Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Men I Care For / Lloyd

Last night a patient told me that he was out of prison in a halfway house, where another parolee promised to surely kill him when he least expected it. My patient, a paranoid schizophrenic, took him at his word, and in an act of self-preservation promptly murdered his tormentor. When not in his manic, paranoid phase, my patient is mild and soft spoken--a pleasure to be around. When manic he wears everyone out. We have to assign a staff member to be with him 24 hrs a day for his own protection. Just drives patients and staff up the wall with his constant intensity.

Last night a man said he was looking for a program that could help him understand his pedophilia, and figure out why he did those things and hurt so many people, especially his own family and friends. He said he didn’t want to offend again and he was afraid to be released until he could change.

Last night we told a patient that his doctor discontinued his Benadryl and prescribed something else for sleep. The doctor explained that Benadryl not only destroyed his sleep architecture but also disrupts mental functioning. The patient refused the new sleep medication and began dumping smelly garbage all over the floor, then escalated to picking up very large and heavy chairs and tables and crashing them to the floor. We had to put him in full-bed restraints.

these are the men I care for

It’s an awesome responsibility to have custody of another human being. Some people need a secure, highly structured environment to be ok. And as line-of-care staff we must keep foremost in our thoughts that we are helping our patients to achieve an optimum mortal experience by keeping them and others safe while they stabilize on medications and figure things out. In some cases the care will be indefinite, but most will return to the street. We wish they would continue taking their medications when out on their own.

I often wonder how the Lord would succor them. It’s so easy for us to feel entitled to a life free of the challenges my guys face.  But mental illness cuts across all of society. One thing for sure, I’m learning to treat everyone I meet with respect and kindness. Never know when I’ll be in conversation with a paranoid schizophrenic or when the person I’ve known well may become one.


  1. Wow, Dad. I was just telling Josh yesterday that it is so nice to talk to you and that you are so gentle and patient and understanding. Josh mentioned that you had to go through a lot to get that way. Thank you for going through what you have had to go through to become the man and Father that you are today. I will be eternally grateful for your help on the phone with me yesterday and though out my struggles with Depression. With all my love, Megan Rose Abbott

  2. Your men sound like the ones Dominic works with. I read him a little bit, and he nodded his head emphatically. You make a very good point at the end: you never know when someone is struggling.


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