Hospitalization #12

It’s gotta be some kind of record. Not that we’re trying to set a record, or anything.

Tim’s been destabilizing all week – two admissions on his part of hearing voices, two other that we’ve recognized (pacing, talking to himself). Hygene refusal. MAJOR bed-wetting – his room smells like a bus terminal. Irritation. Paranoia. This morning, he was agitated, pacing, talking to himself, refusing to talk in anything but 120 decibel, 300 words a minute rapid-fire speech, or sit in a coma-like stupor for 30-90 minutes at a time.

I freaked. I know what PTSD feels like now – that dread, panic, and flashbacks of the last time he was like this. Last time – which was just this past April, mind you – he shredded the contents of my wallet (cash, credit cards, you name it), brandished a 6 inch kitchen knife at me, punched me in the face, swore like a sailor, then ran out of the house in 40 degree weather, barefoot, at night, three miles before the cops caught him. All that flashed before my eyes as he sat on the stairs, rocking, staring without blinking at the front door I was blocking with my body so he wouldn’t bolt.

Now, normally the next thing we can expect is rage, violence, and running away, followed by a call to the sheriff and an ambulance ride to the psychiatric hospital. This time, I decided to nip it in the bud before law enforcement was required. When the flashbacks stopped, I called the Illinois CARE line, a hotline for parents with a child in a mental illness crisis. Then sent out a SASS (screening, assessment and support services) worker – one we’ve worked with before – right to the house. He did an assessment of Tim, and agreed, that he was destabilizing and probably needed hospitalization.

Now, I lost my job six weeks ago, and our insurance expired yesterday. Even so, our mental health benefits for the year were exhausted in May, so we had no coverage for an inpatient stay. our SASS worker got us approved for 30 days of temporary state Medicaid, found him a bed, and got him admitted this afternoon. I don’t know why we didn’t try this before.

Is it a good thing or a bad thing that all the staff on the adolescent ward looked up when the door opened and said, “Hi Tim, how you doing?”

Now my goal is to get him from this inpatient stay right to the residential treatment center in Oconomowoc. He’s already accepted – just got to get another set of state workers off their asses to get the paperwork approved. I start calling the head of DMH every hour on the hour until I get her at 9 AM. I’m persistent, if nothing else. Wish me luck.