HAPPENING NOW: I AM LIVID. SHAKING by Heidi Franke

I took my youngest son, Mitchell, to the hospital last night for paranoia and visual hallucinations. Upon my return home, my oldest son showed me a gun his brother purchased a week ago. No one had told me about the gun before.

I am livid. Shaking. Waiting for the police to take this weapon of destruction away. The gun was not reported stolen, but it could be. The police say there are gun owners who don't write down serial numbers so, when it's taken into evidence, they can't trace the owner. The most bewildering thing to me is how much the senior police officer doesn't seem to know about Utah's gun laws. I'll call the detectives next week and ask them to pursue finding the person who sold the gun to my son. It was an illegal sale as my son has no ID. 

The hospital was going to release my son this morning. When I told Mitchell he couldn't come back to live with me, he had a melt down and the hospital realized how sick he is. Now, they're transferring him to an inpatient psych hospital that has an open bed. He has to be stabilized on meds. The hospital crisis worker called and she "got it." She was perplexed about my son's access to a gun with his history. I also reminded her of his suicide attempt 2 years ago. She was calling about his health insurance. The Medicaid he has under mental health disability needed to preauthorize Mitchell's admission to the psych hospital. If my son didn't have Medicaid, he'd have a much harder time getting admitted.

I feel traumatized but can't really place the emotions anywhere. So many what if's. I'm lucky we're all still alive. My son was so psychotic last night. My husband said, "I'm glad Mitchell didn't try to shoot the aliens trying to get into his mind by shooting off bullets in the house."  Mostly my son would have taken the gun to his brain to get rid of the intrusive thoughts.

Guns are out there being sold folks. We must have stronger restrictions. It won't be perfect but, my God, what value do you place on a child's life? Your child's life? Put your guns in caskets, not our children. Our nation is a mess full of freaking a-hole cowboys and mental health care that is a tragedy. Innumerable parents and guardians are trying, behind the scenes, to get help for our children. Many, many of us. Yet we feel powerless to change this abysmal system with its lack of beds for treating our mentally ill. And I'm a nurse who knows the system well. 

My son is a beautiful young man inside and out. He's just seriously ill with a brain disorder. I love him so much.

See Heidi Franke's post - I LOVE MY CHILDREN - February 14, 2018.

 Mitchell at 12, two years before life changed for him. He loved to climb.

Mitchell at 12, two years before life changed for him. He loved to climb.