I was surprised to get a call from somebody at the County who remembered her from a year ago. This person said they would keep an eye out for her, and, it seems, try to keep her from being arbitrarily discharged from Psychiatric Emergency Services again, if she shows up there again and they hear about it.
Sometimes I am very nice to these people who call; I left a message for Mr. Davis thanking him for listening to me the other day, and asking God to bless his heart. But after a few minutes of walking around with my cell phone listening to this inoffensive lady, I remembered how angry I was. I think in two years I have only once ever heard back from her agency, and I was in no way ready to start forgiving them. I told her, “Telecare Corporation is a bunch of whores!” (They discharge people for whatever reason, and say their discharge policies are a proprietary secret.) “The doctors at Psychiatric Emergency Services are a bunch of flatbacking whores!” (In fact they used to get bonuses for discharging people quickly.) “The County Conservator’s office is useless!”
She listened to me for quite a while and then started to interrupt by saying she wanted to ask me a question. “Just answer me this question,” she said. “How would you know when she is ready to be discharged?” I had a ready answer: “First of all, not until you have tried every drug you can try to address her delusions, including Clozaril. If you discharge her the way she is now, you shorten her life.”
After some ranting on my part she asked another question. “Tell me this. Do you understand we can’t keep her locked up forever?”
And how did I answer? I didn’t say “why not?” I know why not, they don’t have the beds because they don’t have the money. But I refuse to take that as an answer. “I can only save one kid at a time, it is all I can do. If you have to kick her out so other kids can have a chance–it’s not my job to save those other kids. It is all I can do to save the one I can.”
And looking back I wonder: Why is she asking me about forever? Diana won’t live forever. Sometimes I give her a month or two, sometimes a year.