Recovery – Day Five

He’s not coming out of it like usual. I swear he’s becoming delusional. And I know delusional and how difficult it is to get along with them. To avoid conflict you have to buy into their delusion. It’s especially hard to do when the delusions change from day to day.

Every day he tells me something that’s just plain wrong:

“We watched that show together.” Except we did not watch that show together.

“Where’s the leftover chicken from last night?” We hadn’t had chicken in several days. Is this a problem with keeping track of the days? It doesn’t seem so, because he insists we had roast chicken the night before and doesn’t understand why I would deny it. You would think logic would come into play, but no.

“Can you print something for me?” I do. Then I give him the papers and he says, “I didn’t ask you to print that.” This in a span of 15 minutes.

He is so convinced that what he remembers is real and what we remember is just wrong. I ask him, “Why would I lie about that?” Not to mention, he knows I have never lied to him.

Every day he has a new problem with his computer or tv. One day it won’t turn on at all. The next day he has no volume control, etc. He’ll get each issue fixed and a few hours later it’s another problem. I’m not sure there is ever anything wrong. It’s impossible to know. He won’t leave it alone long enough for you to really help. Near as I can figure, he hallucinates that there is a problem and starts to unplug and turn things off. But I have to go in his room and look at all the wires and figure out what he’d disconnected.

I’m supposed to go with him to the doctor today. He’s talked about it all week. Now this morning he doesn’t want me there and doesn’t want to give me permission to talk to the therapist at all. I told him if he wanted his dad and me to be able to help him, he’d give his permission. Now he’s in his room, ruminating on why we are so mean and demanding.

It is 11:40AM and I’m arguing with Son about it. He’s telling me we should get going if we’re going to make it on time. I thought the appointment was at 1. He says yes, but it’s 12:40 and I have to repeat it is not. Now he’s upset again and hiding in his room. I’m looking forward to the ride to the doc. God know if I’ll even get to say anything once I’m there. Probably a total waste of time, but I’ve got to try. They need to at least understand that the situation at home is barely tenable. We need help to understand, and they are not getting a complete picture of the situation.

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!

 

Bi-Polar Again

I don’t understand this illness. Son can get along just fine for 5-6 weeks and then he gets manic, stops sleeping/eating. He starts losing things. Completely losing things, never to be found again. Like half a pair of sneakers. How do you lose just one shoe  between night and morning? I swear he must throw things away. After a few days we generally start to wonder if he is using or drinking. We talk to him or ask him about it, and he of course gets defensive. “Why don’t you trust me?” Then he starts getting really agitated, can’t sit still. He’ll stay in his room, barely speaking to anyone, then suddenly barge into the room, say something odd and mumbled and disappear again.

He has started seeing things and hearing voices.  He kept sweeping his room, complaining that it is impossible for the dust and dirt to reappear when he just swept. He told me it was the ghosts doing it. They don’t like him. He had chunks of time where he spoke of things that have not happened. Then he would have a few minutes where he seemed completely ok.

This time I called the PET, Psychiatric Emergency Team. While it was nice not to have to involve the police, especially since for the first time he was remaining somewhat talkative and aware. He was calmer than most time he gets like this, so I thought about cancelling PET,  but I knew he could go downhill pretty quickly.  My hopes of help were dashed when this team tells me they can do nothing. He is calm and answering questions with them. Even if he answered a question with something completely odd. They said that Son needs to meet the requirements of a 5150: Is he a danger to himself or anyone else.  That’s it. They don’t think talking to things that aren’t there, and discussing how ghosts are messing up his room as warranting a psych hold.  Granted his odd behavior is not against the law, but this one defining question as to a psych hold, “Is he a danger to himself or anyone else?” hardly seems enough.

We had been nearly three days with almost no sleep because Son had been up cooking breakfast at 1 AM, or any number of daytime activities in the middle of the night. He loses all sense of time when he gets like this. You cannot reason with him. He doesn’t hear you, sometimes I’m not sure he even sees me.

In all I have read I have only seen mention that someone with BPD may hallucinate a couple of times.  But it’s just that: one line or two saying some people may experience hallucinations. I need to expand my search parameters. At last! I found a couple of good places for more info.  All I needed to do was add “hallucination” or “psychosis” and boom, I got info. Helpful? Somewhat.

In the end, Son voluntarily admitted himself to the hospital because of the hallucinations. He called this afternoon angry because they wouldn’t let him out. Possibly the psych team admitted him unwilling, or they don’t feel it’s safe to release him. Either way he is terribly angry. Tomorrow he will be contrite and beg us to pick him up.

It’s gotten to the point we don’t want him in the house, he’s so disruptive and unpleasant so much of the time. But if it’s just the BPD we have to hang in there, but if he is doing this to himself I don’t know that we can.  If we could just get a doctor to confirm that nothing untoward showed up in his blood work. Last time we went through this I managed to see his lab results and Xanax was detected. He doesn’t have a script for that and had a terrible habit at one time.

He can’t get into rehab unless he is actively using. He can’t get into a sober living home unless he’s clean. He is unable to hold down a job for a litany of reasons, so he lives here. How do I help him? How do I get through to him? Will he let me talk with his doctors? Only one way to know. I’ll ask him when he comes home if he would let me talk to them.

 

 

 

The ACA vs ACHA

Health insurers have taken advantage of the populace and raised their rates as soon as the ACA passed. That’s the biggest problem with healthcare in the US: insurance companies. Greedy insurance companies. Worried only about the bottom line and how much their investors will profit. Denying people medical care that would save them, things like heart and liver transplants, experimental treatments, and the elderly in understaffed, underfunded nursing homes. Sending home the 70 year old woman who just had a massive stroke. She gets 6 weeks of rehab same as everyone else. It’s unfortunate that she hasn’t improved. She’s had her six weeks. She’s out. Same for the mentally ill or addicts. The insurance company decides whether or not you are well enough to be discharged, regardless of your doctors’ recommendations. Who gave insurers this kind of power?

The GOP and insurers do not care a whit for the people they supposedly work for. Our millionaire senators don’t care if I receive life-saving treatment or not. If it costs too much for the insurance company, I won’t get it, unless I can pay for it myself. According to the GOP that is how America works; you have a choice to pay for your treatment without the benefit of insurance funds. If you decide you cannot afford the treatment, it is your right not to take the treatment. It is your right to decide if the premium too expensive. I’ve read that reps of the GOP have actually said it will be your choice to pay for health insurance or rent, car insurance, credit card bills, food. A choice. Yeah, a choice between the frying pan and the fire.

Our elected officials have the best care, with no cost to themselves. What do they care about the rest of the US. They have insurance and it’s paid for by our government! Yet they do not want the blind lady to get her Medicaid.

Let the people become millionaires and the problem will disappear. Oh, people need a hand up to become millionaires? You mean they are not smart enough? Because, you see, they live in a poor area, where the schools have no books, no wipe boards, no art, no sports, no music. When the student test scores were poor, government funds have been withheld. Does that make complete non-sense? Instead of supplying the most underperforming schools with more funds, they received less. A punishment for the students’ poor test scores. Those scores have nothing to do with the lack of educational material. Or so it would seem.

They should go to college, says the GOP. Like they did. On their daddy’s dime. People born into money (even middle class money) have no idea what it is like to live in the Projects. Because of no funding most students do not have enough of a basic education to even attempt college. If they somehow managed to graduate high school, college just costs too much. They then have a choice, go deep into debt, paying usury interest rates, for the education they know will help them move up in the world. With a business degree in hand they go looking for that job, that career that will line their pockets with gold. What’s that? There are no jobs in the area where they can use that degree. So they take a job at movie theaters, coffee houses, and fast food places.

Yet, our government representatives somehow deserve special treatment. Like they are better than the rest of us. They do only one thing, but they do it brilliantly: helping the poor stay poor and the sick get sicker. That is how it works. Pay someone a low wage, he lives in a bad neighborhood, crowded and dirty. People are prone to be sick. He has many doctor visits, lots of expensive medicine, he can’t afford, so he stays sick. The employee misses many days due to illness and gets fired. He collects unemployment, applies for food stamps and Welfare, while he searches for another job.  Now he is on the government’s dime. Completely. If he had only lived in a clean neighborhood he’d still be working, probably even get a raise. He might even make enough repairs to his old house. You see how it works?

As long as the senator is completely, 100% covered for the $7,000 worth of dental work he needs, getting the right amount of tail on the side, winning over a plump lobbyist. Meanwhile, poor students must learn to live in bad neighborhoods. Sleeping on a mattress on the floor of a 350 square foot studio that had been so dirty for so long there was no getting it clean again. A place destined for Repurposing and Beautification, as the entire neighborhood undergoes massive evictions, and trendy shops and restaurants replace your cheap, dingy, little apartment close to work. And don’t forget the bad teeth, caused by poor nutrition and lack of affordable dental care.

The way I see it, the only way to fix the ACA and get the GOP working on something else, is give every American the same insurance as the senators. Better yet, give the senators the same insurance they want every American to accept.

 

Well Beyond Nixon

People have mentioned the corruption in our current administration as “Nixonian” in scale.  Watergate has nothing on our growing Russiagate investigation.  In fact, Trump’s administrational misdealings, illegal activities, and lies make Nixon’s activities look like child’s play.  It’s more than just admiration of and fawning over dictators and despots like the Philippine President Duterte, Putin, Kim Jong Un (CNN-Jake Tapper).  It’s all his other great plans for our nation that takes him well beyond Nixonian.  We’re reaching Orwellian proportions here.

About the only dictators Trump hasn’t personally approved of are Hitler and Mussolini. I’m guessing he considers them both losers, since they didn’t stay in power for decades. He called Un a “smart cookie” for having his uncle killed to gain the NK throne! He’s ok with Putin and the murders he’s complicit in.  “The US isn’t innocent,” Trump said in an interview.  Is he implying our President’s have murdered people for personal gain? I think if any US president had ordered a hit on someone history would’ve revealed it by this time. He seems to feel a dictator is a more competent, stronger leader than someone merely elected by the people.  Neither of which applies in this case.

He’s complicit in Russiagate, spending all his time covering up or burying as much information as he can.  Setting up one person at a time to take the fall.  My only hope is that he takes out the wrong guy and all the republicans turn on him.

He wants to revise the Constitution!  The First Amendment in particular so he can remove the Press from its protection.  Of course he had been talking about doing this throughout his campaign.  It seems to be getting more important to him.

He wants to keep us ill!  Healthcare Bill.  His budget proves it as well.

He wants to keeps us stupid!  Have you seen anything on his new budget?  He plans to cut $11 billion from education.

Trump’s an embarrassment everywhere he goes.  Pushing people aside to be front and center.  Saying ignorant things.  Acting inappropriately. Being happily ignorant of other cultures.

And my country elected this mess.  The world is totally screwed until we impeach this beast.

Obsessive Behavior

Son is not much improved.  It’s terrible to bring your mentally ill family member to a hospital ER.  It is not set up to handle the kind of obsession, frustration, and anger.   When Son is in this state, he does not fully comprehend what is going on.  The longer the wait the more manic and frustrated he becomes.  There are a few Urgent Care centers for mentally ill, but they are not open 24 hou.rs a day.  When Son gets like this there is no where else to turn but to the ER.

It was all I could do to keep him in the ER long enough to be seen by a doctor.  Twice he’d run outside and missed a bed.  By 3:30 Tuesday morning I had to call 911 to get the cops to corral him and keep him inside the ER.  He was extremely agitated, belligerent, and combative.  Pacing wildly, and screaming at people in gibberish.  All in all a very pleasant Tuesday morning, especially after Son locked my keys in the car and I couldn’t rouse Husband to rescue me.  I ended up walking home at 4 AM.  Luckily it wasn’t a long or unpleasant walk.

Mental illness or alcohol?  Both probably.  We just don’t know.  I was going to call to make sure they kept him 72 hours, and ask them to keep him another 2 weeks, but never had the chance.  Son called first thing in the morning begging me to pick him up.  Sounded so contrite, talking in a small voice.  Nothing I’d ever heard before.  He admitted he’d been drinking, that he has a problem.  He said he’d go to meetings and all the group stuff, and everything, if I would just bring him home.  I said I wasn’t picking him up until I talked to a doc.  That happened in less than an hour.  The doc did not feel son was danger to himself or others, and despite reiterating the diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, practically threw him out.

So angry!  We had hoped the hospital would keep him at least the 72 hours.  Give us a little time to find a sober living or halfway house for him and dismantle his business.  We did clean his room, picking up dirty laundry, general straightening, hoping if it was tidy he would not come home and obsess about his business.  Stupid me, for thinking it was a nice thing to do, but he was angry and belligerent about our help.  Apparently, we ‘threw everything’ away.  I handed him the trash can and invited him to go through what we tossed out.  He said something about how he feel’s he’s lost his mom, and that I don’t care or I wouldn’t treat him like this.  He doesn’t believe me when I try to counter that claim.

He is unable to comprehend my behavior and attitude toward him, and I don’t know why.  I’m here, available, and speaking to him, yet he thinks I sound angry.  He still angry, argumentative, and just plain wrong!  He believes I am angry with him, though I have tried to explain I am angry at the obsession.  I don’t hate him, I hate the addict in him.  To him that said I don’t love him, and am not willing to help him.  He feels I don’t care that he has a mental illness.  I told him it was a diagnosis, not an excuse.  You can imagine how that went over.

He has needed round the clock watching since coming home.  He is obsessing over these damn accounts.  Important stuff, sure, but he won’t write down his passwords, and he screws up his accounts every time he has an episode like this.  He has called help lines, tried a dozen different passwords and now wants my help!  How can I do anything with his accounts if he has gotten locked out?  I explained there is nothing I can do for him without his passwords.  So now I’m a shitty mom for ‘not supporting’ him, to hear him tell it.

And he’s not able to use his iPad since he somehow ruined the plug in and can no longer plug it to a charging cord.   He has a big expensive gaming computer that he barely knows how to operate, but he can’t obsess about learning how to move around on that.  Instead, he is using his dad’s iPad to sign into his accounts.  He keeps asking for his dad’s passwords.  When I asked why, he said he needed them to get into his email.  I don’t know what he is thinking.

He is putting words in my mouth, twisting what I say, and in general is just being a big dick.  He can’t seem to understand anything that is said to him, as it does nothing to change his behavior.  He is practically inconsolable in thinking I hate him and that hurts more than he could ever know.  Nothing I say comforts him or reassures him.  I don’t know what else to do.

He is driving me absolutely mad!  Where is the ‘throwing up your hands in surrender’ emoji?

Drug Abuse & Brain Damage

Right now I hope my son is using something, because if he isn’t, he has permanent brain damage that may require hospitalization or institutionalization. I’m scared.  He has spells of normal behavior then suddenly he turns into this psycho who cannot articulate what he means to say–he uses the wrong words.  Nouns elude him.  He also gets obsessive and damn near impossible to communicate with.

He got lost coming home from his ex’s the other night.  She lives just one town over, about a 25 minute drive on surface streets.  She has lived at this location for five years.  The other night he ended up on the freeway going north into South Los Angeles.  A fairly unsafe place for a confused long-haired white guy.  It took 10 minutes of talking with him to get him headed in the right direction.  Stay on This Road, I told him, and it will bring him home.  5 minutes later he calls back.  He’s lost again.  Husband figures out where Son is and tells him to wait, that he will come lead him home.  Another 15 minutes and he calls, they’ll be home in just a minute, Son was right behind him, and they were 2 blocks away.  Unbelievably Son called about 10 minutes later.  Now he is headed south on a different freeway some 35 miles from home!

When he get’s home, it’s not much better.  He’s in and out of the house.  Front yard, back yard.  He comes into our room looking for various items, usually something that we would not have in our room, like the car.  He won’t go to his room, he won’t lie down.  He returns to our room repeatedly, goes into the bathroom 4-5 times in an hour.  He took two showers.  One less than an hour after the first.

It’s like having an extremely mobile 3 year old.  So afraid thinking about him driving on the freeway, probably speeding, considering how far he got from home in just a few minutes.  How am I supposed to deal with that?  What is that?  What is happening?  He gets single-minded and resolved to a particular action and seems unable to stop.  He listens, but he doesn’t hear.  He speaks, but he makes little sense most of the time.

Here is a sample of some things he said today:

“If I want to pick a fruit, just let me pick a fruit.”

“I’ve got to go to Armstrong’s (a gardening store) to get a thing, a, a, a, rope for my my my, the, that, my couch.”  He  meant he needed to go to Best Buy for a new charging cord for his iPad.

“It won’t work and no one will help me.”  This about his iPad, which isn’t the problem so much as he can’t sign in to any of his accounts, his passwords no longer work.  This happens each time he has one of these episodes.  I cannot do this any longer.  Husband can no longer handle this.

“You guys do so much for me, too much.  But I need help and you’re not helping.  All you do is yell at me.  And I’m not allowed to be to be upset or get mad.”  At times his anger feels like a physical presence and I am acutely sensitive to it.

One doc diagnosed him with schizoaffective disorder.  A scary mix of schizophrenic and bi-polar symptoms.  He fits some of those guidelines.  I also came across something called semantic dementia.  A truly horrifying illness with a limited lifespan.  He fits some of that criteria as well.  The only information I really find on these illnesses is a description of symptoms and prognosis, or I end up on some rehab site that tells me nothing except ‘drugs bad’.

I have an appointment to see my therapist with Son tomorrow afternoon.  I need someone I trust to give me an opinion as to what is going on.  I think he needs to be hospitalized, properly diagnosed and treated before returning home.  Except that won’t happen because there are too many mentally ill or addicted individuals in the area.  There are not enough facilities for all the mentally ill.  Not enough beds, nurses, doctors. The help is not free, does not take most insurance.  What are poor addicts supposed to do then?  What options do we provide them?  None.  What help do we provide to the families of those with serious mental health issues?  None.

None.  And with the new Trump NonCare it will only get worse for people like us: Sad losers (to use Trump’s words) who never caught a break in life.  How can people not understand the allure of suicide?

I Blew It

It is so easy to have an Us/Them mentality.  Us good.  Them Bad.  Us smart, Them dumb. Us openminded, Them not.  Us arrogant!  I’m past 50 now and have obtained a tiny amount of wisdom.  Unfortunately, that newfound wisdom doesn’t undo all the stupid, insensitive, arrogant and closed minded things I have done.  It doesn’t mean I won’t still do these things, but being aware has made this far less likely.

I attended the “Coffee and Conversation” with my Long Beach rep the other morning. The room was a small, but full, and there were plenty of people standing.  We even had the added treat of having a few Trumpsters attend as well.  One woman stood up,her hands and voice shaking, to protest the fact we are giving minors poison that will give them cancer.  Turns out she’s talking about the Pill and wants to defund Planned Parenthood. I must say we were not very kind, and simply told to her please shut up and/or leave.

I blew it.  This woman was waiting outside and stopped people as they passed.  I blew it. I should’ve taken that chance to speak with her.  I lost the opportunity to listen to her.  She was moved to show up at this event, we should respect her resolve, and her opinion, no matter how misguided.  She feels this is an important issue and we are wrong to dismiss it this way.  This would’ve been an opportunity to understand her side, find the common ground of caring for the next generation, while calmly explaining to her the realities of withholding birth control of any kind to anyone.  I’m ashamed of my knee jerk reaction and anger.  Now that I am aware of the opportunity, will I take it in the future?  I plan to.

We must all learn to control our angry reactions to Trump and his supporters.  Avoid dehumanizing the Trumpsters.  Once a group becomes ‘less than human’, the chance of violence increases.  Trumpsters are not the enemy.  Not directly.  Sure they may have voted for the egomaniacal wizard in the orange wig, but many are uneducated, mostly unaware, and were misled and lied to.  If we shut them down when they show up at rallys and meetings, we will never make any progress.  We must include these people in the discussion.  We need to help them understand they’ve been lied to.

The American Revolution didn’t start overnight.  It came after years of anger and not until the majority of the population felt pinched did the war begin.  Armed revolution will come to the US and it won’t take 10 years.  If TrumpCare passes the Senate as is (which is unlikely), people will begin to really feel the impact of Trump personally. The GOP will continue to cut these benefits and deny them outright to more and more people.  When people are barely surviving or dying because of lack of services like Welfare, Food Stamps, Disability, Medicare, they will stand up.  The tighter one is squeezed, the less one has to lose.  It’s as simple as that.

We have the chance to ensure that we avoid violence by choosing conversation rather than confrontation.  Let’s take it next time.  I will.