Sunday, June 26, 2011

Having A Loved One Committed--My Experience

I am sorry this has taken so long, but you cannot imagine the trouble I have had with writing this. After several days I completed this and while I was proof reading it, somehow, you tell me, just before I hit the publish button everything disappeared. I mean everything! I was staring at a blank page. This blog is set up to 'auto save' every few seconds or key strokes so when it disappeared, it saved a blank page. And, as I typed over half again, I got an error that it could not save it. So...back to square one again. In the middle of all of this, I kept my appointment with the doctor who's title on the wall states he is the "Diplomate In Clinical Neuropsychology." After six hours of questions and tests, I was mentally waisted. As I crossed the bridge home, I got the call we had major plumbing problems at our house. All of this did not help my mood any. I know this is not the best job, but here's my story the best I can remember:

I had a great childhood in that my family was real close. We were not what you would consider poor, but maybe a little below "middle class" back in the days where there were such a thing.

Dad worked hard and mom took care of us three boys which, no doubt was a challenge.. We had supper together every night as a family. Today, mom has said she was sorry that she was so strict on us, but I always say “we turned out pretty good, right?” There is nothing about my childhood that I would want to change.

I don’t remember when it happened, but when I was little dad took mom to the doctor and he prescribed her medication because of “her nervous condition” as she called it. That is all I remember except as long as I can remember she took the medication.

It was not long after my dad passed away, my brother took mom to the doctor for a checkup. She was in good health he said except he questioned why she was taking the medication. She explained she has a serious nervous condition for years, and this helped.. This is the part that makes me so enraged to this day I cannot even see the computer!--- “Mrs.…the medication you are on is not for your nerves, but it is usually prescribed for someone who has depression. I see no reason why you should be taking it!!!!. My mom, who took this medicine for over 35 years stopped ’cold turkey.’ Oh I hope, I really pray that doctor will read this!!!

It did not take long at all and my mom began to change. The mom we all knew became delirious an out of control. While our older brother and I moved back to the Midwest, my middle brother continued to live in the West. He and my dad each bought an acre but they placed their homes not far apart so they could be together. He would call us and tell us what mom had become. He would tell us stories about how he came home from the night shift and she would be standing in the middle of the desert in a thin nightgown with every light on including huge spot lights. He confronted her asking what she was doing and she said “she just ran them all off.” “Who?” my brother asked. “Dozens of them on foot and in cars.” My brother walked the property and there were no footprints in the sand or tire marks. He questioned her and she declared “I know what I saw.” Then there was the time he was awoke by a constant, soft sound. He went outside and there was mom again in the middle dry desert where rattle snakes, scorpions, and everything dangerous came out at night, raking the desert. One time she had gave the grandchildren gifts for Christmas only to stomp into my brothers house and take them away saying they did not appreciate them.

I could list volumes of pages of things like this my brother told us. He finally said he could not stand it any longer and by himself he could not look after her.

My older brother and I suggested mom move back here with us in the Midwest. Mom jumped at the opportunity, mainly to get away from my other brother who “hated her.” Until we found a good place for her to live, we agreed she would move in with us. She was going to stay with me for a couple of weeks, then my other brother.

My wife welcomed her and told her our house is yours. My daughter gave up her room for mom and slept on the couch. It was good for about two days then it started going down hill. My wife and I tried to include her in everything, but she became withdrawn. She would sit on the couch for hours obviously upset at something. I would ask her “mom, what’s wrong?” and she at first would reply “nothing.” Then I came home and she was on the couch crying. I asked her again what was the matter and she said she should leave because it was obvious we did not want her.

Then, what happened next came as a major shock to me. The stories my brother had told us about came to life. Mom walked over to the window and quietly said “I knew it!” I asked her what she mean and she said “those people out there was on my plane. They followed me.” I went to the window and saw my neighbor out in the yard. “Mom, that’s my neighbor. He was not on your plane.” “Are you calling me a liar?” she replied. “Everyone one of them people out there was on my plane and now they are watching me!” There was only my neighbor outside and no one else. I said “mom, my neighbor was not on your plane, I saw him out cleaning his motor home 3 days ago, and besides, there are no one else out there.” It got so bad while I was not home my wife made an excuse to go somewhere and sat in a parking lot and cried.

One day she came down from upstairs with her suitcases. She said she was leaving, going somewhere where she is welcome. I asked her where she was going and she replied “anywhere but here!” I called my brother and he said go ahead and take her to a motel and he would go there in the morning and check up on her. Well, that was a nightmare. I did not want to put her in just ant motel, I wanted it to be clean and in a nice area. I drove to one, and she said no, she was not staying there. I ending up driving by three more with the same results. Finally, I said  “the next one we come to is it, like it or not!”

I took her to the room and she looked around and said she was not going to stay in that room. She did not give an excuse except, she just won’t. Two more rooms, the same. “They are watching me.“ At the last room I noticed her looking at the radio clock on the nightstand beside the bed. There was a red light indicating the it was P.M. I put it all together and said I would be right back. I don’t know how or why the manager put up with this but I got another key and went into the room before her and unplugged the clock and that room worked for her.

Over the next several weeks my older brother worked with her, and they decided that if she would (in no uncertain terms do what we asked and take the medicine) they would find an apartment for her to live in. This excited her. They drive around and found the perfect place. It was safe, clean, and she was on the second floor with large picture windows overlooking the park, and it was close to both of us. Mom was like her old self. She was happy and fixed it up so nice. It was spotless, you could not find a speck of dust anywhere, even above the door jams!

Well, this did not last long. Mom liked to walk which was good for her. My brothers and I had always said she was in better health, physically, then all three of us put together. One day my wife saw her walking in the pouring rain, but she had an umbrella. However, the umbrella was under her arm, closed. My wife rolled down the window and asked her to get in and she would drive her wherever she needed to go. “It is not raining very hard, I am fine.” She replied. A couple of days later, we found mom walking down the street dragging two suitcases. She was leaving. When asked where she was going, she replied she didn’t know.

Because it was unsafe to leave mom alone, we were afraid she would just pickup and leave and we would never find her again; she denied that anything was wrong and kept to her beliefs that everyone was out to get her; she would not let us take her to a doctor  (we would not use the words Psychiatrist around her); she became more delirious, more and more seeing people that was not there; would not let us help her at all,  and on and on so we had no choice to have her placed in a mental hospital until we could figure out what to do, but we did not have a clue how to go about it. That day my brother went to an attorney to seek advise, and she drafted the documents we would need. Now I know the laws and procedures vary from state to state, but this how it happened where we lived to the best of my knowledge.

 He called and said he was going to have to have her picked up and take to a mental ward in the hospital. The local police picked up mom at her apartment, against her will…in handcuffs. This was on Friday. On Tuesday, we went before a Judge to have her declared  mentally incompetent. {Definition} An individual is defined as mentally incompetent if he is manifestly psychotic or otherwise of unsound mind, either consistently or sporadically, by reason of mental defect, among which are retardation, schizophrenia or other acute hallucinatory and delusory defects of mind, certain types of epilepsy and other seizure disorders which render the individual coordinated and mobile but of unsound mind, bipolar disorder which results in sporadic psychosis (but not simply mild or moderate bipolar disorder), and other disorders which consistently or sporadically render the individual starkly incapable of maintaining awareness of and responsibility for his actions.

 I will never forget this as long as I live. It is burnt in my mind forever. I hope and pray NO ONE has to witness this. Before we went into the court room I was standing in the hall. There were some prisoners standing with a sheriff by there side. I looked down the hall and I say my 68 year old mother slowly walking my way. She was dressed in orange prison clothes. Her hands were in front of her, and I saw the handcuffs. Then…oh try if you can to picture the mom you love with all your heart…shuffle down the isle in leg shackles!!! I promise you my legs almost buckled in front of me! As she came near me she gave me her eyes met mine. It was not a look of sadness, but a look of hatred, almost evil. Her lips were slowly moving. I stood in front of her and pointing to the leg shackles and told the sheriff to take them off. He said “Sir, step out of the way.” I glanced at the strong prisoner standing near me and he was not even in handcuffs. “Please, where’s she going to go, take them off!” I declared. He said he was not going to warn me again, get out of the way. I found out later, she tried to escape and this was there policy. It still cut my heart out.

  After seeing what I just witnessed, what happened in the court room is almost a blur. I remember the judge saying something, then he looked at me and asked me to take a seat in the witness box and tell my story. I would not, could not, look at mom while I told him everything I knew. My brother did the same. The judge ruled her mentally incompetent and place my brother as her guardian and the guardian of her estate.

They took her to a mental facility. She actually had a nice room that was about the size of a fairly large motel room. However, what she thought was happening to her all along was now a reality: they monitored her day and night. The door only opened from the outside. Per my brother, they gave her medication.

Now, during all this time, my brothers and I slightly disagreed on different things regarding all of this, but I will always thank my brother for his insight. She was there about a two months, and we could see some improvement. My brother had her released in his care for one day. He had paid the rent on her apartment during all of this time. There was not one word said in the car. He pulled up to the apartment and asked mom to get out. He unlocked the apartment and mom walked in. My brother said she looked around and even walked into the bedroom where everything was just as she left it, even the Bible laid open on the nightstand to the last verse she was reading. She started crying. My brother sat her down and said, “mom, you have a choice. You can continue to stay where you are, or you can come back here. But, and this part is not up for discussion: if you chose to stay here, you will go to the doctor as often as needed, and you will take the medication he tells to. I will make sure you take the medicine everyday if I have to give it to you myself. But I promise you, if you give us a hard time about this, if you do not do what we think is best for you or you stop taking the medication, you will go back to where you are now and I’ll give this apartment back. You will never leave where you are now mom.”  Mom starting crying and asked “why are you doing this to me?” My brother told her “You don’t believe it, but it’s because we love you.”

Today Mom now lives by herself in the apartment. It is spotless, so beautiful, that when the manager wants to show a potential renter an example of what the apartments look like he uses hers. She does not drive but like I mentioned earlier, she is strong as an ox. When the weather is good she walks miles at a time. Then she catches a city bus and goes shopping. She knows all the schedules. All the bus drivers like her. One day it started raining just after she finished shopping, and the city bus driver actually drove into her complex and let her out by the door so she could make it into her building without getting the groceries or her soaked!

I don’t know how she did it, but there was a tree growing outside her picture window and it started obstructing her view from the soccer field. The manager of the apartment complex could not do anything about it because it was bordering on the city’s property. One day she called real happy “that tree is gone!” I asked how and all she said was that she called several people at the city building and three days later, they came and removed the tree.

Sure, there are many, many times we see signs of her illness come out. But these are little things compared to what we went through. Sometimes she’ll say something that may hurt a little, but we keep telling ourselves “she can’t help it.” He mind is sharp as a whip! She can remember every birthday, anniversary from  great-grandchildren all the way down to friends and distant relatives she hasn’t seen in over 30 years.  We all make sure we call her each day, and she always ends the conversation with “I Love You Son!” MOM IS BACK!!!

Now, forget everything else I said, but I bet the below comment will get more attention than any of the above. Remember the ’state of mind’ she was in. Remember how horrible it was, and how unsafe it was to leave her alone. Speaking from someone who knows more than you realize about all these actions and experiences  including medication, I will NEVER believe it is the ‘one’ shot per month that has made a miracle come true. It’s not counseling, because she refuses to talk about it, and if she does she says we are lying or “I know what I saw.” There is not a miracle shot. But, I believe with all my heart it is a combination of the medicine; her deep desire not to be in the facility she was in; wanting the love of her family, and above all: Her faith in GOD. Take whichever you want, I’m just glad to have Mom back!

"My Mind"

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