Mike’s at Mercy in Iowa City for three days of psych observation. He checked himself in. I haven’t talked to Joe about it much today but – Mike didn’t really want to go, yet he trusted his friends enough to do it for them.
Joe, Jeremy, and Rosie took him up yesterday, and apparently it’s really fucking hard to get help of this kind – when I spoke to Joe before dinner last night, they’d been talking to psych staff all day with no results: no tests, no meds, no agreement that he particularly needed anything at all. It’s like you have to be homeless and destitute and criminally dangerous before they’ll take your blood to look for lithium. It’s bizarre.
I don’t know if his family’s even been notified; I would assume one of the Iowa City troupe called them with all the details last night.
It makes me sad that people have to go through what Mike’s been going through. It makes me sad that people have to go through what Mike’s friends and family have been going through. But I hope he can be diagnosed and that the beginings of management skills can be taught and learned – other people I know with similar conditions feel that it’s important to catch it early and do the things you need to do to keep it from getting really bad: meds, routine, diet, whatever it takes.
I’m still really shocked that it’s this difficult to get any kind of help from medical professionals. When a guy presents with three or four friends who say, “Our friend is exhibiting bipolar symptoms, he can’t be left alone, and we really want to help him, what can we do?” you’d think the doctor would interview the friends carefully and then plan a reasonable course of action.
You’d be wrong.
The first time they took Mike to the doctor, the staff apparently decided they were there to scam meds or something – even though they said they didn’t want any meds but wanted a thorough physical and some advice! I haven’t heard all the details of yesterday’s trip to the hospital, but it amounted to a lot of talking and the only reason it worked out at all was because Mike was brave enough to sign himself in. If he hadn’t been, nothing at all would have come out of it and someone would be missing work again today to care for him.
Anyway, Mike’s really strong and really smart, and he might fool them all – he can “suck it up” long enough to get through an interview or two. Hopefully three days is long enough for staff to observe how hard it is for him right now and they’ll run a few panels.
In other news, while Mike was at our place the other morning, it seems he called everyone he’s ever known – including the principal of his grade school – to tell them he’s okay. We never use our landline for long distance, so I never bothered to get a cheap carrier – our base rate is $0.10 a minute. We were already expecting a huge cell phone bill, considering how much time we’ve spent on or cells with everyone, but now we’re going to have a quite possibly gigantic phone bill to match. Hooah!