Archive for the 'People Who Help' Category

Finding PCHs and Physicians in Atlanta, Georgia

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

I recently received the following comment from Elizabeth B.

I am so glad to have found your blog. My 20 year old son has been in residential treatment for severe major depression/ PTSD for 2 years. I am heartsick that we cannot afford to keep him in treatment any longer and am desperately seeking a good group home in the Marietta area as well as a therapist and a psychiatrist. These clinicians have been provided by the residential facility but neither is in private practice and he has outgrown the child/adolescent ones from pre-residential days.

My DS is still a high school senior but has been on hospitalization status for 2 years. I have recently been appointed his legal guardian and we are in the process of obtaining SSI/Medicaid. He self-harms and is chronically suicidal (many features of BPD) but no “official” diagnosis. He averages at least one 1013 hospitalization every two months. Even if we could afford to continue residential treatment, he is being discharged from the residential facility for failure to make adequate progress and for not keeping his safety contract.

I also have completed the NAMI Family to Family course and found it to be invaluable. The course I attended was in Atlanta though and I am lost trying to find something for my DS in Marietta. Please help!

Hello Elizabeth,

I am sorry to hear about the difficulties your DS has been having. I have a few thoughts that I hope may be helpful.

First, even though you have applied for SSI/Medicaid, can you try to fight to keep your son on your insurance or your husband’s? This is one of the regrets I have about my DS. At the time he became too old to be covered by my husband’s health insurance he was not “disabled enough” in my opinion to qualify as a disabled adult dependent. Now ten years later, I fear the delay in asking for coverage may make it even more impossible to get approved. Then again, I wonder if my son would have qualified for SOURCE if he still had some private insurance. I don’t know.

About finding a place for your son, such as a group home or a personal care home, I suggest you start here:

http://socialworkersteam.com/Lincensed_pch.aspx . {Edit on July 28, 2010: This site appears to be dead. See my next post on finding a PCH.}

Start with the SOURCE Placement Services. Personally, I would advise skipping Betty Hardy. Unfortunately they don’t always help a lot with the footwork, and you may still find yourself calling a hundred places to find that most of them do not accept clients of your son’s gender or youth, or that they have no current openings. I fear that your son’s inclination to self-harm may make it difficult to find placement also. Nobody wants clients that are troublesome, but there may be a few caring souls out there. Also, understand that personal care homes are not places of treatment; they are only a place to room and board. They give a certain amount of supervision and they make sure the medicines are taken.  At first I was nervous about the fact that they did not lock doors during the day and my son could just walk away whenever he felt like it. At least the latest PCH my son is living at has an alarm that sounds on the outside door when it opens. The list of personal care homes on the above page is very abbreviated. There are many more personal care homes, and the people from the SOURCE Placement Services can give you more names to check out.

From what I remember of the procedure, you need to have a personal care home picked before you can go through the application process for SOURCE, but you should ask about that. It can be tough to find an opening in a personal care home you would care to use, then you could lose the slot while you are waiting for approval, I think. Hopefully, they still do not require you have a slot before going through the process for SOURCE. After we got approved for SOURCE I found that my DS’s SOURCE social worker was sometimes a good resource for information on some things.

About finding doctors or therapists, I think Medicaid does not pay for therapists.  I could be wrong, but I think that is the reason my son has never had one since he left private insurance. About finding a doctor, I started with the doctors I heard about through my son’s numerous hospitalizations. I would read online anything I could find out about the doctor’s background. I learned, for instance, that one doctor that eventually “fired” my son from her practice after he was verbalizing some violent inclinations, had the most interest in treating postpartum depression: not a good match for my schizo-affective young male, I guess. There was one doctor I found by this method that I thought sounded like one of the best doctors I could find in the Atlanta area for treating schizophrenia. Then my son refused to see him because he had some paranoid feelings about this doctor when he met him in the hospital. We are seeing another doctor in the same office. I figure one doctor may consult another if the one is having a difficult patient.

By the way, what is a 1013 hospitalization?

Move to the First PCH and Third Hospital Admittance

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

This post is the next in my series of Recollections about my son, DS, who was diagnosed with schizoaffective order in the summer of 2007. My son’s second hospitalization ended on July 24th, 2007. I brought him home and we began to prepare for his move to a personal care home I had found which was located about thirty minutes away in Marietta, GA. On the night before DS moved (July 28th), he did not sleep much, I believe. He was trying to decide what to bring and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning as he was going along, of course. He has never lived away from home before, even for college, so this move was stressful for him. On the morning of the 28th, he was very agitated and upset. He was saying he wanted to go back to the hospital. That did not make any sense because he hated and feared the hospital.

black and white trianges

photo by silentvale 

When we got to the personal care home—I will abbreviate its name as AM—he was calm enough. They had told us in advance that check-in would take two hours and they were right about that. They had a plethora of paperwork for us to do. I remember DS sitting on the couch next to me, looking very drowsy through it all. They gave him a room with no roommate, though no guarantees that it would remain that way since all the rooms had two beds. His bedroom had a doorway adjoining a bathroom that passed through to another bedroom where two other men stayed.

I helped him to unpack and we had to make an inventory of every item he brought. In theory that sounds like a good idea, but in reality, over the course of the next few weeks we were bringing stuff in and taking some stuff out, and there never seemed to be a staff person available to bother with updating the inventory sheet. He wanted to bring his computer, even though there were no guarantees about being able to get it hooked up to the internet. That was an issue that MG said she would look into, but she had not yet. With the computer desk it was just too much for me to be bothered with that day. I told him we would try to get it to him in a week or two when I could get his grandfather (my dad) to help.

There was one ironic thing that happened. The home manager, MG, had brought her grandchildren with her to work that day. One grandchild was a two-year old little boy who wandered into the bedroom as we were unpacking. I could tell his presence was making DS anxious, either because to DS’s mind the child was not clean enough, or the room was not clean enough and the child was touching things in the room. One of the reasons I was putting DS in a personal care home was to get him away from his two and one-half year old brother. I gently nudged MG’s grandson out into the hall telling him, “go find grandma,” and shut the door behind him.

After the unpacking was done, DS had to submit to a visual inspection of his undressed body, performed by PL, who is the 27-year old son to MG and father of the aforementioned children. (That probably explains, too, why the children were there. Their father had to bring them along because their mother was working.) The reason for the inspection was so that any bruises, injuries, or whatever could be noted and documented in the paperwork. I began to piece together that AM was a family business. MG was the home manager, her mother was the owner and her son worked there as staff from time to time. They had at least a half dozen different staff people that worked there at one time or another that I saw, but usually when I dropped in I only saw one staff person in the home at a time.

I left instructions that DS was to go to a hospital outpatient program called OCS (Outpatient Counseling Services at Windy Hill in Marietta) and they had transportation to pick him up. They said they would be sure to wake him up early enough to be ready and they did. The program was five days a week. I was told by people at the hospital (Wellstar Behavioral Health) that it was an excellent program for people newly discharged.

It was on a Saturday when DS moved into his personal care home, AM. On Monday, his father and I, and his five-year old sister and two and one-half year old brother got in the car to make a trip to Florida to visit my husband’s mother and sister’s family. It had been a long time since we had visited them, but it was not easy for me to leave town since I was worried about DS. We had planned this trip for a long time because my husband had some work scheduled off then. We planned to return on Thursday because the five-year old had a kindergarten open house on Friday. I got a telephone call from DS about once a day. Although he had made some improvement at the time of his most recent discharge from the hospital he was reporting that there were drugs all over the chairs at OCS and there were gangs outside of AM making gang signals. He did not feel safe. These were his typical delusions that he was having at the time of his first two hospitalizations.

Wednesday night around 10 p.m. I received a telephone call from MG, the manager of AM. She said DS was on his way to the emergency room. She told me the following story. DS had also told her that he was not feeling safe. She understood what was going on and offered to drive him to the emergency room. They got in her car and were driving down the road when he began to vomit. She pulled over to the side of the road. He got out of her car and when he finished, he took off running between some houses and trees and disappeared quickly. She called the police. When they arrived she answered all their questions and asked them, “please can I go now to look for him.” She said she “felt for DS” like her own son, because she has a son the same age. While she was talking to the police they received a radio report that DS was found. Apparently he had stopped at some house to ask for assistance and they had called 911 for him. For anyone keeping count, (I am) that made DS’s fifth encounter with police or emergency personnel for the summer.

We were planning our return home on Thursday morning (August 2nd) anyway, so there was no need to change our travel plans.

A New Mental Health Resource Centre

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

young man with head in hands
Justin Wilson, of the “Me and My Beast” blog, has begun a website for mental health at his old web address at meandmybeast.com.

His blog is now located at blog.meandmybeast.com.

His new website has a forum, chat, and a mental health news page that I found particularly interesting. The news page has a great deal of links to recent research about mental health and will make good food for thought if I ever run out of things to blog about. 😉

I posted a question in the forum about my son’s apparent lack of awareness about his illness. I would be pleased to see some answers to my question there.

My Review of Dr. Martin Russell’s Self-Help Meeting

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

This is something for everyone. A diagnosis is not a prerequisite for Dr. Russell’s Self-Help Meeting at http://www.selfhelpmeeting.com/. He is a medical doctor who has counseled people through a variety of problems such as depression, anxiety, eating problems, sleeping problems, etc.

He calls himself “a doctor of last resort,” and after going through his Self-Help Meeting, I can see why. Dr. Russell will not give you all the pat answers for your problem if you pick up the standard doctors’ office pamphlet for “Problem XYZ.” His approach is best if you have already tried all the pat answers, done all your homework and research, and still need help.

That was my particular case. I was trying to make a decision about a new direction I wanted to take in my life. I had three pages full of notes with analysis, pros and cons, looking at my strengths and weakness, what has worked and what hasn’t worked… trying to make sense of it all and come to a decision about a course of action.

The really cool thing about the Self-Help Meeting is that you listen to it and watch it on your computer screen. I was poised ready with my notes, and more paper and pencil in hand. I took another six pages worth of notes while listening to Dr. Russell talk.

At the end of the presentation, I began to feel a plan of action taking shape in my mind. It was late at night so I went to sleep while musing about the things I had just heard. When I woke up the next morning, I knew what I wanted to do.

In addition to recommending Dr. Russell’s Self-Help Meeting, I also recommend his blog. I have been reading it for a month, and I am constantly amused and intrigued by his way of looking at things. He has recently written a couple of posts about depression: Self-Help Options for Depression, and Self Help Exercise for Depression . I promise you will be surprised by his take on Quick Fixes.

By the way, Dr. Russell, if you are reading this, I like that you put a face to your name and words recently on your blog.

Recollecting the Second Hospitalization Summer 2007

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

DS’s second hospitalization last year for schizoaffective disorder with psychosis lasted from July 13th through July 24th, 2007.

It began with a marathon session in the emergency room. DS’s grandfather (my dad) and I accompanied him. After we got in an examination room, a woman came in to do an evaluation. I am sorry I do not know her job title or name. She remembered DS and his grandfather from his previous emergency room visit, and after we were able to speak with her privately in the hall, she expressed her shock that he was back so soon. I now wonder how long she may have been in her job. Given our experience this year and all I have learned since, can it really be possible that it was a shock that he returned? My Dad spoke with her about our disappointment in the lack of communication we felt we had with Wellstar Behavior Health last time. She gave me the name, “Lily,” someone in a position there, and said I should speak with her if I ever feel communication is a problem again. I never did that, and I probably should have. 

It did not take too long waiting in the emergency room for arrangements to be made for the hospital transfer from Wellstar Kennestone Emergency Room to  Wellstar Behavior Health. What REALLY took so long was waiting for an available ambulance. We were there before noon, but DS was not transferred until after midnight. I wonder why mental hospitals do not have their own emergency rooms or triage area or whatever. It was not at all a pleasant experience with DS belittling or berating me constantly for causing him to be there. Finally around 10 pm, my dad, who is a very soft-spoken and gentle man, somewhat uncharacteristicly let it be known to DS that he was out of line. I was very grateful to Dad for that. I suppose it was not a necessity that we wait with DS for his transfer. They had a security person checking the room every few minutes. (Would that have been enough to prevent an “escape?”) However, he was sick and I did not want to leave him alone if it was humanly possible for me to be there. Also, I think anyone is justified in not wanting to leave a loved one alone in a hospital any more than absolutely necessary with nursing shortages and medical mistakes, etc. We had a very bad experience with my mother in this same hospital a few years ago. 

So, DS was transferred to Wellstar Behavioral Health in the wee morning hours on Saturday the 14th. On Monday morning, I believe, I received a telephone call from Dr. LT. Almost the first thing she said to me was, “it sounds like you have had a rough week.” I wondered if she knew that from talking to DS or from some reports from the emergency room. In any case, it instantly endeared me to her. (At last, a doctor with a bedside manner and who called me first!) I wondered if DS was assigned to her because of our complaint we made in the emergency room about communication.

This time DS was started on Risperdal, Depakote and Zoloft. He continued to take the Clonapezam. I did not visit DS as often in the hospital, but we talked on the telephone nearly every day. I noticed a big improvement in the delusions within 48 hours of starting the Risperdal.

During this hospital stay we (DS, his father and I) had our first ever meeting with a social worker, JC. He mainly wanted to establish where DS was going to be staying after his discharge. DS was certain he could go to live with another patient there named Mary. All the rest of us said that did not sound like a good idea. DS was very argumentative, interruptive and demanding the whole meeting. To finally reassure him that I was interested in his concerns, I took out my red memo pad and wrote down what he wanted me to about what he desired in a personal care home. That calmed DS down long enough to give JC about a minute to have his say. DS turned to me and said, “Why are you not interrupting him?” I said, “Because I want to hear what he has to say!”

little red memo book

After the meeting when JC was showing us out the security door he said, “You were really great. I do not know how you do it.” I was shocked. You mean, he does not deal with people like this every day? Well, obviously, I was feeling like I could not “do it” much more, at least not on a daily basis. That is why we were having a search for a personal care home. I must have said something that gave away my naivete at this time about how quickly I expected medicines or therapies to help DS get back to himself. JC gave us a warning to expect things to take some time. My mind has turned back to his warning again and again when I have been disappointed.

As I was saying in this post, A Place for the Young & Mentally Ill, I did have a personal care home identified by the time DS was discharged.

Merry Christmas & a Very Good Day

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

Gingerbread House & Christmas Stocking

‘Tis a rather dark and gloomy day in Georgia, but it only adds to the wintry feeling since cold and snow are not the norm for Christmas here. We had sprinkles of much-needed rain all day long… a blessing from heaven because of the extreme drought here.

I was up before dawn at 6 am to be out the door so I could pick up DS from his personal care home in Douglasville by 7 am and join the family at Grandma’s house by 9 am. Before we left Douglasville, CA reaffirmed that DS has been doing very well. He is being very polite, in contrast to the other resident in the home right now… a 20-year old bipolar young man who has been using a great deal of abusive language lately. DS has been given a key to his own room, which is great to preserve his feeling of control over his environment and possessions, and to protect his precious computer which has recently been connected to the internet by a wireless router and adapter… a Christmas gift from his grandparents.

As DS was putting on his shoes he started to say to me, “I just told….” I said, “you told what?” He said, “never mind.” I think he is still having trouble with voices, but they are not nearly as bad and he realizes they are not real or at least he should not represent them to be to be real, like he used to. During our long drive I did not notice one tic or twitch from his left shoulder which used to be very noticeable beginning last summer up until about a month ago. My mother and I use it as something of a barometer on how he is doing, and she noted today that he only began twitching a couple of times today, when she asked his help in the kitchen. The laughing he does when he is turned inwardly, thinking, has somewhat diminished also.

Overall, it has been a very good day with DS apparently unstressed by the large family gathering.

Merry Christmas to all my readers and good night.

Dicken’s Therapy on a Self-Help Blog

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007
chain It is a ponderous chain.  photo by Wappy Al

I like this self-help blog by Dr. Martin W. Russell. It is not specifically a mental illness blog, but in a sense it could be considered a mental health blog because of the benefit you could gain from some of his insights. The post on Dicken’s Therapy has caught my interest. The essence of it is that you imagine what people would say about you at your funeral if you died tomorrow. I made a comment that Dr. Russell responded to. Among other things he said,

Other people might call you “hero”, but you’ve now taken on that name big-time. That’s a very interesting choice.

 I have signed up for his blog announcement list, so I can be a regular reader.

Uncomfortable Memories of Dealing with Severe Mental Illness

Friday, December 21st, 2007

This post continues the Recollections of summer 2007. This is covering the period of time between DS’s first hospitalization in June 2007 and his second hospitalization in July 2007 for schizoaffective disorder.

 As I was saying in Psychiatrists Assume Medication Noncompliance, Dr. DB wanted to wait be sure my son DS was on the Abilify medication before making a change. I believe he did add Clonazepam at this time. After a few more days and a couple telephone calls from me, he agreed a medication switch was appropriate. He prescribed Zyprexa to be gradually phased in while the Abilify was phased out over a course of five days.

One good thing I have to say about Dr. DB is that he would take my telephone calls. I learned later that his specialty was adolescent and child psychiatry, so he is accustomed to dealing with patients’ parents, I assume. I don’t know how DS ever started seeing him in his early twenties. I think we picked his name out of a telephone book because he was in a psychiatry group close to home, that accepted Medicaid insurance.

Here are some things about DS from my notes from this time. DS insisted he heard a muffled scream from his sister’s room in the early morning and wanted to wake her up to investigate it. He told another sister’s friend to leave the house because it was dangerous here. He was very rude and insistent about it. He said he did not want to take the medicine: it was all in my head that he needs it. When I suggested calling the doctor the next day to discuss it, he took his medicine.

DS told me there was a dumpster at the county recycling facility that was a trap. That’s where he got drugs on the bottom of his shoes, and it’s a good thing the police did not know. He called his grandparents at 7 am to warn them about a researcher. He told me he had a hallucination about a ninja man in his room. (At least he knew it was a hallucination, but it still sounded very scary.) He said his sister had microphones in her ear for listening to him. He thought there were listening devices in his eyeglass frames. He was worried about the police coming in the middle of the night to arrest him because of the illicit drugs at the hospital. He said he felt unsafe and unwelcome at home.

Meanwhile every day all day long he was walking back and forth in the house checking windows and doors to be sure they were locked. If one was unlocked it was usually his own fault because he would make checks outdoors then come back in and forget to lock behind himself. Then he would blame me. He was critical towards me for not doing more cleaning of the house or not keeping the bad guys or pranksters out. He was washing all his bedding and all his clothes every day. (I got so tired of hearing that machine running. I thought for sure he was going to wear it out.) He was washing the inside and outside of his clothes hamper and garbage can frequently. He was cleaning his room, and throwing away alot of things, and filled three large garbage bags. Sometimes I would go through what he had thrown away and save things I thought he might regret tossing when he was feeling better.

One day he left a plastic bag with his Bible and some other things outdoors on the back deck. I did not notice them until after it rained. I managed to salvage the books, but I am still keeping them hidden for him, for when he is less delusional about them being contaminated. I figured he thought they were contaminated because they had been at the hospital with him.  He was scrubbing the bottoms of his shoes frequently with new toothbrushes then throwing the toothbrushes away. We were going through paper towels so fast sometimes I think that was the only thing in the garbage can.  It seemed to be hard to keep shampoo in the house, too.

The day before he entered the hospital, DS hurt his five-year old sister’s wrist when he yanked her blanket away from her. He was upset because she had been dragging it across the floor. I remember sternly warning him to not touch his little brother or sister or I would be calling the police. He said, “go ahead.” His attitude was very bad this whole time. His fear and anxiety were intense and the verbalizations about them constant. The five-year was beginning to believe the things he was saying about bad guys coming in the house. I remember thinking, “Oh, great. Now I am going to get her into therapy, too.”

Someone said to me that he seemed to be very driven. I said, “yes, ‘driven’ is a good word for it.”

I am sad to have brought up all these memories from last summer. Looking at my notes brought it back fresh. We were suffering, and he was suffering. I felt we were totally failed by the hospital, the doctors and society. It seemed to me he needed more frequent therapy and more follow-ups with the doctor. (He only had one hour of therapy and one doctor’s visit in this three week period.) He needed some place to live other than at home. I am glad DS is doing much better now, although I still would not say he is well. When I spoke to him this week, he had no complaints of feeling unsafe.

Four Police Encounters in Three Weeks – Part Two

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

grass in our yard

Four Police Encounters in Three Weeks – Part Two

This is the next installment of Recollections where I am catching up my son’s story from last summer. These four encounters occurred between hospitalizations one and two… between June 19th and July 13th. You can read Part One here.

Just two or three days before DS was to go back in the hospital the second time, I took little brother and sister with me and left the house. We just had to get away.

DS was washing his clothes a great deal in those days. He felt that bad guys were getting in the house and putting narcotics or methamphetamine, you-name-it, in his clothes, his bed, on the floors, and everywhere. Despite our frequent reassurances that this was not true, and also trying to explain to him that these kinds of drugs are not absorbed through the skin, he was very anxious and very busy all the time trying to get rid of the “drugs.”

While we were out of the house, I received a telephone call from my teenage daughter who was left home with DS and was sounding rather upset. She said DS had called 911. While he was on the phone with 911, she had shouted at him to stop it.

(I actually think this part is kind of humorous.)

I told her to relax, and for her future reference, do not shout in the background of someone making a 911 call, unless you really want the 911 dispatcher to believe it is a very serious situation that needs every police officer in the county.

I told her when the police showed up, simply let them know that DS was discharged from a mental hospital two weeks before, then shut up and let DS talk. I was too far away to get home before the police got there, but if they wanted to talk to me they could call me.

Sure enough, about fifteen minutes a later an officer called. He assured me that he had had mental health training as a law enforcement officer. He told me DS was reporting narcotics in the laundry detergent. He asked a few questions about whether DS was on his medication, when and where he had been in the hospital, and so forth. I guess it was information for his report. He suggested DS was ill enough to be in a hospital now. I was very much inclined to agree, but DS was pretty much in the same shape he was in when he was discharged, so I wondered if the hospital would take him back. DS did not want to go to the hospital, so that was that.

The last police encounter of the four I am covering happened on Friday the 13th of July, which just happened to be my twenty-eighth wedding anniversary. DS woke up early, agitated as usual, perhaps even more so. He was cleaning the bathroom and going back and forth in the house without his shirt. It was unusual for him to be without a shirt… he was usually modest to the extreme, so it reminded me of that movie Sixth Sense, where the mentally ill young man in his underwear shoots the doctor.

DS was nagging me as usual about not doing enough housecleaning and not washing my sheets frequently enough. At one point he declared that I was stoned and needed to be taken to the emergency room. I thought, “here’s my chance.” Even if I had to pretend to be the patient when we first got there, once we got a doctor in the room maybe DS could be admitted again.

The only problem was DS would not let me drive “under the influence.” (I did not think it was funny at the time, but now I see what a comedy this situation is.) I certainly was not going to let him drive. I called up my mother and asked if she could drive us. She lives forty-five minutes away and takes care of her own elderly parents, but she said she would try to get away or send my Dad. My husband is home at the time, and we agree that he will babysit little brother and sister while we go to the hospital.

I get off the telephone and explain about the ride. After a few minutes DS starts to get impatient. He declares that the situation about who will drive needs mediation, and he is going to go to the neighbors to get it. He leaves the house.

I get myself in a bit of panic now. Where is he going and what is he going to do? I yell for my husband. He runs out of the house to find DS. I call 911. I say something like, “Um, my paranoid delusional son has left the house just as we were going to take him to the emergency room. I am not sure where he went. My husband is out looking for him.”

In very little time at all, it seems like there are at least two or three police cars, a fire truck and an ambulance parked in front of our house. I really did not mean to involve so many public servants, but I guess they were thinking they might have to conduct a search.

My husband had corraled DS in the neighbor’s yard. He brought him back to our yard and had him pinned on the ground. After standing around and talking to the half dozen officers and firemen encircling us, I think DS agreed to an examination in the ambulance. After he went in the ambulance for about ten minutes, we were informed that they will be taking DS to the emergency room. My Dad arrives and we go together to meet the ambulance at the hospital. After sitting in the emergency room with DS for thirteen hours, he is transferred to Wellstar Behavioral Health in Austell, Georgia. It is his second hospitalization in 2007 for schizoaffective disorder.

Again, I felt the officers and emergency personnel treated DS with professionalism and kindness.

At this point in my life, to my closest friends, I was making this observation: the measure of how difficult of lives have become can be counted in the number of police officers we have had to meet this summer.

Pharmacy Foul-Ups & A Good Report on the PCH

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Today I got a call from CA, the owner of the personal care home. She was having difficulty refilling DS’s prescription. He had only one tablet of Risperdal left for today and he is supposed to take two. (How did that happen? The last dose in the bottle should have been two tablets. Oh, well.)

CA’s problem was a pharmacy foul-up. The Rite-Aid pharmacy (formerly known as Eckerd’s) that is near my house tried to transfer his prescriptions, including a record of one refill being allowed, to a pharmacy near CA’s house in Douglasville. They mistakenly sent them to a pharmacy in Atlanta. The pharmacy near her house suggested she call the doctor for a refill. She tried to do that and only got a telephone answering system. (I know. You are required to listen carefully to the choices and press the right numbers to talk to the right person or voice mail box.)

I understood her frustration, and I offered to make some calls to try to straighten things out. First, I told her I would be leaving the doctor’s office out of it. It was the pharmacy’s fault, and this doctor’s office is an even greater pain to deal with,  in my opinion.

In the end I discovered that the pharmacy in Atlanta that had the prescriptions, an independent store named Pay Low,  was only twelve miles from where she lived, and they offered free delivery. I agreed. I was glad things were cleared up this time with very little trouble.

I have had my complaints before with Rite-Aid. They did not have Abilify in stock at all, when DS first needed it last summer. Typically when I try to refill the Risperdal, they do not keep a sufficient amount in stock, and they give me only a three-day supply, at first. Then I have to return for the other twenty-seven days worth. I asked them specifically with a “please” to stock it, but a pharmacy tech tried to explain that it was company policy to treat this drug this way. I suppose they have their reasons. I warned CA about this problem and advised her not to delay refilling prescriptions.

On a brighter note, I spoke with DS today. He seemed to be in a somewhat conversational mood. I filled him in on family plans for Christmas and assured him that we would be picking him up. I tried to catch him up on news of his brothers and sisters.

He filled me in on his doings. CA has been taking him shopping almost every day. “Christmas shopping?” I ask. Food shopping he says, and other kinds of shopping. Also, she has taken him to eat in restaurants quite a few times. (I forgot to ask who has been paying, but DS does have $97 a month to spare after paying for his PCH.) “How very nice,” I observe. He never got that kind of treatment at his other personal care home. He said he likes it in his new PCH much better. I am glad of that. This is a very unusual PCH because it is the home of the owner who is also the “staff” person.

It sounds to me like CA does not let DS stay at home alone much. She has taken him to church with her and on walks with the dogs. That is very wise on her part to keep him busy and to keep an eye on DS. It sounds like we are very blessed right now.