“What do you think made you start drinking?”
– Pending divorce and expected result: bankruptcy
– Looming debts rivaling the national budget
– Loss of driving ability from sporadic bouts of vertigo (fear factor)
– Hearing loss
“What – wait, you have hearing loss?”
I read your lips and guess much of the rest.
– Loneliness (LL continued)
– Endless battles for accommodation
“Any major issues in your childhood that might be involved?”
And so it goes. The above is an excerpt from one of many interviews I had in the behavioral health facility where I recently spent 4 days (inpatient) for alcohol detox.
Great facility, great program (I detoxed successfully, and will get outpatient aftercare).
Of interesting note; it turned out to be much easier communicating with my “peers” (other patients in the facility for a variety of reasons) than with most of the staff.
All the patients wear wrist bands of various color – it’s a bona-fide hospital – some wore more than one (I had 3 – red, yellow, green – I liked to call myself a traffic light).
My green band meant that I voluntarily requested a bed in the facility (meaning I could choose to leave any time I wished – not true for everyone). The red band meant that I have allergies to certain medications – to remind staff to look at my chart before administering anything to me.
The yellow band I had to request on my own from a day nurse, even though I’d mentioned this issue at my intake interview – it meant “fall risk” (vertigo).
Now I’m not one to jump off a horse (particularly one I picked out and saddled up myself) in mid-stream, so I wasn’t going to leave the place until I’d fully detoxed and my doctor agreed with my assessment.
When that finally did happen, and I got to speak to my case manager (CM) prior to going home, I had a few questions…
My first question was regarding the “missing” color band (not the yellow – but some color I never received because it doesn’t exist). It was, of course, the “Deaf/deaf/HOH” band. Or perhaps even a generic “different ability” band. Something that would at least flag the staff that they’d need to provide some extra accommodation for my situation.
I’d wear my “Please Face Me” pin, but pins are (understandably) contraband in a mental health facility.
My CM told me to be sure to write that on the evaluation form (which I’ve not seen a trace of yet).
My next “question” (really a statement) gave my CM a bit of that “deer in the headlights” look.
“In my aftercare program (group therapy sessions), I’m going to need CART.”
The CM needed the acronym deciphered, of course. Being the helpful guy I am, I did so, and also let her know that I could hook (whoever) up with some folks I know who can provide excellent remote CART – and all you need is an Internet enabled PC, a microphone, and Skype.
Those deer were becoming hood ornaments at an amazing rate.
“Well, there is a PC in the room where we do the sessions.”
Good, as long as it’s got Internet; and the folks I can hook you up with can tell you everything else you need to get/do.
[head nod affirmative]
And by the way, it’s required by law that you accommodate me.
The deer were frolicking in the roadway; the venison business booming.
I let it go at that, and moved on to more mundane questions about my ongoing meds, the schedule for aftercare, etc. The road crews cleaned up the mess, and traffic flowed cheerfully along now.
Although I’m pretty sure most readers won’t identify with my original goal, nor my choice of “hotels”, I’ll bet many of you have similar stories to tell about your interactions with the medical community in general.
Let’s face it – there are probably more than a few AUDIOLOGISTS who don’t know what CART is (or at least won’t mention it if they do). I’m learning (with the help of my SWC friends) that if there’s a battle to fight, than fight I’d better. Particularly when it comes to my (OK, mental) health.
In part two of this post, I’ll let you know how the aftercare accommodation turned out.
Cheers and best wishes for your own battles.