So, as I said last time, I was in for one hell of a shock, that still upsets me now when I think of J and his painful secret….,
We woke J up early at 6am to start our new daily routine. J had his shower. Kev took the dogs out and I fixed J a healthy breakfast of porridge and mixed berries, then we set off for the 38-mile journey to school.
We introduced ourselves to his teacher and school nurse and drove home for the placement planning meeting. Everything was a mad rush, so we had a quick tidy up downstairs and decided to leave upstairs until after the meeting.
Placement planning meetings are held at the beginning of every placement; all the professionals meet, history/information is shared about the young person and the aims and objectives of the placement are set out. It is useful for carers as they get to know more about the young person they are caring for. The meeting is minuted and all participants should receive a copy.
Once the meeting concluded, Kev and I quickly grabbed some lunch. Kev went to straighten J’s room. Kev called me upstairs, I could tell by his voice that it wasn’t good news. In the bedroom Kev showed me lots of scrunched up tissue which was covered in blood; there was blood soaked into the bedding and more blood-stained tissue hidden behind the bathroom bin. “Oh, my goodness what the heck has happened?” I wondered if J had self-harmed; this is not uncommon with young people who feel a loss of control.
My mind working overtime I called our SSW to ask her advice. She like us, thought maybe J was self-harming. We agreed that we would speak to him calmly after school and try and get to the bottom of what was going on. I was quite concerned for the rest of the day. I wanted to speak to J and find out what was going on but didn’t want him to think that we had been spying on him; we knew it was important to gain his trust if we were to help hm in the long term. When we collected J from school, he sat in the back of the car happily chatting about his day.
Once home, he relaxed with his iPad while Kev and I sorted tea. We knew he would be hungry, so we thought we approach the subject after we had eaten. Kev plated up the chicken casserole and J ate his food with a look of pure pleasure on his face. I was finding it hard to swallow my own food, I had built myself up to hear what he was going to say. I imagined him initially denying that he hurt himself and trying to cover up what he was doing.
After his food, while still seated at the table I spoke calmly to J. Empathising, that he was not in any trouble I explained, “Hey mate, while we were tidying up earlier today, we found blood on your sheets and blood on some loo role. Have you hurt yourself J?” I asked. His response took the wind right out of my sails. J hiked up his top and pulled down his trousers slightly, so his stomach was showing. Flatly, he replied, “Oh you mean my smelly belly.” I wanted to cry. What he showed me made me both upset and angry. Trying not to let the horror show on my face I responded, ‘That must be painful. Let’s clean it up and we’ll make an urgent GP appointment.”
What was the GP going to say…?