Saturday, 24 May 2014

Story Seventy Three - The Bleeding Proclaimers

The psychologist who was appointed by the court to give an opinion on where Steven should live, made a great point that had been ignored all year long by the Unit. The judge agreed with him and quoted him in the final judgement. The psychologist wrote:

"In my opinion, very importantly, resident at home is the option that (a) involves the least change, and (b) maintains the closest contact with Mark Neary who has been the most stable feature of Steven's life. In my opinion, mark Neary, who is intimately acquainted with Steven's life history as only a family member can be, is highly likely to be the single individual able to reflect and rehearse with Steven a consistent and orientating life narrative that Steven is unlikely to be able to generate on his own. This, in my opinion, is the most important consideration in maximising Steven's quality of life".

It is so sensible and reasonable and incredible that it even needs to be stated, let alone, as I believe was the case with us, the whole case hinges on it.

You can't fudge a history. The Unit tried but it never worked. I used to have to meet the managers and tell them stories from Steven's history that they could talk to him about. They were interested in some of Steven's catchphrases and their derivations. I told them the Proclaimers story.

Every Thursday evening since 2003, we have done a music dvd session - ten songs - a break for a drink - and then ten more songs. We do the Thursday session together and then Steven repeats the whole lot back by himself on a Saturday night (He's doing it now as I write). One night, we were watching The Proclaimers doing Make My Heart Fly, when Steven screamed - "Dad - Charlie's got a bleedy face. Get him a plaster Dad". I looked and, yes indeed, something red was trickling down Charlie's face. A few minutes before, Steven had eaten a strawberry cheesecake and obviously, splashed a bit on the screen. That must have been about 2007 and for seven years since, Steven collapses in laughter if you ask him about The Proclaimers and strawberry cheesecake.

I was asked to write the script to this episode for the Unit, so they could converse with Steven on the subject. But it could never work. The people at the Unit weren't there when it happened. They've never had the endless conversations with Steven about the bleeding Proclaimer since. They didn't know the song. They couldn't do a Scottish accent. Have you ever been in a pub and two people are sharing a story they shared from way back - you can't join in - you don't get the reference points.

And it was pretty half hearted anyway and that's not fair on Steven and the importance to him of his history. At the same time all this was going on, they were compiling their submission for court where their suggestion for contact between us from the hospital in Wales was via a web-cam.

This is why families are so important and excluding them causes untold damage to the person.

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