Flashbacks in A and E

Ok so it’s actually the minor injuries unit at our local community hospital but it was certainly an adventure for us. We have never needed A and E before and after three and a half years it was not something I was looking forward to! I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived. I’d always been led to believe by my mum friend who is a frequent flier to the unit that it was one of Dantes 7 circles of hell but when we got there only one other patient sat waiting.

We were triaged by a friendly nurse who charmed the children and we were soon sat back in the waiting room while we waited to see a doctor. At this point things had gone reasonably well, the girls were making good use of the snacks I’d bought, Amy was a bit anxious and although Josie was far more excited about the experience than it warranted but we were all ok.

Then in walk two more patients. One a drowsy looking ruffian, handcuffed and flanked by two burly policeman and another child, older than mine, accompanied by a chatty over familiar mother who instructed her literally bleeding offspring to sit near me, away from the afflicted felon!

I could tell Amy was anxious the minute she saw the policemen. At this point I should mention that Amy is vary wary of the police, with a history of domestic violence, we know the police were frequent visitors to her birth family home and she would have associated them with the feelings of panic she would have on these occasions. I could tell that Amy was having flashbacks and experiencing some of these feelings now. So I attempted to calmly talk to Amy, let her know what was going on as simply and un-catastrophically as I could.

Chatty mum had other ideas, telling my children that he had been naughty, and they mustn’t be naughty as that’s what would happen to them! Gobsmacked I reassured both my girls that nothing they do or consider naughty was going to warrant them being arrested. I was extremely relieved when the doctor arrived to examine Amy and promptly declared her arm not broken! Without a glance back we made for the car and back to safe territory. Amy was still clearly experiencing anxiety about the policemen and through some curious questioning we talked through her concerns. Although Amy will tell you she knows the police are there to help us, she does instantly flashback to feeling terrified in their presence and we discussed why this might be the case and why seeing policeman might trigger feelings from her past.

I am incredibly proud of Amy she was able to talk through how the police made her feel and even though she has been more unsettled over the last few days she has used us for support and managed her feelings better than she ever has.

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