Friday, September 28, 2007

Mom got her wish and will go to the state hospital. The residential program backed out, vaguely citing something about medical issues as their excuse. This was after the court order. We went back to court this week and she was ordered into the state hospital. No one wants her there, but it's all that's left. She'll probably stay in the crisis unit for a couple of months until a bed opens up. The psychiatrist estimates Mom will be at the state hospital for 1-2 months before they discharge her. They deal with the worst-case patients and she's not one of them.

She claims she's not sleeping at all. She looks terrible, but I have no idea if it's the truth. She told me she wasn't eating at all, but her records indicate she eats an average of 60-80% of the food offered to her. I bluntly asked about her insomnia and she got angry that I accused her of lying. Well, you can only cry wolf so many times before people doubt you. She's manipulative and I don't know what's true anymore.
Hubby and I named our car the Bad Luck Car. I rear-ended someone last winter. He ran off-road to avoid rear-ending someone a couple of months ago. Both were minor accidents. The guy I rear-ended had an older car and didn't want to report it. Bad Luck Car ended up with some bumper damage. Hubby's accident resulted in some dents and scratches, but again, nothing big.

Today I was rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light that had just turned green. I think the guy behind me was in a hurry and hit the gas before the rest of us started moving. We did exchange info, but I haven't called anyone other than Hubby yet (and that was to get cop advice). The hitch is bent and the bumper is scratched. It looks fairly minor, but who knows.

They say bad things come in 3s. I hope this is it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The hearing went well. The public defender insisted on speaking with Mom privately and she apparently agreed that she needs to go into residential treatment. She'll be transferred sometime within the next couple of weeks.

I had a long talk with the psychiatrist. She and the hospital are doing all the can, but Mom simply refuses to do anything that will help herself. Once her stay at the residential facility is over, anything can happen. They can't force her into an ALF or group home, so she could wind up on her own again. According to the doctor, Mom's fantasy is for me to quit working so she can live with us and I can be with her 24/7. Mom needs to somehow get out of the fantasy world and learn to cope with reality. Even if I could afford to quit my job, I could not take on the role of her caretaker. It's too heavy a burden. The doctor reminded me that Mom is not my responsibility and that my birth did not obligate me to provide unrealistic care.

The doctor also stated several times that roughly 15-20% of people with Mom's condition commit suicide. She stated that it's a possibility with Mom. It was a terrible thing to hear, but I'm glad she's honest. If Mom continues to refuse treatment, she will eventually end up in another situation where she can harm herself. Years ago, when I took the Family-to-Family class offered by NAMI, they discussed the mortality (morbidity?) rates associated with various mental disorders. Those numbers are all too real. I keep praying that she'll find a way out of despair, find a way to fight the illness, find ways to cope with her anxiety and depression.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I spoke with the hospital's head of mental health services. It looks like they did everything by the book when Mom was discharged. Mom said she didn't want them to call or "bother" me. Since she is competent, they couldn't go against her wishes. Ironically, she's still "competent" even though she's convinced she'll never get better, wants to die, and would most likely harm herself again if left alone.

My paperwork to become a Guardian Advocate will go before the judge tomorrow. The hospital will also try to have her ordered back into the residential treatment facility. I will attend the hearing in case they need a statement. The judge or public defender may not agree that it's in Mom's best interest. I will tell them otherwise.


Peanut was so sweet yesterday. He spotted my walking down the hall to his classroom. When I got there, he hugged my legs and exclaimed "I'm so happy to see you, Mommy!" Later in the evening he told me "I love you so much!"

I really need to watch what I say around him. I couldn't find a pen at the bank drive-up window and muttered "Oh, dammit." Peanut repeated it. I explained that it was a bad word and neither he nor I should say it. Oops.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Peanut started using his potty this weekend! He peed in it 4 times on Saturday and 5 times on Sunday. I couldn't believe it! I put him on the potty as soon as we got out of bed Saturday morning, when I knew he had a full bladder. The look on his face when he realized he was PEEING IN THE POTTY! was priceless. He was proud. I was proud. We clapped and yay-ed. He ceremoniously flushed his pee down the big potty. We called Daddy on the speakerphone so Peanut could make the big announcement. Peanut was rewarded with M&Ms and a lollipop.

And last night he told me when he needed to use the potty!

This morning, a daycare morning, was another story. I think we'll do better tonight when he's feeling happier. As for pooping, well it's going to take a while. He still likes to hide in a corner or under the table and tells me "Leave me 'lone, Mommy. Go in da kitchen."

I'm so proud of my little guy!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I received a call from Mom’s house – my work phone has caller ID. I couldn’t understand who would be calling from her place. It was Mom telling me she loved me and goodbye. That she had “done it” this time. I asked what she did. She took a bottle of pills. Enough, she claimed, to finish the job. I asked her to stay on the phone while I called 911 from the other line. She didn’t want me to call. We said more I love you’s and she hung up. I called 911 and an ambulance and deputy were dispatched.

While driving to the hospital, the same thoughts played in a loop. Will she be conscious when I get there? In a coma? Will I be making funeral arrangements?

She had been there less than 30 minutes when I arrived, so I had to wait. Finally, I was allowed back. She was on a gurney in the hall, conscious but groggy. She whispered “I want to die” over and over. Her nurse looked familiar, eventually I realized she’s a friend of a friend and I re-introduced myself. She remembered me and was friendlier and more informative after that. Mom was given charcoal to drink, in addition to the fluids they were pumping in by IV. I stayed a while and left when they needed to take samples and do testing.

She’s on a medical floor now. She took Tylenol (the doctor estimated 50-60 pills). They’re still giving medicine in an attempt to prevent liver damage. They won’t know for a day or two if/how much damage she caused. She’s scared. I’m scared.

I spent yesterday leaving messages and waiting to hear from the hospital. I finally got in contact with the mental health floor supervisor in the late afternoon. Apparently Mom refused to go to therapy meetings (again) and the doctor said if she continued to refuse, Mom would be discharged. Mom still refused. They made an outpatient plan and sent an outpatient care team to assess Mom. Mom refused the assessment. Mom made a phone call (they assumed to me, but I don’t know who she called), they put her in a cab, and sent her home.

I understand that by law they can only do so much, especially with a voluntary patient, and that a patient’s privacy is protected by HIPAA. But they could not sufficiently explain to me how a patient who was involuntarily admitted for an overdose (albeit not enough to be lethal), was downgraded to voluntary within a couple of days, was moved onto the “suicide” hall a few days later, then discharged under her own care with no family knowledge two days later. They couldn’t explain why at the least a social worker or nurse didn’t contact me or why they didn’t have her transferred someplace else.

I spoke next with the head of mental health services. She seemed to take my concerns seriously and is looking into them. Mom is currently under Baker Act and will be on the medical floor for at least a couple more days. She doesn’t know if Mom will go into their psych unit, but is doing what she can to ensure Mom receives the care she needs and isn’t discharged without appropriate planning.
Our camping trip turned out great, especially since it almost didn’t happen.

About 2 hours into our drive, we stopped for lunch. As we pulled through the drive-through, one of the wheels hit a cement post protecting the restaurant’s corner. It was LOUD. We pulled around to the parking lot and Hubby assessed the damage. The impact was enough to bend the camper’s axle and wheel was angled outward. He called AAA while Peanut and I went inside for lunch. Peanut was wearing his Superman shirt (what else) and the ladies were so sweet to him. They made sure to find Superman and Validus to go in our h@ppy me@ls. (Peanut already had one of each, but I didn’t have the heart to say anything. They knew he liked super heroes and went the extra mile to find toys they thought he would like.) Hubby eventually came in and tried to eat. AAA will only tow a camper or trailer if the vehicle originally towing it is broken down. He called the camper manufacturer, ordered a new axle, and we decided to attempt going on. Hubby also noticed that the plastic roof vent cover had shattered and come off in the parking lot. (This was unrelated to the accident. I noticed a small crack in the cover a while back. UV light is tough on plastics.)

We got back onto the interstate, then took the next exit to check the tires. Rubber was coming off the tire in little balls. We stopped again a few exits later and the wear didn’t seem as noticeable. We said our prayers and continued on our way, with Hubby keeping an eye on the tire in the side mirror. We made it to the exit for the state park and Hubby noticed a lot of wear when we stopped at a traffic light. We pulled into a parking lot and realized the tire was worn down to the belts. Our car’s jack miraculously worked on the camper, and for some reason Hubby had thought to bring the tire iron from our other car. Peanut and I walked around and and made several stops to look at a polka-dot wasp moth while Hubby changed the tire.

We arrived safely at the campground and walked down to the river to unwind and give Peanut a change to burn off some energy. We saw a sheriff’s office boat and a huge freighter, both of which Peanut loved. We headed back to camp to get the screen room set up and to start dinner. We didn’t finish cooking until dark and by the time we ate, a possum and a raccoon had stopped by to check things out. Dinner was delicious.

I cleaned up and left a crusty pan to soak. Peanut started getting bored, so we got ready for bed, climbed in the camper, and played a DVD. That’s when the raccoon decided to really check things out. I found it with its paws in the dish water. I dumped everything out and locked the dirty pan in the galley. Shortly after lights out, we could hear raccoons on the camper. This went on all night and I even had a dream that they got into our coolers and dragged our food all over the campground. Morning revealed our coolers were still intact and bungeed to the camper, covered in muddy little pawprints.

We went to a mechanic recommended by the rangers and arranged to drop the camper off on Sunday. (Hubby has since arranged to have the axle shipped directly to them. They will also sell us a new tire.) The rest of the day was fun. We saw the Amelia Island lighthouse and several little crabs. We visited the riverside beach. We also went to the Atlantic beach and fishing pier. The water was rough (we later found out about the tropical storm off the Carolinas) and Peanut was scared, so we played in the sand and only went into the shallow water. Peanut loved the fishing pier and would have been happy to help the folks who were fishing.

After a nap, Peanut and I went back down to the river while Hubby started supper. This time we ate well before dark. We went back to the river at sunset to enjoy the scenery and saw several bats! While Peanut played with his flashlight, we noticed schools of fish in the water. When we shined (shone?) the beam at the right angle, we could see their shimmering bodies.

Peanut wasn’t into hanging out in the screen room after dark, so we took showers and retired to the camper. Shortly after lights-out, we heard the raccoons again. This time there was a suspicious ripping sound. The garbage bag was within their reach, and one stood up and tore it open. Hubby peaked out his door and saw five masked bandits pawing through our trash. We both got out and watched the show. Those furry guys were brazen. They worked at our coolers throughout the night, but weren’t able to get in.

After breakfast, we broke down camp. A couple of our neighbors came over and informed us they lost 32 ears of corn and 6 pounds of sausage to the raccoons during the night...I'm so glad they weren't able to get into our food. We dropped the camper off at the mechanic’s, then returned to see the fort. I can’t imagine sleeping on the cots those poor soldiers had. Even worse, the enlisted men had to share a latrine – a bunch of small pits in a row without seats. I imagine the smell must have been awful in the summer. At least the officers had their own private latrines with seats. The cannons were impressive. The hospital area and supply rooms were neat, too.

We all started getting hot and decided to call it a day. We piled back into the car and had an uneventful trip home.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I pulled a tiny tick off Peanut. Hubby noticed it earlier in the day and didn’t know what it was. It looked like a bit of sand or shell, which we’re still picking off ourselves from this weekend. I grew up in the Lyme disease capitol of the world, so anything tick-like is carefully scrutinized. I told Peanut it was a “bad buggy” as I yanked it off. The nasty little thing left a little welt on his thigh. We followed up with thorough tick checks of one another.

Peanut spent the rest of the night telling us he had bad ants in his diaper. I’m glad he took it all in stride.

(I’ll be on the lookout for fever, aches, and rash over the next several days. Me, paranoid? Absolutely.)
I had the weirdest dream last night...

We are living in our old place. Hubby notices lights and sirens down by the road, and a call for help comes over the radio. He grabs his gear and leaves to assist the other cop.

All of a sudden, it’s night and pitch black. Peanut and I are hiding in a bedroom behind a piece of furniture as two armed men are searching our house. I cover his mouth with my hand to keep him from crying. One of the men hears him and notices us. I prop Hubby’s backup weapon on the table we’re hiding behind and shoot both men twice in the chest before they can shoot us. I grab Peanut, put him in the front seat with the seatbelt and drive to Hubby. A third man follows us. We get to Hubby and I wake up. Strange. But I think Hubby would be proud that I protected Peanut.

Monday, September 10, 2007

We had a great time camping over the weekend. More on that later.

I visited Mom last night. They moved her to the suicide watch section at some point over the weekend. She was threatening to hurt herself. She's a mess - not wanting to get out of bed, wanting to give up and die, refusing to attend group therapy sessions. She's convinced that her next stop is the state hospital. If she doesn't improve, it may be. I'll take with her social worker again today.


Peanut told Hubby he had a dirty diaper and needed to be changed. When Hubby got to him, he had a poopy diaper pulled down around his ankles. We're definitely making some slow progress.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I visited Mom last night. She's depressed and very anxious, but seemed a little better. We talked for a little while until she needed to lie down. According to Mom, the doctor is at a loss as far as long-term treatment. She has the kickass social worker again, but I haven't gotten in touch with her yet.


Peanut had a rough time with "my tummy hurt" and a fever. Hubby is home with him today and he seems to be almost over it.

We're still making little progress in potty training, but he had a couple of "ah-ha" moments this weekend. While I was busy scrubbing the floor on Sunday, he told me he was going to the "baffroom". Something set off my Mom-dar and I went to check. He had his pull-up down around his ankles with a big load inside. I wiped him off and made a big show of dumping the poop in the big potty.

During his bath on Sunday he got up on all fours and peed into the tub. I asked if he wanted to sit on the potty and he agreed. He tried so hard to pee some more.

Maybe, just maybe, we're getting somewhere.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Things went downhill after the cat scare.

Mom called the mental health hotline on Friday. They sent a crisis team out to see her and contacted me.

Peanut and I visited Mom Saturday morning. She said she needed to go to the hospital. I convinced her to call the crisis line again and we both spoke with the counselor. We had to use my cell phone because her phone line has so much static that she can’t hear to have conversations on it. The phone company’s test indicated the problem was on her end, but I still heard static at the outdoor test jack. They wouldn’t send anyone until the end of this week. I wasn’t comfortable with her being alone, especially without a working phone. She and the cats came home with me. I told her I would take her to the hospital after Hubby came home from work. By evening she felt a little better and decided to wait.

She didn’t want to get out of bed on Sunday. She wanted to go to the hospital as soon as I got up. I needed to get Peanut fed and dressed first. By the time we were ready, Mom changed her mind. She felt like she would die if she went to the hospital because they would never let her out. She remained in bed for the rest of the day only getting up for an occasional glass of water or trip to the bathroom. When I wasn’t playing with Peanut or taking care of him, I was on my hands and knees scrubbing grout. I needed something physical to take my mind off Mom. The grout has gone from dirty dark brown to almost white. She did eat a little bit of dinner and made a little bit of conversation with us.

Monday was the same, except she didn’t want to go to the hospital or call the crisis line since “they don’t help.” Hubby, Peanut and I went out for lunch and to do a little shopping (a sanity-saver for me after 2 days on Mom watch). I checked on Mom when we got home. She admitted to taking 5 Klonopin pills in the time we were gone. She’s supposed to take a maximum of 3 per day. At first she stated she was trying to hurt herself, then she said she only wanted to take enough to sleep, then she said she would have taken more if we had come home later. I took the bottle away and Hubby called work to request a unit to come to our house. Luckily, one of Hubby’s good friends responded and Mom was Baker Acted.


Now the fun begins. I must get in touch with the hospital as well as the folks from the crisis line/non-profit who handled Mom’s residential treatment and is supposed to be handling her outpatient treatment. I need to figure out where she’ll go when she gets out. I think she’s past the point of safely living alone. As I see it, she needs to be in a group home or with us if we can arrange some sort of home health care, at least on the days that both Hubby and I are working, but I don’t know if that would work as a permanent solution.

I am fed up with mediocre mental health care. I realize that the non-profit is underfunded and understaffed, but I can’t understand how they would release someone like my mom, even if she seemed stable, only to make her wait 6 weeks for a psych appointment. It’s a recipe for disaster.