Friday, December 16, 2011

Rain Man

Yesterday's trip to the behavior health clinic was an interesting one.  Mike was in good spirits and didn't seem too distressed over meeting yet another mental health worker.  I was prepared to meet the psychiatrist but not this trip.  This trip we met with a social worker named Ray.  He was clearly Native American when he met us in the waiting room with his long jet black braids.  

The thing I love about Native Americans is their quiet, soulful demeanor.  Mike instantly made a connection with Ray as we followed him to his office.  Mike stared intently at Ray and said, "I love Indians".  Ray smiled and answered, "Of course, they are the best."  Mike went on stating matter-of-factly "You are Kiowa".  Ray responded "Yes, I am, my last name is Kiowa also."  

While Ray was explaining the meaning of his last name to Mike I looked on in amazement.  How the heck did Mike know Ray was Kiowa just by looking at him?  I guess he's our own Rain Man!

I was appreciative that Ray allowed me to stay in the room during the interview.  I was able to assist Mike when he needed help and I shared all the information I had as well.  Ray seemed surprised to hear that my family never received a diagnosis from anyone concerning Mike in 40 years.  We didn't get a confirmed diagnosis although we all seemed to just know for years that Schizophrenia was definitely a component of Mike's illness but to what degree we didn't know.

I was just about to tell Ray that in my opinion his Schizophrenia was mild when Ray asked Mike about the first time he was treated at the age of nineteen.  He asked him if he was depressed and why.  Mike answered, "Because I didn't have a girlfriend."  

"Were you lonely?" asked Ray.

"Yes, and the trees were talking to me." 

Uhmmmmmmm maybe Schizophrenia played a bigger role than I realized.

We met with Ray for about two hours and then set up an appointment with the Psychiatrist on January 3rd.  Ray also gave me the name of the Benefits Specialist that might be able to assist me in applying for a home health aide.  Twenty hours a week would be ideal if we can get it.  

On our 45 minutes drive home Mike was trying to decide where he wanted to have lunch.  He changed his mind 4 times before we got back home.  At one point he got really quiet and told me he was sad.

Why, I asked?

"Because I'm thinking about when I have to tell you good-bye."

I told him not to worry, that by the time we had lunch and went Christmas shopping he would probably be happy to get rid of me.

So we ate lunch at Van's Pig Stand......... Then we went out to do Mike's Christmas shopping.  He has an animal theme going this year.  He purchased Christmas cards with dogs on them.  A singing penguin for one niece and a singing dog for another.  He topped off his shopping purchasing with cookies to hand out to his "Great" neighbors and friends.

I hope he had a great day!  He's a sweet and caring man!



Muffy's Marks said...

You are so good for Mike. I hope he gets you an extra special Christmas gift.

marciamayo said...

I love that you and Mike decided on Van's Pig Stand for your celebratory lunch.

Patrick said...

Wow! If only every "yet another mental health worker" could be like Ray. Sounds like you all may have found a gem.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick