10.22.2004

Progress Report

I have noticed that my latest posts have had more to do with our day-to-day life than K's illness or they have been about integrating K's illness into our day-to-day life. I'm slowly feeling as bipolar disorder does not run my life or our life, though it continues to require constant accommodation.

Returning again to last year, we are quickly approaching the anniversary of K's first hospitalization. ECT wasn't working yet, but her disorientation and paranoia were growing. Her parents had come to help out for about 10 days and their assistance was invaluable. Never underestimate the power of having dinner on the table when you walk in the door. Despite the benefits that their presence had for me, it was having a negative impact on K.

I wrote a bit about her family in August in this post, and you can see why it may have been stressful for K to have them around the house. She wasn't able to discern reality from her imagination. During her less lucid periods after ECT sessions, K worried that her life with me was a dream. Instead of waking up in our house, she feared waking up back in her old neighborhood in bed next to her ex-husband. (At this point, anyone who knows K drops their jaw in shock at the knowledge that she had been married.) Finally, after her parents had been here 12 days or so, I had to encourage them to leave. It was their departure, which necessitated K's hospitalization.

K never would have agreed to hospitalization if any possible out had existed. One of the most painful times of this period was trying to convince her that it was necessary to go into the hospital. I would have her 90% convinced and then the fear would take over again. Finally, I had her convinced that she should go in. That evening, we went next door to a party.

Our neighbor, also a close friend, had been talking to one of her friends regarding K's situation. I was being stretched, pushed, and stressed past my limits dealing with K as sick as she was. Tension gripped each of my nerves and muscles as I worried about what K might do next.

The neighbor's friend has his own personal history dealing with the psychiatric community. He, originally a she, had been hospitalized for 3 or 4 years as a teenager for gender realignment or something of the sort. Basically, she made her parents uncomfortable and they locked her away to learn to be a girl. Part of the therapy included putting on make-up, talking to boys, and other girlish pursuits. Didn't work. With this history, the friend felt that a psych ward was the last place where K should be.

Instead of being able to forget about K's illness, that evening I was accused of making decisions for K that suited my personal agenda without taking K's best interests to heart. I was told I was too personally involved to make unbiased decisions. This friend was willing to take care of K at home and make the hospitalization unnecessary. I was livid. K immediately began grasping at this possibility as an escape from hospitalization. I couldn't see that it would solve the problem that K was becoming a danger to herself and too sick to manage at home. What I struggled with the most, was that someone outside of the situation had the audacity to confront me with accusations of making decisions to fit my personal agenda. If anything, my own health was being risked by the burden of continuing to try and care for someone who needed professional help.

It's almost exactly a year later and my blood is boiling as I type this. K doesn't remember the incident. All she knows is that the neighbor's friend and I had a falling out regarding K's care. At the time, I was seeing a psychiatrist (so I could survive K's illness mentally intact) and she pointed out to me that the friend appeared to have more of a personal agenda than I did, as he would have expected payment for the nurse duty.

K checked into the hospital the day after the party. I had convinced the attending physician at the psych ward to give me her cell number, so if anything happened over the weekend, we would be able to bypass the emergency room and have K checked directly into the hospital. I called her that Sunday afternoon. She took care of everything even down to ensuring K had a private room. All K and I had to do was pack her bag and show up at the hospital.

Being able to take K directly to the hospital knowing that they were expecting us relieved a lot of pressure from us. It was incredibly painful and I went home that day and cried my heart out. But it was the right decision. K needed more help and watching than I could provide. Nor would it have been fair to have expected I could give her the care she needed. It was not a failure on my part that she went to the hospital; it was the right decision to keep her safe.

Today I am able to look back and remember without my eyes welling with tears. K doesn't remember and does not want to remember. Occasionally she asks about it, but she does not want to details of her illness. She asked me today how many times and how long she was hospitalized. Her memories of at least 8-10 weeks last October and November are gone.

I credit her return to health to the doctors, her therapist, the partial hospitalization program, and her medications. Also, I have to acknowledge that our relationship gave her something to live for. I'm not being egotistical, but only writing what K tells me frequently.

This anniversary is a good one. Last year was a low point that I hope never to see again. That I/we can celebrate a year's distance from it is a success.


5 Comments:

At 9:05 PM, Blogger moodymicello said...

Congratulations on making it a year from that low point and may the future grow ever brighter for both of you. Michele

 
At 7:13 PM, Blogger blondzila said...

Time moves in seconds. Seconds become years before we realise. The perspective you now have allows you to see that with those seconds have been incremental improvements. Congratulations.

 
At 5:06 PM, Blogger moodymicello said...

I am wondering what dosage of thyroid medication K is on. I am presently on 75 mcg of levothroid. We'll see if that changes after they do the full thyroid panel tomorrow. Fortunately my pdoc is willing to listen. Thanks for your input. Michele

 
At 7:47 PM, Blogger synergy said...

Michele,

K is on 50 mcg synthroid. She was on 75 mcg when she was still taking Seroqual. She needed the extra 25 mcg to kick her metabolism into gear, because the Seroqual slowed her down so much. But after getting off Seraqual, her metabolism picked up.

That's another thing to think about as to how quickly your body metabolizes the medications and whether you have added or discontinued a medication, which may impact how you metabolize other meds. After going off the klonapin and seroqual the rest of her meds had to be adjusted.

 
At 8:02 PM, Blogger moodymicello said...

Thanks for your quick response. We'll see what happens. I wish they would test me with the medication to see where I fall. smile.

 

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