Thursday, August 19, 2004

Street Legal Part Vll

Sally was of course in the locked ward, so when I arrived at the hospital, I had to show ID before I was let in. There are quite a few locked wards, women's section, men's section, childrens, general etc. Depending on individual cases and the circumstances of each, a patient is assigned a specific ward. Sally was in the general ward. That meant there were both men and women of all ages except small children residing there. It is very quiet, more so than regular hospital wards. This is deliberate as mentally ill people do much better if there is serenity. I guess we all do in fact. A very sweet nurse took me to Sally's room and cautioned me to not be afraid of what I was to see. Sally was being restrained for her own protection. Nothing on earth will ever rid me of the image. There she was, this tiny 85 lb. girl, wrapped in white sheets but with both wrists tied to the rails. One ankle was also tied to a rail. The other was loose as it was quite chaffed from Sally's struggling against the restraints. She had been given a sedative but was fairly alert. "So much for freedom" says Sally, as ever, the cryptic one. I think that a mothering instinct sets in when you see such vulnerability. I just held her restrained hand and talked about the family. I told her that her mom (D) was coming, and isn't it just the way, even with the worst of mothers, children's eyes light up when they hear that word! MOM. At this point I wasn't very impressed with D's past behavior, but I would learn to be more tolerant.
Sally was ok, she was calm, and began to relax a little after I arrived. I suppose she didn't feel so alone anymore. At least I hope so. I didn't stay long that day, as Sally was being sedated quite heavily and she needed a lot of sleep.
I called D as soon as I returned home. I actually expected to hear that she was on her way to the city. But no, she decided that she really didn't need to come right away. She would arrive in time for the Hearing. Now, to my way of thinking, if it had been my child, I would have been on an airplane the moment I received the call that my child was in trouble. But D decided that Sally was fine in hospital, so she would come and spend a day or two after the hearing. She would go to the park and talk to some of Sally's "friends", walk around the area, and visit with Sally, then return home.
I didn't see Sally the next day, as a Social Worker called and said that Sally had a bad night and needed the day to recouperate. Her night was terrible because her body and mind were reacting to fear of the unknown, as well as all the street drugs she had ingested over time. I arrived for the afternoon hearing on day 3. D was there. Sally was dressed, and looking quite refreshed condsidering all her bruises, cuts and infected mouth piercing.
I had known D for many years, we became friends when Sally's father and D met in University. We weren't close, but I knew her personality well. She was a "Hippy" then and she remained true to her "Hippy"nature. Most "Hippies" grew older, grew up, and moved on, but D remained the same. She was always a very nice "laid back" girl, she still is. The only problem was, and still is , no one told her that smoking cigarettes, reefers and other drugs with your child and her friends was not really a good idea. D's father's philosophy was that he had no right to impose his will on anyone even if he disagreed with their actions. So in essence he disagreed with D's smoking dope with his child, but hey, if that was her decision what could he do? Sally asked me to take notes at the hearing so that she would have information if anything went wrong.
Seated at a boardroom table were about 10 people including Sally who was given a seat in the middle of one side. Her assigned psychiatrist flanked her on one side and her social worker on the other. The others in the room were various doctors, and a citizens advocate from where I am not sure anymore. D and I were given seats behind all of these people. As Sally was over 16 she had to speak for herself. A parent has no input unless asked specific questions from either their child or a member of the Board. I was there for moral support for both D and Sally. I'm afraid I needed it as well. It was quite intimidating at the time. However, Sally did extremely well, being an articulate and gifted girl. I was afraid D was going to pass out a couple of times though. Fear, no cigarettes or dope and no alcholol for three hours can be taxing indeed! By the time the hearing was complete, I needed a drink too!
Final installment to follow.



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