Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Involuntarily Admitted

Thank you for all your prayers and support.  Some of you reached out beyond your comments on my last post with both prayers and emails.

I did find refuge in attending Divine Liturgy on Holy Thursday and following it with adoration, as well as reading from He and I and Searching for and Maintaining Peace.  I did feel the presence of God within me very much especially while reading He and I which was primarily on the flights down and back.  It was impossible for me to read 2 sentences without praying with full confidence of the presence of the Trinity within my soul.  I was so happy to experience this.

It was hard to not be able to "fix" everything in my 2 day whirlwind trip.  It was a tense time there.  I prayed for God's will and guidance, out loud in the car with my sister and brother on the way to my parents' house, for all of us involved, immediately before the intervention occurred.  During it, i did not feel his presence, nor was I, regrettably, praying during it.  

It was quite hard on my Dad.  My Dad was uncontrollably shaking alternating from his hands to his foot during the intervention.  We had two ladies from a mobile mental health intervention team. They were doing the evaluation.  Not sure what exactly convinced them that my Mom's behavior warranted the involuntary admittance but I was relieved when one of them let me know the Crisis Intervention Team from the Sheriff's Office was on its way.

My younger sister has some issues too, she says she is Bipolar and ADD and her doctor has her on meds.  She stayed up all night before the intervention and she would not stop talking even after one of the intervention ladies said the objective had been achieved.  It is gross to talk about some of my Mom's behavior out loud so I really wanted her to shut-up.  I guess I have control issues and in her words, "don't respect her enough."  My Dad said I need to realize she doesn't have a husband or children giving her regular affirmation and affection.

In a way I think it is disrespectful to replay all the, how do you say, "crap", over and over.  I caught a brief scene, I think from Gray's Anatomy, at the Fitness Center the week before I went to Florida. It was a woman telling her brother, the doctor, that she was sorry for the guilt he felt, but essentially she is the one that has had to live the hell of being Bipolar.

I convinced her to get dressed and brush her teeth before going to the hospital.  My Dad told me to go in the room with her in case she tried to crawl out the window.  I don't think she could do that, but it did give me time to tell her to please not lean on her understanding like it says in Proverbs 3:5-6, but consider the nurses and psychiatrist as there by the will of God and to please put some trust in their advice, diagnosis and the medicine they want her to take.
My Mom was taken to the hospital on Friday. Due to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) we have no idea if she has received medication or not.  Not a big fan of that Act right now.  Every once in a while I get a nurse that seems to throw caution to the wind and slips me some helpful information.  As I realized during my first baby's labor and delivery, I must remember to Thank God for nurses!  I don't think the act causes as much frustration for non-mental health patients' families.

I don't like to take away my Mom's freedom, nor talk about all the sins, and sheer grossness of her manic behavior.  Inside her is the redeemed daughter of our Heavenly Father that was a very good and loving mother to me and my sisters and brother, and the Christian woman that I knew to notice and help others when I was growing up.
When I was 9 or 10, Mom met a lady named Rose.  I don't know where, but this elderly lady had terrible arthritis and no close family to take her shopping or to the doctor.  I remember many times going with my Mom to take her shopping, or bringing her groceries.  Other times I remember us buying Christmas gifts for a family of 5 kids whose Dad had not worked in a long time and who otherwise would not be getting any toys for Christmas . . . just socks and underwear.  I am pretty sure this is before churches had Adopt a Family programs.

I also remember a Mom that was so proud of me.  I never had a lack of love or support at home, from either parent, despite what my siblings and parents tell me was a persistent illness during our whole lives.

After my Mom left, I went with my Dad to protect the money that he earned, after paying back the 2nd mortgage she took out during her last mania to fund two different investment scams.  That and other activities that I can't stomach to write about here, resulted in their bankruptcy.  My Dad was injured during her last mania and the last few years his money has been especially hard earned, with him taking Aleve to get through work as a carpenter each day.  He only retired in November, 2011, shortly after his 70th birthday.

Part of me is very much worried this is not going to be a cheap hospital stay and even with Medicare and insurance covering something there is going to be a deductible as high as a deductible can get.  My Dad is not good with financial matters, which is why my Mom has handled the bills, and "investments" and caused so much damage in the past.  He seems to not realize how quickly his savings could be gone.  He talks about the inheritance he is going to leave and I really think it will just be the house, unless the hospital bills generate liens on that too.

Unfortunate for my mother is that she is either manic and casing their street for an audience and someone to help, taking any and all curbside junk home for creative reuse ideas, or depressed to the point of not leaving the house but once a week for Mass.  She hasn't been at a level state since before I went away to college some 27 years ago.  Part of the problem is Lithium is probably most effective at "leveling" and she is most intolerant to that.

On Saturday morning I flew home.  When I landed there was a text message from my sister and a voicemail from my Dad saying that Mom was released.  This turned out to be a lie my Mom told one of her friends to tell my Dad.  A nurse at the hospital explained that she would not be released without my father being called by a a case worker.

Saturday and Sunday my Dad and younger sister visited Mom in the hospital's psychiatric ward.  My Dad said she was vicious toward him both days, but especially Sunday.  Monday she called and said she had taken some medicine.  He said she sounded different, like she had been taking medicine.  I don't believe it, but I do hope it is true.  My Dad has history of being manipulated by her so there is no reason to believe this isn't happening again.

My younger sister wants my Dad to pay a lawyer somewhere between $5,000 and 10,000 to get medical guardianship and also make a way around the frustrating HIPAA regulations.  This would give him, they think, the grounds to have medicine administered by injection.  My mom has kept oral medication in her mouth and then spit it out in the past.  Her most recent psychiatrist advised injection as the only way to be assured the medicine was in her system working to bring her out of the mania.

I don't think either of my parents will make it to 2022.  They have lived in the valley of tears.  They live in a gorgeous part of Florida, but the emotional turmoil that they have had would be similar to what many experience in combat.  I think it has been harder on my father, because he has been abused during her mania in so many ways.  After they took her to the hospital, he said inside he felt like he had died.  I hope he was being dramatic, but he is definitely broken inside, and in need of emotional healing.

I was glad to see my kids and celebrate Easter with them.  Not that I recommend finding a reason to be away from your kids, but they really seemed more appreciative and affectionate toward me when I got back.  You would think I had been away much longer than 2 nights.

My father wishes I would have stayed longer, but I have duties here too.  I am relieved to be away . . . . I am still talking to him and my sister 3-4 times a day.  This sickness still has its grip on my parents lives and we are doing our mutual best to deal with it.  Again, thank your for your prayers and concern for me and my family.  God Bless you for caring!


  1. Colleen-much prayer for you and for your family, dear one! Peace to your heart!

  2. Colleen, I am so sorry to hear all that you and your family..your dad especially, are going through. I thought of you so much during this past week, and prayed for you of course...and remembered you much today during adoration and Mass.

    I wish I had an easy answer. Mental illness is such a cross, for the victim as well as those close to them. I am so sorry, and will continue to offer prayer support.

    Can your dad get a medical power of attorney? My sister, a nurse, got one when we were caring for our parents in their last that we would have access to all medical info, and the authority to make decisions re their care, etc.

    God bless you, Colleen. You certainly shared in the Passion of Jesus this Holy Week. Take care of yourself.

    Love and many hugs,
    Patricia xoxo

    1. Patricia, my father was named as health surrogate in her living will but this wording is pretty specific to not taking extraordinary measures to prolong life support and said nothing about mental health treatment. She would not cooperate with amending that document now.
      Florida law provides for limited or plenary medical guardianship. There doesn't appear to be a form for it on Legal Zoom so I think this means it is going to cost several thousands of dollars to retain an attorney and have judicial incapacity proceedings to attain it. I am researching tonight if there is a cheaper route to the same objective.

  3. I have been thinking about you so much since your last post. And praying, praying, praying. I know how difficult this must be for all of you. My father couldn't take lithium either - it had really bad effects on him. I don't know who has it worse, the person with the illness or those who live with them.

    I will keep praying about the entire situation. This really tugged at my heartstrings. I've lived it and know what a mess it can be. Our Lady is good at untying knots though :)

    God bless you, Colleen.

    1. Mary, I am going to have to go back and search your site and see if you've written about this more before. I read a bunch on this the last time my Mom was manic, but not much since then. I do take your point seriously and will keep praying with Our Lady for God's will to be done, and for the knots to be untied. That is something that your Dad couldn't take Lithium either. I think you are right . . . not sure who it is worse for the person with the illness or the others around them. My mom thoroughly enjoys her manias, thus the non-compliance with medicine indications. She has suffered some very lengthy periods of depression, though, including the remorse for what she did during mania. The rest of the family is relieved during these periods, but not her.

  4. To borrow Mary's expression, what tugs at my heartstrings is the three of you, Patricia, Anne, Mary, and Karin, Colleen, Caroline from my related post, as well as my real-world dear friend that reads here, praying and leaving me these heartfelt comments.
    It reminds me of when I was playing co-ed flag football in 8th grade (yes many, many years ago) and got hurt. I was laying on the field after taking a stiff arm from a boy quite a bit taller, heavier, and stronger than myself, and was ready to shake it off and get up, when the number of tough guys and the coach leaning over me with concern brought tears that otherwise wouldn't have showed up.
    The Lord is our strength and he bears us up directly and through the love of people like you.
    I am also thankful that he lets part of me melt inside when others show they care. It reminds me of Ezekiel 36:26, "And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." I am grateful to feel this not just when I have compassion for another, but when others show compassion for me. Thank you!

  5. Colleen, I feel part of the privilege of being a Christian is never letting one of our wounded fellow soldiers be alone in the battle or carry the weight of it alone..It can be so fierce at times..
    You are so courageous to share your experience in this cross.
    Keeping you in my prayers +

    1. Caroline, that is a beautiful and insightful thought. I do feel a sense of urgency to pray for those who are in moments of trial. I appreciate so much that you are praying for me in this present trial. Your note today was especially needed. It hasn't gotten any easier since this started. Every day since Good Friday has continued to be filled with challenges--meltdowns by the family members not in the hospital, and work . . . all unplanned and on top of what husband and kids expect. I haven't made it into my paying job all week. Maybe tomorrow? I have learned more about mental illness, medication, the legal actions and mental health statutes at such a lightning fast pace. I talked to my older sister about the sexual abuse of my niece. She denied it happened. I am tending to believe my niece and the eye witness account of my younger sister. So much! So many dear ones praying for us too! Thank you!