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Can we move out now? - A Suburbs Boy Living a Country Life [Pete and Pam's pages (photos and some commentary)] [Pam's journal] [Our company] [My Flickr Photos] [Arisia]
June 27th, 2006
11:40 pm

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Can we move out now?
We got back from a very nice dinner with our friends, only to find a psychotic1 man in our stairwell.

Pam hustled Q up to bed while I tried to find out what was going on and what the man's deal was. I couldn't really figure out more than he needed a ride somewhere--maybe to his sister-in-law's, but he wouldn't or couldn't give me her number. Pam came down and dusted off her clinical history and did a more thorough assessment. Eventually she asked me to hang out with him so she could look up the cab company's phone number [turns out it is 911--who knew?]. The other neighbors, and I, had presumably called in "homeless man in stairwell." Pam called in "agitated mental patient, discharged from the hospital today, who seems disoriented and angry at times."

The police showed up not at all for my call--very quickly for hers. Go figure.

The officer showed up right as I was bringing the hapless gentleman a hot cup of tea. Oh. Yeah. I'm guessing that the officer or his colleagues have had scalding hot liquids thrown at them when situations deteriorated. I didn't think about that angle. Pam asked what I was thinking. I was thinking: "Wet, weary, lost, confused, probably thirsty...I'd want tea." He did leave with my umbrella--we have at least three. This guy had a hospital bracelet in his pocket and a plastic bag full of what looked like it might be at least part of a change of clothes.

The officers sounded liked they planned to give him a ride to Woodburn [local mental health services unit] so he could voluntarily be re-admitted.
1I say that because he told us after prettypammie drew him out a little, what medicine he was supposed to be on, and that he was having a hard time staying on it--Pam couldn't remember what it was for, but she looked it up afterwards and it turned out to be an anti-psychotic.

Current Location: Kennedy Dr, McLean, VA, US
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
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From:vvalkyri
Date:June 28th, 2006 03:52 am (UTC)
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Eesh. Good of you to help him out.

BTW, antipsychotics are used for a number of other illnesses, particularly as mood stabilizers for bi-polar disorder.
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From:happypete
Date:June 28th, 2006 11:47 am (UTC)

there was other evidence of something going on...

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such as the conversations he was having near me, but not with me...a plane flew over the courtyard, and he told me, "See, like that, you can't have that."
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From:prettypammie
Date:June 28th, 2006 12:33 pm (UTC)
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True - and the line between bipolar d/o and psychotic d/o's isn't that clear. It seems to me there is more of a continuum; some people have more mood symptoms with a few symptoms of psychosis, some more psychotic symptoms with a few mood symptoms. Depending on where they fall, they end up diagnosed with bipolar d/o (primarily cyclical mood Sx), schizoaffective d/o (kind of in the middle, more psychosis with mood cycles) and schizophrenia. I haven't read the latest DSM, they may have changed those diagnoses; my knowledge is out of date.
Anyway, this gentleman was agitated and confused; he didn't seem to be having severe psychotic symptoms but he was mentally pretty disorganized and seemed to be feeling overwhelmed. It sounded as though he had ended up in our stairwell and just sort of gotten stuck - he wanted to be somewhere comfortable and out of the rain, and couldn't figure out how to get there. I was very pleased with the police handling of the situation, the officer seemed experienced with mental health emergencies. I hope Woodburn admitted him.

-P
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From:vettecat
Date:June 28th, 2006 05:33 am (UTC)
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Scary... glad it turned out OK in the end!
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From:happypete
Date:July 2nd, 2006 04:07 pm (UTC)

yes...

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he clearly wanted a ride, but he didn't want the authorities called...

unfortunately, given that I didn't want to give him a ride not knowing his history, the authorities were really his only option.
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From:vettecat
Date:July 6th, 2006 05:54 am (UTC)

Re: yes...

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I don't think you really had a choice.
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From:happypete
Date:July 6th, 2006 11:11 am (UTC)

thank you

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Pam agreed--she's seen people with various disorders like this man's turn unexpectedly threatening or violent.
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From:wolfger
Date:June 28th, 2006 08:56 am (UTC)
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Dangit! I keep forgetting to log in!
Anyhow, that's quite the scary story! Not the best way to begin life at the new house... Good on Pam for knowing what to say and getting the cops out quickly.
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From:happypete
Date:July 2nd, 2006 04:08 pm (UTC)

oh, we're nowhere near at the new house...

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we're trying to get INTO the house, and out of the apartment.
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From:leem0r
Date:June 28th, 2006 11:11 am (UTC)
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You always have such interesting stories! I think you unusual situations.
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From:happypete
Date:July 2nd, 2006 04:08 pm (UTC)

I what unusual situations?

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like? attract? wind up near? ;)
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From:leem0r
Date:July 3rd, 2006 03:07 am (UTC)

Re: I what unusual situations?

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so much for my posting abilities :-P

but yes all of the above..
From:alcinoe
Date:June 28th, 2006 12:14 pm (UTC)
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That was handled excellently. :) I am glad you two took the time to do more than force him off the property.
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From:happypete
Date:July 2nd, 2006 04:10 pm (UTC)

he didn't seem dangerous..

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but looks can be deceiving...

I wasn't going to use any force unless confronted by a "clear and present danger." he did need to leave, but I wanted to leave with at least some hope of him getting the help he needed.
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From:blueingenue
Date:June 28th, 2006 04:59 pm (UTC)
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I was thinking: "Wet, weary, lost, confused, probably thirsty...I'd want tea."

Very British of you. :P
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From:happypete
Date:July 2nd, 2006 04:06 pm (UTC)

heh...

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I guess I've got some brit in me, back there somewhere...
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