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CAMHS won't see you now

TATT, but it helps with the alcoholics

Geoff is sleep deprived, courtesy of his two-year old's terrors, but he's found it has its advantages in some consultations

Geoff is sleep deprived, courtesy of his two-year old's terrors, but he's found it has its advantages in some consultations

Gentle reader; forgive me if this piece goes a bit astray. You see, we are going through a period of "night terrors" at home.

This takes the form of a sharp cry coming form the two year old's room followed by the delightful patter of little feet up the hall. Our door tentatively swings open followed by the shout: "Daddy!" and a rugby tackle.

I then sleepily wonder how a toddler is reaching the door knob to his room, cunningly placed at my shoulder height. I can only hope he shows such determination and drive in later life.

I then try and calculate what time it is. It is definitely now "Baby O'clock", but when exactly? Dark is OK. Getting light is not so good as it means that chances of getting back to sleep before the alarm's sonorous call is nil.

I then discover for the 36th time that attempting to sleep next to a two year old is a fool's errand. You may as well try to sleep next to a stumpy anaconda who writhes constantly, has blonde hair and who head-butts.

Which explains my chronic fatigue (O doctor, I'm tired all the time). It also explains how it was only dumb luck that steered me through a recent consultation.

Two women burst through the door, one quiet and one loud. The loud one explained that she was there to do the talking, which she promptly then set about doing. She wanted me to sort out her sister's mood swings, weight gain, and outlook on life in general.

She then threw me a lifeline: "I think it's her pill, doctor…" but just as I was drawing a sigh of relief she hit me with "but it's not all bad. Look at what it's done to her bazookas! Aren't they great?" The quiet one struck a pose that left me in no doubt that we were not talking about field artillery.

My right hand twitched towards the phone, where as you know my defence union is on speed dial. Let's face it, this is an awkward question at the best of times, let alone when your registration hangs in the balance. Fortunately the topic of conversation moved briskly on, and my deep, to-the-roots blush having been enough to satisfy them.

Strangely, my fatigue may be what sorted out another consultation nicely.

I've been looking after an alcoholic. Sorry, did I say "one"? Let's rephrase that to say of the several alcoholics I see came in for his weekly mope and med 3. I usually namby around the subject and give friendly advice about the evils of drink. This has been about as useful as a chocolate tea pot.

This time I stared at him, waited for him to finish, then said: "Everything you've just said is because you drink and it won't get better until you stop. If you keep going the way you are you will lose your wife, your brother, and then your life. It's up to you." From the look on his face I think I got a reaction.

Still, I'm not so blindly optimistic as to think that this did the trick. Or maybe my cynicism is the lack of sleep talking.

Geoff Tipper

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