This will be a waiting day. My son is about to be committed to a psychiatric facility in Buenos Aires.
Why? Because he has the worst kind of mental illness… he thinks he is well.
I booked a flight for him on Weds to come home where he will be committed to a psychiatric hospital in Melbourne. He is between a rock and a hard place and he may slide between and live on the streets in Buenos Aires. It is not all that much fun recovering from schizophrenia either. He loses a very alive if self destructive part of himself in exchange for a life that imprisons him to a regime of daily medication.
What is to be done? How will it work out!
I ask myself what it is I said that empowered him to take this step, to walk out of his flat, to leave a door open, and to catch a plane to Buenos Aires of all places. Has he regressed to 10 years ago and is seeking to renew a relationship with a girlfriend of that time who is now married and living in Buenos Aires. Will she be pleased to see him? Will she even remember him?
Did he con me into giving him money by telling me of his plans, hopes and dreams. All of which I have since learned had no basis in fact. Did he lie deliberately? Was he delusional even when medicated? Is he really the Indian from ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest’? Or is the world really madder and badder than him?
He had a holiday in Columbia and celebrated his 40th birthday there. He looked happy. He was free. Hews responsible for his medication and he had a good time if at times, lonely.
He came home to his little flat and the surveillance of the Treatment Team. Unfortunate but necessary. He was building a life for himself, slowly but steadily. He complained of the sedating effects which limited his alert hours. It is a very real side-effect and will be tolerated only when he can realise that no meds has worse side-effects.
What is to become of him?
He is in Argentina in Buenos Aires. He has no friends. He knows no-one who wants to know him. He haunts the hostel in his disturbed state. I can imagine how he looks because I have seen him like this before. His six foot two frame becomes brooding and threatening. His dark eyes become sunk, the pupils turning to hard little beads. His dark, thick eyebrows sentiant on a dark mind, a closed gateway to a private hell. He frightens without lifting a finger. He sleeps in his clothes. He does not change them and he does not wash or clean his teeth which build up so much plaque they become green. He smells like a mouldy toilet. He eats voraciously, bolting down his food like a dog. And we love him.
He did not catch the flight. He did not go quietly from the hostel where he had outworn his welcome .
He would not accompany the Consulate assistant to the hospital. The Police were called. An ambulance was called. He was sedated by injection and strapped to a trolly, taken to the nearest hospital and left there in a cupboard, in a tiled passage, in a former torture room for all I know, because there was no bed available. There was no public bed available in the city.
What happens next?
The consulate are looking for a bed in a private clinic. It will cost a lot of money because Matt will be there weeks if not months while his meds are titrated to a level that enables him to safely board a flight.
And I wait.
I wait for the news of where he will be treated. DFAT will call.
I wait for news that his treatment has begun. Monash Psychiatric will call.
I wait for news of an aged care facility where I can place my dying husband for respite because I will have to travel to Buenos Aires. Hospice will call.
No mother could leave her son alone in such circumstances.
I wait for my husband to understand. He will smile.
The waiting hangs on me like sodden washing, heavy and stale.
I do not want to call anyone. I don’t want to be seen.
And then there is the real washing. The real washing gives the pleasure of fresh sir. I would walk if I had the energy. I will go out but with no purpose.
And yet yesterday was a good day. We had a family meeting here with G. The Palliative Care doctor came. The hospice counsellor came. We all agreed That G was in the last stage of his life and how can we improve the quality of that time. Everyone was generous. But G lost that last vestige of his fanciful hope. And he is punishing me for it. He is angry, silent and withdrawn. No good will, love, affection,care or help will reach him.
So I wait.
I wait for him to eat. I wait for his call for pain relief. I wait for the dark mood to lift which it will.
But in the meantime……… I wait!