Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Imbeciles

Part four.

I have to admit, I am tired of writing about this. All three of the previous blogs only covered a little over 24 hours of what happened with my daughter. Every day, I get another email or phone call that makes me hit my head on the wall again. My plan was to give you all the gory details blow-by-blow so you could really follow the events, but I’ve decided just to give you the highlights. Or should I say low-lights?

After driving an hour and a half home from the hospital, we discovered that we were supposed to bring Emily shampoo and other toiletries. We brought her some clothes, only because the mobile unit suggested we put some together for her. The hospital gave us ZERO information. ZERO. We had no idea that we were responsible for bringing her supplies. And we had no idea they wouldn’t give her several of the clothing items Spencer had packed because there are lots of rules and regulations. Can’t have pants or shirts that have a tie on them. Again, just a tiny bit of information WOULD HAVE BEEN VERY VERY VERY HELPFUL. Great Monday.

On Tuesday I called to try to see what the treatment plan was. The nurse was very sympathetic and said the case worker should be contacting us. I told her what a joy that case worker was the day before. Now the nurse was very apologetic. She said she would not only have the case worker call, but also the psychiatrist. (By the way, we never did get a call from the case worker. Not once during the entire time of Emily’s hospitalization. Nice.)

Later that afternoon, Dr. Personality called me. This is how the conversation went.

“Hello, Darcy. I had a message to call you. What is going on?”
“Well, that it is the question I had for you actually. What is happening there?”
“I don’t understand your question.”
“I’m calling to find out what the treatment plan is for my daughter.”
“I don’t understand your question.”

Are you kidding me? Ok, let me spell it out for you.

“Have you diagnosed her yet? Have you started her on medications? Which ones? Is she compliant with taking them? What is her reaction to the drugs? Do you have a discharge plan? Is she doing any kind of therapy while she is there?” DUH.

The arrogant responses came back in full form. “Well, the diagnosis is a psychotic episode.” So we talked about that. I understand she had a psychotic episode. So he put her on Risperdol which is an anti-psychotic drug. Will she stay on that for a while? Yes. Ok. Now I explain to him that we have addressed the symptoms. She had a psychotic break and we have stopped that. Now what about the disease that caused the symptoms?

“I don’t understand your question.”

Ok. Well, I suspect she has Bipolar Disorder because of the strong family history and the manic episode. But she was saying some things that sounded schizophrenic. He said Bipolar more likely, but that isn’t his job. He has no intention of diagnosing her or starting her on meds that address her disease. An outpatient doctor will do all that.

Are you f*****g kidding me? Again, a little information would be helpful.

Their website says they are a full treatment facility with a multi-discipline approach. (I have to always point out that includes family therapy.) However, they are clearly not. They are a stabilizing facility, like most here in NY. Stabilize her and release her. Now that is information I find helpful. Just tell me what your plan is and I can adjust. But you gave me no information and your website is completely false and deceptive.

I then try to enter a dialogue with him about the next step. Should I be researching another type of facility for her? Why would I want to do that he asks me. For about a million reasons. Because Bipolar is an extremely difficult disease to manage. The meds are heavy-duty and take a long time to level out. And you are going to release her back into the environment that stressed her enough to cause a psychotic episode in the first place. I don’t know what the best next step is, but as her advocate and loved one, I would like to have a dialogue with a professional to figure that out.

Here’s the winning statement for Dr. Dreamy.

“Your daughter is not an imbecile or a retard.”

Are you f*****g kidding me?

“Yes doctor, I know. But neither am I. I am a licensed mental health professional and I would appreciate being talked to in that manner.”

Conversation over.

But that wasn’t even the worse part. After we got off the phone, he actually went to my daughter and told her this:
“You need to tell your mother that you aren’t an imbecile. You can make your own decisions and she should stop treating you like a child.”

I am not treating my daughter like a child. I am treating her like she has a mental illness. And apparently I am the only one that understands this in the entire circus.

I’m not sure if you understand the significance of what that doctor did. Besides being politically incorrect and completely unprofessional, he was undermining my relationship with my daughter. My daughter, who has discovered a serious, life-threatening mental illness. I am not trying to be an ass, but I am TRULY THE ONLY PERSON IN HER ENTIRE LIFE THAT HAS THE EDUCATION AND KNOWLEDGE TO TRULY UNDERSTAND AND HELP HER. And that asshole basically told her not to trust me.

I’m so mad all over again just writing it, that I’m going to end here. There is so much more to say but I’ve had enough for today. UNBELIEVABLE.


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From Neurosis to Psychosis

Part two.

I left off on my last blog when I arrived at the hospital at 1:00 am. Spencer (Emily’s hubby) had told me on the phone earlier that it was like someone had possessed his wife’s body. I was about to see firsthand what he meant. Emily recognized me. She knew my name. But there was no response to seeing me like she understood I had just flown in and I don’t usually get to see her this time of year. The interesting thing, was that she used names of actual people from her life, but just didn’t associate them with correct reality-like details.

One of her favorite repetitive phrases at this time was, “You gotta go,” accompanied with a wave of her finger. One hospital staff would come in and she would tell them they were much too fat and they had to go. (They were not necessarily overweight in reality.) She also complained repeatedly about the filth she was seeing in the room, and there many filthy people who “had to go” as well. She would point to the floor and say, “Don’t you see that? Don’t you see that?” Only there was nothing there to see.

She knew her four-year-old Aubry’s name and age, and she knew her eight-year-old Parker’s name and age. But then she would explain to me that it was crucial that I understood that each of her children were in actuality herself and Spencer. Again she would ask me, “Do you understand what I’m trying to tell you?” And of course, I couldn’t understand. I had known from training that you don’t ever support a delusion or hallucination. The right thing was not to agree. But at the same time, it seemed equally insane to argue with a person about reality when they were clearly not in touch with it. So I mostly just listened, didn’t correct her, but admitted I didn’t understand when she asked me directly.

One of the saddest moments of all for me, also serves to best explain the level of her confusion. Eventually we will all chuckle about it, but at the moment it was purely gut wrenching. I was watching my daughter suffer emotionally because of what she believed was happening. She was weeping and telling me about Henry. “Darcy, you just wouldn’t believe what they are doing with Henry. They are treating him like a dog. Like a dog. Like a damn sheep dog. It’s horrible and we have to help him.” And she was so distraught because of the injustice to Henry and was genuinely sobbing for him. The problem? Well, Henry is her sheep dog. He really is a sheep dog.

When the ambulance came to take her to the treatment facility, at first she was not going to cooperate. I asked them what would happen if she didn’t go voluntarily. I was told they were not allowed to touch her. If she didn’t go with them, she would have to be police escorted. They would handcuff her and the whole affair would probably be extremely traumatic for all of us. Thank God we were able to reason enough with Emily that she eventually got up and moved to the stretcher without incident. We said goodbye to her in the parking lot and went back to our car. The hospital she was going to was an hour and a half away from where they lived. We were told we would not be able to see her until the next day, so there was no point in following the ambulance. They did however, say they would do their best to get the hospital staff to call us when they had her checked in. They couldn’t guarantee they would, but they would try.

So we went home, disturbed, worried and scared for the woman we love so dearly. Of course, the treatment facility never called me. Unfortunately, that would turn out to be the least of the disappointments we were about to be encountered with. I had looked at their website on the way home and told Spencer I was really happy with where they were sending her. It was a real treatment facility, not just a stabilizing place. She would have an impressive treatment team with several different professionals helping her, and most importantly family involvement was a key part of their protocol.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a facility so totally and completely false in the representation of themselves. But more to come in part three.