Saturday, July 28, 2007

If You're Crazy and You Know it, Clap Your Hands

I wrote recently about my sister’s trip to California. This is a continuation of the same story. The crazy did not end with my sister’s arrival back home. It continued to grow and take on a life of it’s own. Or take over her life.

She continued to have delusions and saw diabolical plots everywhere she looked. Once again, she became unemployed. According to my sister, that was a good thing since at least one of her co-workers was plotting to kill her.

She went to see her psychiatrist but that was not helpful since Lynne refuses to take the medication. So her delusions continued. A few weeks later my nephew had to call 911 since he could not wake his mom up. She was taken to the hospital by ambulance and it was determined that she had taken a combination of a sleep medication, an anti-anxiety pill along with a beta-blocker. They kept her in the hospital for a few hours to make sure she was ok.

When she finally woke up, she was acutely delusional and psychotic. I talked to the nurse and the nurse told me that she was psychotic. We discussed a transfer to the hospital where Lynne’s doctor was and started the process of moving her. Then the hospital attorneys became involved and decided that they could not keep her. She was released from the hospital and walked home in her pajamas.

I was completely disgusted that they would let someone in that condition just go home because of the fear of a lawsuit. It crossed my mind that they really did not stop to consider the type of lawsuit that they could be facing if something happened to my sister or her son as a result of that decision.

Once again we were in the position of having to wait for something bad to happen in order to get Lynne to have to wait too long.

A few weeks later, Lynne decided to take her son and go visit my mom who lives about an hour away. My mom was expecting them but they never arrived. I finally got my sister on her cell phone and asked her what had happened. She told me that she had decided to apply for a job in another state so she was on her way to drop off the application. This is obviously not something normal people do.

I explained to her that she would not be likely to get an interview right away and even if she did, you can’t take a kid for that. She said that was ok, they needed a vacation anyway. I made her promise that she would go home and she promised. I knew she was lying though. I kept calling back to see where she was and she would say she was back in the state and just an hour or so away. I finally made her put my nephew on the phone and found out which side of the car the sun was on. That confirmed it because she was still going north.

Later that night, my mom got my nephew on the phone and he volunteered the name of the hotel they were staying in. As soon as that happened, my sister loaded him into the car and they were off again. My sister was very suspicious about one of my mom’s neighbors and therefore my mom could not be trusted.

The next day I received a phone call from my sister who was completely hysterical. She was screaming, “There was a bomb wired in!” I told her to calm down and was able to get part of the story from her. Her car had been on fire and she was screaming that her ex husband had done it. After several minutes of her shrieking in my ear, a cop got on the phone. Before Lynne handed the phone over to him, she said in a threatening voice, “Don’t you dare tell him anything!” I am well aware of just how vindictive my sister can be and I was afraid to talk to the officer.

He asked, “Does Lynne have any mental problems?”
Me, “Uhhhhh. I think you better talk to my mom.”

I gave him my mom’s phone number and that pretty much sealed my sister’s fate. The police officer had decided that Lynn was going to the hospital. Unfortunately, it can never be simple with her and she was not going without a fight.

She made up a story about needing a restroom and the cop stopped at a gas station. Lynne and her son went to the restroom and decided to make a break for it. They took off running through a field but the cop had called for backup. It took some time and ultimately four cops to wrestle her into the back of an ambulance.

She was then evaluated at the local ER (kind of like the quick exam that prisoners get, called the “okey-dokey for the pokey”) and she was sent to a psychiatric hospital for a three day evaluation and my nephew was sent to foster care. This time they decided that she was crazy, as in dangerous crazy. This was when the real challenge began because they had decided that she was way too crazy to be released to travel to her home state for treatment. It was a dramatic change from the previous hospital that sent her home in her pajamas when just as crazy.

A few days later there was a commitment hearing. It was determined that she was a danger and she was committed to the state that she had been traveling through. They sent her to a big, scary looking state hospital and were planning on keeping her there for a period of at least six months. I was working with Lynne’s regular psychiatrist to help get her moved home but I was running into roadblocks. The state did not have a program to transport mental patients by ambulance and they thought that she was too unstable to go with a family member. So we began yet another observation period with a state psychiatrist.

I had the pleasure of trying to talk to the state doctor on the phone and was disturbed to find that it was much like trying to converse with one of the inmates (patients). She kept telling me the background on my sister and would not listen when I tried to tell her that I already knew that. She would continue talking over me in a horrible drone with a Pakistani accent. I finally just started talking at the same time asking over and over, “Can I talk now? Is it my turn yet?”

On the subject of employees on the psych ward, my dad says,” Sometimes they are on the wrong side of the desk.” I think he might be on to something.

We had a few days to wait for the crazy doctor to make a decision. In the meantime I was calling every agency that I could think of to get them to pressure the hospital into transferring her back home. We were finally able to arrange a hospitalization in her home state with the help of her regular doctor. My dad picked her up and drove for hours to get her admitted by her psychiatrist.

After she got back home, we got more information about what had happened. She admitted that she was running away to Canada. Fortunately, she saw a message on the side of the truck that she took to mean that she should not cross the border so she turned around. She was going back home when her car caught on fire. No one knows exactly why that happened but we are grateful that we didn’t end up with two funerals that week.

Lynne was incredibly happy to be out of the scary state institution because Lynne says,” I don’t want a roommate that’s pulling out her eyes.”

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