Nine months is a long period of time. A human egg can be fertilized, cells begin to divide, and a new life if created in the span of 40 weeks. Seasons can go from a beautiful fall day to the dog days of summer in the span of 270 days. Lastly, absolutely nothing can be accomplished in the span of 9 months. My husband and I have just found out how little can be done in 9 months all under the guise of "psychiatric care".
Last November, Paige began her journey with her first psychiatrist. We were thankful that Paige had been accepted into an out patient program at one of the most prominent teaching universities in the US. Our hopes for her improvement were high. We put our faith, our daughter's mental health, and our trust in a program and its professionals. In exchange for our faith, and insurance coverage, Paige would begin working with a psychiatrist, an educational specialist, and an LSW whom acted as our liaison between Paige and the university professionals.
Paige went through an 8 week, intensive screening process. When we sat down in the LSW's office, for the results of the screening process, I remember weeping because I thought: "This is it, we may finally get some answers". My tears soon turned to confusion. The doctor's report seemed so far off base. Was the doctor seeing the same child we live with every day. For Paige's sake, we took the information in and let the therapy proceed as suggested.
Weeks turned to months and we did not see any positive change in Paige's behavior. In fact Paige seemed to be deteriorating with every passing week. I made countless phone calls weekly, even daily, to the LSW, hoping to get answers on Paige's behavior. Week after week the answers were the same: "Ah ha, I see", "Paige is going to require long term care". Little did I know that the university did not intend to be part of Paige's care plan. Two months into Paige's treatment Paige's doctors were formulating her discharge date. Paige was going to be out of the program in July.
When Paige's discharge plan were made we were never informed. We had always been told that Paige would transition out of the program but we were never given a date. In the early summer Paige's behavior deteriorated in an alarming state. When we needed help the most the university did little to assist our family. One afternoon I got the call, Paige was "OUT OF THE PROGRAM" in July! No warning, no notice, Paige was out. We were hung out to dry.
Earlier this week I went to pick up Paige's record's from the university. I tried to speak with the LSW liaison but I was told that she was with the "new doctors". All at once I realized why Paige was released from the program, it was a new school year. A new crop of doctors was rotating through the "clinic". Paige's psychiatrist had done her time in the university and had moved on. Paige was a victim of the revolving door doctor program.
So here we are 9 months later. Paige was no more than a guinea pig the the university system. My complaints to university administrators have fallen on deaf ears. No one wants to own up to duping our family. I wonder how many other children now find themselves in the same position. How many our families are voiceless in the world of pediatric mental health.
Despite our wasted time, hope, and money, God has been faithful. We have found a wonderful new therapist who has a great deal of experience working with children like Paige. After my first meeting with Paige’s new doctor I have a sense of renewed hope. I feel as if there is someone in our corner fighting this difficult battle with us. Paige may finally have her chance for a more normal life.