Saturday, November 25, 2006

Oh Thanksgiving. We're not a Norman Rockwell family. I wish We were, but We deal with what We've been given...and the baggage We've added to it, baggage others have burdened us with...and our efforts to straighten ourselves out and others in our family...to straighten up and be emotionally and socially healthy.

Andy came back three weeks after He left. It seems He didn't go to North Carolina. He stayed in a local motel and spent the $3,000 I saved for him out of his social security disability checks. He slept at the motel and ate out in restaurants. It doesn't take long to spend money, living like that.

I opened the kitchen door to let Rascal out and found Andy sleeping on my porch. It was freezing cold. He slept in his coat. "Good morning." says Andy. He was broke and homeless. I could not turn him out. He came back in....foolish man that doesn't plan ahead. Andy stays with me all October.

OK, Andy. You can stay until your next check comes. Then you have to go. A month goes by. Social Security notifies Andy that they've over paid him. They're withholding a check to recoup the over payment. Andy has no money to live on for the month of November. Bad timing: the next check comes a day before Thanksgiving. I feel guilty. I am turning my grandson out the day before Thanksgiving.

The November check comes and Andy is agitated. He lashes out at me, refuses to pack anything. He has made no reservations in North Carolina. Andy has no plans. He is heading for a disaster. I offer to drive him to the bus stop. I said that I will cash his check for him and hold the money until He is at the bus stop and his ticket is purchased. Andy gets very angry and lashes out at me. He refuses my help. He snatches the check from my hand and announces that He will cash his own check at Western Union...and He will stay the night at the motel, getting on the bus in the morning. Oh No! This is the same pattern He exhibited in September. He'll spend all the money and turn up on my doorstep. I am very upset because I can't reach him. There is no reasoning .

The Harolds had invited me and my 3 grandsons to Thanksgiving dinner. I call Judy and explain that We have a crisis. There will be a family meeting on Thanksgiving morning to discuss several issues...including how to help Andy. Judy is having people sit down at noon because several families are coming from out of state. They want to get on the road early. I understand. Judy invites us to come later, for dessert and drinks.

Thanksgiving morning: Chris and Stephen arrive. We discuss changing their living arrangements. We are all upset about Andy's determined rush toward disaster. We all can see him , homeless and hungry, perhaps living under a bridge...or a victim of crime.

Thinking about Andy overnight, I have two suggestions to my grandsons: Visit Andy at the motel, bring him home, help him pack what He needs and drive him to the bus stop. The other suggestion is to propose that Andy move in with his brothers...on conditions...He take his medication and cooperate with the household. I all ready know that Andy won't do any such thing.

Chris and Stephen go into Andy's room and talk to him. I sit in the car and watch the rain. My feet are getting cold. They're in there a long time, but eventually all three come out. Andy has agreed to eat a Thanksgiving dinner with us. Judy has served several hours ago. We go to the diner next door...about the only thing open today. Andy orders lobster and steak.

While we're eating, Stephen is talking to Andy about the proposed rooming plan. Andy agrees. He needs to renew his prescription. He agrees to go to Milford Hospital to see the psychiatrist on call...to get his meds. (our fingers are crossed). Stephen gives Andy a cigarette. They smoke outside the diner while Chris gets the car. Andy walks toward the car, then stops. He has changed his mind. He's going back to the motel to stay another night. He says He'll take the bus in the morning. We have lost the fight.

Chris and Stephen and I drive home to Park Circle. Andy is definitely a danger to himself. Seeing no other option, Stephen picks up the phone and calls our local mental health clinic. They tell Stephen to call 911. Stephen talks to the Police about Andy. We meet the Police at the motel. Stephen and I are interviewed. (Chris is sleeping on the couch.) Stephen signs a written complaint. The Police arrest Andy.. involuntary commitment. They take him to Milford Hospital for safe keeping.

From there, Andy goes to Yale Psychiatric Hospital for treatment, rest and lots of food. Andy is rail thin from not eating. If We're lucky, the social worker will find a bed for my grandson in a group home. This is a Thanksgiving I will remember.

2 Comments:

Blogger LivinginOz said...

Mom - I'm sorry you went through this. This sounds like many a Thanksgiving and Christmas at our house. Andy is, by personality, very head-strong, and his illness exaggerates everything.

I'm glad he got picked up. Hopefully, people with the proper authority will see that he needs better than to be just turned out on the street.

4:25 PM  
Blogger gardenbug said...

Unfortunately, there are not enough beds in group homes for the mentally ill. We have lots of money for the military...and for six figure salaries of our legislatures...and full salary retirements for them. No money to respond to a real need. The police said that most of the homeless are mentally ill. We emptied our institutions and threw these people onto the streets to fend for themselves. Instead, We should have reformed the system and regulated it better. Our government took the cheapest way out. they turned their backs on people like Andy...because the mentally ill don't vote. There is a real possibility that Andy will be on the street. Dismal picture.

7:22 PM  

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