n. has been staying at PY1 – the Adolescent Psychiatry inpatient unit at the Winnipeg Health Sciences Center – since Friday August 13. He has been a voluntary inpatient for assessment. This represents a little progress. In February 2004 he had been admitted for a few days and started an assessment but he ran away.
On the first day of his hospital stay, he seemed to be confused and frightened. He was honest with me about his drug use and, at least that day, he appeared to be sincere about getting help to stop using all drugs except marijuana.
When he ran away last August (2003), he told his mother and me lies about drug dealers threatening to kill him to get us give him money – which of course paid for drugs. He admitted, at the time, that he was using drugs told his mother that he was limiting himself to “natural” drugs – marijuana and mushrooms. He now admits that he was trying a lot of drugs last summer and that when he ran away he was on a massive acid trip.
He admitted that he has been using crystal meth for the last couple of months. He said that he had been trying to get clean for a few days before during and after the weekend of August 7 and 8. I had called him from Edmonton on Sunday afternoon that weekend and had found that he was at the group home and had been there for a few nights. He had told me at the time that he was trying to get clean. However, he ran away from the group home again on Wednesday August 11. He lived on the street, and used it heavily for a couple of days. His girlfriend brought him back to the group home Friday night, August 13. He was agitated. He was hostile to another resident of the group home. He was warned that the staff were going to call the Mobile Crisis Intervention team. I am not sure what happened next, and whose idea it was, but he agreed to go to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
That led to some late night phone calls. The staff on duty at Garfield notified me that he was going to the hospital. The hospital wanted an adult to stay with him – which is their policy. The group home had no staff and Red, the manager, called me and insisted that I accommodate the hospital’s policy by sitting with n. I went to the hospital and arrived at 12:30 to find that n. had been seen by medical staff and was to be seen by a psychiatric resident. However n. was sleeping and still hadn’t been seen by 2:00 AM. I left. I was later told that n. slept all night and that he wasn’t seen until the morning, when he was admitted. I was informed that Red had been required by the hospital and CFS to send a worker to sit with n. for some portion of the time.
I had a call later in the week from n.’s worker at the group home, Iris, who said that Red had decided that n. should leave the program. I am not sure why Red ever accepted n. N. was never motivated to engage with the program, and was on the street using drugs throughout.
I have visited n. pretty well every day that he was in the hospital. On the first day, he was raw and vulnerable but he has become more confident, and he started to dictate his own rules and his own agenda. N. has tolerated my visits because I have been bringing cigarettes to the hospital, and because my visits break his routine. Last Thursday I attended a planning meeting at the hospital and I was told to expect that n. would leave the hospital within a week, after the assessment was concluded.
On Saturday his mom took n. and his girlfriend to a movie. In the evening I called n. and said I would do the same. He said I could take him to a movie and drop him someplace so he could be with his girlfriend. I was supposed to trust him to return to the hospital on time. I said I would have to think about that, and I said I would pick him up in the early afternoon for a movie. My plans did not work out. I was held up trying to complete the process of buying a bed for Claire. I had gone shopping shortly after 12:00 when the stores opened and I had thought we were close to making a decision – but we weren’t. I didn’t want to put pressure on Claire to make hasty decision.
I had my cell phone and I could have called n. and let him know that I was changing the timing of my plans, but I did not call n. until after 3:00 PM and in the mean time, he was giving the hospital staff a hard time. I don’t know why I didn’t call. I knew that n. was going to be hostile when I called because his plans for time with his girlfriend were being delayed. I picked him up around 4:00 PM. First we went to the group home on Garfield and picked up his effects – mainly clothes in plastic bags. He spent some time tearing through the bags looking for his remaining heavy metal band CD’s, which had disappeared.
I took him to a movie. He wanted me to go to a music store and buy him some new CD’s. I declined. We went to see Alien v. Predator. He seemed to like the movie and to appreciate my taking him out. He mentioned cigarettes and I promised that I would not let him run out while he was in hospital. He expected to spend time with his girlfriend and I dropped him at the apartment on Balmoral at 6:30. I said I would pick him up at 8:00. I said I would take him and his girlfriend out for dessert and coffee, drop her, and drive him back to the hospital. I called at 7:45 and said I would make it 8:30. I stopped and bought cigarettes. He was outside when I arrived at 8:30 with Sydney. He wanted to know if I had bought cigarettes. He wouldn’t make eye contact, and I thought he had been using drugs. He took the pack of cigarettes and walked away. I asked for the cigarettes back. He gave the pack back after taking out a half dozen smokes. I asked him how he would get back to the hospital. He said he would call his mother for a ride, or walk back.
He wasn’t back at the hospital by 11:00 and I got a call from the resident on duty. I explained what had happened. I said I knew where I had dropped him but didn’t know which apartment n. was in and I had not been prepared to try to force him to get in the car. The resident was upset with me for not getting n. back on time. He also seemed to be blaming me for having been late in picking n. up during the afternoon. He said that it gave n., who didn’t have a lot of empathy, an excuse for his misconduct. I called the apartment (n. had used my cell phone to call his girlfriend and the number was stored) and he told me he would get back to the hospital. I called a half hour later and he was still at the apartment. I said he should get dressed because I was picking him up. He agreed and he was outside when I drove up – although I think there was pressure from the other people in the apartment. N. felt he was entitled to stay with his girlfriend because I had been late and deprived them – or him – of his anticipated sexual adventure.
The next morning when I called n.’s mom, she accused me of triggering his defiance by not showing respect for n. I have also learned that she called a therapist that I have been seeing to enquiry about my status – an inappropriate and revealing request.
I visited n. a couple of times yesterday. He didn’t want to hear my explanation or excuses for being late on Sunday, and he thought he had a good reason for not going back to the hospital that night. He also said a doctor had helped him have an insight. He said he didn’t want to see me that much because when we saw each other too often, we fought.
Throughout his time in hospital he said he would refuse to live in a group home again. He says he is planning to live in an apartment with friends. They aren’t actually his friends. They are acquainted with his present girlfriend, a 15 year old runaway named Sydney. He says they are against “jib” (crystal meth) but it appears they use other drugs. He says they have jobs and pay rent. He wouldn’t initially say who they are or where they live. I learned that there is male youth named Keith and pregnant female youth named Albee and possibly others, living in an apartment on Balmoral.
I have now seen n.’s girlfriend a couple of times. I saw her when she was visiting n. at the hospital last Thursday, and I saw her on Sunday. She has a Goth look and looks tired and and worn down by living on the street. She seemed ok on the Thursday but there was something about her eyes when I saw them on Sunday. n. says she wants to be clean and will help him stay clean but he has not been able to tell the truth about drugs for long time. He seems to be looking for a place where he can be with his girlfriend.
He complains that I don’t trust him to get clear of drugs and to get a job. He wants me to trust him by paying for his rent and food until he gets a job and can pay his way. He has made that request a few times. It does back to the plan he had when before he ran away last summer. He apparently told his mom he wanted me to pay for an apartment and food for him so he could be by himself and not bother us and not be bothered by our stupid rules. Nice deal. It looks like he would like me to support a girlfriend and assorted hangers on. He gets peer approval, pussy and drugs. I get the satisfaction of putting a roof over his head and food in his mouth, and knowing that he has shelter and some food. The problems are that he isn’t doing anything in his life and he isn’t safe in that situation. I may as well buy his drugs too.
I have been invited to a discharge meeting this morning. I think he will be leaving the hospital, which means that CFS will have to find a place for him to stay – if he agrees. I don’t know if there is going to be a plan for treatment, medication, therapy or counselling.