I’m sorry: I realise I’ve missed one or two loose ends.
This is like when Lionel Blue dropped his second page during one of his Thoughts for the Day on the Today Programme on Radio 4 and simply stopped mid-script, and everyone wrote to the Beeb afterwards saying, “We had no idea Thought for the Day was live.”
(Even though the speaker is announced every single morning as being there in the studio. You’d be amazed the number of people who ask me if it’s recorded weeks in advance, though the brief specifies that we comment on a current item in the news.)
Anyway, at least now you know I write this blog each day. It’s not a book I scribbled down in its entirety fifteen years ago, shoved under the bed, found again earlier this year and tore up into bite-sized pieces which I then pre-scheduled into daily posts before emigrating to Australia.
And given that I’m writing it every day, my memory sometimes wakes me in the night and fills me in on gaps we’ve already skipped over.
Earlier in 2002
Such as the debrief, after we rescued Bink from the Florence Nightingale Unit in late January 2002.
We were sitting in the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital two or three months later, Bink’s life a bloody and devastating car crash as a result of that referral to the Florence Nightingale, and the consultant who shoved her in there crossed one expensively trousered knee over the other and opined for an hour about... oh, something or other. Bink. Treatment. Not.
To be honest I’ve no idea. Nothing useful whatsoever. This was that same six-figure-salary consultant who did absolutely FA for a year after Bink was diagnosed, leading her to take a token overdose in a desperate bid for treatment, which was what landed her in the Unit. I’ve often wondered what he did do, to justify living so comfortably off our taxes: he can’t have had many patients more worthy of treatment than Bink, and he didn’t lift a finger to help her.
Be that as it may, I sat there politely all that time – we both did – listening courteously, no doubt occasionally nodding or chipping in, and when he’d finally run out of steam and said all the important things he wanted to say, I ventured to enquire, excessively deferentially, just in case there might be some explanation which might help me sleep at night:
“May I ask you a couple of questions, please?”
He inclined his head.
“Why did you refer Bink to the Florence Nightingale Unit? And did it achieve what you wanted?”
“Not really,” he admitted casually, brushing a mote of fluff from one of his neatly pressed cuffs. “We believe that sometimes, the problem is the family.” He smiled in explanation. “In your case, it obviously wasn’t.”
That was it. His entire reason for ruining our daughter’s life. And her siblings’. And ours.
A random experiment.
Just in case.
Based on that pernicious pseudo-philosophy and catch-all-diagnosis I’ve come across time and time again in mental health clinicians and para-clinicians: The Parents Must Be To Blame.
I wonder how he’d have felt if I’d picked up his Parker pen from off his desk, skewered his eyes out with it, plopped them in the basin, gazed thoughtfully at his craters and said, “Mmm. Oh well. Sometimes it makes me feel a bit better if I Gloucester-out the eyes of someone who’s just blown up my life. This time is obviously hasn’t.”