Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Importance of Support Systems

I am writing this today mostly because I am really missing my sister right now. She has been here with me by my side to offer loving support to Thomas and I and through a lot of the work it has taken to get Thomas situated with care and insurance. I am writing, too, because I want to point out how having a good family support system is so important when you or a loved one has this illness. Let me tell you a quick story:

Back in October when Thomas had to be hospitalized for the first time, my sister happened to be here in town helping me with other family crises. In the middle of those things, Thomas needed help too and she was there by my side and by Thomas's side from the moment we found out that Thomas was struggling, right through to when he was released from the hospital the first time. Admittedly I wasn't on my game when all of this transpired. I was bogged down in other family stuff, as was she, and it took the two of us to orchestrate Thomas's hospitalization and manage his continued care while in there.

My sister went with Thomas and I to the E.R. and sat in the waiting room with us and while I couldn't find the right words to help the situation, she was a rock and comforted Thomas and I both while we waited for him to be seen. She also managed the calls and texts that needed to be sent out. Once inside the cold, impersonal E.R. she sat there and joked with Thomas telling stories about her 8 kids and their shenanigans and when the conversation died down she looked around the room and zeroed in on some purple exam gloves. I'll never forget watching what transpired next. All with great comic timing she fought with blowing the glove up and then whipped out a black Sharpie marker and proceeded to decorate the now purple rubber chicken. She had both Thomas and I laughing and in those moments I couldn't have been more grateful for her presence.

When the doctor came in, when Thomas or I couldn't find the words to express what was going on with him, she quietly and confidently filled in the missing details and together as a team we got Thomas admitted to the hospital to essentially save his life (he was suicidal at the time). Once up on the psych ward her no-nonsense attitude and calm, determined mind got us through the piles of paperwork and she made sure Thomas's rights and my rights as his mom were intact. She stood with me as we were leaving the floor and together with me, helped the nurses understand that Thomas was hallucinating (among other things) and needed a thorough psych exam. Once in the elevator, I broke down in despair and with her strong but loving demeanor she helped me get myself together before we reached the first floor. I was grateful for her ability to calm my inner storm because facing the people that greeted us as the doors opened on that floor, with tears flowing down my face, wasn't what I wanted to have happen.

I couldn't have done any of it without her. In the time that he was hospitalized, she fought hospital staff and the insurance company to get Thomas the best care, with a ferocity I couldn't have manifested in my grief. She was truly amazing. Since then, with each subsequent E.R. visit both Thomas and I have talked about how much we miss her company and those silly rubber chickens decorated with a deftly produced Sharpie marker. Even in her absence, her presence and support is felt.

So, I can't emphasize enough how important it is to have someone in your corner when dealing with all things schizophrenia (lonely moments in the E.R., filling out forms, managing care, fighting insurance companies etc.).

I love you sista and I am forever grateful for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

My Most Popular Posts...

Follow my posts by Email:

Follow Me On Twitter