Our Readers' Lives with Schizophrenia

Chapter 7. Hospitalization

Updated: Oct. 24, 2000



Reba, mother of Eric:
The first time my son was hospitalized I was actually relieved. Now we could get a diagnosis and he could begin a treatment plan and medication to help with his psychotic behavior. Since his hospital stay could not last more than several weeks, he was flown back to his home with a hospital escort. His psychiatrist called long distance every few days to advise Eric's condition and prognosis. I am very thankful to the excellent hospital staff who gave us some answers to our questions which were accurate. A patient must feel comfortable with his doctor and medical team. Too often, the patient is not listened to honestly and sincerely because of his illness.

[July 3, 2000]
The first time I was hospitalized, it was in a large metropolitan county hospital. I had nowhere else to go because I had no insurance. I had to wait a full day for a bed and slept on the waiting room floor. Once on the ward, I was distressed to find that all the doors were locked. A male nurse took me into a room and told me what a golden opportunity this was to make a plan for the rest of my life. I know he was trying to reach me somehow, but I felt completely removed from him and traumatized by the whole experience. I regretted signing myself in and tried to think up ways to open the locked windows. The male nurse handed me a book of essays written by mentally ill people. I was not able to concentrate very well on their stories, but I was relieved to find evidence that schizophrenic people actually did something after they got out of the hospital.

[Oct. 19, 2000]
The first time my son was admitted I cried so hard. I had no choice: either I was going to admit him or the police would be involved due to the fact that he hit a staff person at his special school. I tried to explain why I had to take him to the hospital. He thought I just wanted to get rid of him. I told him I love him and that I always would no matter what. After three days into the hospital I got a call at 11:00 p.m. saying they had to leather restrain my son and that I could call anytime I wanted. I called all night until finally five hours later he was out of the restraints. The second time was not as hard as the first time. The second time I saw it in his eyes and behavior, and I knew I couldn't do anything for him. He needed professional help again.

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Planning For Discharge

Reba, mother of Eric:
My son was discharged from the hospital and was accepted in a group home. This was after almost three years of hospitalization, off and on. I honestly do not know what I would have done without the opportunity he has been given to participate in a regular day program and with a structured support staff. I can only pray that he will continue taking his medication and continue his treatment plan.

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