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Are the Mental Health staff enabling? Or am I crazy?

Old 03-12-2011, 09:25 AM
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Angry Are the Mental Health staff enabling? Or am I crazy?

AS was transferred to inpatient psych under court order on Tuesday after his suicide attempt. (He's still on dialysis, will be for at least 3 months; still can't walk without a walker due to a blood clot in his leg)

My husband and I went to visit yesterday for the first time since he's been there. The visiting hours are really strict, so we get an hour. My husband and I drove seperately because he was coming from work and I from home. Of course I got COMPLETELY lost (even with my GPS-it was taking me to a clinic with the same name AHHHH!), my husband had to come and find me and we didn't get there until there was 15 minutes left.

As soon as we walk in, we get attitude. No smile, no "hi", just this blank look boardering on anger. I explained what happened but whatever. We got to talking and he starts telling us that "everyone loves him" there and that he knew we'd get extra time (we did). I asked for details about his treatment and he said that the psych doc thinks he'll be OK with no anti-depressant and that his drinking is anxiety-related. Huh? Did anybody hear me when I relayed the last three months of living with him to them? Is the suicide attempt taking front and center? Is he snowballing them like he did to me? HOW IN GOD'S NAME DO YOU TRICK MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS????

Still no true acknowledgement of the role alcohol plays in his life other then "it's the farthest thing" from his mind and he's had "no desire to drink" and he "knows now that he has to take ownership instead of wishing or drinking things away". I think that HE thinks that because there's been no withdrawl or shakes or whatever he defines as "withdrawl", that he's "ok". He says that right now he is dealing with the fact that he didn't die as he expected and instead became an "invalid". That is front and center. I guess I can see that. He is/was the most serious suicide attempt...he's the one that left no note, no warnings, no drama...just went and did it. Very similar to the people you hear about that end up shooting themselves in their car and the family left wondering what in the hell happened. I personally know a few of those and I can't tell you the shock that is left behind.

All this being said, yes, he does seem better and he does seem more open to talking about where he went wrong and his feelings. But I just don't feel like the biggest issue is being addressed AT ALL. He's in daily multiple group sessions and he participates in them all. He's either really playing the game well or he's really making an effort. He keeps "forgetting" to ask his nephrologist about short term disability from work (yes, he has his job still, amazingly), then asks if I'm calling. Granted, the unit he is on is very tightly controlled so he's probably having a heck of a time calling work. I said no, so go me! Told him to write himself a note or something to remember.

Court is on Monday and they think he'll be released from the chapter 51 and then have a court-ordered treatment plan he'll have to follow. All the DUI stuff is looming out there too yet.

All this is making me feel like I'm the one that has the problem. Like I'm so far off base about him. I lived with him....I've seen it first hand. He's going in with two DUI's in less then 6months....how does that just get passed over??

Yeah, color me pissed.
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:37 AM
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Yeah, I can understand your frustration. The only thing I can think of is that hospitals, even psych wards, aren't in the business of alcohol recovery. Their job is to stabilize the patient and get them out the door. He will have to deal with most of that other stuff after he has been released.
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:46 AM
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That's got to be it Suki. I thought this was THE place and he'd have so much intervention....blah!

I asked who's all in and for what and he said it's mostly old men with alzheimers and girls with eating disorders and many with depression. So, yeah, I don't know. I would still hope that his psychiatrist would at least be probing more into the drinking.

And I know this is my own personal issue, but I feel like I can't get anywhere with the staff there. When he was in the IMCU at the other hospital, I was told EVERYTHING, at this place I can't even get his labs or find anyone to talk to about just his overall health. I did hook up with his discharge planner and she's been great but she's also more experienced with mental health then dialysis and his physical health so she's not real concerned with that aspect like I am. I'm very out of the loop here. They mentioned maybe going to a medical unit on Monday after court so ??? He said his nephrologist felt maybe d/c from the hospital some time next week.
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:54 AM
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I'm hoping this comes across as gently as I mean for it to, but...it sounds like you are getting drug back into the drama. I know it's hard not to know everything going on while he is hospitalized, but, he is an adult and what he has to do regarding his addiction, or even what's going on with him now, should be on him, not you. He is obviously over the danger point if they are talking about releasing him in the next several days. It might be less frustrating for you if you take a step back and let him deal with these issues.

I hope you aren't offended, but I felt the need to gently suggest that maybe you're allowing yourself to get too enmeshed in his self-imposed issues. These are all consequences of his own bad choices.
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:25 AM
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I hear you and I'm actually nodding my head in agreement..I'm trying to be involved without BEING INVOLVED, lol

Unfortunately, my job in life is as an RN case manager...my life is discharging people from the hospital....I've seen so many disaster discharges that I think that's my excuse for working with the lady at the hospital. I know what needs to be done and dammit, let's get it done! Add in the fact that I'm his mom and I'm working on my own recovery and I think it's a reciepe for lots of back-sliding on my own part.

I guess this is the time to say and admit I'm no where near as far as I thought I was in my own recovery. When I kicked him out, it was easy to detach from him. So easy. Easy enough that I could ignore my steps and live my life. Now, I know I have a suicide risk on my hands who's going to need intensive outpatient medical therapy and I can't stop myself. If he dies and I did nothing....I don't know if I can mentally cope with the consequences. I don't know if I can cut and run. My entire family and society is telling me I need to bring this boy home and keep him safe and if I don't, I didn't do my job as his mother. FML. There, I said it.

P.S first alanon meeting that I could find around here isnt til Wednesday....I know that's where I have to go
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:36 AM
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Hon, you can't keep him safe. You cannot control him. Even in your own home, he can die if that is what he wants to do. We cannot love them well, but we can love them to death.
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:20 AM
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Suki's right.

Even hospitals and jails with suicide watches cannot stop someone who is totally determined to end his life. Bringing him home won't stop him if that's what he is bent on doing.

You made him leave your home for good reasons. Those reasons haven't changed.

Society and the rest of the family don't know the whole situation the way you do.

Hugs, sorry you are in such a tough situation.
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:29 AM
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P.S first alanon meeting that I could find around here isnt til Wednesday....I know that's where I have to go
Yes, everyone there will understand what you are going thru.
Both my mother and sister are RN's (great to have around when my daughter was in crisis) so, I do understand a little bit about the need to know, because then it will make sense.

You are doing and reacting like a normal mother who has an addicted child.
All the rules change. Being a nurse though, I think you have a head start on your recovery.

I hope you feel better soon.

Beth
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Old 03-12-2011, 12:06 PM
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Thank you Beth, Lexie and Suki. I do know I can't stop him from completing his suicide if that's what he wants. That's so hard to hear yet something I already know back in my mind.

What I am going to do for now is go about my business for the day...there are shedding horses that need assistance to shed that hair out (my least favorite spring activity) and supplies for the barn to be picked up and bathrooms to clean. I need to give myself a break from HIS reality for awhile. I get so caught up, I can't see the forest thru the trees.

Thank you for listening (again!) and putting up with me.
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Old 03-12-2011, 01:07 PM
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Hi,

I know how you must be feeling. I am in healthcare, t he business end of things, but I have dealt with caregivers.

The desire to have the plan set out and the process in place and the answers soon can be intense. I have watched people become confused and then deeply depressed because of the hand they are dealt with respect to ill family members.

When you put on your nurse's hat you probably see that this is a step in his process. He is sick, but to get better he must walk this road at his own pace andin his own time. People choose what they want to and we as loved ones hope and pray that they make healthy choices, but they are his choices. The medical team intervened, but it sounds like things are coming back to him to take care of. I can imagine that this frightens you. When people I loved left rehab or the institution, I worried. I was angry. BUT THEY WEREN'T FIXED YET!

Decades for one and a few years later for the other, I see things much clearer. I never had any control. I only thought I did at one time. NO one but them had any control over their choices.

I am sorry that you are going through this. It must really suck. I always think to myself when I go through really bad times that this is something else I lived through that I know what feels like. In my 80 or so years someday, I will have this too down on my life's experiences. Most of those things I think about are bad things, but I try to put them into the perspective of my entire life and my life in context of a set of experiences both good and bad. I don't know. Sometimes thinking like that helps me.

HUGS
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Old 03-12-2011, 02:33 PM
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Thats not right that he attempted suicide and the doctor seems to be focusing more on his anxiety? Hopefully, he is not getting Xanex or other benzo type drugs in there because it could lead him back to King Alcohol. You didn't say if he had insurance or not but if he's in a state run no-insurance type facility he will not receive extensive help that he needs. Just enough to get him out the door.
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Old 03-12-2011, 06:53 PM
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OK..my first thought is that the Dr.s ARE NOT telling him he doesn't have a drinking problem, thats what he is TELLING YOU..they probably did say he is anxious and i contributes to his drinking, but I highly doubt they are just overlooking the alcohol..I've heard this story alot on these boards..puh-leez..hopefully the court will imposr some rehab where he will be called out on his using..
Good for you for refocusing and taking care of your stuff at home..keep detaching with love and do go to that alanon mtg!
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Old 03-12-2011, 07:23 PM
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I would love to help shed out the horses!
Talk about ZEN ...

Just maybe time to take a deep breath,
and one step back.

It's a process, this learning to stand back.
It doesn't happen all in one go.

We have to let 'em be grownups, mom.
And we have to let them experience the consequences for themselves.
Sucks red rocks
but it has to be.

I think getting lost
on the way to the clinic
threw you off balance
and he was right there
pushing all the buttons.

The reactions STARTED to auto-pilot
but you stopped and thought.
That's HUGE.

I'm so very glad that you've got SR.

You got through it.

It's hard not to be a doctor.
It's hard to stop being the 'old mom'
and step into the 'new mom'

... the mom of the grownup.

Get working on them equines!

I'm so jealous you have horses to be with during this!

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Old 03-13-2011, 10:09 AM
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I now have very clean horses...I must have really needed some "blank" time!! I can make a huge pillow with the amount of hair I got off yesterday, but horse hair is NOT comfortable so I'll leave it for the birds for their nests! Barb, the horses are my sanctuary...I can't count the times in the last 25 years that I've cried into manes and was able to absorb their calmness (although I only have one left now that will not freak out if I'm crying, LOL! The other two will run for the hills!). Anyone watch the Dog Whisperer? Same concept. I need to be calm assertive when I'm out there and boy does it keep me in check! Otherwise, they absorb my negative energy and we're off the races. They'll let me know my state of mind instantly! I am blessed to have them, but I still hate shedding season. Today is another day that belongs to ME, and maybe tomorrow too and maybe the next day. I don't HAVE to drive there to see him, the phone works well too. Maybe if I just stay away from seeing him, that will help. My husband is still insistent on bringing him here. He says that we're not enabling the alcohol because we're not providing it to him, and we can make him do for himself and that he's going to jail soon anyway. There's even more going on in the background; AS's lease is up in a month and they have to be out. I think he's also afraid of another suicide attempt. I don't know if he's protecting ME or AS, but it's not easy around here. Couple all that with my OWN indecision and .....

MsFixit (LOVE that name, that's so me!), I have a lot of anger towards him right now....because I know what he (and the hospital for God's sake, they're just as bad!) is expecting from me (chauffer, chef, caretaker, etc etc). I DO NOT WANT THIS! This is NOT my life and I didn't do anything to ask for it! (that's my detached self speaking...enabler mom and nurse is silent right now)

Justfor1, no he's on the alcoholic cocktail of vitamins and Ultram (non-narcotic) for the pain in his leg from the blood clot (one of the few things I was able to confirm with staff). He does have private insurance, but they are probably just as bad. They'll be looking to kick him out as soon as the chapter is up (as long as he's on the hold, they have to pay; court trumps insurance). They will look for "medical necessity" for him to remain inpatient and once they determine he can be treated as an outpatient (medically and mentally), they'll stop payment and deny the stay.

Keepinon, thank you for the reality check! Yeah, you're spot on I'm sure...I just like to believe what he tells me! I guess in the end it won't matter because the DUI judge will be ordering him into AA regardless of anything these people order for him. Maybe he'll take that to heart or maybe he'll just pretend. I suspect his fellow alcoholics will be able to smell a fake from a mile away and he will get away with little in those meetings.

Rayn, thank you for keeping me grounded and I hope you are doing well too! I'm holding strong on not doing his deeds for him, that I have no problem detaching from! I've got my own stuff to work on and I have no time or inclination to work on his too. He's a big boy. My enabler self is really just worried about his physical placement and how is he going to get back and forth to dialysis and how is he going to do the three flights of stairs in his home and yackity schmakity.

OK today is more shedding and pasture clean up....you guys would be surprised what lies beneath a winter's worth of ice and snow. It's kinda gross!
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Old 03-13-2011, 01:14 PM
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Cool

Before go I out on a limb here, I just wanted to say here that I haven't read all the posts in this thread. I did, however, read all of yours, Lilly1, and there were a couple of things that you said that I'd like to address.......:

1) "...I feel like I can't get anywhere with the staff there. When he was in the IMCU at the other hospital, I was told EVERYTHING, at this place I can't even get his labs or find anyone to talk to about just his overall health...I'm very out of the loop here..."

2) "...My entire family and society is telling me I need to bring this boy home and keep him safe and if I don't, I didn't do my job as his mother. FML. There, I said it..."

3) "...he's on the alcoholic cocktail of vitamins and Ultram (non-narcotic) for the pain in his leg from the blood clot..."

1) Perhaps he hasn't relayed to the staff at this hospital that you may have all access to his medical info.....(just a thought, anyway.....).

2) I can't speak for your family, and I certainly can't speak for 'all' society, but I can speak for myself (a card-carrying member of society; be that high or low society.....LOLOL). From where I sit, I don't believe anybody has a right to tell you what you must do or not do (re: your job as a mother). The way I see it is you need to do whatever you feel is right for you; go with your gut, so to speak.....

3) I don't mean to burst your bubble here but..... "...he's on the alcoholic cocktail of vitamins and Ultram (non-narcotic)..." I don't know who told you this, or what his/her definition of 'non-narcotic' is, BUT Ultram (also known as Tramadol) is a centrally acting opioid analgesic, and the prescribing information for Ultram warns that Tramadol "may induce psychological and physical dependence of the morphine-type."

Just a wee bit 'o info fer y'all there.


(o:
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Old 03-13-2011, 02:24 PM
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HOW IN GOD'S NAME DO YOU TRICK MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS????
It is easier than you think. A ward full of psychiatrists is no match for a good sociopath.
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Old 03-13-2011, 02:54 PM
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I've often thought, "no one needs the mental health profession more than the mental health professionals".
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:01 PM
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Sorry you are going through this. It must be very unnerving for you. It is sad that even a stint in a psych ward does not always give an accurate diagnosis, especially when it is mixed with substance abuse and other complications. However, I hope they have an impressive discharge plan or court order program that will allow him to get the help that is needed for all issues.

From my experiences, psych wards typically want you out as soon as you are stabilized which is only a few days. They will not release any information without a consent signed by him. However, if you are the person they release him to when he is discharged you will get a copy that indicated the 5 axis diagnosis info and all the meds they have him on. My experience told me they do NOT tell the patient the truth unless they ask very specific questions. He may not really know what the Dr. think of him, but maybe he will sign a release so with your clear head you can give input and get a real answer. (You could call and ask them to ask him to do it tonight so you could call soon - of course he may refuse) Also, they don't tend to be exact on the day they will discharge someone, my experience has always been sooner than they told you they were going to. And there meetings at the psych ward are not very "educational" more just a way to fill time - no offense to anyone who thinks otherwise.

Also, I found they over medicate people when they first arrive.
The ativan/xanax etc can become very troubling from anyone but even worse for someone already an addict.
He really should be getting his disability paperwork done himself, usually they have a maximum of 15 days if it required medical certification, so time is of the essence for him to get the check and more importantly the FMLA protection to return to work.

Lastly, try not to get sucked in if you can. Maybe there is an Al-anon meeting a little bit further out you can go to sooner - you truly do leave those meetings feeling better than when you came in.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:25 AM
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That's all HIS words.
That doesn't mean the docs or staff REALLY said them.
He's still hearing what he wants to...
I wouldn't worry about anything he says....it really isn't reality.
Stay strong!!!
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:51 PM
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Update time!

First off, I'm sorry I dropped off the face of the SR board. You all know that expression "take what you need and leave the rest"? That's what I did... I felt myself getting defensive so I needed to just "step away" so to speak and handle things on my own for awhile. I hooked up with a local sponsor and she's been wonderful!

I'm happy to report it's been a fantastic 4 months! My son was discharged on 3/18 and he did come home with us. That was a source of debate between my husband and I, but his physical limitations and need for transportation ended up winning. There were so many appointments I couldn't keep them straight. I did end up taking FMLA at work so I could get him back and forth to appointments. I never once took a full day off, but I did take longer lunches to get him where he needed to go. Dialysis continued for another 3 weeks after his discharge and his kidneys eventually recovered and returned to full function. His leg has been, and still is, a problem. The Jury is still out on if it's the blood clot, nerve damage or a disease called Reflex Sympathatic Dystrophy. Either way, the leg from the knee down is pretty "dead" for lack of a better word, of all feeling expect pain and all movement/muscle control. It's getting better and the "good" feeling comes back week by week. He's on a medication called neurontin which really seeems to work well now that they got the dosage right. He sees his therapist weekly for counselling (didn't do the AA route). He eventually returned to work about a month ago and that ended up being a huge kick in his pants. His physical therapist and doctor felt return to work would be the best thing for him mentally and physically and they were right.

He still has no drivers license, still has jail time coming up at the end of August.....BUT no drinking for 4 months! He's healthy (putting the leg aside), he's happy (moments here and there of depression - example is when they finally repo'd his car, or that day he realized his "drunk" friends couldn't be friends anymore), he's back to work, he's contributing to the household in both chores and $$, he's making plans for his future (college for Physical Therapy), he's dating a girl from work....the list goes on. I'm so so happy for him We've even discussed what got him here, I have a better sense of why he felt like suicide was the only answer.

Me? I still watch him like a hawk. I still feel like I'm waiting for him to eff up. I don't know if you guys heard the duck and the bottle story but I repeat "it's not my duck and it's not my bottle" to myself whenever I feel the need to start "mothering" him. He's VERY clear on 100% sobriety in my house and he knows as long as he can tow the line, he's got our support. He does still question how I can only love him sober, so I know he's still missing the point there OR using manipulation. But that's OK. I've got the point in MY mind and that's what matters. I'm not going to feel like I have to convince him. My husband is on-board with everything thus far.

So, onward to another good four months...said with hope and fear and hope! Thank you again to my SR friends <3
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