Sunday, August 14, 2011

Staying Sober in College

My husband found this article in the Wall Street Journal - thought I would share the link for it:


This is a great idea, I think. Seems like it would be a worthwhile effort, to get a center or a designated room(s) for recreation, meetings, etc, on every campus. Just a thought.

Update on the med situation: We were blessed this week to have two persons in our blogging community donate to us the exact medication my daughter needs. I was just blown away by the thoughtfulness and the generosity. She has enough to go about two months, and she has an appointment with the school doctor, to see if there is mental health help there which would include medication prescriptions. I have located a number of online resources for cutting the cost of the meds also. We have a plan and she is very grateful for what we received this week! Lou also gave me ideas for places to contact regarding medications that I would never have thought of! Thank you, one and all! I appreciate you all so much!

She's registering for at least two classes, possibly three, but I'm thinking she will probably stick with just two. She is on the verge of finishing her two year (Associate) degree. She is supposed to qualify for financial aid this semester, because she nailed her two courses last semester with an A and a B+. After this semester, all that is standing between her and the degree is some on-line math classes.

She's changed jobs successfully. She'll be working in a family-style restaurant in the mornings waitressing, and then she is an on-call employee for a catering company in south county (which she LOVES). She worked the US Open (surfing championship) last weekend for four straight days and can't wait for her next event.

Things have been a bit tense around the house.... while her med levels were low, she was a bit manic, and her dad has been, well, cranky. We have a lot going on with my business dying, and his part-time job becoming increasingly difficult (he feels they are trying to run out the old guys, and I can't make a judgment call because I'm not there every day). Finances are tight but sufficient.

What I can see, is his behavior around here which has me a bit concerned. He has always been outspoken and opinionated, but lately he has seemed more intent on having things go his way (even if it means breaking some promises), and at times, downright hurtful and mean.

Since my oldest daughter (DD1) has astutely targeted some of these behaviors and spoken to me out of concern for him, now new things are coming up on my radar screen. Is he well? Is he just turning into a cranky old fart? Or is this possibly indicative of something more?

Heaven knows I can be a cranky old broad. I am determined to try to stay calm and ironically, a lot of what I have learned in Alanon is coming to my aid. I don't have to participate in activities that might result in my being insulted. Every now and then he surprises me with behavior that is so nice/thoughtful that I almost can't believe it is the same person. Then it flips again.

I am trying to walk a fine line between not arguing with him over decisions being made regarding DD2, and trying to encourage her and applaud her accomplishments while insisting that both daughters respect the position he holds in their lives, if they are not able to respect him (his behavior) at some points. I have encouraged both of them to stay focused on their goals to get moved out - that will solve a huge amount of the problem, right there!

We still talk of moving to Tennessee. It all hinges on making sure that Tennessee's guaranteed-issue insurance is still available to me once we arrive. Fifty medical conditions qualify you for that guaranteed issue coverage which I will need for several years before reaching MediCare years. I have one of the fifty conditions.

Much will have to be accomplished around this house (painting, some renovations) to get it ready to sell in another 18-24 months; and I welcome the lightened work schedule which will permit me more time to do some of that preparation for selling, and of course, some sewing and quilting!

LeBoyfriend's brother is still hospitalized, complications include lack of motility in the bowel and an as yet unlocalized infection which has his white count soaring. Once they get his digestive system functioning properly and the infection handled, he will be transferred down here, and begin working on regaining his range of motion, etc.

LeBoyfriend took it upon himself to go to a former employer and apologise for the events of last year, and request that they consider rehiring him to drive for them. He prayed about it, he was honest and open with them, he offered to be drug tested at his expense any time. He was met with understanding, acceptance and a promise to seriously consider his reapplication.

Yesterday he found out that it is almost a certainty that he will get that job back. Driving for an oil refinery is an excellent paying job. One more step in rebuilding his life. I'm so proud of him!

I can't remember whose blog I saw this on, but I have printed it and stuck it on my monitor because it is Oh So True:

"I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to." Amen.

My prayers for all our children continue. :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Looking for the Wisdom

At her most recent parole visit, my daughter was informed by the psych office that they will no longer be providing bupropion (generic for Wellbutrin). They will still cover her other medication, but he didn't recommend she take the other one alone. None of the medications they will still cover have proved effective in the past.

Their reason? The parole psychiatric board has decided that bupropion has been abused by some parolees in the past. Apparently by whatever means (crushed, cooked and injected? crushed and snorted? I dunno!) it gives a somewhat methamphetamine-ish feeling. Speed was not my daughter's drug of choice, though she has done it in the past. Heroin is her drug.

That's it. The end. No detox or tapering down. She's just going to be out of meds. And she's feeling the return of the bipolar symptoms. We're seeing them.

I'm trying to locate the best price and then I will approach both my personal physician and a neurologist I actually work for. Both are familiar with my daughter's situation. Perhaps one of them will continue to write her Rx.

In the meantime, she's trying to work hard, taper the second med and face the possibility that she may not be able to get her meds for a while. It took us a decade to get her willing to take them. She did it as a condition for coming home. I'm at a loss to understand why this has happened, but I'm sure there is a reason. Maybe she will be able to stabilize and maintain both her sobriety and living with her manic depressive symptoms. Time will tell.

Update on LeBoyfriend's Brother: Surgery went well, and after he is fitted with a back brace, they hope to transfer him home (five hour journey, I think) for recuperation.

And I found out that the swimming hole they had found was one the boys jumped as kids, when they were as young as 8 and 10. The family camped there every year, and this was a spot that LeBoyfriend had written to my daughter about when they were in prison. He described it as heaven on earth, with endless stars at night and beauty everywhere you looked. He told her if they did well when they got out, he would take her there.

He worked so hard to put this trip together, saved his money for camping equipment and food, bussed in his 16-year-old daughter and her boyfriend to go with them, and brought everyone together for a fun four day camping trip. He's so sad right now that his brother was hurt. He feels so responsible! He's already making plans to help with brother's financial responsibilities until he can work again.

He just never thought about getting older, bodies not being able to take what they used to take, etc. I still think it was more remote than it needed to be, but the fact that his family had been there for years makes me understand it a little better. It was just a fluke, I guess.

Prayers continue for all our children, and especially

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I'm a little cranky about this, so excuse the snarky attitude displayed in my writing today.

So LeBoyfriend and DD2, and his Brother and Brother's wife, all went camping in some remote area by a river, I think way outside of Fresno, and since I am not from this area, I have no clue really, where they were. I suggested they do something more local, with maybe a touch more civilization involved. Like maybe at least near a KOA campground, if not in it? I suggested that remote wasn't necessary. I suggested that there are things like bears. Snakes. And the occasional random injury that might require attention.

Nope, the immortality complex being what it is, they gleefully loaded up the two speed boats, and drove the boys' two big pickup trucks full of camping gear and off into the sunset they went. They have been there several days, and have had a ball.

Well, I presume they've had a ball. They are so remote there is no cell phone coverage. It's been nice and quiet here, and I've assumed no news was good news.

I got a call from Brother's Wife tonight, because "DD2 can't talk cos she's driving LeBoyfriend's truck and the boat." Huh? She has never driven anything like that.

Or maybe she has, and I just don't know that, but anyway, my comment remains. Huh?

Well, she had to drive the truck, you see, because LeBoyfriend was driving Brother's truck and boat.

Why isn't Brother driving Brother's truck? Oh, because Brother is in the emergency room.


Finally, I got some answers.

Seems they were jumping into a portion of the river that formed a sort of swimming hole. Brother jumped. He somehow hit the water wrong and had to have help getting dragged out. He was in tremendous pain in his back. He impulsively tried to get up and walk and that resulted in him becoming white as a sheet, dropping like a stone, and starting to shake and being diaphoretic and disoriented.

I'm sure I'll get more details later. At this point, the story delivered by Brother's Wife was a chaotic swirl of "hiked out to the trucks to drive and call for help, EMT's came and hiked in, radio call sent out for helicopter, firefighters called in to remove TREES so Med-Evac could land, and Brother was Med-Evac'd out to a hospital in Fresno."

After Brother was successfully airlifted, the rest of them had to break camp, load the boats from the river onto the trailers, and then my daughter began the adventure of creeping down the mountain driving a truck and trailer with a speed boat on it. With LeBoyfriend driving right in front of her biting his nails as he watched her drive his monster truck and boat for the first time, while he drove Brother's truck and boat.

This all took place at 1 pm? Or maybe the adventure began at 1? All I know is that it was almost 9 PM when they called to tell me this disjointed story, and they had arrived at the hospital and were with Brother. Neurosurgery was at the bedside doing a consultation for a compound fracture of his back, revealed by the MRI.

Apparently he is still moving arms and legs, so I find that positive. He will need a lot of treatment, immobilization perhaps, or quite possibly some surgery. More will be revealed.

Addicts just can't do anything the safe or simple way. I don't mean that in a derogatory sense, I'm just saying this is how it seems to go. Their "thinkers" seem broken to me. Or maybe it's the immaturity that persists because the drug use got in the way of the maturing process. They had choices that would have been safer or closer to facilities in case of need. Bears and snakes turned out to be the least of the issues. Brother was brought down by a swimming hole.

Of course, it wasn't until my third phone call from them that they let it slip that the jump into the swimming hole was off a river bank from a height of about thirty feet.

Not smart.

I wonder if there was an officer of the law anywhere around during all of this? That would count as police contact, and oopsie….

None of them had permission from parole officers to be out of the county.

And the lessons continue!!

I think my crankiness is due to concern that she will lose her job(s) if she lingers there at the hospital, with the rest of the family. I suggested she hop a greyhound, come back and get back to work on time and then plan on spending a lot of time visiting him on weekends and helping out once he is transferred down here. But, her decisions are hers to make. If she wants to risk losing her income and the ensuing arguments with her Dad over her inability to pay her bills, that's on her. I will just pray for wisdom for her and healing for Brother. And maybe some maturity for the lot of them and some understanding of the fragility of the human body and life in general!


Edited to add: the boys' parents are at Brother's side; my daughter and LeBoyfriend are returning home tomorrow to resume work schedules on time. Surgery for Brother is Thursday morning (spinal fusion with rodding (2) and fixation, possible Allograft). If all goes well, once surgery is complete, discharge will be rapid, likely Saturday or Sunday, because once the fusion is done, the fracture can't really move or displace. They had Brother and Wife's five-year-old son with them for the camping trip and he's understandably worried about daddy since he witnessed the whole thing, but the firemen/paramedics/helicopter were both exciting and reassuring for him. Looks like this adventure will have a happy ending, and I am grateful!