Aftermath part 4: Three Day Involuntary Commitment

Dave’s placed on a 3-day observational hold in a behavioral health inpatient facility.  In his hospital gown, Dave walks out of the hospital into the ambulance.

I follow the ambulance to the facility.  I sign in as a visitor and clip a visitor’s tag on.  An aid unlocks the doors for me to enter.  Dave‘s weighed, and his blood pressure’s taken.  He fills out consent/intake forms.  A staff member tells me to come back later during visiting hours.  I check the schedule and realize that there’s not much time to visit–just a half hour after lunch and two hours in the evening.

The first night of visiting hours I could tell he snapped out of it.  He explained, “This morning I didn’t sleep at all.  I finally got some sleep here.  I feel better.  Things look better.”

Before we could really talk, his sister and brother came.  They joked and small talked.  Even though I appreciated their support of Dave, a part of me wished they would leave and give us some time to talk.  I really needed to talk to Dave alone.

I tell Dave, “Beth cried and cried and cried.  She wanted so badly to come and visit.  She made you a get well card.   She said she’s gonna miss your (bedtime) songs.”  I want Dave to understand how much Beth needs him.  How much I need him.

The next day we met with the facility’s psychiatrist.  That was very interesting.  Where our outside psychologist was warm, empathetic and insightful, the psychiatrist was all book knowledge.  He drew diagrams and shared theory. I’m wondering, “Is this the guy that’s helping Dave?”

I’ve gone back to work.  I don’t remember how Beth got to school or went to bed those first few nights.  But I’m sure my parents helped out.

Every night I drive to visit him, tears streaming down my face.  I drive every evening arriving early for every visit so I won’t miss one minute with Dave—I guess it takes something like this to happen, because before his attempt we hardly made an effort to talk to each other.

A couple of days later, the psychiatrist felt that Dave was ready to leave. He explained that Dave had not taken his anti-depressant meds for 4 days prior to his attempt which was identified as a key factor in Dave’s attempt.

On one hand, I was hopeful and relieved about Dave’s impending release—no more long drives and working around the visiting hours schedule.  But I was also apprehensive—was Dave really ready to leave?

Yikes–Now I’ll be in charge of him!


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