I am very humbled by all the kind messages of support and helpful suggestions, since my article about Bink appeared in yesterday’s Telegraph. Thank you all. I have decided to postpone our next episode till tomorrow, in order to direct you today, to the heartrending response to yesterday’s. Please scroll to the bottom and read in its entirety Marilyn Sands’ piteous and poignant account.
I wish I could say Mrs Sands’ experience is unusual. Another mother I have never met but who is now a dear friend through our correspondence, has been among the faithful few praying for Bink for several years. She always responds to my prayer updates... usually with, “how often I have been there before,” at the latest heartless deficiency, or far worse, of what so hideously passes for modern mental healthcare. (When I have her permission – and we are all feeling strong – perhaps I will tell her tragic story.)
You are busy people and I don’t wish to detract from Mrs Sands’ comment, so I will restrict myself to one observation:
In school history, my schoolmates and I would gasp in patronising incredulity at the idiocies of previous generations. The leeching and blood-letting; the insanitary conditions found by Florence Nightingale; the infested breeding grounds for germs which passed for hospitals. How could we have been so utterly imbecilic? Isn’t it blindingly obvious that places of healing need to be clean and cutting patients will make them worse?
I have often wondered what future history classes will make of us…
In his sad and salutary article on The Poisoning of George III, surely one of our loveliest monarchs, Ed Crews details the “eighteenth-century treatments, which were cruel and useless” and that the king was “made worse by his medicines”. In 2005, an article in The Lancet found that, “The medicine he was given for his illness made [his] condition much worse. As the researchers reported in The Lancet, the original physicians’ notes ‘make for disturbing reading,’ especially when one reads of the amount and frequency of the emetic tartar doses, the king’s violent reactions, and the deception or force often used to make him take the mixture.”
Mrs Sands, I wish you well for your so-precious and wonderful son. You tell us private counselling is forthcoming, and wonder on the effect this could have. Given my previous paragraph, your concern is common sense.
The outpatient care the North London Priory is giving Bink is superb. Perhaps your son could be treated there?