The New Normal

Photo by Jakub Novacek on

Welcome to the surreal world of post-hospitalization for a mental health issue. Glad you could come. Suspend all disbelief at the door.

Seriously, this is a bizarre journey. Come along if you like. Today Blake had his first real appointment since he was released from the hospital. He met with a psychiatric service that was meant to help him continue with his medications until he connected with a new psychiatrist. I checked on him just after the video appointment was to begin. Hearing no sound coming from behind the door, I knocked to check in. No one had contacted him yet. He was sitting and waiting, almost willing someone to email him a Zoom link for his appointment which was supposed to have begun five minutes before. I coached him to call and he was given a way to connect and I left the room once more.

When he finished, several minutes later, he was more confused than ever. The wrong medication was prescribed and he had been told to go back to his previous psychiatrist and outpatient therapists. This is NOT what the hospital had told him to do. And, all importantly, there was no blood test ordered to check his Lithium levels (one of his new medications is Lithium, and he must have regular blood tests. In fact this was the most important reason for his appointment).

I recognized, after hearing of his experience, that I need to step in and advocate for my young adult son. He is scared and confused.

”In the hospital, they do everything but spoon feed you,” he noted. “Now I’m supposed to know how to manage everything and I don’t. It’s all my fault.”

“No. You’re not. And it’s not helpful to pile blame onto yourself,” I told him, gently. “This is confusing for Dad and I, too. We’ll figure this out together.”

I helped him call his psychiatrist, a man he’s seen only once before he was first hospitalized a month and a half ago, and helped him book an appointment. Thank goodness he had something within a couple days. I hung around while Blake completed a mass of online documentation and I provided moral support and assistance as he needed it. He got through it all.

Later, the pharmacy left a message. I’m pretty sure they refilled medications he is no longer taking. I haven’t even told him yet. He doesn’t need more confusion for the day.

Tomorrow, we celebrate his birthday. It can wait until after that. His birthday had been planned as his death day. Our plan is to help him avoid fulfilling that plan. He seems on board with that and has given us permission to commandeer the day with special surprises. Thank goodness for that. Perhaps we can have one day of delight – one day where the weirdness waits. It’ll be back on Friday, I’m sure.

6 thoughts on “The New Normal

  1. I have one recommendation for your entire family on Blake’s birthday: ICE CREAM (preferably in large quantities 😉 ).

    I will be thinking of all of you tomorrow… Might even have some ice cream myself !
    – Paul

  2. I have zero tolerance for medical errors. My $150 for a 20 minute appointment assumes a careful review of my records. It’s criminal to botch an appointment with a possibly suicidal patient. I hope you can move away from “the service” quickly.

    1. I need to develop a firm approach. I just realized something by reading your reply. The hospital must have sent a discharge summary to the service. The hospital is who made the appointment to begin with. Does seem they didn’t read anything. This really fires me up. Sending you all my best.

  3. Carla Stucky

    Thank you for your honesty and transparency. The journey is never ending. I had to smile at the “weirdness returning on Friday.” Yes, the roller coaster, loop, riding the wave, Willy Wonka weirdness seems to find its way back. But then, so do better days also. Up and down. I share this in case in gives you some comfort also (if I shared before, sorry): When your heart is breaking for someone who is broken, but your words can’t reach them and your love can’t save them, ask the angels to go where you cannot. To whisper into their heart what their ears can’t hear: “We will not give up on you. Don’t give up on yourself.”

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