I guess kidnap is not the best word when you are talking about your parents, although, I am sure you get the idea.
Remove without permission.
Here is the scenario. It is made-up. A fiction that could easily happen somewhere in the UK, today.
Norma is 95. She was born in Cambuslang. Grew-up in Pretoria. Worked as a seamstress and short-order chef. Has a husband Gareth and two children Tom and Elaine;
Norma has silvery grey hair. She is sprightly with a ready smile.
She has her own teeth.
She also has dementia. Or frailty, or, multi-morbidity – whatever you can imagine in the context of health and social care needs coalescing into complexity.
In June she fell, was admitted to the local hospital and since then has remained an inpatient.
I won’t describe the minutiae; the complications and complexities – delirium, falls, broken hip, sepsis, recovery, dehydration, weight loss; on and on it goes. There are infinite possibilities.
Summer passes; she moves from ward A to B to C. Medicine to Orthopaedics to Rehabilitation; she moves to another part of the system and waits.
Delays with social care (Yes, Mrs May, you might have fooled some people, but robbing money from the council is actually taking from healthcare), and, she waits.
Norma’s mobility improves, then deteriorates. The process of hospitalisation alters her sense of self, it modulates the moment, twists and turns the possibilities of being.
Social delays. Transfers of care. Discharge to assess. Delayed transfers of care. Pathway this and protocol that. It is an impersonal affair.
Norma is going nowhere.
Five months later.
Norma’s bungalow is sitting empty. Dust gathers on the kitchen-tops.
It is going on and on forever.
96th birthday comes and goes.
You, The Number one Son have an idea.
Your understanding of the machinations of health and social care, your knowledge of processes, pathways, contracts and obligations, leads you to this point:
‘Let’s kidnap mum.’
‘We can pretend to be taking her out for a cup of coffee and instead hold-on to her for a few hours, maybe even overnight.’
‘We can do it; short-term pain for longer-term…’
We hold-on to mum, then, deliver her to A&E.
Bed-pressures being what they are, they will give-up her bed after a few hours; she’ll be squeezed out the system at one end and we can take advantage of the other; they will sort her out with some carers (the power of the four-hour wait), A&E, the assessment unit and, Bob’s your uncle, she’ll be home. The long-wait will be over. Fin.
Sure, there will be issues of safeguarding, council rules and regulations; we can run circles around them so long as we give made-up addresses and utilise a little obfuscation.
The system will eat itself.
A mischievous Samsara.