7/8/1996

I see the journey the path I have taken like the wake of a great ship.

My son came to visit me Father’s day weekend. I have seen a lot of him lately, fills my heart up every time I see him. He is funny and has been through a lot in his nearly twenty years. I am still trying to determine how much he has learned from his experiences. As his dad I am straddling a line that allows him to make his own decisions as an adult but try to provide guidance where I can. Of his past, some of it I will share eventually and some I most certainly will not, nor will I answer a lot of questions about him. Anyway the Saturday before Father’s day he shows up and announces that he wants to buy me a dog. I have almost always had two dogs. I lost my black lab a year ago and since that time my doberman Sascha and I have been going at it together but for the last few months I have been thinking its time to get another dog.  Haus was amazing but it took me a long time to appreciate him. He was a lover not a fighter, didn’t like to play. My ex got him because she wanted a dog to follow her around the way my collie followed me except Haus just followed me and the collie. My son wanted to buy me a dog and decided that he had found the perfect dog, a ten moth old German Shepherd. It was free and when he showed me the add I read that the dog was VERY destructive and out of control. I asked Dylan my son if he had actually read the ad and of course he had not gotten past free. I asked him how much he had to spend and he said nothing he was hoping we could find a free one. He asked what kind of dog I waned and the answer was easy I wanted a male Labrador Retriever. Shockingly my son found one for cheap because the puppy had not had any shots I have fallen in puppy love with this ten week old lab. The vet says he is healthy. Puppies in general make you smile, but this one has completely captured my heart. He is a morning dog. He has been waking me up by chewing on my fingers, rolling on his back happy happy happy. Today I swam and when I got back and let him out of his kennel he just circled me doing the puppy hop and walking backwards tail wagging ninety to nothing.

My wife and I waited one month as the doctors suggested after losing Alex before getting pregnant again. I was scared to death. I could not see surviving losing another one but this pregnancy went more the way I expected. She did not get big quick like the first one, the amniocentesis went perfectly and as predicted she went on bed rest for pregnancy induced hypertension. I had changed jobs, and was now the medical social worker for the entire hospital an experience that turned me on to my own profession and I was working towards going to graduate school. The stress of bed rest played havoc on the marriage and it was like a roller coaster, one minute she was lovey dovey the next a demon spawned from hell.  As we got closer to the date her doctor began considering more and more of inducing early. By the time she got up showered and drove to the office her blood pressure was up and then it would go down as soon as she laid back down. Around thirty five weeks it wouldn’t go down and so she was sent to the hospital where she was monitored. I thought they were going to induce but they sent her home the next day. Two weeks later her doctor went out of town.

I told Celia that I thought another doctor would send her to the hospital to be induced and she said that her doctor had explained her case with the practice and it would not happen.  On her first visit the doctor who saw her told her it was ridiculous to continue to put herself in jeopardy and the baby too. The baby was so near full term he expected no problems. Celia called me crying and I left work to meet her at home and to gather her nine year old son who we could not leave alone. When we got to the hospital and she got settled in bed I remembered what a lousy patient Celia was. She immediately said that as soon as they took her blood pressure they would realize she was fine and send her home. They got around this by using the md visit blood pressure and so did not take her blood pressure. The doctor strolled in and did not say a word, he just reached his hand in and nicked her and then left. She started crying hysterically. I calmed hr and then she said he missed and then her water broke and she was crying again. I wondered if the hospital would support me if I suffocated her with a pillow.

The nurse came in and connected her to a monitor. She asked if there were any contractions and Celia said no. A little later they started Pitocin to induce but they had barely started when Celia had a big contraction. She was finally resolved that we were having a baby that day and they were not sending her home so I thought it would get better.  The second contraction  came some minutes later and then a third and then the nurse was back checking on her.  She asked Celia if she had had any more contractions and Celia said no.  The nurse said okay and started to leave so I said, nurse she has had three contractions by my count and I have no idea why she doesn’t want to tell you that. So the nurse checked the monitor and confirmed. She took it all in stride and I felt like tipping her. As tings moved along another doc showed up to start her epidural. A few minutes later Celia asked me if I thought it was normal for her to be numb up to her neck. I said she should probably ask the nurse. When the nurse came in Celia said everything was great, nope no problems at all she was happy and ready. Nurse starts to leave so I asked is she supposed to be numb up to her neck. The nurse did a yikes and lets get you propped up.  I looked around for something to throw. I asked Celia what the point of lying was and she looked at me all innocent like so I just stared her down and said no more, let’s be happy about this instead of making it the most stressful thing ever.

Around eight that night Dylan Alexander finally arrived. He was gorgeous, so perfect. He had some breathing transition problems and so spent four hours in NICU. I did the whole forever scrub and comforted him but his nurse assured me he would figure it out and of course he did. He was back in her room by the time I got home with my step son who had school the next day. I wondered what could go wrong.

To Alex the Astronaut

I see the journey the path I have taken like the wake of a great ship.

I plan and think about my blogs well in advance. They are emotional sometimes savage in their ferocity and at times I have taken breaks from writing.  My doctor wanted me to write a book about my experiences with vision loss because I know more than most of her patients. I can describe everything they are going to go through, good and bad. I have always thought it would be a horrible book so I have been trying out this format in a blog format just to see what is there. It has been more cathartic than I ever thought. I don’t pick the stories I write to entertain or tell funny stories or to seem clever. Honestly I have been writing for me, because there is not much future for me and what there is will likely be darker than what I am going through now. Sifting through memories and writing about this while discarding that has been difficult. I have worked with hundreds of kids and could have written about any number of them. I have chosen though to write about the patients who gave me far more than I ever gave them. It has left me tear streaked at times and I have cried while watching television or swimming or any number of activities. It builds up and bursts like a dam. I almost always cry while I am writing. This is all part of my soul and sharing the deepest parts of your soul is never easy. I don’t care who you are.

There is a movie I like quite a bit. Its an action movie with predictable story lines, good old fashioned violence, actors with funny comebacks. The Last Boy Scout stars Bruce Willis as a former secret service agent now down on his luck as a private investigator hired to protect the girlfriend of Damon Wayans who is a former NFL star banned from the game for gambling. It is not an academy award winning film, its not great like Commando which should have won best picture and best actor, Arnold was brilliant. It is an easy to watch movie. One of my favorite parts is when Wayans is drinking he offers up a toast to Alex the accountant, to Alex the astronaut, to Alex the pediatrician. Bruce Willis when he hears the toast to Alex the accountant asks if his accountant’s name is Alex. He replies, “no but he could have been.” Wayans then goes on to tell the story that at one time he was married and his wife was carrying his baby. So one Sunday while he was playing his greatest game as a pro a drunk driver hit his wife and killed her. He says, “But Alex my son lived for ten minutes in an incubator. He had time for one dream and then he was gone.” That line gets me every time.

In 1994 while working as an intake coordinator I got married. My wife, Celia,  was older than me and she had three kids one an adult from a previous marriage. We had already had a miscarriage. The news was pretty exciting to me. I was going to be a dad. I will say I knew nothing about pregnancy or anything so I followed the lead of my wife who was pretty experienced. She told me she would likely end up on bed rest for pregnancy induced hypertension and would probably not go full term but these  things she was not particularly worried about. I thought it was strange that she was buying maternity clothes at two months. She got big fast but her answer was that every pregnancy was different. At thirteen weeks we had an amniocentesis done for those dreaded words advanced maternal age which I thought was funny. My wife did not. After the procedure on the way home my wife informed me that she was having quite a bit of leakage. The post procedure instructions said that a little was normal but to call if it was leaking an abnormal amount. I told her to call and thus I learned that my wife was not a good patient. Being a nurse, she knew everything and said that all they would tell her was to rest and monitor which is what she proceeded to do. A few hours later all the leakage had stopped.

I will say that it is incredibly exciting to have the first picture of your kid be chromosomes all lined up with the words normal healthy male written. We were going to have a boy which was good since we could not decide on a girl’s name but we knew a boy would be named Alexander and we would call him Alex.  From even before the amnio we had a nightly ritual when we got home from work. My wife would lay down  and I would lay cross ways my head resting on her abdomen. There I would tell our baby stories, read  my favorite children’s book Go Dog Go and once even told a dirty joke. I was so excited so happy.

In the twenty first week my wife took some time off and drove to Mississippi to see her parents with her youngest and her oldest son. I stayed behind although I cannot remember why.  That Sunday I had a friend over and we grilled steaks, listened to blues music, drank a few beers and smoked a couple of cigars. We talked a lot about fatherhood, our own dads and what being a dad meant. That night I sat on my back porch and looked up at the stars in the night sky. It had been such a great day and I was so happy that I forgot all about that magnifying glass.

At around two thirty in the morning I was awakened by the phone. It was my mother in law Polly with he thick Mississippi accent that I loved so much. At that time, you know its not good news. My wife Celia had gone into labor and had been taken to the hospital. The baby did not have a heartbeat and they were going to induce and then do a d&c. I am glad that it was Polly who gave me the news. There is not a kinder person on the planet and she was gentle and supportive. She told me to stay put and would call me later when they knew Celia was okay. I got up and packed a bag, put gas in my car and then looked up flights. I then unpacked the bag paced, walked around the block packed again loaded my car, unloaded my car. I honestly did not know what was going on. Around dawn Polly called me back and told me that Celia was fine and would call me later. She wanted me to stay at home, driving or flying up there would not help. Of course it would have helped me. When it was late enough I called my job and broke the news to them. It was devastating and I was dazed like a punch drunk fighter.  Celia called me and told me that she was fine. I wanted her home but it was going to be a couple of days before she could travel. They already had a full car and driving to Mississippi would not solve anything.  That night I finally fell asleep only to be awakened by my own sobbing. It was one of two times that I have actually sobbed in my sleep the second time when my mother died.  I cried the rest of the night.

A couple of days later Celia was home and we spent two hours laying on the bed just holding each other. The first words she said was telling me how hard it was to hear heart rate monitors all around her and not having one herself because Alex had no heart rate. She said that the doctors told her to wait a month before getting pregnant again. I wanted to wait but she made me promise that we wouldn’t and so I agreed.

Over the course of my life I have met people with a grief so great, a loss so heavy that it never really leaves them. Time is not a healer and I hate it when people say that. It is not. Time is a buffer that gives you distance between the pain and the now. Some wounds never scar over so grief never leaves us and instead the loss leaves a hollow aching spot like something is missing. I cannot look into a night sky and see the stars without crying, without remember a son that I never even got to meet.  I don’t know if he knew my voice if he knew I was happy laughing and that Go Dog Go was the greatest book ever and Command the greatest movie.  I would like to think it meant something.I would like to know that he knew tat he was loved. In the end I don’t know if Alex dreamed if he was afraid at the end, if he knew anything at all.

We spent a few weeks wondering why and asking doctors why. I was sure that it was the amnio that the baby was put in too much stress from the loss of so much amniotic fluid. We got a bunch of maybe so’s and maybe not’s and at the end of the day it did not really matter because it did nothing to bring him back. In the end I knew that it was a magnifying glass.

To Alex the astronaut, to Alex the Angel.

Todd

I see the journey, the path I have taken like the wake of a great ship.

So there are many things I have had to adjust to over the past year, some more challenging than others. From just a getting around stand point the thing that frustrates me the most is light transitions, no matter how subtle they cause me problems. A light transitions, or at least how I mean it is when I move from a bright area to a dark area. The bubbles keep my eyes from adjusting very quickly, dilation is no longer normal for me. Even something so simple as leaving my house in the daytime to outside causes me brief episodes of dizziness and its when I am most prone to fall or stumble and then fall. During these transitions I do not see anything at all and then my eyes catch up and the ship rights itself. Some of the worst transitions are things like being in a car which cuts down the sunlight, then outside and a walk to an inside location that is a lot darker. This bright to brighter to darker causes me lots of issues. Even knowing that it will happen does not make it a lot easier. I am still adjusting.

I love and have always loved working with Schizophrenics. They have always been a terribly misunderstood population and throughout my life I come across people who are afraid of them and attribute terrible crimes to them, considering them all to be homicidally violent.  While there are certainly examples that some can be violent for the most part they are a tragic and passive group. When I first began working in the mental health industry local communities were dealing with the after effects of de-institutionalization. Suddenly older schizophrenics heavily medicated were out amongst the general population. Local agencies attempted to case manage them. One of the biggest challenges is that until the new generation of anti-psychotics came out in the 90’s the medications used to help them manage their symptoms were just devastating. There is a general misconception that Schizophrenics are detached from the world and nothing gets through. In fact its just the opposite. Everything gets through and medications essentially sedate all of these symptoms so that it certainly appears that nothing connects with them. Most of them exhibit the signs of tardive dyskinesia or better known as the thorazine shuffle that manifests with horrible tremors and a shuffling gate. The damage of these medications is irreversible.

Being intake coordinator of a general psychiatric ward we admitted a fair share of schizophrenics.  One of the first that I came across was my first week when a nurse asked me to go into the smoke room with Harold. Now I hated the smoke room, it was tiny and usually had three or four patients. Harold was on one on one precautions and had been brought to us by the police. All he really wanted to do was smoke. Everyone was fascinated with watching him smoke, he would light a cigarette and take one enormous inhalation and you watch it burn down as much as half in a single puff. He could smoke four or five cigarettes to most people’s one.  There was also a young girl who came in from time to  get stable on medications. She would tell you that she would soon discontinue the medications as soon as she felt safe to do so. She had to work and the medications kept her from holding a job. She lived a life with almost no friends in a small apartment with no television or radio. She said she knew when to come in because the faces on the wall turned ugly and cruel and messages more destructive. I cannot imagine how scary her world must have been. Another girl made amazing art, pottery, paintings that she sold by the road in her hometown where she lived with her mother.

Todd was my favorite patient of all time.  He was of indeterminate age and could have been anywhere from thirty five to forty. He had hair that did not quite reach his shoulders, blonde with a moustache anyone would have been proud of. I never saw him when he was not wearing a bluejean jacket and he usually reeked of cigarettes. He rarely spoke and when he did it was a short sentence in almost a whisper. He was very quiet very into himself and he heard voices even when stable almost constantly. He was managed by a local mental health agency and a case manager would go by his apartment every week to check on him. Most of the time she brought him in to treatment but sometimes he would come himself going through the emergency room. I would get a call that they needed an assessment on a catatonic patient. I would enter the room and he would look at me and I would greet him and say, “Let’s go to the unit.” He would follow me. I worried about him a lot, he had no one other than his case manager. There is always a sadness around Schizophrenics. Together me and his case manager would go through every inch of his file looking for clues on any family member. He was originally from Ohio but we never found anyone. I spent days following up on leads.

One day one of the nurses came to me and asked if I might run to the store and get Todd some cigarettes. He had money to pay for them so I went to talk to Todd. He gave me twenty bucks and showed me an empty package of some generic cigarette brand.  When I asked if he wanted a carton he nodded. One of the things that I did was always make a point o speak to Todd knowing that most of the time he would not acknowledge that I had spoken to him. I cannot imagine the world he lived in but I felt it important that he know that I knew him that I cared about him and it cost me nothing to do so.  Nurses always tried to educate him abut his medication and patients ignored him. He did not go to group.

I was happy to drive to the store and buy hum cigarettes.  When I came back I handed Todd his cigarettes and change which he did not count.  He nodded at me and I new he was saying thank you so I told him anytime he needed something to let me know.  As I walked away I suddenly turned remembering Harold.

“Todd,” I said, “you know, no matter how hard you try you can never be the kind of cigarette smoking. Harold is the king.” I knew he did bot know Harold from Adam.

At first he gave no indication that he knew I was talking to him and then there was the slightest movement of his head in my direction. Todd would never meet your eyes.

I said, “It’s true. Harold was a patient here one time and he would go into the smoke room light his cigarette and then inhale.” With that I would imitate the long inhalation of Harold smoking a cigarette.

“He could smoke a cigarette in two puffs. Harold is the King Todd but you might be able to be the Prince if you work at it.”

I had the biggest smile on my face and then suddenly Todd laughed. It was not a rolling on the floor kind of thing just the briefest of chuckles than he looked over at me and said, “That’s pretty good.”

“Have a great day Todd.” I said and I walked back to my office as if I were on clouds. Later the nurse who was standing there charting came by my office and said it was the coolest thing she had ever seen, I agreed it had been a remarkably cool thing.

When Todd was discharged he came by my office with his case manager. He stood there not speaking but I knew he was just saying goodbye so I told him to stay out of trouble and do the best he could with his medication and listen to his case manager. I let him know he was always welcome at our hospital and I would always do what I could for him,

I think there is probably nothing sadder than to have no one care for you which is why I get so sad. I hope if he is still alive Todd has someone. I hope someone is still buying him cigarettes. I know that the disease he has likely has destroyed any memory of the guy who bought him cigarettes and told him a story but I know I reached him.

Dis Dat and da DSM IV

I see the journey, the path I have taken like the wake of a great ship.

The other night as I crawled into bed I had a weird phenomenon. It was not a flash, not a lightning strike. There was no veil, no sharp pain. Lying in bed though, my eyes closed I saw a hundred tiny lights, like a night sky full of stars. I have never seen this before and they remained for almost a minute before they faded away. I don’t know what caused it, crawling under the sheets, bouncing a bit to get in a comfy position. I used to worry about everything and I would sit and evaluate any anomaly. Sometimes I would discover a new detachment or whatever was going on would simply fade away. I used to ask my doctor about them all. I just don’t worry about these things as much as I used to. Its a quick deal to see if there is a new detachment. Once I do this I just move on.  There has been the slow march of inevitability with my vision and bad things just keep happening. Its like falling. You can only fall so many times before you actually injure yourself. I hate it but there is nothing I can do about it.

I moved to the main hospital, a 150 bed medium sized all purpose jack of all trades hospital where I became slightly responsible for a small part of it, the 28 bed third floor psychiatric unit. It had a pretty crappy reputation but I was part of a small group, director of nursing, program manager, new unit therapist and me the intake coordinator hired to make it better. Being in the hospital was a huge advantage, less overhead, less pressure.  As an intake coordinator I worked some pretty odd hours, hung out in the emergency room way too much evaluating people and taking crisis calls which ultimately I got pretty good at taking. It is not the job to be a suicide hotline or a therapist. The job is to get them to come in for an appointment where they can be evaluated and you can either admit them or refer them. Intake calls could be funny, could be sad could even be scary. I spent ninety minutes one night with a person who said they had a shotgun and it took me that long to figure out they had no gun they just wanted someone to talk to them. Ultimately I hung up on the person and I did warn them that if they did not want to set an appointment I was going to do it with the admonishment that they could call the suicide hotline. For every call like that I also had one of these.

Ring Ring

ME: “yada yada blah blah how can I help you?”

Caller: “Yea man, my friends said I should I call you”

MS: Noticing he sounds wasted, “What’s going on?”

Calle: “Yea we were doing some Freon, you know huffing.”

Me: “Uh Freon, like for your air conditioner?”

Caller: “Yea anyway I did it and my friends say I passed out and sort of stopped breathing and turned blue for a second or two.”

Me: “Wow, did you call an ambulance?”

Caller: “Well we weren’t sure the Freon caused it, lots can make you stop breathing right? So I thought I would try it again and yep it happened again. Do you think it was the Freon?”

Me: “Yes I am pretty sure it was the Freon.”

“Caller: “What should I do?”

Me: “1. Stop doing the Freon. 2. go to the emergency room immediately.”

Caller: “Oh ok thanks.”

I learned a lot about stigma and just complete disregard of emotional pain. I had a nurse tell me they always could tell if someone was paranoid because they would not look at them instead looking at a place behind them. If they turned around to see what you were looking at then they were paranoid. I called the guy an idiot.  I shared that with an ER doctor and he called the nurse over and confirmed the story and also called the guy an idiot. I loved the emergency room.

I also ran a lot of groups. Technically I was responsible for the anger management group but in those days patients were in the hospital for five days or so and it was impossible to really run an anger management program. In the hospital I ran for the first time into a weird phenomenon of people who worked in the mental health field who had once been helped by the mental health field. This was especially true of addicts. I do not particularly have any problems with addicts, or recovery. In treatment though addicts tend to be a strange group who believe that only other addicts can possibly help them, can possibly understand them. The recovering addicts who work in the field tend to fall into two groups addicts with many year of recovery and addicts with only months of recovery. There seems to be little middle ground.  So one day a patient asked me how many years of recovery I had and I replied that I was not an addict and he walked out of my group which was not an addiction group.  When the group was over I followed up with the patient and we had a really nice discussion until a mental health tech walked into and berated me because addicts only could be helped by addicts. I had a few problems with this, one, it is not true, two it was done in front of another patient and three DON’T DO THAT. I took the high road and asked this tech to come into my office where I proceeded to tell her that it was my experience that you should never discount people who wanted to help. I was effective with Schizophrenics yet I was not a Schizophrenic. She said clearly you are not an addict. I said that was true and that I was proud that I didn’t have any addiction that it was a horrible disease  that took a lot to recover from. She wanted to argue with me and I stopped her. I told her that my real issue was not her beliefs but that she had argued with me in front of a patient and that if she ever did that again to me I would make sure she never worked at the hospital again. I did not know I had this power but I said it like I did. She walked away in a huff and I spoke to he program manager and she never came back.

Whatever you believe my experience tells me that it takes all kinds. If you discount people because they don’t have the same experience as you then you are actually limiting yourself, cutting down your chance of making it through whatever it is you are dealing with. There is a reason I became a social worker. I believed and still do that it s a calling, that only a few people can do. I have never met a social worker I didn’t just love.

Gianna

I see the journey, the path I have taken like the wake of a great ship.

Things have not been good, and I am struggling. I would be lying if I did not say that I have spent multiple nights wondering what the point of anything is. Mostly they are gone but it would be foolish to say that the thoughts are not still there in some sporadic fashion coming on me when I least expect them.. Most people who end it all come to the conclusion that the world and those in it will be better off without them. With me there is the sure knowledge that no one will notice at all. No one notices me alive so its an easy conclusion.  I swam only once last week so this coming week I know I need to swim no matter what. This past week I have started to set goals again, most of which I don’t reach but it helps. My eyes are a bit of a mess though. Having so many surgeries messes with your PH level in the eye and so at times my eyes will start burning. They are easily irritated and its been bad the last couple of days. Last week I had a really bad fall which always worries me. I don’t fall out of weakness or even dizziness.  I usually fall because of my own stupidity.  I have a curved fireplace that I have long since become wary about. When I first moved in I would run into it all the time cutting my knees pretty badly. I know better than to walk over there now that I cannot see but still I do now and again.  I hit the edge pretty hard and fell into the window. It could have been a lot worse.  And last night my house got so dark that I could not find my way and had to just be still for awhile. Right now I am down but not out. I have had four people check up to find out why I have not posted on facebook. I cling to those people as few as they are. Everyone needs someone to give a damn about them. It is the little things sometimes that keep you going.

Gianna entered the adolescent unit as free as any spirit could. There was something about her at seventeen that drew people to her like moths to a flame. She was so ethereal, so translucent the kind of girl you hope doesn’t burn out too fast but who probably will.  She also came to us as we were transitioning away from all of the really bad kids, many of whom were gone. The director had been fired and there was new management, My time was coming to an end and I would soon move on. Gianna had come to us as a private pay patient. She had been removed by her parents from the last facility she had been in and the rumor had it was because she had sex with one of the employees.  From her records we knew she liked to get up in the middle of the night and walk around naked. She was admitted late one night in the attempt to have her admission be smoother. Fifteen minutes after she arrived she walked out of her room naked and the nurse acting if t were not unusual at all escorted her back to her room.  On her second day on the unit right after I got to work the kids asked to go swimming. The pool was one of the real added benefits of the hospital. Gianna did not want to swim. She was dressed in very trendy upscale clothes. She was elfin and pretty. I remember talking to the rec guy, a guy who also ran the ROPES program. We agreed she was dangerous. She flitted about talking to everyone. We had been outside about a half hour when we noticed the yellow streak going through the pool. Gianna had jumped in, trendy clothes and all, especially her yellow stockings. She was swimming underwater the length of the pool. When she came up for air it was no big deal to her, oblivious she was laughing and did not understand when she was escorted back inside.  That was who she was, unpredictable and full of mystery and complete joy.

Such a creative force was bound to be a bit artsy. Gianna loved everything art, music, painting, drawing and writing. I was writing a lot back then working on two novels. She always rushed to see me because I always carried a large box of cassettes that I changed out daily. She wanted to see what music I brought and during free time she would sit by this large boom box singing loudly and passionately. I remember her sitting in the middle of the common room the boom box playing under the bridge by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and everyone just stared at her as she belted out the words as loudly as she could, like she was on stage. She both knew and was oblivious to all the people watching her. She was a born performer. She was just a joy to be around.

One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was talk to her late on the night before she was being discharged. I had actually moved to the main hospital to be an intake coordinator for mental health admissions. She asked for me to come back so I did one day after I got off work. I was still working PRN there mostly on weekends and the hospital I worked for was the parent hospital. Gianna had gotten bad news. She had been diagnosed with Schizophrenia which was devastating news. The good medications were just starting to come out but they were all and still are problematic. It is not one of those diagnoses that you say you can manage it although it is better now than it was then.  I have always loved Schizophrenics, they appeal to the loneliness inside of me and so many have an artistic bent that appeals to me. I had never seen Gianna scared, and I had never seen her cry. Her parents were there and they had found a great long term facility for young Schizophrenics. It was actually perfect for Gianna. She would be able to find her artistic voice and it would be a great supportive place for her to learn ways to deal and mange as best she could.  We talked until midnight, her parents waiting patiently for her. It is I know a great thing to have your parents love and support you so she was blessed in that regard. It was difficult to spin it all in a positive way so I did not try. I did tell her that where she was going was as good as she could get anywhere and to embrace the challenge but I was not about to tell her that there would not be challenges.  It was pretty easy to laugh with her, cry wither and become resolved with her.

Like so many of my kids, I never saw her again. I hope her spirit is still free though.  I hope she is still singing loudly and passionately. I hope…..