Thomas remained in his first hospital stay for 4 days.
He left the hospital sicker than he went in.
No meds changes, no counseling, no nothing.
What baffled me was that during his intake he was talking about hearing and smelling things that weren't there and yet somehow he was released to me with no changes in care. To be fair, he was a minor on an adult ward (which I was told was pretty much illegal) and I had been raising 14 kinds of hell trying to get information about him so I could arrange help for him and I think I kind of made a scourge of myself. Still, a suicidal, hallucinating teenager proven not to be on any substance other than an anti-depressant, was in their hands and they did nothing but warehouse him for 4 days and dump him out to my very worried arms.
That was a Monday. By Tuesday he had an appointment with his therapist and all went along fine enough considering the last week and then we came to the end of the session and his therapist said to him,
"Thomas, I think it's time we change your medication. Maybe add in something to help with your paranoia."
"I don't want to take medication for that. I want my paranoia, it protects me."
What ensued was a line of questioning to get to the bottom of that reasoning of his and what transpired from the conversation was a seriously delusional, intricate, shocking story about his world. Personally I was stunned. Rocked to the core. I had no idea that he had held all of that in his beautiful, young, sweet, loving brain. It was in those moments as he told his story that I began mastering my calmness but nothing could have stopped me from staring wide-eyed, eyebrows raised, shooting invisible darts of "are you listening to this??" at his therapist. His therapist seemed so calm and seemed to take this all in stride. He then said to Thomas,
"Well then maybe we'll at least think about medications for the future."
THINK ABOUT MEDICATIONS?!?!?
Apparently so because we all stood up after that and left his office and Thomas and I got in the car. I was STUNNED at what had just transpired. Had his therapist not been in on that conversation?!? Had he not heard Thomas utter those frightening stories of madness?!?
I got home and immediately drafted an email to his therapist asking him what I was supposed to do with what we had just heard. I can't even remember the answer because I was already on the phone to my own psychiatrist asking her what I should do. Bear in mind this woman, my psychiatrist, is a powerhouse. She did her residency at The Mayo Clinic. She knows her stuff. And she's connected in our local medical community and state Adult Mental Health programs. She knows her stuff.
Armed with all of the information she could gather for me and working with the insurance company, I made a call to this top notch hospital hours from me that had a youth acute mental ward. I was told they were the best in the state. I fought my way through 3 administrators and finally got to the psychiatrist that worked on the youth ward. His response?
"I'm sorry, we have no open beds."
I was at a loss and on the verge of uncontrollable tears. Nowhere in my area was there a place for Thomas to go. Nobody had beds open. So I called my insurance company and the most wonderful (now I consider her an angel) woman told me to pack Thomas in the car and drive him straight up to the youth acute hospital's E.R. and camp out and wait. There would be a bed eventually and in the meantime he would at least be protected within the hospital walls and get an evaluation.
So, on a cold, snowy, blustery afternoon, I packed Thomas in the car with me and began my 3 1/2 hour drive into the unknown praying the whole way that first, we'd make it there alive and second, that when we got there, there would be help. I was scared and alone and hoping for a miracle for my boy.
(My Facebook Page About Schizophrenia)
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