Merigian Studios


Better Than That

Better Than That

As I drove home last evening, I thought about getting home early and finishing the blog I worked on this past Saturday. My ritual is to write the blog on Saturday in the early morning hours. When I tried to pull up the blog, the document could not be found. No matter how hard I tried, I could not locate the saved copy on any flash or hard drive.

Monday (yesterday) morning started out with frustration. I let my dogs out at 3:00 am. They usually go out in the middle of the night and return within a few minutes or so. They stayed out longer than usual so I went out to find them. My invisible fence was malfunctioning so I had concern for their whereabouts. With a flashlight in hand, I found my two big dogs in the back of the yard covered in mud. Four o'clock in the morning and I was spraying the dogs down with water from my garden hose, wondering what the rest of the day was going to bring. And then that night, I found my work from Saturday was missing; no blog for the morning.

The time between those two events brought a great joy. I evaluated patients; throughout the day, one after another. Then I entered a patient room to find a mother and her child. Her son is twenty years-old. He is a large person, over six feet tall and well over three hundred and fifty pounds in weight. He has bushy dark brown hair and a thick dark beard. He was smiling, a big wide grin from ear to ear. His eyes were sparkling. He was excited to be in my office.

The last time I saw this young man was about a month or more ago. He was in a bad state of mind. He had an episode of emotional trauma, probably several and then had a psychotic break. His mother told me about him in her last visit several weeks ago. She was in a severe flare of her rheumatoid arthritis. I asked her to tell me what stress was behind the flare. She said, "My son." I asked her about him and she said everyone in the house was afraid of him. He was put on some medication for his acute mental breakdown by a family physician and as a result of the medication, he assaulted his younger, smaller fifteen year-old brother. She told me she had taken him to Lakeside, Parkway and St. Francis Hospital and each facility refused to take care of him. Her family doctor was a bit overwhelmed by the young man's problem, but tried some medication anyway. The medication backfired. She tried another physician and he was just as incompetent at handling her son's problem. She was almost in tears.

His mother was in severe pain. She had no place to turn. She said that the earliest she could get her son into a psychiatrist was four months. She wept as she told me about the situation. I looked at her, "Bring him to me. I'll help him. If I don't help him you won't get better. Bring him to me. I'll fix it. “She looked at me, "Do you know anything about this kind of thing? Really?" I looked at her and smiled, "Yep. I'll see him as soon as we can get him in. Tomorrow." She replied, "I don't think he'll come. He hates doctors. We live forty-five minutes away. He won't get in the car if I tell him we're going to see a doctor."

I thought for a minute, "Tell him you're going to the store. Five minutes away. When he gets here he'll be okay. I gotta treat him to treat you." She replied, "I'll bring him."

So I left the room. She brought him within the week. I remember entering the room and seeing a giant of a man. He had his hands over his face, he rubbed his face up and down. He was in misery. I think the first question I asked him was if he had a favorite color. He was not amused. But he looked up at me. His mother had the look of terror on her face, I am sure she thought I was crazy. Then I started to engage him in a conversation about his mental distress and psychological disturbances. He told me about his delusions and hallucinations. He was frightened. He could not sleep. He could not get comfortable. He was living in terror each and every day.

I told him we would use a medication to clear his disturbance up. Pharmaceuticals that were different than the ones the other doctors used. If he would follow my instructions, he would get sleep and his delusions and hallucinations would disappear. I put him on a couple of medications, changed his diet and order blood work. He went home and was scheduled to return within the week for his blood work. He said he would come back because he thought this place was different. That made me smile.

Within two days, his mother called the office to report that the medication was working. He was better. He came back to the office and donated his blood for laboratory testing. Not only did he have an acute psychosis, but he also had a few hormonal imbalances. We prescribed more medications and restricted his diet even more. I wondered how he would progress. As time went by, I thought no news was probably good news.

But when I entered the room and saw his smile, I saw a gentle, kind and intelligent young man who was resurrected from the pits of hell. He said, "I feel so much better. Everything is gone. Everything. I took a part of the GED this morning. I passed. I have a job. Everything is so much better." He lost about forty pounds in the last few weeks. His mother spoke about the cooking she was doing and how pleased she was with her son moving forward. He was moving forward. He left his psychosis behind.

He sat in the office, smiling and ready to take on the next challenge. He said he wanted to become a scientist. I told him he would be a good one. As his visit came to a close, he got up from his seat and shook my hand. "Thank you." He left the room to have his blood drawn. His mother stayed behind. She said, "I'm better. No pain. He's better. Normal. He's kind. Gentle. Intelligent. Those are his qualities." She knew her son well. She said the entire family is back to normal. I asked her if she was going to take him to a psychiatrist, "I have. You. He's staying here. He likes here. I do too."

We chatted for a bit about her health. She was no longer in a flare. She was pain free. As I got up to leave the room I said, "Two months. I want to see him in two months." She smiled, "Two months it is." I looked at her and replied, "In order to treat you I have to treat him."

I started out yesterday spraying mud off my dogs at 4:00 am and ended the night writing this true story about a gentle giant with a great smile who came back from a land of psychosis. It doesn't get any better than that.

Posted by Amanda Sanders at 10:29 AM
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