Thursday, November 26, 2009

Personal Note

I spent yesterday wondering whether the next phone call would mean I would have to book a flight to attend a funeral. Someone very close to me had gone AWOL He had been brought to a psychiatric unit - one he had spent several days in a couple of weeks ago - but this time the hospital had no beds. They transported him to a unit in another town. That hospital kept him overnight. When I talked to him the next day on the phone it was pretty clear to me he needed to be in the hospital.

But life is a lot more complicated. Even individuals in the worst mental distress may present a totally different face to hospital staff. And a hospital can hold a patient against his will only under extraordinary circumstances.

They released him to a city bus. They didn't inform his family. Standard procedure.  A full day elapsed. Nothing. No word.

Finally, a phone call. He’s back in the hospital, his original one.

My life has been on hold the last two or three weeks, and it will most likely continue that way for at least that long, probably a lot longer. I make phone calls. I wait for phone calls. I am ready to jump on a plane at a moment’s notice. If that happens, hopefully it will be in the role of a healer. But after what happened yesterday, I know that I could be delivering a eulogy.