Monthly Archives: October 2012

Halloween and Horror Stories

Twenty five years ago I started going out with Steve. Shortly after we became ‘an item’ we were invited to a Halloween Party at a friend’s house. I went as a witch. Basically I wore a black flowing dress along with a long black wig and hat. The hat and wig came off after about an hour where it itched. Bit of a cop out to be honest.

Steve was far less boring. He chose a full Dracula outfit with fake teeth that did the blood thing. That said… he did take out the teeth after a little while as the novelty wore off quickly and they were not very comfortable. He went the extra mile though by not wearing his glasses all night as Dracula didn’t have glasses. Bless him… his eyes must have been so sore by the end of the evening. Fortunately his eyes were not so bad that he bumped into things.

Twenty five years later and I look at those photos with the usual mixed feelings of fondness and sadness. Those carefree and happier days. Two people not aware a legalised vampire, otherwise known as a HD clinic, would draw blood from Steve. In the process it would inadvertently try to suck the life out of him by saying his blood showed he had the HD positive gene.

I hope the photos previously put in blogs on here demonstrate it didn’t totally suck the life out of Steve. Fortunately, we were also able to keep the meds down enough so that he didn’t turn into a zombie either. HD was a horror story in its own right but I suppose it could have been a lot worse…

With that in mind, and with Halloween now upon us again, I thought it might be timely to put in a couple of poems I did a while back. They were written where I was outraged when hearing about cruel treatment of patients said to be in ‘care’.

Hammer Horror had nothing on the stories of the sick and vulnerable being mentally and physically tortured while those who were supposed to be caring for the turned a blind eye. Or they used legal forms of doping in order to give the carers a quieter life as opposed to doing their jobs.

Tonight on BBC1, Panorama are showing a follow-up programme to one they made previously about Winterbourne View Care Home.

Last week at Bristol Crown Court, 11 people were sentenced for the ill-treatment and neglect of patients at the hospital. However, that was only as a result of their original undercover filming allowing the abuse to come to light.

At the time, I was so upset by the programme that I put digit to keyboard and wrote a poem which I put up on my Triond website. (General Link)

The poem and introduction is given below:

The Care Quality Omission

In the light of a recent Panorama programme made by the British Broadcasting Corporation (The BBC) on the failure by a Care Home to look after vulnerable adults, it spurred me on to write the following poem. There must be many more Homes out there filled with vile people who take pleasure in torturing the vulnerable for their own amusement.

Sadly the in-house structure and the external organisations in place to protect people are simply not adequate, be it through lack of resources or lack of interest. There can be no excuse for the incompetence shown by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) The CQC failed to take seriously a number of clear warnings in e-mails sent from a ‘whistle-blower. Such was the frustration of the concerned carer that he went to the BBC to name and shame those involved. Only at that stage was action agreed as needed and, even then, the CQC tried to wriggle out of its lack of duty of care!

For several years the abuse has been rife,
And the poor confused creatures fight back for their life;
While the bully-boy tactics of senior staff,
All rain in their punches, done just for a laugh!

And the parents ignore them when told of their plight,
By their children imploring that things be put right.
Assuming the ‘carers’ would never be spiteful,
They lie with their smiles and their manners delightful.

But as soon as the visitors seem out of sight,
The ‘carers’ return to their acts of pure spite,
And the pitiful cries of the victim once more,
Go unheard by the others when pinned on the floor.

She’s peaceful in sleep but then dragged from the bed,
Her torturer pulling her arms and her head’
Whilst still in distress and now physical pain,
The cold water treatment is used once again.

They all join the ‘fun’ as she’s now easy game,
And the Nurse that’s on duty ignores to his shame!
They will stop for a while as she dangerously shakes,
But that’s not for her benefit, for their own sakes!

At the end of the shift when reports are all done,
The write up’s a joke; it’s all part of their fun.
The staff knows their victims will not have their say,
And the CQC checks are a joke anyway!

I have also copied below a poem I felt compelled to write after another article last year. As I mentioned before, I am so glad I didn’t go down the route of giving Steve medication which would have – for all intents and purposes – turned him into a zombie!

BBC article that led to the poem can be seen here:

The Chemical Cosh

More than 50 health and social care organisations are calling for fresh action to cut the prescription of “chemical cosh” drugs.

Around 180,000 people with dementia are thought to be prescribed antipsychotic drugs in the UK. But 80% of those prescriptions are said by critics to be inappropriate. Long-term use of the drugs can make dementia symptoms worse, reduce the ability to talk and walk and increase the risk of stroke and even death.

The Dementia Action Alliance – which includes the Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK and the Department of Health – want all prescriptions for antipsychotics to be reviewed by the end of March 2012.

To help patients and carers, the Alliance has published a booklet giving information and advice about how to make sure antipsychotics are not prescribed inappropriately.

The Chemical Cosh disgrace

The poem below was inspired by reports in the news today that many patients with dementia are being given high doses of antipsychotic drugs in order to sedate them, making them easier to cope with by care staff. This is rather than properly tackle underlying problem of dementia and using alternative, less invasive treatment. The term being used for resorting to drugs, not time is ‘Chemical Cosh’ and it has been suggested by critics that as much as 80% of the use of antipsychotic drugs is inappropriate.

It is recognised long-term antipsychotic drug use in dementia cases reduce the ability to walk, talk and heighten risks of stroke and even death. Information to help patients and carers ensure antipsychotics are not prescribed inappropriately is available from The UK Dementia Alliance

Day one – we see them watch and wait; day two – they barely tolerate;
Day three – their patience has run dry and soon they start to medicate.

Day four – the patient in restrain where medications’ hit his brain;
Day five – he sobs a silent cry; he feels there’s nothing left to gain.

Day six – he shuffles as he’s led, from chair, to bathroom, then to bed;
Day seven – lost, he wants to die; he’s “trapped here now”, thoughts in his head.

And all of this in just a week, from feisty man to mild and meek;
His family now asking why, the man they knew seems lost and weak?

They placed their loved one in the care, of ‘trained professionals’, leaving there,
Entrusted thinking they would try, to use their skills and treat him fair.

But rather than all earn their pay, the staff elect the easy way;
Sedation doses are too high; the chemical cosh here to stay!