Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Terrible Need for Education about those with mental health issues: WHEN THE SAINTS COME MARCHING IN.....

I have a client in a rural western NC county. He had an aneurysm clipped in his head by very very soophisticated neurosurgeons in Charleston, SC. They mapped his language area prior to the surgery in an attempt to preserve it.

He nevertheless has profound speech problems now. He also has seizures which take place when he gets emotionally over-wrought. He had one today when he was telling me about his life. His wife gave him the prescribed medication; he rested in his chair while we talked outside.

He talks in a very very slow manner as associated with his surgery. His judgment, however, is good to excellent as is his insight related to the stories he slowly, slowly related.

Someone associated w/ the family had contacted me in order to do some testing as associated with this vague (DSS people are supposed to be educated) description of dad as 'medically/ psychiatrically impaired'---and I guess, therefore not fitting to be a parent to his 12 yr old daugther.

He simply cannot express himself very well and he needs more speech therapy by a speech pathologist who does not dismiss him as being 'tongue-tied', and therefore, assumably 'hopeless.'

Psychologically, he merits a DSM IV diagnosis, a mental health diagnosis, Cognitive Disorder NOS. This is the DSM diagnosis for head injuries/ brain infarcts. Just like your heart can have an infacrt (a heart attack) his brain had one.

First the police came over to investigate, upon a call from a close-by neighbor (they live in a trailer park: there is no privacy) associated with the client talking very loudly to someone in his family.

He talks very loudly and very very slowly and he gets louder the more emotionally overwrought he becomes. Thus, the police report.

Well, then the police called up the county DSS workers. They came over and called him 'belligerant.' He was simply talking in his emotionally over-wrought, loud, very very slow voice as the police were undoubtedly encouraging him to tone it down and as he realized they were wondering about his ability to parent his 12 yr old daughter.

His saintly wife and his daughter, who have been with him since his surgery two years ago, explained that he is prone to seizures and he talks very very slowly.

The county DSS worker described the daughter as 'cold', and the mother was also labelled with this odd term. The mother sees herself as extremely organized and attempting to control matters around her husband's health. Ditto the daughter.

I've never ever seen such an organized person.

However, in conjunction w/ the loud very very slow speech of the client and the labeling of the daughter's (aberrant; impaired; unusual for 12 yr old) reactions to her father's condition as 'cold' ----they simply removed her from the home.

Thankfully, they placed the 12 yr old in a 'kinship' home, the home of a good friend of hers who is recovering from being sexually abused by her perpetrator 18 yr old brother.

Oh, he's not in the home anymore; sometimes he just comes around.

The couple can visit their only child one hour/ week/ at the DSS office. In a piece of paper given to the wife by the DSS office, they indicated that there could be no whispering between the parents and the child during their brief visit/ once/ week.

Moreover, the daughter's optometrist and yearly physical has to be attended by the DSS social worker as the mother refuses to leave her husband. On the basis of no information, DSS suggested that dad be placed in an assisted living site such that the daughter did not have to give her father his anti-seizure pills (he has had, count them, 52 seizures since his surgery 2 years ago).

The DSS workers stated that the daughter has been (enslaved?) as associated w/ caring for her invalid father. My goodness! That's why she is so 'cold.'

I left their trailer hearing a song in my head about buying a rifle with a scope, an old song by Loudon Wainwright. Their story made me completely crazy. I had to quit my assessment and simply advise them to get out of town ASAP.

I drove my car to a local site where there is an open mine; you walk up the hill and its as if the Milky Way unfolds in front of you in terms of the starry night, the glittering rocks, the bats swooping down, and the stream cascading over the mica-laden rocks.

The woman is a saint and there are very few of them.

I'm glad I don't own a gun.


Blogger LCSW said...

Why not help to educate these DSS workers in an effort to provide the best treatment for this family instead of spending time and energy complaining about them on- line?

8:24 PM  

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