One Small Glimmer of Hope: We’ll Take It

mental health bandaidsToday: a “discharge meeting” with City Hospital’s psychiatric team, and the case managers for Ben who come in with an alleged treatment plan. The hospital’s Chief of Psychiatry informs me that Ben’s self-talk is now so strong that he shouts back at his voices at times, and it has taken three tries for a group leader to get Ben back to reality. He is decompensating. The meds he is willing to take are not working. We knew that.

Ben’s new case manager, who had supervised (ha!) the transition from supported housing to independent apartment a month ago, does not look me in the eye. Not once.

Thankfully, the Doctor rejects the caseworkers’ new treatment plan for now – because Ben is simply not ready for it. I breathe a sigh of relief, and together we all work (well, mostly the hospital staff and me) to see what we can do now, while Ben is still in the hospital, to adjust his meds. This is not easy due to the confines of state law, but it does help that I am conservator. What also will help is the way we, as a united team, choose to phrase things to Ben. I remind them that too many options is never a good thing. The simpler the better.

We go to Ben’s room. He is asleep, and right upon awaking he seems like his “good self” – sweet, happy to see me, coherent. The meeting itself goes well, mostly because this Chief of Psychiatry has beautifully executed the conversation with the simplicity we’d agreed upon, and with utmost respect for Ben. Remarkably, presented with only two possible choices, Ben agrees to at least add some Clozaril to the meds he is currently taking. He feels validated, and a part of the plan, and yet we didn’t give him enough options to confuse the issue.

It’s a step. I’ll take it. It’s the best news I’ve heard in weeks. I can breathe again – for today.

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7 thoughts on “One Small Glimmer of Hope: We’ll Take It

  1. The balance between making the patient get the right treatment when his judgement is seriously impaired and protecting him from abuse is a fine line. It seems as though you’re keeping your balance under very trying circumstances

  2. Even when our loved ones are completely out of touch, it always goes better when they feel that they are in control, with choices. Good luck to you, keep fighting that fight, and don’t forget to take care of you! Ben is blessed to have you.

  3. It sounds like progress. It is the baby steps that eventually get them back on the road to recovery. I agree with your comment about NAMI. I was telling a friend the other day that I don’t know where we would be today with out the support and education I have received from NAMI. It helped me so much during my daughter’s last relapse and stay in the hospital. I was able to be an educated, knowledgeable advocateg for her. Keep following that glimmer of hope and I am sure Ben will be back on the road to recovery soon.

  4. I hope that Ben responds favorably to the Clozaril. I am an old timer in the field and was around when it was first introduced and was conducted as part of a test group back in Ma. in a state hospital. It was remarkable to see it turn people’s lives around and they could leave the hospital after being inpt. for many years. Now it is used regularly with those patients who are willing to have weekly blood draws and I still see remarkable results for many people who do not respond well to other medications. Bless you and Ben. I hope this is the answer for him.

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