THE WRONGS OF PSYCHIATRIC CARE – PART 2 of 2

The Wrongs Of Psychiatric Care – Part 2 of 2                                           
A Blind Date With My Husband
By – Sheri de Grom

Cont. from http://wp.me/p22zGl-zs

The medical flight team was angry with the hospital and their unreasonable stance. They’d submitted a standard request for hospital transfer.

The paramedic, flight engineer and I assessed our best possible outcome and agreed I’d have to drive Tom to Little Rock. I buckled him in, secured and reclined his seat, and engaged the child locks. I couldn’t be sure that he’d stay in the car, even when it was in motion. The hospital had over-medicated him, again. He wasn’t aware of his surroundings.

The pilot agreed he would fly in position to light the highway to Little Rock while I drove MOUNTAIN ROADTom. It was the middle of the night and I’d be driving through the Ozark Mountains on a black, two-lane road known as the pigtail. The twists and turns through the mountains were perilous, one hairpin turn after another followed by double switchbacks and no white line at the edge of the road to tell me where the highway ended. Sheer cliffs dropped into blackness for thousands of feet ensuring certain death.

My only thought that awful night in 2005 was getting Tom competent help as soon as possible.

I’d driven the pigtail route to Little Rock before but always in daylight and never with such urgency. It’s a road ideal for meandering tourists wanting to snap picturesque photos. Nothing was further from my mind that night. I drove fast and prayed God’s will be done.

Three and one-half hours later we arrived at the VA Hospital in Little Rock. The best time I’d made on the pigtail before was five hours and forty-five minutes.

I’d always said I’d never use the VA Health Care System for Tom. He was eligible—but the same as with Tricare—we’d never been able to count on standardized care. The wait time to see a physician was unbelievably long, and you rarely saw the same doctor twice.

That night in 2005 was an exception. I’d run out of options. I had no other place to take Tom. His admitting diagnoses on that awful night were Parkinson’s disease, possible bleeding at the cortex of the brain, Type II Diabetes, Taradive Dyskinesia and of course, bipolar disorder.

The following morning I met with the lead physician and learned Tom’s initial assessmentMEDICATION pointed to the large amounts of psychiatric medications he’d been prescribed. They had more than likely caused all of his conditions with the exception of the bipolar disorder. Tom’s bipolar disorder had more than likely been exacerbated by his medications.

Over the next three months, I stayed in Little Rock and visited Tom each day at the hospital. Staying away from our home at a hotel and paying for meals out equaled paying a second mortgage plus some. I felt I couldn’t take a chance on leaving Tom without an advocate and I wasn’t going to abandon him. I saw him daily at the hospital and slowly, oh so slowly, I saw change.

Results of numerous medical tests were analyzed. As suspected, all of Tom’s admitting diagnoses were directly related to the medication regime his previous psychiatrist had prescribed.

In addition to Tom’s admitting diagnoses, we also learned one-third of his liver had been destroyed by another medication, lithium. His former psychiatrist had not followed the professional standard of ordering monthly lithium blood levels. Lithium has been the gold standard for the treatment of bipolar disorder for decades, but Tom is one of those rare individuals whose body can’t process it and the toxic levels would have eventually killed him.

We’d learned several years earlier that Tom had also developed Type II Diabetes. We asked each other how this could be. He had no family history of diabetes, his diet and exercise were on track, and nothing made sense. Two years after he was diagnosed with diabetes, a black box warning was added to one of his regular medications stating that it could cause Type II Diabetes.

At the end of four months, all of Tom’s medications were out of his system and it was time for his new medical team to discover which medications would work for him with the least amount of damage to his body.

Nearing the end of a mental health stay as long as Tom’s, it’s customary for the patient to receive a pass to leave the behavioral health care unit. This allows the patient and a family member to ‘try out the real world.’ This reentry into the patient’s environment is carefully planned by both the family member accompanying the patient and a member of the treatment team. Often, several visits into the patient’s environment are required before the patient is ready for final discharge. This allows the patient a chance to process the time he spent away from the hospital and the family member to assess the appropriate accommodations within the family.

As always, I’d visited Tom every day of his hospitalization but I knew there was no guarantee of how he’d feel from one day to the next. An entire season had come and gone since he’d entered the hospital four months previously.

The day of Tom’s pass arrived. I was as nervous as if I was meeting him for the first time. What if suddenly he didn’t want to be with me? What if he thought he should drive? What if he couldn’t bear to leave the protective confines of the hospital What if . . . ?

I’d planned a quiet dinner at a small café featuring local artists. Their menu was simple but sophisticated.

Dinner went well and I asked Tom if he felt up to a movie before returning to the hospital and he agreed that it sounded like a good idea.

That special night in 2005 was my first introduction to the work of Claire Cook. We saw the movie ‘Must Love Dogs’ and it was the perfect film for the time and space Tom and I were in. I’ve been a fan of Claire Cook’s ever since.

I was thrilled when Tom laughed and his body relaxed as we watched the movie. Later as we were leaving the theater a spotlight was set up at the exit and an entertainment company was conducting interviews. I planned to side-step the interviewers but Tom looped his arm through mine and headed directly for the bright lights.

The interviewer asked, “What movie did you see?”

Tom replied, “Must Love Dogs.”

“What did you think? Would you recommend it as a good date night movie?”

Tom’s reply caught me by surprise. “Yes. Definitely. We’re on a blind date and I hope we’ll have more.” He slipped his arm around my waist and pulled me in close.

The interviewer—being ever so kind and with the camera still rolling–said, “You two belong together. Are you sure this is a blind date?”

Tom gave him one of his easy smiles, the kind that reached all the way to his eyes. I was joyous. I hadn’t seen that smile in over a year. Suddenly, it was okay with me that I was on a blind date with my husband of nineteen years.

The night of our blind date, I returned Tom to the hospital and checked him into the mental health unit. I knew the days ahead would be a mystery. But I also knew we both loved dogs and everything was going to be okay once again.

It was another six weeks before Tom was released to home and we had six more dates. We were getting to know each other again. I try not to say, “Remember when . . . ” but, it’s hard. Tom doesn’t remember when and he never will. A doctor took his memory away from the two of us, his daughters and everyone that ever knew him – all in the name of modern medicine. We look at photos together and I’m forever amazed that we love the same songs and declare them ours again.

Tom and I meet and fall in love over and over and each time the love is unconditional. From time to time his bipolar disorder disease takes him far away from both of us but of one thing I’m sure, Scooter and I will be at his side forever and a day.

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About Sheri de Grom

Retired Fed/JAG, 5 yrs. on Capitol Hill. Former book buyer for B and N. Concerned citizen of military drawdown. Currently involved in mental healthcare reform, health care strategist and actively pursuing legislative change wherein dual retirees are exempt from enrolling in Medicare at their own discretion without losing tertiary healthcare benefits. Monitor and comment on Federal Register proposed legislation involving Mental Health, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Medicare and rural libraries. Licensed OSHA Inspector to include Super Fund sites. Full time caregive to Vietnam era veteran. Conceptualized, investigated possible alternatives, authored, lobbied for, and successfully implemented Title X, Section 1095 (known as the Third Party Collection Program of Federal Insurance).
Aside | This entry was posted in Brain Trauma, ECT, Electroconvulsive Shock Therapy, Mental Health, Psychiatric Care, Psychiatrist, Traumatic Brain Injuries, TRICARE, Veterans and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to THE WRONGS OF PSYCHIATRIC CARE – PART 2 of 2

  1. jlhede says:

    Hello. I just became aware of you and your amazing story after you visited my own blog. Thank you for that, by the way. You are indeed a pillar of strength. I wondered if anyone has mentioned the possibility of Lewy Body Disease?

  2. cindy knoke says:

    How incredibly moving Sheri! I see this as a book. Very empowering for people to read, but also quite sobering. I am so sorry you and your husband went through all of this. I agree with you that our mental health system is in shambles. This is what happens when it is of back burner national priority. Distressing. How many shootings will it take until mental health service delivery becomes a front burner dialogue with NAMI leading the way. Cheers to you and your husband and hugs to both of you. You are quite a role model Sheri~

    • Thanks for checking in Cindy. I value your in-put. I’ve learned much through the years and know there’s so many things that I haven’t faced yet. Gun control is an issue I’m addressing in the near future. If we had tighter laws governering who can buy weapons and questions were required of the potentional buyer as well an proper identification, we wouldn’t have many of the issues we have. I have many episodes stored away in both journals I’ve kept and legislation I’m currently working on having to do with existing legislation. Thank you for stopping in.

  3. dear Sheri~ I was very moved by this love story of you and your husband! Your never ending love for him, regardless of his condition–you have walked the love path with such strength and grace–willingly all the way! Your battles with medical care and medical benefits–it is an incredible maze for people to walk through and deal with. I brought my Mom home to my family to live with us the last three and a half years of her life…she had suffered a stroke…I did my battle with doctors, with my own siblings–it was very hard…some day I will write about it. I can appreciate all that you did and gave for your husband and are still giving! You are an incredible, strong and courageous woman! Your story gives confidence to all of us–your story is a model of unconditional love — and what the belief of one person can do for another! You are a beautiful woman!

    • Thank you for reading our life experience, Jane. I appreciate your kind words. Yes, caregiving and love must live together much like a luxury glove slides onto a well manicured hand. You never have the opportunity for a do-over. Every decision is critical as you learned while caring for your mother. I applaud you for taking your mother home and easily understand the battles you fought with almost everyone on a daily basis. Often it seems no one in the world understands what we are doing but we still have to do it. Thank you again for reading with me and especially for commenting. I so appreciate your taking the time.

  4. Sheryl says:

    Whew, all the issues that you had to face with the mental healthcare system, the medications, etc. are scary. You and Tom have sure been through a lot. It’s wonderful how your love has pulled you through.

  5. So very sad on so many levels but so well written I know you are where you need to be Bless you.

  6. atempleton says:

    I wish the best possible for both of you.

  7. Carolyn Dekat says:

    Ah, Sheri, these two posts srtuck a little close to home due to recent family experiences with TBI and PTSD. Your account left me feeling very thankful that while our experience has had it’s share of harrowing incidents, the outcome has so far been moving in the direction of good progress.

    You are a superb example of the fact that life is what we make it and shows the truth behind Abraham Lincoln’s belief that people are pretty much as happy as they make up their minds to be.

    Love is a wonderous and powerful thing.

    • Carolyn – I so agree that with love unconditional love, all else can be conquered in its own time. It may not be exactly what we think we want, but after time, I adjust and settle into what my God believes is appropriate for me. We’ve had our own issues of PTSD (Tom and I both have the diagnosis and it’s a beast of its own mixed in) and I’ve had 5 TBI’s and they’ve put a spin on several issues I’ve had to handle. In the meantime, my focus has always been keeping Tom safe and as carefree of the monoster bipoar disorder can become if it’s allowed to run free. Thanks for stopping in to read with me.

  8. gpcox says:

    Such emotion pours out of your writing in this story that the reader can’t help but empathize with your anguish. But, falling in love again must have been unique. I see far too much over medicating with my friends and in-laws and it is not from psychiatrists, but so-called medical specialists. I wish you and Tom all the best.

  9. I saw this short video, 7 mins and have had you on my mind constantly — It reminded me of you and Thomas. I’m praying for you both.

    • Debbie – Your message popped up on my iPad. Thank you so much. You are a dear. We received an unexpected blow today. The very doctor we made the midnight run to see all those years ago (7 I think) has been promoted to yet another position. He’s been promoted a few times since Tom first started seeing him but he’s always made himself available to us. Often he’d use his lunch break to see Tom. Now he’ll no longer be at the same location.

      • Debbie – I’ve watched the video so many times this morning I’m not sure there’s a tear left in me – but when I watch it the next time – I’m sure there will be. The love shown by this couple is honest and true. Strong and resiliant. Thank you so much for sharing it with me. On days when I wonder where my strength may have gone, I’ll only need to play this video and know that God reaches out and touches each of us with his grace to live and love in the moment for this one moment is what we have. Thanks you my friend. I hope I can figure out a way to add this wonderful video to my next post. I’m not savvy with such things but for this video – I’m willing to give it my best effort.

  10. Dace says:

    all my respect to you Sheri. This is a great story to read to understand what unconditional love is. You fall in love with each other over and over again. Struggles and moments of joy, sadness, fear, love, respect, appreciation for life and each other, and the most amazing journey together…
    Amazing…

    Thank you !

  11. prayingforoneday says:

    The health care system sucks..
    Obamacare seems to be doing well..

    Very moving story Sheri x

    • Shaun – Obamacare is the worst of all. The bill has destroyed the best part of what we had for healthcare. There’s so much burried in the 2,000+ page document that doesn’t pertain to healthcare (pet projects of congressional members needed to get the legislation passed) that healthcare was gutted in the process. The law makes for bad reading and my guess is that 50% or more of the delegates voting on it didn’t read the darn thing! Now the same thing is going on with the imigration bill.

      • prayingforoneday says:

        Rich men in suits signing bits of paper and probably making money to sign it. Lies and more lies.
        Well said, you are spot on about the imigration bill

  12. Robyn Lee says:

    Also – I do have to agree with what Deb said. I have a very strong suspicion that medication and other intervention is more frequently the cause of new or progressive illness than anyone realizes. So disturbing… and a complex web to unravel. 😦

    • Robyn – Yes, yes – I have 2 rubbermaid containers full of research and investigative data. The medical profession is killing us with their own blend of kindness (prescription drugs). I won’t be finished with sorting through my data for at least 2 months but it is indeed scarry. An additional problem is that generics are not made with the same formulary as the medication approved by the FDA. The supreme court ruled Monday that makers of generic drugs cannot be sued. The justices overturned a multimillion dollar award.

  13. Robyn Lee says:

    Oh Sheri ~ this was very beautiful and so heartwarming… it speaks to the concept of “soul-mates” in the truest sense. Even with the tragic loss of Tom’s memory and all you both endured during this time, to fall in love all over again ~ to connect on a soul-level through music and doggies too… What a special blind-date that was indeed. You’re an amazing woman – and a force of nature too — So much Love and thankful that Tom has had you by his side. x RL

    • Hi Robyn – Hello and how are you today? My playlist just started ‘Strangers In The Night’ and that’s the first song Tom and I claimed as our own as we danced together in Carmel, CA all those years ago on the night we first met on a blind date. I’d never believed in love at first sight or first touch before. Tom doesn’t remember that night in every sense of the word – but that’s an occassion he’s asked me to tell him about over and over. The first 55 years of memories are gone and of course I haven’t known Tom that long. We’re home from the doctor today and I’ve just tucked him into bed. He’s having severe headaches for several months and my rescue shih tzu, Miss Priss, has decided Scooter has a great gig going and she’s abanded her basket here in my office for the bed. She’ll be back to tell me when it’s her dinner time – silly girl!

  14. Deb says:

    I bet a lot of people get ill with something they didn’t have, while treating something they do have.
    God Bless you, Sheri!

    • Deb – Hi and thank you for your continuing support. I’ve been researching that very issue under an investigation going on under Medicare Part D. The shocking information is something we all must be aware of. Those posts will be forthcoming in a couple of months. BTW – I’m not ignoring your wonderful art and flash fiction. On nights when I have terrible insomnia, I like to have 5 or so of your blogs saved up and once I’ve read them, I can pick myself up and get back to work. All of a sudden, it doesn’t seem to matter that it’s 4 a.m. and the rest of the world is asleep (or so it seems) and I still haven’t seen my pillow.

  15. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It breaks my heart and warms it at the same time. We have driven those hairpin curves you spoke of…..Bless the pilot that escorted you. BOTH of them. God’s blessings on you and Tom ♥

    • I’ll never forget that night on the pigtail. The chopper was over my head with full beams on the highway and I’m convinced God was navigating and my husband (rescue helicopter pilot) who was killed in Vietnam was the copilot. He’d have wanted me to fall in love again and although it was almost 20 years later, I can’t help but think he and God got together and came up with Plan B to make it work. The congressman engaged with the State Troopers and they ran lights and sirens the last 50 miles and on into the VA at Fort Roots in Little Rock. I tried to remember driving skills I’d ‘learned’ from older brothers but all I could think about was the head psychiatrist telling me that if Tom was bleeding at the cortex of the brain, I had to be at the hosptal in less than 4 hours!

      • When you are up to it…..I would love hearing more of your story. Yes….our God never ceases to amaze me with HIs guidance and plans. There are many prayers I have prayed over the years that were not answered “according to my plan”….and now I thank God for that. ♥

        • The comments from this week have been amazing. Scooter told me he was tired and must have an extra long nap from all the hugging. I’ll post additional blogs as time goes on but think I’ll need a breather this coming week. I’ve had publishers tell me our story would never sell because I’m not a psychiatrist and no one would believe the mental health care is as bad as I say it is in our country.

  16. I wonder how many people have how many conditions caused by taking meds ordered by doctors entrusted with their care. Thanks for sharing this intimately personal story, Sheri.

    • David – Many thanks for your blogging, Twitter promotion and massive support of this two part story about Tom’s and my continuing battle with his bipolar disorder disease. Often it seems like the third partner in our marriage. You asked about how many conditons are caused by taking meds ordered by doctors. It just happens I’m researching a series of how individuals over 65 have been medicated to the point of death since Medicare Part D was inacted. Stay tuned – I don’t enroll in Medicare Part D but I still compared my medications to that list and believe everyone else should do the same.

  17. Emma says:

    Beautiful post, Sheri. I’m with Uzoma – I feel a bit like crying.

  18. Uzoma says:

    I almost feel like crying. Such love, such passion for doing what’s right, Sheri. Your words make me reflect on my life.

  19. Terry says:

    This made me tear up. I understand the medications on over load. they have done that to Al too. Now Al is on what he has to be on. Doctors are easily writing scripts for mind altering drugs and I don’t like it. I am so happy for the two of you. Enjoy your courting days once again!!!

    • Terry – Definitely a side benefit of keeping our marriage fresh is meeting each other on a first date over and over again. You hear others talk about the honeymoon period being over – when Tom is well – our’s doesn’t end until he slides into the disease again. I believe that’s the hardest part for me. I never know when he’ll slide awaw again.

      • Terry – I thought you might be interested. Although Parkinson’s Disease was ruled out for Tom in 2004/05, when we saw the doctor we trust yesterday and he’s studying Tom for the terrible headaches he’s having now, one of the things he wanted to see is Tom’s gait because Tom is falling frequently now. His observation (which I hadn’t noticed is that Tom no longer swings his arms as he walks). I had alerted the doctor to the frequent falls and the extremely slow gait and the symptoms we’d experienced before. Tom’s stiff when he walks. More lab tests were done yesterday and we’re waiting for the results. The biggest blow we received is the doctor I made the midnight run for so Tom could get under his care has received a terrific promotion and will no longer be able to see patients and he’s brilliant with bipolar patients. We’ve had him in our corner for 7 years now and Tom and I are both afraid of what will happen now. I’ve never hesitated to call this guardian of Tom’s health care whenever we needed help. He’s the one that’s guided me through the last 7 years when all other doctors told me Tom should be dead or in 24 hr care. I knew you would understand my anguish.

  20. With tears I read this story of your and Toms life together and the love shines through every word Sheri. I knew from the beginning you were a strong special woman this just proves how I underestimated your strength and your special ability to love unconditionally. God Bless both of you.

  21. Wow. Just wow. This post reminds me of The Notebook. It would make a great movie/documentary and says too much about our healthcare system. I would be sorely tempted to sue someone.

    • Hi Patti – There’s really no one to sue. Every medical provider can easily say they were doing what they believed was the best prescribed method of treatment at the time. While I disagree with their logic; I cannot afford to place negative energy into a black pit. People are greedy and our insurance pays 100% of everything. I believe the medical profession sees that as a bonanza and they want to squeeze our every penny possible.

  22. christicorbett says:

    Sheri,

    I’m sitting here teary-eyed and grateful you shared your story with the world. You are a woman to be reckoned with!

    Christi Corbett

    • Christi – Thank you. There’ more to come intertwined with my other advocacy work. Living and dealing on the mental health front can be exhausting every day and I have to take a break from my own reality from time to time and advocate for others. However, my real passion is advocacy for mental health care reform – beginning with how the diagnosed individual is treated at home and in the community. The bad stuff doesn’t necessarily all happen within the doctor’s offices and hospitals. Most of all, thank you for reading with me.

  23. words4jp says:

    Sheri – I am really without words right now, but plenty of tears. thank you so much for sharing – xx

    • Thanks for coming back for Part 2. I’ll have more blogs about the reality of mental health care and living with bipolar disorder. My hope is to share with others that a marriage can survive, grow and find happiness in the most unusual places even when one partner is diagnosed with bipolar diorder.

      • words4jp says:

        mental health care seems to be a wreck – in many ways good and in many, not so – at all. I applaud both yours and your husband’s courage and strength and love. i have always found bipolar disorder interesting. When i was a kid, growing up in an apartment, our neighbor who lived above us was ‘manic depressive’ – the term back then. All i remember were the nights the cops came and took him away, then he would come back. He was nice and then he was mean. one night he was taken away and never returned. A few days later his wife and daughter moved out and we never heard from them again. Not to trivialize the condition, but when Catherine Zeta Jones came out of the closet, so to speak, discussing she suffered from a form of it, I was taken aback by it because I saw myself. In regards to the insurance industry, my insurance does not cover it. I get a copay for medication, but not for therapy – of which it is recommended I partake in. It makes no sense…..

        • Catherine Zeta Jones took bipolar disorder out of the closet and allowed the world to see medications must be tweaked from time to time in order for her to live a full and productive life. The neighbor you talked about may have elected to medicate himself with alcohol or street drugs or any number of other substances. There’s a host of addiction and inappropriate issues tied to the illness. Fortunately I never had to deal with illegal or abrasive issues with Tom. When he’s manic he likes to spend money on any number of projects that will never be finished. He’ll spend foolishly for months at a time. Individuals that are not treated may become violent and their rage is unlike any I’ve seen before. Tom turns his anger inward and therefore his depression is far worse than mania. The depression leads to suicidal ideation and then I have another major hurdle to cross.

          Now that parity has been passed, and several years ago and not with Obamacare as he and his staff like to claim, you should be able to get therapy if it’s by a licensed provider. It will depend on who your insurance company is. If you are insured under a group policy you shouldn’t have any problems at all. Many ‘therapist’ are not covered and that’s because they hang out a sign when in fact they are not licensed to ‘practice.’ Check your policy and read the limitations and then call licensed therapist in your area and ask if they accept your insurance and if so, ask how much your co-payment would be and do you need a referral for you medical doctor first.

  24. Oatsie says:

    You are truly an inspiration. The fact that you are such a strong advocate for your husband–and others who are suffering–gives me great faith in the world. Still, I am so very sorry that you had to experience all of these trials. I would like to call the kind of thoughtless “care” you describe from the hospital as substandard, but…it IS standard. One has to fight to be heard, and even then, one is unlikely to be believed. This must change. When we go in for treatment, we should be able to heal, not be made worse. Thank you, again, for being such a strong advocate. My thoughts are with you, your husband, and the rest of your family (including Scooter!).

  25. Mae Clair says:

    What a moving story, Sheri. I was on pins and needles as you drove through the pigtail at night and your “blind date” with Tom was painful and touching to read. The fact you lived this reality is staggering. The love the two of you have for each other is extraordinary. Thank you for continuing to share your story with us.

    • Mae – It seems each episode with Tom proves to me what I can do. Just think, if every date night a woman had with her husband was the same as ‘that first night’ when she finally connected with the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life. Along with the bittersweet, there’s lots of new memories made. Yes, sometimes the new memories are also forgotten and that allows for a whole new set of memories. Ours is a love affair that never grows old.

  26. I am touched by you and Tom and all of the wonderful blind dates. So much in our health care system is broken and the over-use of medication is in the forefront. I am sorry for the wretched journey on which you and Tom suffered and grateful that you post this story here as a cautionary tale as well as a powerful testimony to the healing that love brings. You and Tom are heroic in my eyes. Thank you for telling the story…

  27. Jane Sadek says:

    I’m recommending you for sainthood!

  28. Sheri, this moved me to tears once more. We are at the mercy of a non-caring health care system with more marketing experts than “care” givers. More concentration on the bottom line than the well being of people. In another time we would have been considered “conspiracy” theorists … and I can applaud that reality. If not so much a conspiracy but a concerted effort of our ever growing corporate government to ignore the needs of its people in pursuit of wealth and power.

    Thanks for being a voice for those who are too weak to speak up and for never giving up the good fight 🙂

    • Florence – It often seems we only meet pill pushers along the way to attempting a better quality of life. Tom and I were fortunate when we were able to get him under the particular care of the psychiatrist I wanted within the VA system. This physichiatrist has saved Tom over and over and helped me keep my sanity at the same time. Never once has a call to this doctor gone unanswered. Just this week I called the doctor about a medication another specialist had prescribed and after reading the insert, I called and wanted to know what the ramifications might be for Tom if he took the medication. Would you believe the VA psychiatrist is going to see Tom on his lunch break tomorrow. I was afraid when this particular doctor received a serious of promotions that took him beyond treating patients and unto national level administration of programs; but he’s kept what he calls a few of “his special ones” [the patients who have someone who love them unconditionally and can serve as the doctors second set of eyes and ears]. I tease Tom’s doctor and tell him, he’s the reason we cannot leave Arkansas.

  29. gdwest123 says:

    Hello Sheri, what a moving and upsetting story. Again and again we all put our trust in doctors and modern medicine, yet time and again they let us down. Good luck and best wishes to Tom and hope he’s improving. Life is very hard for both of you, and you certainly have bravery and aren’t afraid of the hard work of getting the answers. Love and best wishes.

    • Thank you. The love and support has provided me with additional courage and strength to fight the ‘good fight.’ We battle the ravages of Tom’s ECT treatment each and every day, it never lets up. I’m humbled by the kind words everyone has poured forth and I’ll continue to write about our journey into the mental health medical care system in hopes that it might pave the way for others.

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