Thursday, May 17, 2007

Repeat 5 million times: I will not lose my shit.

Johns Hopkins has an amazing mental health facility. Arguably the best around.

Given the potentially fatal consequences of not getting my dad the best care possible, we decided to try to get my dad in there. I talked to the head of admissions yesterday. Who said that the waiting list to get in is minimum 3-5 weeks, but we should start the process now. And my dad's psychiatrist has to make a case for why he should be there. In other words, it's a highly desirable and difficult to get into place.

But of course, I know we can do this. We must know people who know people who can help us. We must. But I told my mom I'm not about to waste favors. I'm not going to ask people for help lightly. But given that this is a really, really big deal, I'm willing to look for help wherever I can.

So. It turns out that my friend Ravi has a colleague who knows someone very well-respected in the mental health community. He goes out of his way to connect me with this woman. Who very kindly speaks with me. And gives me some names.

So I call Betty, who I've not been able to get hold of all day. It turns out my dad doesn't want to go to Hopkins. And he has to want to. They only take patients on a voluntary basis. In other words, we cannot force him.

I ask what his proposed solution is, since clearly him coming right home from the current hospital, as it's only a short-term solution, is not a viable option. Well, she says, last night they talked to a social worker there. Who said they have a day program, 9-5, at that very hospital.

Now, this hospital has been fine. But their mental health facility is not amazing. My dad was there six years ago. And got out and tried to commit suicide again a month later. Not super confidence inspiring.

But the night of his suicide attempt, it was the closest hospital. And when they barely get you back to breathing, and stick you in the ambulance, you go to the nearest hospital. There's no arguing with that. Even though I tried.

And so, I wonder aloud, will Betty police him from the 5 pm to 9 am every day that he's not at the hospital?

"I'm not policing him again. But I think this will be fine."

This will be fine? In a week or two he can traipse home from somewhere that I'm suspicios about in the first place and why why whythefuckissheOKwithit and what??? It will be fine?

Seriously, I am going to be batshit crazy soon. I truly am.


  1. The ups and downs of the situation are heart wrenching.

    Any chance he can be convinced to go to Hopkins? Can he be bribed or is he the type to compromise? Okay, I'll give it a shot kind of thing?

    Can the social worker at the current hospital be enlisted to help convince him that the Hopkins facility would be more suitable since this isn't his first attempt?

    I hope my casting about for a solution isn't making matters worse. Your frustration is the most reasonable reaction I can imagine to the situation.

  2. Agree - your frustration is completely valid. I hope things work out for the best and your Dad decides to go to Hopkins.

  3. Hmm... you know the situation better than I do, but is it possible he's healthy enough that you can go into his room, shut the door, and verbally bitch-slap him? Sometimes getting really angry shows people how serious things are in a way they couldn't see before. And this is important.

  4. I wish I knew what I could say or do to help - just know that if you ever need or want to vent, I'm here!

  5. DCup - I think we will be able to convince him. We weren't totally successful tonight. But I think we can.

    HKW - Thank you. My frustation level is through the roof. I am trying not to take it out on my parents.

    LMNt - I don't think anger is the way to go. Or anyway, not outward anger. Firmness, however, definitely.

    Dagny - Thank you! I will definitely take you up on your offer.

  6. Do you think your mom has given up on him? It must be exhausting for her to picture living the rest of her life policing him, especially if he's not making any effort to get better. I really hope you can convince him, he's so lucky to have so many people wanting him alive!!

  7. It sounds like she's just worn out. I suppose that when you get to a certain point, you'll grasp at anything that looks like progress, regardless of whether it makes logical sense. "But I think this will be fine" sounds a whole lot like "But I don't know what else to do."

    I'm all in favor of the putting down of the foot, in whatever form it takes. And you're not going to go crazy; you've pretty clearly shown your strength so far, it's not going to let you down now. Besides, you've got a pretty sizable cheering section here, so you can lean on us.

    When you're not strong. We'll be your friend, etc, etc...

    I'll spare you the singing. Trust me, it's better that way.

  8. G&D - I think she's just exhausted and is used to him being in charge. After she and I talked, it turns out she doesn't actually think it's a good idea. He asked her what she wants, and she said she wants him to go, so he might just need some time to get OK with this in his head. And now we work on actually getting him IN there.

    WiB - Thanks. I think we will make progress on that. You're more confident than I am about me not totaly losing it, though. The cheering sectin is awesome, though, and the singing pretty amusing.


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