We’re back at the hospital. But my son won’t go in. He feels worthless and embarrassed. I try to convince him the importance of follow-up, to not give up, the squeaky-wheel, etc.
There’s a downpour of relentless buckets of sideways rain outside. While we sit in the car talking, a steady stream of cars are circling through the parking lot trying to find a spot. My son comments “This parking lot is like our healthcare system: not enough space for all of us that are asking for help.”
I go into ER without him, feeling lucky there’s no line-up. I ask to see the crisis nurse.
I explain that he was here last week and had agreed to treatment. The crisis nurse had referred him to the ACT team. She also told us to come back to her if we didn’t get help from ACT. He has just survived a major relapse of heroin use, correction: fentanyl. He has bipolar disorder. He is homeless and penniless. Where can he go for help.
She says there’s the shelter, soup kitchen and food bank. Where is your son right now?
I ask her how do I get him to do that – he’s unwell, he’s puking and shivering, he’s gloomy maybe suicidal – and I can’t even get him out of my car to come in here.
Well, then you may have to call the police.
But how will that help him? There’s already a no-contact-order therefore they will likely throw him in jail. Last time that happened they wouldn’t allow him his daily medication so he was in Suboxone withdrawal all night. Besides, I am concerned he might feel cornered and lose his temper. Then they might shoot him or possibly taser him to death. He needs health care, not a jail cell.
What, there’s a no-contact order? Well, we’ll have to call the police if you don’t.
But how will that help him …oh, never mind …don’t bother yourself …I’ll figure something out …again. (Will the circle be unbroken …)