Hope you have good holidays everybody!
Wish I had good news to share with ya all.
November 8 was our son Tyler's 20th birthday. We were unable to say “Happy Birthday” as he was in lock down for five days. Days later, we drove a little over an hour to Richard Handlon Correctional Prison in Ionia, Michigan. (Tyler is number #113697.) We had cake with him. He made a cake from two honeybuns, smashed peanut M&M’s, and a melted Snickers bar on top. He’s inventive. We sang “Happy Birthday” to him.
He’s still our boy. Few mention him. Our heart breaks for what we’ve lost. This is Tyler’s third year away for his birthday. Next, he will miss Thanksgiving and Christmas. He hasn't been given counseling, education, training, or the proper medications. He’s been beaten up four times since he was incarcerated.
Why couldn't mental health professionals keep him in an inpatient psychiatric hospital? For the love of God there was no good reason to release our son from the hospital. His safety was compromised. No one was responsible. He was nearly shot at for trespassing. He was an inpatient five days prior to his arrest. He was delusional and hearing voices. What is wrong with this country? Why is there no long-term treatment?
This is a brain disease, ya all. Maybe we should start locking up every grandma and grandpa who is violent or disorderly from Alzheimer's. Serious mental illness is a disease. It is prodromal to Alzheimer's. Prisons are corporations. Their goal is money. They need prisoners. Caught up in the system — it’s a real thing.
We are receiving a criminal justice system education. Months are now years. One caseworker, Ms. Williams, calls many people names like dumb, retarded, idiots and pedophiles. Everyone in Ty's facility is either mentally ill or autistic. She told Tyler, a 19-year-old kid who was only supposed to be in prison for two months, “You’re doing 15 years.” It leaves me to wonder how many have given up from her words.
Ty’s not even provided an inhaler for asthma and chronic lung disease. He has autism and a serious mental illness. When he was in school he was never suspended. He was a target for bullies which was our main concern. Incarceration never crossed our minds. On his birthday, I sent his appeal papers certified to a judge. Hopefully, he will give him an appellate lawyer.
I watched my son suffer a suicide attempt in January 2016. I sat by his side every day. At least he was treated well in Ohio. How I wish we could have stayed there.
In Florida, they Baker Acted (an emergency, involuntary psychiatric examination) him three times. Twice to Gracepoint where he was severely over-medicated. I visited him daily and watched him turn into a zombie. I was on the phone, constantly, advocating and seeking help. Using all my energy for him. His problems consumed my life. I reached out to everyone. In spite of losing myself entirely to try to help him, he’s only received harm and abuse in Florida.
My son was arrested in July 2016. It was a needless arrest that never would have happened had Gracepoint not destroyed his brain and injected him with 400 mg Abilify upon discharge. For two weeks after the injection, he suffered insomnia, severe akathisia, anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations. He hardly ate or talked and paced the floors day and night.
After his arrest, I went to bed. No longer able to live my life. No longer part of my family’s life. No longer in my granddaughters’ lives. No longer able to function. Because my son suffered, I suffered. I lost everything. I spent the only energy I had advocating and visiting him in jail, or talking with him daily on the phone.
He’s in worse shape, today, due to all the trauma he’s suffered by the hands of those who call themselves healers. Why are they even in the business? It’s pure corruption here in Florida.
Now, it’s Boley housing and St. Anthony’s Hospital. No parent should have to watch his/her son suffer at the hands or such tormentors. How can they call themselves healthcare professionals or even doctors? All they did was harm him. From 7/26/18 to 8/8/18 he was living in pure hell — a torture chamber. It was completely unnecessary. Didn’t need to happen. Again, I had to exhume some sort of strength to try to advocate and be there every day. It was futile. I couldn’t stop the abuse.
The week of 7/20/18, my son was cut off 500 mg Clozapine. Cold turkey. Boley did nothing to help him. Boley Baker Acted him on 7/26/18 and the hospital cut off the 225 mg Effexor. Cold turkey. The same day, he was given a forced injection of Geodon/Ativan. On 7/27 he was given a forced injection of Haldol/Ativan. On 7/28 he was given a forced injection of Zyprexa/Ativan and left alone in isolation to suffer seizures all day long. The nurse said he was just attempting to choke himself. She said he was spitting on the med techs. No, he was trying to talk. White foam flew out of his mouth as he tried to speak but only could groan. This is inhumane.
At 5:30 P.M., my husband, Vince, and I arrived for visitation at the psych unit. An RN sat with us to explain that our son was “in crisis” and she couldn’t bring him out to the cafeteria in his condition for a visitation. She mentioned she’d considered a private room for our visitation but didn’t think I’d be able to handle it. I said, “I can handle it.”
She asked, “Do you hear that person screaming?”
I responded, “I don’t hear screaming, I hear someone groaning.”
She stated that our son was groaning, that he’d been in isolation, and needed to remain there. I insisted we see him. When we walked into the TV room, our son was seated in a chair surrounded by med techs. His body was rigid, his jaw clenched, his back arched, his head thrown back with eyes rolling back in his head, and white foam was pouring out of his mouth. Every time he struggled to breathe, I heard gurgling sounds. I touched his hand and he grabbed mine. He tried to turn towards me and speak. His lips moved with his jaw clenched tightly shut. Only groaning noises were coming out along with a lot of white foam.
One med tech had to stand in front of him with a towel, constantly wiping up the white foam. The white of his right eye started bleeding in 2 areas, filling his eye with blood. I asked what was happening. Everyone stood there wide-eyed. Then the RN told me I had to leave. I said, “No! My son needs immediate medical attention!” I feared for his life. She told me she would get an ICU nurse to assess him. She returned with the ICU nurse and we had to leave. Our son was immediately transported to the CV-ICU unit. I was thinking that the saliva he’d been producing since early morning was actually seizure activity and was concerned about brain damage.
Around 6:00 P.M., in the CV-ICU, a Bi-pap machine was applied to help our son breathe. He was sedated with an IV drip of Precedex and PRN Ativan. The next day he was transferred back to 6th floor medical unit. Vince and I stayed with him all day. He couldn’t open his eyes, talk, or feed himself. Nurses began administering oral insulin. They asked us, “Has your son always had diabetes?” We answered, “No, never.”
None of us would escape all that unscathed, but my son had to endure 11 more days of suffering — time in restraints and more drugging — even Thorazine. All he needed was his Clozapine. This is all harm to the patient. Oh, but wait, he’s not a patient. He’s a consumer. Oh, so that’s how they get away from the Hippocratic oath. He’s just a consumer — not a patient — not even a person with the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
People continue to turn their heads in apathy and indifference while there is an American holocaust going on. No one will speak up. I’m not a doctor. I’m not an attorney. I’m a nobody. Despite all my efforts, my son keeps receiving abuse from the mental harm system. It’s not healthcare.
I am broken. Beyond repair.
Hope you have a good weekend everybody!
My friend, Teresa Pasquini, gives me permission to share her recent Facebook post here. Teresa is a mom and a mental health advocate who's been fighting for years for her son's rights. Teresa in her own words:
Danny was transferred back to Napa County Jail last Friday. Atascadero State hospital has again deemed that he is competent to stand trial for charges that first occurred while a patient at Napa State Hospital beginning in August 2012, four years ago.
He was transferred without so much as a phone call from the hospital. The only reason we knew was because we didn't get our nightly call from him Friday night. He called us everyday, twice a day while at Atascadero, once in the a.m. and once in the p.m. We could set our clocks on Danny's calls. He never missed one. I told my husband around 7:30pm on Friday night that he must have been transferred that day since he hadn't called us. It would have been considerate to have received a phone call from someone saying that our disabled son was being transported 6 hours across state. It took 24 hours to know he made it safely.
The Napa County Jail has been really good to Danny and we have no complaints about his care, but we hate it when he is incarcerated. We know that he is isolated, secluded. We know he takes his medications as prescribed but we know that he gets scared and sicker. We never know when he will call and we are no longer able to visit him in person due to new rules at the jail. No more touching through glass which was bitter sweet, yet more human than a computer screen.
Now we only have phone calls, video sessions, and glances in court. The video sessions have their advantages and we are grateful for the convenience. I quickly made a video appointment yesterday for 4:00pm today. I spent 2 hours yesterday fixing my computer to make sure the session would work. I got the green light and told Danny this morning when he called that we would be visiting him by video today at 4pm and we would introduce him to the new kittens, Cali and Lucca. He was so excited and happy.
Then I received this: VISITATION SESSION CANCELLED
No reason given, just a polite email from the company that sucks incarcerated families dry with excessive phone charges. Families are the "F" word in mental health, jail, and prison systems. Families are rarely considered when it comes to adult children with serious mental illnesses no matter where they are placed. We are shunned along with our disabled children. It is wrong. It hurts. It is unacceptable.
I am the proud mom of an adult son with serious mental illness who will NOT be forgotten in discussions about rules, guidelines, laws and policies that affect my family. I am tired of being politely shunned and tolerated. I am tired of having no rights and tired of my son having no rights. I am tired of my son being tortured, slowly and cruelly while everyone chit chats about wellness and recovery.
I am no longer a "recovering angry mom." I am angry and I will drive change that matters for families like mine. It is beyond time to get real and shatter the status quo. We have waited long enough.
Please encourage your friends, families, churches, health care partners and law enforcement partners to help us stop the insanity and support MH Reform this congressional session.