Sunday, October 4, 2009

Getting The Runaround

(Picking up where I left off with my last post.  This was written on Thursday.)
The next morning after the ER visit, I proceeded to call the doctor's office that the screener told us to. The lady I talked to told me that she would have to call back that afternoon to see what they could do. She didn't call back. I called back around 3 p.m. and got their voicemail. I left a message to see if she had found out anything. When I talked to Kevin a little later and told him that I was trying to get him an appointment with the psychiatrist, he decided to try to call for himself. They answered the phone this time. The lady told him that she was still trying to work something out, and that she would call him between 4:30 -- 5:00 p.m. She didn't! I called at 5:30 and left a "nice" little message that my husband needed help, and it would be nice if she would do, at least, what she said that she would do.

The following day. (Wednesday) She must have gotten my message. She called Kevin. She told him that she knew it was frustrating, but they were booked solid, and she was hoping for a cancellation, or to be able to move some people around so that they could help him. Kevin told her that he just needed some medication until they could see him. She told Kevin that she would have to talk to the doctor, and she would call him back. Sure. Kevin and I were both beginning to get very irritated. I got home from work that day, and she still had not called him back. Surprise. Surprise. So, I proceeded to call. Got the voicemail. I was very nice and considerate and told her that Kevin just wanted to know if she had gotten a chance to talk to the doctor yet. A short time later, she called back and talked to Kevin. She asked him his age. Told them that they were booked solid into January, and that they had thought that they could send him somewhere else to be seen...but he was over the age limit! WHAT?!! Kevin was so mad!! I was, too. He told her that whatever happened would be on that doctor's hands. He hung up and threw his phone across the living room. He screamed. He hit the wall with his fist a few times. He grabbed his head. He asked why he wasn't important enough to get some help.
And, she didn't bother to call back...

What is a person to do that needs psychological help around here?!! We must live in just a God-awful podunk place. Of course, they told him that he could go back to the ER if he got bad. We CANNOT do that EVERYDAY!!!! He's out of work, and he just needs to be properly diagnosed and given the proper medication. That's all we ask. Is that so much?!

After all this took place, Kevin's sister called their brother who had dealt with a similar situation in his family. He suggested Brookwood Medical Center in Birmingham. It was 1  1/2 hours away, but he said that they could help Kevin. So, we took off there last night. They asked Kevin if he would be willing to stay. He said that he would be fine with whatever because he just wanted to get better. We followed a security guard to the psych ward. They asked Kevin to turn out his pockets. They checked him for weapons and such. They gave me a paper with instructions on how to get in to see him, and the visiting hours. I gave Kevin a kiss and left him there. The look on his face when I walked out said, "I'm sorry I am letting you down." But, he's not. I love him. I just want him to get better and enjoy life again. It will be better on us all.

I got a call from Kevin this morning (Thursday). He seemed okay. He told me that he DID NOT belong on that floor. There were some looney toons there. He said if he stayed on that floor much longer, he WOULD be crazy! He told me that they had mentioned moving him. The nurse didn't even think he belonged there. I haven't heard from him any more today. Visiting hours are from 7:30--8:30 tonight. Maybe he won't have to be in there for very long. Let's hope so.

UPDATE:  (Saturday Morning)
Kevin called me around 4:00 on Thursday and said that he didn't care WHO I had to talk to, to come get him out of that place!  I wasn't sure if I would be able to do that.  I didn't know the policy on that, but he DID check in of his own free will.  I called back, and talked to the head nurse and asked her if it would be possible for Kevin to check out, since he had agreed, voluntarily, to stay.  She was very nice.  She said that she would have to contact the doctor and get an "Against Medical Advice" release.  She was able to do that.  I talked to Kevin, and he said to get down there as fast as I could.

I programmed the GPS, and I headed down to Birmingham.  Went down to the psych ward.  Pressed the button on the intercom outside the doors and told them that I was there to pick up my husband.  They said that they would bring him out.  A few minutes later, there he was.  He couldn't get out of that place fast enough!  He said that he would get himself straightened out.  He did not belong on that floor with all the drug addicts and just plain out crazy people.  All he had wanted to do was to get some rest and medication that would help him.  Instead, he said that they did "activities" all day, and he told us some stories about his "room mate", and some of the other crazies in there. 

Friday we went to his regular medical doctor.  She knows his situation, and she knows the family situation, also, because she was Kevin's mother's and daddy's doctor, also.  It helped him a lot to tell her what was going on.  She prescribed him something for his anxiety and something that is a mood stabilizer.  She told him to keep the appointment that he has with the mental health center on October 8, and then just do whatever they think is best.  She gave him a release for work, so he is going back tomorrow.  (Sitting at home all day was not helping him!)

So far, things have been great.  I think that just knowing that there ARE people out there that are trying to get him back on track has helped him.  It was just frustrating to me to realize that someone who needs help IMMEDIATELY is unable to get it unless they go to the ER, which is just a temporary fix.

And, by the way, I will never recommend Dr. Ciaccio in Guntersville to anyone.  We never talked to him, but his receptionist does NOT have good skills in dealing with people.  The last time that Kevin talked to her, and she was putting him off...again.  He told her that whatever happened would be on the doctor's hands, then he hung up on her.  Threw his phone across the living room.  And hit the wall with his fist a few times.  She didn't even bother to call back.  We haven't heard from that office since then.


Brandy said...

Oh Sandra, how awful for you all! I have been through similar things in my family, but I cannot imagine how I would handle it if it was Jeff.

There is a very good counselor in Guntersville. His name is Doug Cook. He is at the North Alabama Counseling Center on Blount Avenue. He cannot prescribe medicine, but he could maybe help direct you all to a psychiatrist because he knows lots of people in the mental health field.

Please, don't hesitate to ask if there's any help I can offer you. Even if you just need an ear to bend.

bettyl said...

I commend you and Kevin for your bravery and tenacity. I have no idea what it's like in your position, but I will keep praying for you and your family.

Lisa writes... said...

Oh, wow. Bless your heart, and Kevin's. Hope you are able to find the help and support you need!