I went to visit my daughter tonight. I’d gone in this morning but I was able to go in again and I am so glad I did. I entered the unit and I could hear her crying. She doesn’t often cry and this was her frantic, I’m scared cry. I went to find her and found her surrounded by three nurses in her room , one of those almost hovering above her and two more outside her door. She was desperately trying to tell them that she didn’t need to have a naso gastric tube passed as she’d eaten all of the meal that had been prescribed for her and that she’d only left two of the ‘extras’ and she didn’t need an entire liquid meal pushed down an NG tube. At this point the hovering nurse tried to tell her she had to take anxiety medications which she refused. I sat down next to her to see how she’d respond to me and she leaned into me….so I asked the nurses to leave and that I’d calm her down and discuss the options with her. They agreed but I could hear the outside room nurses muttering about team leaders and ICU.
After getting her to calm down I asked her to tell me truthfully what she’d had left to eat. She’d eaten everything of her main meal, plus 1 slice of gluten free bread. The only thing left was a second slice of gluten free bread and an apple. Don’t know if anyone is that aware of gluten free bread but it’s like concrete. I would not be eating two slices of it after an entire meal . In fact I wouldn’t be eating two slices of bread after an entire cooked meal. What idiot designed her meal plan?
After a little while and some silly games I asked her if she wanted me to find out if she could go for a walk off the unit. She thought she wouldn’t be allowed to go but I went to ask. Yes, she was came back the response. We wandered around, got some drinks , and then went back. Her assigned nurse let us back in and I asked to talk to her.
I wanted to ask her what the heck they thought they’d been doing but I know you catch more flies with honey so I didn’t. The nurse started apologising because kid is voluntary. They had no right to do this to her at all and she’d eaten enough so the nurse who threatened her with the NG tube was completely out of line. It started at the dining room table and then when kid ran away from the nurse supervising her meal because she was being told she’d have to eat everything or have a supplement drink they escalated it because they’re used to having committed patients who have to follow everything to the letter. I’m not even going to put my toe in that murky nastiness, I get that these patients have been committed because they’re posing a risk to their own lives but it’s still awful.
What I really want to know is – if I hadn’t come in, at what point would they have realised she was voluntary and that they’d just committed assault? Will I be putting that in writing? You bet. I know she was ill. I know she’s improving and I’m very glad about that. This and other incidences like it? Very unhappy about in the extreme.