Thursday, June 30, 2011

After the Intervention

I have intentionally taken a break from writing about 'The Saga of Denise' because it was emotionally draining.  I had worked on Denise's problems for four weeks before the day of the intervention.  I had watched God work in so many ways I lost count.  The morning of the intervention, Denise's mother said to me, "I don't look forward to this day."  I replied, "I do.  I am excited to see what God does.  He has already done so much, I can hardly wait to see what happens today."

Just a recap for those that are just tuning in.  I had discovered on a Friday that Denise needed professional help for what everyone believed was an addiction to prescription pain pills.  The next morning I began researching programs.  On Monday evening we conducted a conference call with five concerned loved ones and a program administrator.  On Wednesday I was contacted by an intervention service and scheduled the actual intervention for ten days later when one of the loved ones returned to the US.  The interventionist and three loved ones met on Friday afternoon in a hotel suite and received about four hours of training for the intervention.  On Saturday morning, I went to the house, woke Denise's son and asked him to leave for the intervention.  Then I woke Denise and informed her that company was coming.   Everyone arrived and we went through the process of the intervention.  At 7:15 that night, we put Denise and Sharon, the interventionist on the plane for Los Angeles, CA.  On the plane, Denise told Sharon that she knew her problem was the drugs and she was looking forward to getting off of them.

When she arrived at the facility, she informed them that she had been sent from Texas to California to have hemorrhoid surgery.  When they asked her about the intervention, she replied, "The intervention was for my son.  He's the drug addict, not me."  She began reporting to the facility that she had been deceived and sent there on false pretenses.  I received daily reports from the facility.  The 'wean down' schedule for the drugs began on Sunday morning. Meanwhile, she was insisting that they return her credit card and cell phone so she could go home.  On Monday, she was insisting less.  By Tuesday, she was becoming comfortable and beginning to interact with the other patients.  By Wednesday, she was talking to the younger patients a lot and they were calling her "mom".  I was very encouraged. 

However,  Proverbs 14:13 says, "Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief."  On Thursday, the report was quite different.  I received a call in the middle of the day instead of the evening.  The nurse asked if Denise should to be allowed to call her daughter.  I said that would be fine.  Her daughter was completely on board with the program and would support whatever was in Denise's best interest.  I asked why she wanted to call Tiffany.  The nurse said that Denise thought Tiffany would help her get home.  I asked why was she wanting to go home, she hadn't been asking for a couple of days.  He said, "Well she has refused all of her narcotics today instead of sticking with the wean down program.  So she is feeling the withdrawal more."  I asked why she was refusing.  He said, "I don't know, but that is a good thing."  I answered, "No it isn't.  Denise always has an agenda.   She is up to something.  She is well aware that she could have seizures if she withdraws too quickly.  She might be trying to initiate a seizure.  Then she can blame you."  He quickly said, "I am going to get some medication down her one way or the other."  He called later that night for the scheduled report and reported that he had talked Denise into taking one of the one and half scheduled pills.  Friday's report wasn't much better.

My husband and I attended his class reunion Saturday night.  I walked around all night with my cell phone in my hand.  Since I knew no one at the reunion, sometimes I would walk to the hotel lobby and sit quietly waiting for my phone call.  It came at 9:26 p.m. and was not good.  Denise was not cooperating and refusing to follow protocol.  She had been escorted to the doctor every day for testing.  When the doctor asked a question, she would refuse to answer or change the subject.  She was in such a manic state that she was unable to hold a lucid conversation. She was also wetting herself.  Around seven o'clock that morning an attendant had heard Denise screaming in her room.  When the attendant entered the room, Denise was lying on the floor and screaming that she could not walk to the bathroom.  When the attendant walked over to help her, Denise grabbed her ankle and insisted on being pulled to the bathroom.  The nurse reported to me that "it is time for bottom line letter.  We will call you tomorrow and you tell her what will happen if she comes home."  Then he told me that the administrator would return to the facility in a few minutes and they would call me back with a time for the 'bottom line' phone call. 

About 40 minutes later, the administrator called and told me that he had serious doubts about Denise's mental stability.  He suggested that we not do 'bottom line' but rather tell Denise that I had made a mistake, the program was not for her and she should return home so we could get her the appropriate help.  I asked, "Are you sure that she is not doing this on purpose to  get kicked out of the program."  He said, "I don't think so.  It has been going on for too long and with too many people."  I said, "She is very stubborn and a very good drama queen."  He said, "No one could fake this behavior.  We see people try to get kicked out all the time.  But we have never seen this behavior."

I was distraught.  I understood what the administrator was saying and feared that we would be facing a mental illness. But the behaviorist in me had problems with rewarding inappropriate behavior and could not get past the thought that the behavior was intentional.  Saturday night, I got very little sleep and spent much time in prayer for wisdom.  We spent time in prayer as a family.  The phone call came on Sunday afternoon.  Denise was more focused and rational than I had seen her in a long time.  There was no sign of manic behavior or speech.  Not only was she able to stay on the subject, but was able to keep me on the task.  At one point, the administrator asked her, "What is going on here?  This is the most lucid we have seen you since you arrived here a week ago."  Denise claimed that she had been the same all week.  I knew better and knew exactly 'what was going on here'.  She was intentionally misbehaving to be forced out of the program.  She even joked with him, "I'm going to be a behavior problem no matter what." 

I demanded that she agree to some criteria and a plan before she be allowed to leave the facility.  She did agree and emailed me the agreement the following day.  Denise is home now and too upset to talk to me.  Her son is forbidding me to talk to her for 'a week or so'.  He is reporting that she turned all of her drugs over to him and he disposed of them.  I am not sure where this adventure is going, but for now, I am going to rest.  If Denise or her son need me, I am a phone call away.  Thankfully, Denise's mother and daughter are on the same page with me and my husband has been a huge support.  Several times a day he will say, "You did the right thing."  I know that I followed what God told me to do.  I wish my actions had been successful, but even Christ was not successful in converting all the people who watched the crucifixion.  I know He is still in control and at some point He will make his plan for Denise known.
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