Breakdown Coming

N continued on the same course for another two weeks since I last wrote about him on January 9. The more drugs he did, the more things went wrong. The more things went wrong, the more drugs he did. He called me asked me to drive him to the hospital last Friday (January 21) and he was admitted to one of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry wards. I don’t think I can deal with everything in one post, and I will talk about what has happened after he left CFS care on January 6, through to noon on Thursday January 20 in this entry.


CFS ended his hotel placement but CFS did not turn him on to the street – it arranged for him to have shelter at the Salvation Army’s shelter. N. refused to go there because he said he could not stand to be with huffers (glue/solvent/gas sniffers), winos, and neechis (aboriginal people). I think he may have stayed with young people with apartments in the downtown area, with his friend Mark on St. Mary’s Road for a couple nights. He spent a few nights in the emergency shelter on Mayfair.
He went to see Lyle, his worker at the TRY program on Monday January 10. He wanted me to meet him and buy him food and give him money. N. decided to go to the TRY program for his remedial work. N. wasn’t where I expected to find him and I went to talk to Lyle, his worker at the TRY program. Lyle was supportive of n.’s finishing the remedial work and moving to part time employment but he had concerns about whether n. had a stable and safe place to live. I later found n. and had lunch with him. I did give him some money. I told him that my own situation was becoming unbearable. I was unhappy in my career and thinking of selling the house and moving away, perhaps to Alberta. I said I would not be able to keep coming to his rescue, and that he would have to look out for himself. I said I hoped he would finish the remedial work and get a job soon.
This was not a bluff or a threat on my part. I have neglected my career. For quite a while I worked on fixing problems in my old firm and specific cases without looking at my career as a whole. I am feeling worn out, and I don’t expect to keep doing the same kind of work until I retire. N. wasn’t sure how to take it. I think he has always assumed that I would be around and support him in the last resort. Much of his anger at me in the last two or three years has been founded in his his sense of entitlement. He thinks I have lots of money and should be supporting him while he has fun with his friends, plays video games, and does drugs. He complains that I am controlling him and that I don’t “respect” his “choices”.
On Thursday January 13 his CFS worker called me in the afternoon. He said that n. had used up his nights at Mayfair (there is a limit of three nights in a week). He said that n. had found a bed at Nidinaway, a shelter on Flora that provides care for up to two or three weeks, but was being turned out because he had scabies, an infectious infestation of parasitic mites. He said n. could not go to the Salvation Army that night because of a shortage of places. He wanted me to take n. for a night or two until Nidinaway would take him or the Salvation Army had room. I agreed and went to pick n. up but he had other plans. By this point, Danielle had been discharged from the hospital. She seemed to be in hotel placement at the Norvilla hotel on Henderson Highway. She had bus tickets and n. had already made plans to meet her at Mark’s house on St. Mary’s Road. All he wanted from me was a ride to Mark’s house to conserve his own bus tickets.
I think he wanted contact and connection, but he also seems to be waiting for me to approve of his life and to start supporting it. Mainly, he berated me for the whole trip. He said that I was controlling CFS and making his life miserable. He said that his friends were important to him, and that he would die for them. He said a job was not important. He said he did not want to be like me, trapped in a bad job and friendless. He criticized me for being too specialized and unable to adapt to change. I asked him if he had arrived at that insight himself or if someone had helped him. He wouldn’t talk about it, which makes me think that he had a little help.
On Saturday morning (January 15) he went back to Nidinaway. The weekend staff were unwilling to admit him without proof that his scabies had been treated. They called me to get him, and I refused and suggested they contact the CFS after-hours desk. They complained that he was being verbally abusive and starting to hit the walls and damage the facility, but they said that he had backed down when they told him they were calling the police.
When I saw n. on Monday and Thursday, he was edgy, he had visible acne, and tended to scratch at itches All of this has seemed to come and go, and to be worse when he is homeless, which I tended to attribute to stress and poor hygiene. I have since heard that these signs are consistent with heavy use of crystal meth. I have realized that the staff at the shelter must have seen him as an active drug user. They don’t necessarily refuse service on that basis, although they don’t want drugs in their facility. They don’t trust n. to stay clean, and they are not giving him any slack. N. may not have had scabies, but he probably did not see his itching as a side-effect of drug use, and he tried to get relief for itching. Unfortunately that story did not make him a good candidate to stay in a shelter.
He called later in the day, early in the evening, and said that the CFS after-hours staff had placed him in the Boulevard Motel on Portage Avenue. He wanted me to bring him an electrical power bar and an adapter so he could use his Playstation. I said I was not going to make a trip that evening. I said I would drop in on Sunday and I asked him to call and confirm what he needed on Sunday morning. He called late on Sunday afternoon. He had gone out on Saturday, stayed out late and slept in. I said it was now into my supper hour and I was not going to upset my day to deal with his needs.
On Monday morning at 6:00 AM he phoned me to tell me that the sink in his hotel room had broken and the water pipes had broken. He said he had been in bed and the worker had accidentally broken the sink but was blaming him for the incident. The worker had gone out to try to get help in contacting the management (there is no night manager at this motel). When the worker came back, n. and the worker got into a long argument and n. stopped talking on the phone. I hung up. There were a couple more calls in the morning. The worker managed to divert the flow into the bathtub and eventually someone got a plumber to shut the water off. The sink had been cracked. The worker had seen a leak and managed to make matters worse by jiggling the sink. N. said the crack had been there before he was placed in the room.
N’s CFS social worker called later on Monday and said that the CFS after-hours staff had made a mistake and that n. should not have been placed in a hotel, and that he could go to the Salvation Army or a shelter if he could get in. N. called me and said he could not get in to Nidinaway. The workers on duty would not admit him without direction from the house manager, who was not working on Monday. I said I could not help him when he was acting so badly. I said CFS had provided him with food and shelter and that he had other resources. I suggested that Lyle, his worker at the TRY program could should help him to contact Nidinaway to apologize for Saturday. I said I could not help him until he had a job and had some control over his own time. N. wanted to leave his duffel bag with me and I agreed that he could drop it at my office. He wanted money for food and I gave him some money.
I don’t remember clearly if I heard from n. on Tuesday. I recall that I did get several phone calls on Tuesday or Wednesday, and I recall meeting him for lunch and buying lunch at a food court one day or both days. He has a notebook of phone numbers, and he was busy tracking down his friends and trying to arrange to see Danielle.
N. told me, on one of our talks earlier in the week, that his friend Mark had been arrested on charges of breaking and entering. He said that he had not been involved. He said he had the chance but did not, which is why he was poor and homeless. Since Mark lives with his parents, I am not sure he has made any more money from crim than he needs for drugs. N said that he knew that someone had informed on Mark, and that his name had been mentioned by the informant. I said that if he had been an adult, the police might have decided to arrest him too.
On Thursday morning, he arrived at my office before I did. I had my assistant send him to the donut shop on the main floor and I met him and bought him breakfast. He said he has spent the night in the Cityplace complex which adjoins the new Arena, and has guessed the combination of a locked washroom. He said he had spent the night there undisturbed. He wanted to use my phone to try to connect with Danielle. I said I had to work, but he didn’t want to leave. He wanted batteries for his discman and money. I agreed to meet him at 11:30 AM and take him with me when I went to the hospital for my appointment, and to buy batteries on the way. He spent the morning in the donut shop.
A number of things have started to crumble for N. His girlfriend may not be that committed. His friend Mark is in jail. His other friends may sell him drugs, but they won’t help with shelter and food. The social service agencies are not tolerating verbal abuse and disregard for their rules. Last summer, he had an easy placement and he abused it. He is reaching the end of his resources.

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