Monday, December 29, 2008

49th in the nation, indeed!

In case I haven't mentioned it in the last 5 minutes, Texas ranks 49th in the nation in per capita mental health spending. That should give you an indication of the quality of services in our great state. So I suppose I shouldn't have been outraged by the phone call I got today from the social worker at the psychiatric hospital, informing me that they would probably discharge Gabriel tomorrow.

Now, I went to visit him briefly yesterday. He was talking a bit more, so I asked him if he was feeling better. "No, not really," was his response. Keep in mind that this is the county's public hospital mental health stablization unit, not some private country club facility. Images of Bedlam come to mind. So it's fair to say that no one in their right mind (no pun intended) would choose to be there if they could get out. I would expect Gabriel to say that things were fine just to get back to his cigarettes, music, and fast food. So, if he says he's not better, he must really be having problems, that even HE can recognize.

So, when the social worker told me that he might be discharged tomorrow, I couldn't believe my ears. I asked her if they had adjusted or changed his medication. No, they hadn't. I told her that I would of course come pick him up if they let him go, but that I was quite sure things would be the same as they had been for the last 2 months: hell. I gave her an extensive rundown of the recent history regarding med changes and behavior, just as I had already given it to the ER doctor and the unit nurse.

What I really wanted to ask her was, "What the hell have you all been doing with him for the 4 days he's been there????" It dawned on me that every time I have asked the staff how he was doing, the answer was either (a) I haven't seen him much today, I guess he's been in his room, or (b) he hasn't had any behavior problems. In other words, he has mostly been withdrawn and hiding out in his room, hallucinating and feeling paranoid. Great...big help. At least at home I notice if he's agitated or hallucinating or firing imaginary guns at the aliens.