From GoFundMe: If you haven’t heard by now, Jason was found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity on two counts, a third one was dismissed. He was ordered to be hospitalized until doctors feel he’s safe for release into the community. The Toronto Star (http://bit.ly/2q420sv) and CityNews (see below) did a follow-up.
I’m confident he can start the process of transitioning back into the community sooner, rather than later. He’s doing really well on his meds.
In many ways, hospitalization is good news. But, it’s also terrible news because it means that The State could be in our lives for the next 10.5 years, and it means we’ll be apart for at least the next 6 months, as his first assessment likely won’t be until October. (The psychiatrist at the hearing said she felt it was important Jason be near his family and advocated for him to be moved closer to home. I’m glad we got that on the record but, I’m pessimistic that the State would be willing to lose jurisdiction over the case.)
I’ve always been critical of the fact that despite how sick Jason was, he was constantly taken back and forth between the hospital and jail. He spent 116 days in custody, most of that time in county lock-up. After the trial, he had to wait in jail for a bed at the hospital. Also, his thyroid issues have remained largely ignored — which could actually be fatal if left untreated.
I tried to keep Easter weekend as “normal” as possible for the kids. We went to church, had an egg hunt, then drove back to Canada.
Monday and Tuesday was when it really hit me. My brain was in overdrive. I had so many questions I felt needed to be answered. I obsessed for two days over what I was going to do to make sure this didn’t happen to another family.
I’m no one. I don’t have money, privilege or connections — all I have is a pen. Writing can be therapeutic, but it can also be very powerful. It can be a blessing and a burden: Striking a balance between being constructive and being resentful. So, I settled on a letter-writing campaign. I’m sitting on them before I send my first batch of letters out. I need to be taken seriously so, it needs to come from the right place.
Early Thursday morning, I got a call that Jason’s army pension hit a road block. I had to make several phone calls. I ended up taking my daughter to school late. Just before noon, I found out Jason had been moved to the hospital. I spent that day juggling the VA Benefits Department, the VA Medical Department, as well as the State hospital. I didn’t get off work until midnight. I didn’t even get to enjoy 420. Ha! (If you need to remember when Jason was moved — it was on 420.)
Friday, I found out that Jason was admitted bradycardic (low heart rate). They did an EKG. I wanted to know what they were going to do. I spent the morning tracking down the doctor. I also found out that until further notice, justice-involved patients wouldn’t be allowed visitors. So, again, I was late for work. I ended up having to call the VA to pressure the State hospital to bring him in to see his VA healthcare team. I also had a very pleasant conversation with the chief of security at the hospital. I believe the visitation ban is temporary. It just had to coincide with when Jason arrived (of course, because that’s how the universe works). I don’t know if you remember but last month, someone had rammed their car into the fence of an outdoor patient area. They also banned visitation FOR EVERYONE for nearly a week while they tried to set new rules. It turned out, that was the last straw in a string of unfortunate events. Since it’s a hospital, pretty much anyone could visit. They were finding that justice-involved patients who were in gangs were having gang members come to the facility. Banned paraphernalia was being snuck in so, they had to ban food, and start using metal detectors. It’s a big place, but there’s not that many patients, in my opinion. So, as usual, it’s a “special few” who ruin it for the rest of us. So, of course, it was an awful start to Jason’s hospitalization. He was really looking forward to seeing his family. And now, visitation for him is not allowed — at least it’s temporary! I know the hospital knows how important family is when recovering from any illness.
Friday was awful. I was determined to regroup and to be more productive next week so, I binge-watched some Netflix, got a good night of sleep, went to Sabbath services the next day. That brings us to today and to this update.
I will leave you all with this: For every 100 things that I do or set in motion on any given week, maybe four things are successful. Just like for every 50 calls I make, two people call me back. But I want to share the things that stood out in my mind about this week. The only way I stay sane is if I remind myself and everyone about the GOOD things, instead of focusing on the bad:
1. Jason was found NOT GUILTY. Sure, there’s conditions but, HE’S NOT GUILTY.
2. He’s finally in hospital. NO MORE JAIL. Because he’s not guilty, the VA can now advocate for him to receive ALL the care he needs. Not everyone who ends up in the system, has another department who is willing to pick up the slack when it comes to care. That’s not to say he hasn’t been taken care of by the State hospital. He has. I like that hospital. It’s really the judicial system (the system, not the people) that kind of put his medical needs on the back-burner. Those of my friends who believe in holistic medicine: You understand me when I say they should really look at the whole picture because it’s all related. His thyroid, his liver, his heart, his psychosis, his PTSD, his possible TBI. They created a perfect storm that came to a head that night in November.
3. Jason has two amazing social workers, instead of one (one from the State hospital, one from the VA). They’re both doing an amazing job so far. He’s also got a case worker with the Veterans Services Commission. Again, lots of people fighting for him. It’s amazing.
4. I gave the Ontario Minister of Health a tough time on Twitter on Monday. He tweeted about mental health before the end of the business day. It may not have anything to do with me but, I choose to believe, I got through to him a little.
5. Before the end of the business day on Friday, Jason’s doctor had written up a requisition for him to see at least one of his VA doctors. (Some of my crazy paid off.)
6. I felt I was able to provide some (probably very little) insight on the new security measures at the hospital and who knows, maybe it will help provide a balance between safety and patient rights. They said they are still working on the wording of the new rules and I’m staying in touch with those in charge to make sure at least, from the patients’ families’ point of view, they are not unnecessarily harsh.
7. I got invited to SMAG, it’s a conference where doctors across the United States meet with VA Health, and it’s open to the public. It’s outside Washington, D.C. so, who knows if I’ll be able to make it to the next one. It’s definitely a good opportunity to be part of a better future for other veterans and their families. If I’m able to take them up on that invitation, I will.
Seven points. Seven days. I guess this week wasn’t a total wash.
Have a wonderful week. Thank you for the love and support. We appreciate it more than we could ever express.
God bless! Please pray for a better week ahead. Please pray that our family can be whole again. ❤