Sunday, September 28, 2008

Life Ruined In A Small Town

Before I start, let me apologize to the gentle reader for the vagueness of some of the details. It is about a friend of my family, and I do not wish to reveal his name. And due to any potential legal actions, I have to be non-exact on some of the other details as well.

Almost three years ago, our next door neighbors from up north were killed as a result of a tragic head on collision. To make the matter even more tragic, the driver who was at fault was another person from the neighborhood. My next door neighbors were wonderful people.

She kept up their yard and made it look like something out of an issue of Better Homes and Gardens. He was a retired mill worker and had served our country during Viet Nam. He was extremely handy with all sorts of tools and was always helping out people in the neighborhood with all sorts of projects that would have otherwise been impossible, or at least would require hiring expensive professionals.

Our neighbor's sister and her husband also live in the neighborhood. After the tragic death of our neighbors, the brother-in-law, let's call him "John", took it upon himself to keep an eye on the northern castle, and would bring in any papers or mail that were delivered to the castle.

Now, this family has had a continuation of problems. Another brother has died from cancer. Shortly, after that, one of John's best friends died in an accident. Now another one of his brothers-in-law is dying from cancer, his wife his in poor health, he has developed heart troubles, and they are running into money problems. They just replaced their furnace, and found out this summer that they will have to replace the septic tank. Their heating bill, like mine, jumped by almost 50% and will cost them another couple of thousands of dollars.

As you can imagine, this was all causing him a bit of stress and affecting his sleep. So he went off to see the doctor. He told her of his woes, and that it was bothering his sleeping. Instead of prescribing a mild sedative, or even recommending an over the counter med, said doctor prescribed a very powerful anti-depressant. A medication that has a history of controversial findings on whether it does more harm than any potential benefit. Even the current treating doctors are outraged that the first doctor would prescribe this medicine. The warnings and restrictions are clear to the potential psychiatric and health risks, especially to those with heart problems.

He took said prescription to the local pharmacy, and it was filled and given to him. He was to take one pill at night. He did this for three nights, but it was starting to have bad side effects on him. He was starting to present with irrational thoughts, paranoid thinking, and was affecting his memory. It also prevented him from getting any sleep whatsoever.

That Friday morning, he was meeting with some workers from the local power company, who were not giving him the answers he had hoped to hear. The lack of sleep, and more so, the effects of this medication, altered his thinking and personality to the point that he made some wild and threatening statements. The Sheriff's Department was contacted and the responding deputies found John to be incoherent and unsafe, and did an emergency detention. They ended up transporting John to Appleton, some 60+ miles away, to the local hospital's psych ward.

He has been there for the past 10 days, and there is no telling when they will release him. His wife tells me that he is absolutely miserable there, as they are very draconian in their rules, and that he sits and dwells on what he did and what he said, and is wracked with guilt. If the gentle reader knew all of the things that they don't allow there, one would become outraged, no matter their personal political or religious leanings. For example, there can be no open religious discussions or Bibles on the unit because of those that might of God complexes. Pens are totally banned, and pencils are only the short stubby kind, which are closely monitored. There are no playing cards, and the TV is strictly controlled, as like with a hypersensitive V-chip which bans anything with violence, including the news, and any sports, because of the dangers of gambling. The list goes on forever.

Now, his wife has been forced to give up her job and move to Appleton, as that she could not afford the gas she was burning driving back and forth. Depending on whether or not the Sheriff's Department and the District Attorney decide to press charges, and the result of any court proceedings, he could very well lose his hunting privileges, which would break his heart. Even if he gets out soon, he will have to go to therapy at least three times a week for a while to ensure that his breakdown was strictly a result of the medication, and if he is becoming more stable now that he has been off of the medication.

I just don't know who I am most angry with about this whole deal: The doctor who had no business prescribing this medication due to the side effects and the fact that the manufacturer warns against giving to people with heart ailments or the pharmacist who should have caught the fact that John was taking heart medicine, and that he manufacturer warned of not giving this medication to those taking heart medication.

I do know that I wish him and his wife the best, and hope they can come back to their home soon.

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