two drifted off and the AMP and I were left to carry on talking to 2son and chasing the ambulance which took two hours to arrive. During this time I’d packed a small bag for 2son and we’d talked about Lego and anything else, an awkward pause while my stress levels were mounting. I also took the opportunity to sort out arrangements for 3son and 4son.
The AMP explained the situation to the ambulance guys who came upstairs and had a word with 2son, saying that they weren’t going to manhandle him out and that he could walk out with them or be dragged out by the police. We all said this to him in our own different ways and just as we were about to phone the police, 2son spoke up with one word, the first he’d uttered since that knock several hours ago. He said he’d come and that he would get dressed.
In essence he gave in to the whole procedure, accepting that he had no choice in the matter and it was going to happen. He proceeded to get dressed and walked into the ambulance. He talked about the ride and was fairly chatty until we got to the hospital. We did explain that this was a very posh hospital where rock stars spent small fortunes going through drug and alcohol rehab. He was greeted by two nurses who welcomed him warmly and we then went through and sat in the group therapy room while the AMP went and did whatever he did before coming and saying good bye. The nurse went through his bag and we had a bit of a long pause while waiting for the doctor to come and do her initial assessment.
2son talked to her for twenty minutes, opening up more than he had done in the last six months, trying to explain how he felt about stuff. It was amazing to hear him talk like that.
During this I was getting phone calls from 4son who was being wound up by 3son and I ended up having to send him to a different friend so they could be separated. Not what I needed at the time and it did make me angry.
Then we got into his room, which had been cleaned and we were just unpacking his bag when the nurse came in and suggested we deal with 2son’s hair to which he meekly agreed. He started washing his hair and realised that it wasn’t going to happen and offered me scissors to cut 2son’s hair. This was quite a horrific procedure as his hair, which hadn’t been washed, brushed or combed since September was in two huge solid clumps which I had to remove. He looked like a shorn lamb at the end. We sprayed and combed through what was left, washed him and his hair. He ended up with a clean body and mostly clean head, a very sore and red scalp and a physical rebirth, quite symbolic of his decision to co-operate with this whole process.
We then had a quick meal and I left, about half past seven. It had been a very long day but 2son seemed accepting of the situation and his surroundings. Once he gave in to the whole process he worked with everyone and co-operated beautifully. I was very proud of him and kept telling him so.
My friend who was looking after 4son kindly came and picked me up. On the way home we stopped off at a pub. I downed a large vodka and a pint in record time and felt slightly more relaxed once the alcohol took effect. We talked it all through and then went home, collecting up the other two and putting them to bed, explaining that they would come today to say where 2son was so they would understand where he was.
Then I went to the pub, to a loud and not brilliant rock band with a couple of friends who knew what had been going on and slowly relaxed. I only had a couple of pints but slowly unwound and felt somewhat normal again.
It was, without a doubt, the hardest and most painful thing I’ve ever had to do. The professionals involved in the day were all supportive and positive, pleasant to be with. I’ve put my trust into the people who are now responsible for his care and we will wait and see what happens.