I wrote this the day after my experience below. I have been keeping a "journal" of sorts and have found it helps me document my feelings as well as keeping track of "Our" experiences with this illness.
My Son Is Sick
He is an adult, (19) diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder in August 2007, the most recent diagnosis is Paranoid Schizophrenia. Some of his delusions that I know he truly believes are so bizarre they frighten me. He believes he was a victim of religious ritual sexual abuse, he believes I wash my carpets with sperm, cook with sperm, and defecate in his bed. He thinks he is Buddha…”something really, really, good is going to happen to him when the Monks come”
My Son is sick…
He will not take his medication and is currently in the hospital for the 4th time since August.
This past Friday I get a call “Mom, I need to go to the hospital” I rarely hear him call me Mom, when he does he is usually on his medication, and then, sometimes I even get a hug. I want to cry, I tell him I am on my way.
When I get to where he is staying he get’s in the car, I ask, “what’s going on?” he replies, “it’s none of your F’ing business” I say nothing more and we continue to the hospital in silence. Upon arriving at the E.R., he was immediately put in a room due to his behavior. The admitting clerk said that he remembered my son from last time and had been scared of him.
My Son is sick…
When he got to his room, he was asked to put on a gown, which he refused to do. His nurse told him he had to and he could do it the hard way or the easy way. He put on the gown.
Having been there for about an hour, I stepped out of the E.R. to get some water. When I returned, I had to pass by the nurses station, the nurse assigned to my son was holding up a piece of paper and laughing with another nurse, as I walked by I noticed it was my son’s paperwork that he filled out to be admitted. I never saw the paper and have no idea what was so funny about it but I let it go. At this point, I was choking back tears and trying to hold myself together.
My Son is sick…
Security escorts my son outside for a smoke, and to the bathroom twice, with the last visit angering him to the point he started slamming his fist on the walls. This gets the attention of the other security guards, the E.R. staff, and anyone else within earshot.
My Son is sick…
The Doctor on call has ordered a shot to calm him down. His nurse walks into his room and comes right back out stating, “he won’t go for it” While the medical staff stood out in the hallway devising another plan I noticed a different nurse snickering outside his door. I was LIVID! At that moment, 2 social workers approached me and asked if I was his mother I told them I was and proceeded to tell them I did not appreciate the snickering from the medical staff regarding my son’s illness. I do not appreciate his nurse sharing my son’s paperwork he filled out for admittance with another co-worker AND laughing about it! This is NOT funny, he is SICK he needs help, and the people who are supposed to be helping him are laughing at him!”
My son is sick…
The plan now is to medicate him forcibly. Six men along with his nurse entered his room and told him he had to have the shot, my son was yelling expletives at that point, and the fight began.
My son is sick he needs help.
I watch through the window as my precious son, my pride, my joy, my first-born, the child his father and I so desperately wanted and prayed for 19 years ago was wrestled to the gurney and medicated against his will. I watch as his face starts to turn purple from the pressure on his neck by one of the security guards, the security guard notices as well and releases pressure a bit, his color returns. My Son was calling them Satanists, spitting and crying. After tying him down to the bed the men came out, some of them looked like they might have been hurt during the scuffle. I feel so bad my heart is breaking.
My son is sick…
I cannot even begin to comprehend how my son feels or what he is thinking, but he slowly calms down. I watch as tears stream down his cheeks, does he realize he needs help? Today, I saw evil in his eyes simultaneously with fear. The same look of fear I saw on his face as a child when he was scared. I will never forget it. What is he thinking? Is he starting to realize he needs help?
My son is sick; he needs help fighting this hideous disease!
What gives me hope?
The fact that he called me to take him to the hospital today. Maybe, just maybe my son is starting to realize he needs help.
What I am grateful for:
N.A.M.I. their Family-to-Family program was what kept me going during a very rough time. I met some wonderful people in this class and the instructors were truly Angels. I am grateful for Valley Mental Health and their services they provide.
What infuriates me?
The “system” the stigma, the ignorance society and family have of mentally ill people, the insensitivity I witnessed from the very group of people who made a pledge “… to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician, in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.”
And most of all the Doctor we were referred to upon his release from the hospital the first time. He invited me in for the last 15 minutes of my son’s session looked me straight in the eyes and said, “I’m confused, I have read through his charts and see nothing that justifies him being involuntarily admitted to the hospital let alone for 2 weeks!” As I felt my son look at me (yes he was in the room), I started telling him some of the delusions he was experiencing at that time. His reply was “those are quirks, he has issues with bodily fluid” He then told my son to take his medication and keep his appointments while he was under court commitment. My interpretation of this comment? Play the game, get through it and you will be fine. (he was hospitalized a few weeks later)
I had a neighbor once ask me as she waited with me for the police to come how I stay so calm. I replied I truly believe God does not give us anything we cannot handle and that there is a lesson somewhere in this for myself, my youngest son, his father, anyone whose life has been touched by my first-born.
My prayers are with each of you who have been touched by mental illness. This last year has brought awareness to me of my strength, my compassion for others who are not as fortunate and the power of prayer.
Wow. Well, first of all, your story really angers me because that nurse is absolutely disgusting. I also makes me admire you that you are able to stay by your son during all of this. When I was hospitalized I did not want to see anyone in my family, yet my parents came everyday. As much as I hated them to see me so ill, looking back I now realize it is part of what got me a little better everyday.
Unfortunately, people (your son's nurse and doctor) can be so gross and sick and sometimes I wonder who REALLY needs the medication. As professionals in health care, they are supposed to be role models and confidants to their patients. I must say I am lucky to have never experienced such ignorance from "professionals". But anyway, I wish you and your family good luck, and I hope your son is okay.
I can relate to what your son has gone through. When I was hospitalized in 2006 for a severe manic/psychotic episode, I was forcibly restrained by 6 people who held my arms and legs as they administered an antipsychotic injection against my will. They had NO right to do that to me even if I was extremely combative and actively hallucinating. Nurses also came into my room without permission and one morning entered my bathroom as I was getting dressed in order to inform me that it was time to take my meds. The last negative experience I had during that hospitalization was when a nurse started kicking the side of my bed to wake me up. I have bilateral cochlear implants and am totally deaf without them, so the only way someone can get my attention is to gently touch me on my arm or shoulder. Instead of doing that, the nurse angrily kicked my bed and never apologized for it even after I complained to the rest of the nursing staff.
Last month (thanks to the recommendation of a pdoc I saw) I was hospitalized at a different psychiatric facility who treated me extremely well. The ER staff was also very understanding and compassionate.
I've decided that when I need to be inpatient again, I will attend that hospital instead because I never want to be treated like a second class citizen like I was in 2006.
Just because we have mental illness does not mean we are less than human or do not deserve respect and dignity. Why can't people (especially those in the mental health field) understand that?
Again, I'm very sorry for what your son has gone through.
Is there another hospital in your area he could attend if he needs to go inpatient again?
If I were you, I would definitely file a complaint against the staff of that hospital. They were completely out of line and had no right to treat your son that way.
Atypical Bipolar I Disorder with Rapid Cycling
Risperdal 1mg titrating to 6mg/day
Klonopin .5mg (2x/day)
Trazodone 100mg or 200mg PRN
Last edited by dreams in neon; 01-13-2009 at 04:05 AM.
This is the best thread I've seen on this website! Finally, someone has shown the dedication, the compassion, the self-sacrifice for those whom are labelled, "mentally-ill..." And above all, the pure - genuine, "HONESTY," that fills the hearts of those who are so willing to do what it takes to help, "US..."
One thing that really got me enthralled by your post CJK... Is that its honest... Not only does it talk about YOUR point of view; but it helps US understand what its like when things go, "BAD," when all that is expected is, "GOOD..." And thanks to your insight into your Son's point of view; others who read your post; will hopefully get something from it; like I most definitely have... Something that is MEANT to be learnt from, "Mentally-ill," stories / situations... Something; that - as you have stated - should come from having experienced first hand; what its like to live with / care for; someone whose been aflicted with this terrible illness...
Wow... The fact that those nurses laughed... Well thats just something I cannot describe in words... Atleast not on this forum. Those are feelings that arise when I read what happened to you and your son... And I honestly can't understand; how someone whose sworn an OATH; as you have stated; could have / would have the nerve; to loose control of their own well-being - and aim it right at someone whose in dire need of help... That same person whom literally; keeps them employed...
Kinda interesting when you look at it... How these, "nurses," have gone through atleast 2 - 4 years of school - not to mention, "training," and still not have an understanding of what its like to be, "mentally-ill..." They are human; and they should - even without 2 - 4 years of school / training - be able to understand what it means to, "CARE," for someone... They obviously have no care; for others - which to my understanding (And to the definition of nurse in the dictionary) defeats / contradicts; the purpose of their very job... Sad... But true... Wonder if they learnt anything from it - or they're just going to, "ALLOW," history to repeat itself...
I don't know if you've read this book, but pick it up anyways... Its called, "The Soloist..." Its a true story - written by an L.A. Times writer - published awhile back... (Fairly new) Its about a writer; whose been introduced to the life of a mentally - ill person... And he becomes his, "friend..." However... Just like you have written on your previous post - it is honest... And not only does that allow better understand / insight; into the situation... It helps people make the right decisions / judgments, etc... And maybe thats exactly what those nurses needed... Is for someone to help them understand - first hand - what its like to know someone - be someone; with a mental-illness... And even though, they are the last people who should be laughing at something so serious - they are just as confused as You are... As your Son is... As, "WE," fellow - mentally-ill, are... Its a confusing cycle; and its not something that we learn about until we NEED; to learn about it... Sadly... Its true...
What I'm trying to say is - from what you've stated; you really HAVE learnt something from all that you've seen / experienced during the duration of your son's illness... And at the end of your post - you almost questioned; whether or not you would learn something from all of it... Whether; your second child; your husband, or yourself; would / could learn something - that could potentially make things easier for yourselves, your first child - or others... Well, I can honestly say - that if you came to these forums; and wrote what you just wrote (WHICH YOU DID) I'm guessing that you HAVE learnt - ALOT: About your current situation / circumstance...
But what are you going to do about it? There are alot of people who are battling stigmatization of the mentally-ill... And that book, "The Soloist," has actually been made into a feature film starring Robert Downey Junior, and Jamie Foxx... The trailers online - check it out... But that story - is exactly the same message I got from your story - pertaining to your first born son... And that is EXACTLY the kind of thing - that NEEDS to be told, wherever it can be; so that everyone can get a better understanding of what it is, that afflicts 1% of the population - without any kind of warning... And the sad thing is; until we start to do something about it - "WE," ALLOW - HISTORY TO REPEAT ITSELF...
Anyways, I'm rambling, I basically wanted to say I appreciate everything you stated - its all good and pure - and honest; and thats certainly something that could benefit the lives of so many people... Both Mentally - ill; and non-mentally - ill...
Thank you for your comments. We still have a long road ahead of us and I know it won't be easy, but, I'm ready to fight! The hardest part is that my son is an adult, it has been tricky working around the HIPPA Laws, but now I know what to do to get information I need. I mainly want information on his medications, I don't need to know personal stuff unless my son wants to tell me himself.
This is one of the best places you'll find for seeking more information on medications! I mean - from the point of view of someone whose actually taken them, felt their good and bad side effects... There are hundreds of people on here who have tried and re-tried medications - much like the same that your Son would be prescribed if he chose to allow it...
If you have any questions about these, I'd be happy to share my personal stories... Just remember; that everyone reacts to ALL treatments differently... Just because I got helped from one - does not mean anyone else will; in the same manner... I fell under the influence of psychiatry - with the promise from several doctors that by simply taking medications - my life would become clear once again - and full of clarity... However, I have learned the hard way; that it is NOT only medication(s) that can / could / should; fix my illness... But also the help and support of friends and family - a good positive environment, etc...
I hope that I can be of help to You! I would be willing to share my most personal feelings - (Much like your Son's feelings; I presume) that pertain to my illness... How its so hard to tell the difference between what is real and what is not... And how my current environment (Without MEDS) is helping slowly - over time... For the better...