Recollecting the Second Hospitalization Summer 2007

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.

Explore posts in the same categories: In Hospital, Medications, Mental Illness, People Who Help, Places to Live, Recollections

7 Comments on “Recollecting the Second Hospitalization Summer 2007”

  1. Rob Wilkens Says:

    You mentioned Risperdal.. I thought worth Mentioning while the benefit of Risperdal is that it will be generic in about 6 months, the new version of Risperdal, called Invega (from the makers of Risperdal and based on it) seems to be working very good for me (I am also Schizoaffective). From August through late October, while I didn’t need a hospitalization this year (I’m going on 4 years without one), I was mildly delusional and unable to get work done, after switching to the same dose of Invega (3mg was Risperdal and is Invega) I’ve been doing much better.

    Don’t know how old DS is off-hand, but I once had 2 hospitalizations in 1 year, actually maybe twice — Once around the year 2000 and once in 2004, but since early 2004 I haven’t been rehospitalizaed. I’m up to about 8 hospitalizations total since diagnosis in late 1996. That used to seem like a lot, but now going 4 years without one, that means on-average less than one a year total.

  2. Hero Says:

    DS is twenty-seven years old. Thanks for the info about Invega. DS had four hospitalizations in 2007, the last in October. I am dismayed to to hear that you have had eight hospitalizations since your diagnosis in 1996, and I am glad to hear that you have had four years recently without one. That is good that you were able to catch a problem as it was developing in the early stage. I wish I could even get DS to acknowledge that he has delusions, but he will not or can not. I think he is still has a long way to go.

  3. Rob Wilkens Says:

    I’m about 33 now myself, about 6 years older.

    I almost have come to the conclusion (based on talking to myself, other people in the system, and ‘business associates’ not connected to the mental health system) — that there is a strong “normal” biological component tied to what a lot of people term as mental illness. That is, for example, my bad seasons — where I become most delusions/psychotic and/or paranoid — are in the fall and spring (note: I live in New York, which is relevant to the seasons).. A friend I work with illustrated the problem by sketching out a SIN wav (it’s a mathemical line that constantly curves up and down) and pointed out that here in New York at least, the Sin Wave “changes the slowest” at the top and the bottom — which is the Winter and the Summer. It’s Fall and Spring when changes are happening the least (when the SIN wav is going more-or-less straight down and straight up). When the seasons (temperatures) are changing the most/quickest, is when I get off balance. The guy who was explaining this to me is an electrial engineer, and when you stop to realize the brain is very much an electronic device (that is, it passes electrical impulses across synapses along nerve cells, etc. in the form of neural networks to create a virtual ‘thought process’ — as evidenced by how these electrical impulses are alterred by the medications), so as an electrical engineer he had some authority when he said “Some brains adapt differently to this change than other too, but the adaption to change issue is a very normal reaction, more than most people would like to admit.”

    Regarding seasons, when I lived in Florida (closer to you) on my own, “Winter” (December+February) were my bad seasons, but that’s because it’s in the 90s most of the year, and only in December does the weather start to go below 80 and then in February does it start to go up into the 80s again.

    Separately, I noticed my symptoms were strongest in my 20s. They often involved issues regarding either one woman or multiple women, some from my past and sometimes people I saw on TV, and sometimes, it was people I knew currently. Quite honestly, I’m not the dating type, and I have no interest in a short or long term relationship with a female (or male, I’m not gay either). Perhaps that’s in part due to the fact that I’m capable of keeping myself interested in life through the tools and technology avaialable in part due to the Internet’s availability to me for more than half my life. However, My point is, a lot of my delusions involved — and I hate to say this — pursuing a relationship and/or sex. I think this is a biochemical response to the lack of such in life that probably peeks in mid-20s and goes down from there.

    There are too many environmental issues to consider as well. For example, I don’t know how true this is, but I’ve heard that people who are kept away from things as kids (such as alcohol, though that’s not the only example), tend to dive (perhaps too much) into them as adults (become alcoholics). I think that goes beyond alcohol in that example, and I think the desire to ‘rebel against the things you didn’t have in youth’ wears off (normally) some number of years after you’re capable of deciding for yourself — let’s say 10 years in my case, because 4 years ago I was about 30 years old and I was about 21 when I started having these issues.

    Since age 30, I guess, that means through age 33 I haven’t been in too much trouble mental health wise. I will always be on medication (seeking that ‘miracle drug’) because honestly, I believe (based on reading books like “Your Drug May Be Your Problem” by Dr. Cohen) that the extended period of time I was on drugs in my 20s (yes, I mean prescription drugs, specifically antipsychotics and mood stabilizer, I don’t refer to illegal drugs) I now have permanently alterred my bodies natural ability to control its own mood stabilizing chemicals and whenever I’ll stop taking the medications I’ll have withdrawl effects that will range from extreme psychosis to extreme mood instability, and with some drugs even physical discomfort or motion abnormalities may happen as a result of withdrawing.

    -Rob

  4. Hero Says:

    Thanks, Rob, for that long explanation. I will have to keep an eye out for the seasonal thing. Last summer was very rough. I hope not to have a repeat this summer.

    I have wondered, too, what the connection is with the twenty-somethings age. I heard someone once say something vaguely about hormones, but as a woman I am rather tired of hearing hormones being blamed for everything. There must be so much more to it than that or everyone would have a mental illness. Somedays I am not so sure that everyone does NOT have a mental illness.

    I fear you may be right about the drugs having altered your body’s natural ability to to stabilize moods. I have heard of similar drug/body relationships with other diseases, such as with cortisone drugs and arthritis. This becomes an area of controversy… even with what little I know, I have heard this. For right now my philosophy is that I am going to try to accept the fact that many people have diseases that they must medicate their entire lives. We must work within the framework of what we know right now.

  5. Mental Hero » Blog Archive » Move to the First PCH and Third Hospital Admittance Says:

    […] 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 […]

  6. Mental Hero » Blog Archive » Blog Hunt: Mental Illness Blogs Says:

    […] on with their lives in a very functional way. I thank Rob again for the insights he gave me into schizoaffective disorder in his comment he made here on my […]

  7. Hero Says:

    Update today. Rob Wilkens has a new blog at RobWilkens.name.

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