Saturday, February 16, 2008

Plans are underway

First, no my dear internets, I wasn't referring to you when I said I didn't want support, I was referring to various i-yi-yi relatives.

I LOVE your support. You are the only thing keeping me sane while Mr.Cotta is gone!!

We seem to have things in hand now and my husband will be back Tuesday, they are all flying in together and going directly to a hospital. Hopefully they can get him admitted right away and start working on his treatment plan, of course, that would require P. to admit that he has a problem. As of today he has stated that his near death experience was just a small thing, a nothing, he is perfectly fine, and should instead just get an apartment and see a therapist once in while.


That got shot down pretty quick. I figure if he isn't willing to admit that he actually almost died, and needs some serious medication and therapy, then we have a problem Houston. (He can barely walk and still has dialysis tube scars. I guess they are decorative body art?) We love him too much to let him kill himself. I know some people might disagree and say that he should determine his own treatment---but right now, he is barely aware of where he is, and really really wants to try to finish the job he started. If he is left alone for any length of time, he will try to die again, so at this point, I just don't trust him.

I know many people don't believe in involuntary commitments, or locked wards, and I respect their feelings, truly. But when someone is in extreme crisis, and no longer in touch with reality, there really isn't any other humane option. We can't let him be homeless and wandering, and if we got him an apartment and set him up to live alone, he'd forget to take the meds again and forget to pay the rent, and fall into the abyss one more time.

He has NHS insurance and a Doctor in the UK, but he let his apartment go and has no one to take care of him beyond a few friends and business acquaintances. He has no insurance in Belgium and no place to live there and his almost ex-wife is incapable of doing anything helpful for him, even if she would. And he can't see his children in this state. It would damage them incredibly to see their Dad acting so totally unlike their Dad. Social support is critical to his recovery, but he has no-one in Europe who gives a shit about him except two little kids.

He does have family support here, and he is still a citizen, he just needs to reestablish his residency to regain health coverage. Meantime, we're sending him to a hospital that looks more like a 5 star luxury hotel, with locks on the doors and doctors we hope he can't bullshit. (I have very little faith in Docs as you know, but hell, we need some help at this point.) It's costing a few pennies, but as soon as OHIP kicks in in three months, the rest of his treatment will be free. Meantime, we're gearing up the lawyers since he will undoubtably use every legal avenue to refuse treatment.

Apparently here in the developed world, people have the right walk out the door and kill themselves and the people who love them are all supposed to just stand around slack jawed and watch it. Or at least that's my current view on the "rights" of mental patients and the pathetic Ontario Mental Health Act.

Fuck, someday we have to work out, ohhh, I don't know a BALANCED approach, instead?

I wish he had never gone to Europe, or had decided to move back here with the new bride a long time ago. Wandering all over the earth is great when you are 25, but sooner or later we all get old and sick and we need a community of friends and family to rely on. Moving from one glamorous city to the next glamorous city sounds fabulous, but never having a place to really call home---is a bad idea. I hope that now finally, we can introduce him to to concept of a nice steady boring stable routine.

So this is our plan, and so far, it's the best we can do, however inadequate it is. I don't know what else we could do.

I have to blog more about me now, this is getting to be too much. Maybe tomorrow.


  1. Sadly, I think, if the person is not a danger to themselves or others, they can indeed refuse treatment. Some treatment is too hard, with too many side effects, and never having had to do that I can't really judge people who decide that they can't take that.
    P doesn't sound like he is in that category, though, and I hope that he can get to a place where he actually wants to work on his treatment, and that family support can help get him there.

  2. These situations are incredibly complex. You are doing what you think is best for him. I am so sorry you have to deal with this, you've already got 'the job' pregnancy!

    Your mention of patient rights reminded me of the homeless men I used to work with in our shelter program. There are no easy answers, but I think you are right about family and social supports. These guys are all on the streets because of government cutbacks that were presented as empowering to these patients.

  3. As a marriage and family therapist I think that what you are doing is the right thing to do. Those who toiled to "free" mental patients from treatment did them a terrible disservice. With good treatment and follow up, people can return to their lives better equipped with tools to help them be happy and productive. People whose judgment is impaired need to be helped. Would we let someone we love who has a broken leg or a bleeding wound avoid medical care? You and your family are doing the right thing and I pray that your brother-in-law is able to have a chance at living a better life as a result.
    Dr. Rona Michelson

  4. I'm so sorry you guys are going through this. I really hope that he comes around and is able to admit to needing help. In any case, it is clear that you all care so much and you only want what is best for him. I hope he will rely on you guys a little and let himself be helped. I know, admitting to needing help is a really hard thing for a lot of people. But it isn't a sign of weakness (like I once thought it was), it is a sign of great strength.

  5. My family went through the same thing with my sister. Everywhere we turned for help, we found no assistance because my sister was resistant to treatment. This was particularly surprising to us because, at the time, she was a minor, so we thought my parents would be able to make these sorts of life-saving decisions on her behalf. But they weren't.

    Fortunately, because we were totally relentless in trying to save her, she finally reached a point where she lives a stable, independent and relatively happy life. But if we'd just left her to her own devices, I'm certain she wouldn't have made it to 18.

    I hope your family has a similar experience to ours. I know how hard it is. I'll be thinking of you.

  6. You all love P., so I don't see what else you could possibly do. It sounds like it will be a difficult journey, but, especially for his kids, it sounds like the best plan. I hope his doctors know what they're doing. I have the same cynicism you do toward most of them...but there are a few good ones out there, and I hope P. has one of them.