Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Sun Through Troubled Eyes is the Sun Nonetheless

Vincent Van Gogh
Yesterday afternoon Parrish thought Honey and I had been kidnapped.  He was frantic to know if we were safe.  He was desperate to help us but didn’t know where we were.  I was able to assure him that we are fine, safe at home, but I began to question his readiness to come home on Monday, his target date for dismissal from the crisis unit.

This morning at 6:30 he was in Ft. Lauderdale.  He cancelled his flight, something about hats and a 30 day hold.  I never could understand.  He wanted me to call and buy him a bus ticket.  He said it was all bullshit.

At 7:30 he said to cancel the bus ticket, that he would just wait for me to pick him up there.  When I asked where he is, he said he’s was in Gateway, waiting, counting the minutes until I pick up and get him out of there.

The above is about 25% of what he said.  The rest was unintelligible.  This is Thursday, and Monday is just four days away.  I’m daunted by the prospect of his dismissal, but I’m ready.  I’ve made concrete plans for his care at home.

After P’s dismissal, assuming that it happens as planned, I will take him to the be enrolled in a home care plan.  It’s through a public agency that coordinates with Gateway and provides home monitoring of psychiatric patients who are at high risk for readmission.  His case will be managed by a RN who works closely with the agency’s psychiatrist.  A health care professional will visit at least three times a week, more often if needed. There is a professional on call around the clock for emergencies. 

As P stabilizes, the home visits can evolve into excursions.  A medical pro will be able to pick him up and take him to Starbucks or someplace where they can sit and talk while he or she does the evaluation.  These people will take him to the appropriate meetings at Gateway if we choose for him to go.  We already have a good advocate in AA, and as soon as he is stable and oriented enough, he’ll be going to meetings again.

He is required to see a psychiatrist at least once a month, and luckily for us, he may see a private doctor.  We already have a doctor lined up for him.  My understanding is that the private doctor will manage medication in coordination with the agency’s doctor, that she will have the final say-so about what P takes.  It is  very important to me that, when P is dismissed from home care, he have a doctor he knows and trusts and won’t face “breaking in” a new psychiatrist.  That kind of continuing care is a big part of making this work, I think.
He must also see a therapist at least once a week, and again, we will use a private person so P’s care will be continuous and uninterrupted.
I fought to get Parrish in this program.  The moment Wayne, the social worker at the Gateway crisis unit, told me of its existence, I began doing everything I could to make it happen for us.  I used the word “us” advisedly.  This kind of support will make it easier for me as well as for my son.  It will provide periods of solitude, down time I so need in order to maintain my mental balance, my sense of being grounded, my ability to be supportive.  I enlisted the support of Dr. Snow and tried to stay in close touch with Wayne about it.  On Tuesday, I got the good news that Parrish was approved.
It gets better.  Sophie - I’ve mentioned her before - will come to stay with us for a while.  She is my support person.  She is perhaps the steadiest person I have ever known, and she will infuse this flat with her positive energy, her total lack of judgement.  She will find a way to make us all feel better.

And then there is Lawrence, loving, concerned and willing to help in any way.  His support gives me hope and strength and, knowing that I am not in this alone is a comfort.  Melissa opened the door between Lawrence and me, and to her I will be grateful forever.

No, none of us knows how this will play out.  It will be difficult for every one, especially Parrish.  After all, he’s battling demons I will never know, never understand.  His father and I will suffer with and for him.  But the only way I know to make this work is to believe it will.  If I thought this would end in tragedy, I couldn’t do it.  There is always room for a miracle. 


It is my hope that someone will take hope from the reading of this post.  If you have a loved one in crisis, get involved and advocate for that person.  You may not have a great support system as I do, but there is much you can do on your own.  Obtain guardianship, if appropriate, so you can be an active participant in your loved one’s care.  Either way, plan for the future.  I spent years “putting out fires” and thinking the problems would disappear in the ashes.  They didn't.  Ask questions, and if you don’t get the answers you need, keep asking.  I am astonished at the resources here in this small coast community that I did not know existed.  Do some digging.  Don’t give up.

Copyright 2014 cj Schlottman

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