To anyone that suffers the effects of being bipolar, or live with someone who does, I’m sorry I used the term in my title for the purpose of explaining the extreme highs and lows this thanksgiving will bring me. Though. this story will not be without someone who suffers with severe mental psychosis. For anyone who must live or has contact with someone with mental problems, my heart goes out to you, for I now know what it’s like to have a loved one being crippled by a mental disease.
Thanksgiving is a time when we are supposed to look at what we have, and rejoice in the blessings of our life. For myself, there are certainly things I can give thanks for. And not just any small things, I’m talking “first baby on November 1st” kind of things. If not for certain events happening in my life, I’d be the most lucky and gracious man on the face of the earth. But in less then a month since then, my life has taken on extreme challenges.
Perhaps it would be better if I took us back a little, to better understand where I am now. In the summer of 2008, my mom (69yrs old) was brought into the hospital for breathing problems. I was living in Florida at the time (my parents live in New Hampshire, where I grew up.), and was not too worried, mostly because she had been in and out of hospitals my whole life, and didn’t feel I needed to be alarmed. I then got a phone call from the doctors saying I needed to come to New Hampshire if I wanted to see my mom alive one last time.
So I grabbed what I could and headed home. When I got back, I found my mom in a terrible state. She could not talk (a new tracheal tube was put in), and had developed a psychosis to go along with low vital signs. She kept trying to pull out her tube and kept asking (mouthing) to die. Her vitals started to get better, but her mental state remained the same. The doctors kept telling me she was of sound mind (which would strip me of my power of attorney) and said my dad and I were being selfish for hanging on.
I told them that was crap, and I know my own mother. I then did research into something called “ICU psychosis” (I heard one of the nurses fleetingly mention that one night), and found she had many symptoms that defined the term. To keep this story from being too long, I convinced them they needed to move her (though the doctors thought it was a bad idea) out of there. So they weaned her off the drugs, and what happens?, she pulls a complete 180 degree turnaround and finds her mind again. I was right all along. I had even read that she would remember everything, and she did! She remembers telling me she hated me. She even thought she was home for a whole week. Since then, she credits me for saving her life. I do give thanks for that.
Over the next 2 years, she was moved from Lakes Region General Hospital (Laconia, NH), to Franklin Hospital, then down to New Bedford Rehab Hospital (Massachusetts), to Exeter Hospital (NH), then finally home in August 2010. She was home 2 months before getting an infection from the tracheal tube. Shes back in the hospital in Laconia.
Though she is doing better, my dad has started to slip away. He has always taken medication for severe depression, but over the past month he has started to become delusional. I don’t know if it’s because of switching doctors, or all the new meds, or what, but now he has what is called “bad me” paranoia. He believes (at times, it comes and goes, which is equally painful) the neighbor upstairs (they live in a living assisted apartment, he’s 76) is trying to gas and poison him through the walls, and fears people are trying to hurt him because they know he didn’t live a completely good life. Last week, I was with him. and had to call 911 because of a moderate heart attack. I now fear for his life, and they won’t let my mom go home till he’s better. It’s breaking my heart to pieces.
To cap it all off, last month I had to put money into my parents bank account so they could pay a phone bill. In the process I put in much more, so I could pay my rent with one of their checks. Turns out they had an enormous outstanding debt owed somewhere, and my rent check bounced. Since having the baby on November 1st, I’ve not been working as much and have no money but for the baby. So now I need to make 1100 dollars in 6 days or my new family will be on the street. At least we’ll have a home for our first thanksgiving, but I don’t know what will happen come the 30th.
So here I am, very high, very low. It’s hard to know if I’m coming or going at times. Let me take this last moment to give thanks though. I thank my girlfriend for the love we share. I look at no one but her (as Christ asks), and we share a profound and intimate love. I thank God for our baby girl, who is my girlfriend and I’s love manifested in physical form. She’s beautiful and healthy, and I’m more in love then I could ever imagine. I give thanks that my mom is alive and able to talk. Truly a miracle. I even give thanks that she got sick in the first place, or I’d never have moved back, met the love of my life, and had a baby. I also give thanks for my dad being alive. Perhaps a miracle awaits him too. I give thanks for my job, that lets me work when I want because of the arrival of my child (thanks Outback Steakhouse!), and will be training me for management when I’m back to a normal routine. Which will take away our severe money woes.
Along with giving thanks, I am also in great need. I need my dad to get better so he can see his first grandchild, and so my mom can go home. I also need a money miracle so we have a place to stay, come my families first Christmas.
As blessed as I feel, I’m more stressed as I’ve ever been and can feel the weight of the world coming down on me of late. At least we’ll have a turkey, and each other, this thanksgiving.