Helping Professions Business

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Helping Professions Business
By Bernadette A. Moyer

helping-professions

Doctors, lawyers, social workers and teacher are all in the “helping profession” and yes it is a business. It is how they earn their living they get paid and often they are well paid and most often they get paid whether they are successful or not.

My mother was a masters-educated nurse and her brother was a doctor, they were in the “helping professions” and they definitely cared about people and they wanted them to get well. They were also very well paid for their services. The medical field is a business. To a patient with a doctor who has helped them that doctor becomes almost God-like. And to the client who has a lawyer that has kept him out of jail that attorney is also almost God-like. Yet both the doctor and the attorney are doing their jobs, jobs that pay them. And pay them well.

Most lawyers get a “retainer” and are paid up front and you pay whether you win or lose. When you enter the hospital or any doctor’s office, the very first question you will be asked is “do you have insurance?” and next “who is financially responsible for your care?” It is a money game. YES they provide a service and yes you are the consumer. They may be in the “helping profession” but it is about being in business.

Would they do what they do for you if they weren’t getting paid for it? And what happens if they really aren’t helping you at all? And what happens when they stop getting paid?

Recently a family member went into the hospital with some mental health issues and after months of hospitalization he is taking 9-different medications over 20 pills a day and in less than two months has gained over 50 pounds and now has high cholesterol. He is only 24 years old. The medications are supposed to stabilize him and help him with his moods and anxiety. With the over 9 medications and over 20 pills a day he is still moody, crying often, does not smile, and continues to threaten harming himself. He is unhealthier than ever before and now not just mentally but physically too. Yet the “helping professionals” claim that he is “doing really well” and yet he repeatedly has one shocking episode after another.

My questions are should any human body be taking 9-different medications and over 20 pills in a single day? How could gaining 50 plus pounds in less than 2 months and while in a hospital atmosphere be considered “healthy” and “doing really well?”

I am someone that questions “helping professionals” and I am someone that looks for visible results. If you are helping and there are results, I am all in but if you are getting paid and the patient or the client or the students are not doing well, I am going to question whether this is what is best for them or for you.

When we are in need and are vulnerable, just may be when we need the helping professional the most and yet we may not have the frame of mind to discern whether they are actually helping us or if we are the ones that are helping their bottom line.

One of the best things about being married is in having a partner so that when you are not at your best, they can come in and truly have your best interest at heart.

Today I pray for the people that are most vulnerable and at the mercy of the “helping professionals” and that they truly are receiving the help that they need and are more than just a vehicle for financial gain. Amen

And Dear God, please do not let me live past the time when I am wholly able to care for myself …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

What about Brandon?

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What about Brandon?
By Bernadette A Moyer

mental

Brandon was born into trauma with a birth mother who died just after he came into this world. He arrived 8-weeks pre-mature and with a twin sister. We met when he was 87 days old and along with his father and twin sister we immediately connected, soon after we would become family. I was happy to assume the role of “mother” and later “wife” to his father.

As a little boy he was kind, sweet and polite. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body. In some ways he was easy, and yet he had some quirks. When he was a little boy he would literally shriek when it was time to get his hair cut. You would have thought that he was being tortured. It didn’t last. Later as an adult he would initiate his own timetable and keep up with his haircuts on his own.

There was never a child care center or a school when I wasn’t called at some point to come and get him because he was acting out in inappropriate ways. This was from age 3 all the way through high school and beyond.

When he was tested for “early detection for failure” he ranked average and above in intelligence and barely on the charts socially. He always suffered socially. As his mother I couldn’t see it. We easily got along. I found him easy to love. I accepted him as he was and encouraged him to succeed. Brandon always, always did whatever he wanted to do.

In elementary school he was retained, the decision was made to keep him together with his twin, he was not failing. This would be a decision that as his parents we would later regret. All through middle school he would achieve National Junior Honor Society and make the Gifted and Talented Art program. After he achieved honor society he would declare, “well I’m not doing that again, it was a lot of work” and he never again was an “honor student.” It would be his decision.

Throughout the years we would go through periods of calm bookended by one of his “odd behaviors” that would result in calls from his teachers. One time he pulled the fire alarm, he said he wanted to “make sure it worked.” Or something or someone in class would rub him the wrong way and he would have a melt-down, his melt-downs would show themselves in immature behaviors with dramatic language and tears. He would push things too far and then when he was faced with the consequences of his behaviors he would try to plead and say he was sorry. He was impulsive and he would act in immature ways. He knowingly or unknowingly caused a lot of stress in the family. There would be periods of time when he would seem to be okay and then another dramatic immature outburst. The outbursts were always when he wasn’t getting his way.

In elementary school he had a bad bike accident where he broke three bones. Many years later he disclosed that he saw something on an extreme bike show and wanted to try it and therefore it caused the accident. We thought it was a simple accident and were just so thankful he had his bike helmet on at the time.

His twin sister would come home and share with us his odd behaviors and melt downs at school or we would hear about them from his teachers and the school Principal. I connected him with a friend who was a drama teacher and he was in a play at one of the local theaters. His father was the driving steady force in helping him to achieve Eagle Scout.

In high school he became a Red-Cross certified life guard and also a kitchen aid and worked with me at a youth retreat house. He got along with most everyone except his twin sister who worked alongside of him. According to him, he never got along with his sister. He has some quirks seemed to be off in a world of his own and talked to himself incessantly. It wasn’t normal talk either but very dramatic talk although I could never make out what he was saying and when I questioned him he would dismiss me.

Before high school and after numerous phone calls from his teachers I pushed for him to be seen by a mental health doctor who after meeting with him declared; “he is a very likeable guy!” Well I already knew that and bit my tongue when I really wanted to say “could you dig a little deeper?” But I was not the biological mom and was sure I would be viewed as the problem.

It took a lot of support and coaching to get him to do anything tied to achievement. His demeanor was like that of Eeyore and he was slow in motion, everything was on Brandon’s time or Brandon’s way or you could expect a melt-down. I had suspected for years that he was on the autism spectrum with Asperberger’s he didn’t have many friends maybe one or two and no girlfriends. He is a healthy good looking guy and any girl that became interested in him lasted about a minute. Once he opened his mouth and said things that most people couldn’t relate to or showed zero interest in others, relationships never formed for him.

After high school he studied and passed the ASVAB and entered into the Navy. He lasted 5-weeks there before he had a melt-down and was sent home. I will never forget the day he was sworn in and how much I cried. I never thought this was the right place for him but was being a supportive mother. I wrote to him every single day. I will also never forget picking him up at the airport when the Navy released him, and how he ran right into my arms. He always ran right into my arms. (tears streaming now) When he was in pre-k they always had him at the front of the line at dismissal and with the teacher holding his hand and every day they would tell him not to run across the parking lot and yet everyday as soon as he saw me he would run to me. He was always so happy to see me and of course I was thrilled to see him too. Along with his teacher I would tell him not to run and yet he never listened.

He tried college a few times but never really seemed committed to making it work. It appeared to be something he was doing to “please” us and make us “proud” in his words. I would tell him over and over don’t do it for us, do it for you. He was floundering and really seemed to have no direction and no real passion. He said he wanted to be an “actor” but did nothing to make it happen. He is an artist and I believe is a very talented artist.

The longest stretch of success for him was working full time for over 3 and ½ years in a yogurt store at our local mall. He not only secured the job on his own but was very good at it right up until they closed their doors. A year ago he was working and he seemed happy and fine.

On the day that he lost his job, he posted disturbing video on social media and the police came to our house looking for him. When they found him they took him to a hospital and a psychiatrist would declare him “dramatic” and send him home to us within hours. That was in January and he wouldn’t have another episode until July. From July until October he literally spent between 2 and 3-months in the hospital and in a psych unit. The more “help” he has received the worse off he has been. Not only do they have him heavily medicated but in groups of therapy. He uses language like “I’m having a relapse.” He is not a drug addict or an alcoholic. He never once tried drugs and infrequently drank a beer. He is like a child and very trusting and vulnerable.

Several hospital stays would declare him “depressed” or “severe depression” yet this was not how he presented himself at home. At home he was happy, pleasant and easy to be around. He had a healthy appetite, went to the movies, to events, drew and painted interacted with our dogs, our neighbors his friend Eric and his father and me. Just like when he went to school, I never saw those out-bursts, he didn’t do that at home. I would hear about it, I believed it but I never witnessed it.

Every parent of an adult child has to let go at some point, you have to trust that you did all that you could and that ultimately it is their life. It is their life and therefore it is their choice.

Right now Brandon is back in the hospital and I am sad and angry. I don’t think that since they have been “helping” him that he has gotten better, he actually is more emotional, less stable, more dependent less independent. He lives in a locked down unit with mentally ill patients, I agree with the doctor yes, he is mentally ill but I also believe that the environment is making him sicker and sicker. The medication is not working as he cries more and has more melt downs, he is overly sensitive. Everything you say he turns into a dramatic episode for attention. He has been manipulating everyone.

The hospital and the doctor and social workers are enablers. First they say they don’t want to admit him and then he gets his way and they keep him for two and three weeks at a time. The last time he went in he posted a video on social media right from the admission waiting area and he was calm and seemed to enjoy posting what we was doing and that he was being admitted?

He is a talented artist reduced to painting bird houses and sitting around all day eating a poor and unhealthy hospital diet. Even a healthy person would be depressed in that environment. “Idle time is a devils workshop.”

The social workers in the hospital promised his housing, a group home, they tied him to social programs for money and for food assistance. They are making a fortune off his hospital stays and keeping him heavily medicated. He is worse off than he has ever been under their care and with their “help.”

Last week yet another social worker called me (this must be the 6th or 7th one) and she left me a phone message from a “crisis unit” and stated “he is enjoying himself and having a really good time here. Call me back to chat” she sounded like a high school cheerleader. I say to myself it must be me? How does a person in a “crisis unit” have a really good time and enjoy themselves?

What will happen to Brandon? Do they have the right diagnosis and the right prescription for success for him? Does he want to get better? What does he want? What is the end game?

I’ve talked with so many mental health care providers and read so much, the guy that made the most sense said “read about personality disorders” I really believe it’s a “personality disorder” he said. And yet today that is NOT what he is being treated for a personality disorder is NOT treated with medication but rather with therapy and requires a specialist for personality disorders.

A broken arm or leg would be so much easier, we could tell if it was healing and on the mend, we could see if what the doctor did was working. Sadly the care now being received will have no real marker for what success looks like. I know Brandon probably better than anyone, Brandon will get better if and when he wants to get better and Brandon’s life will look exactly like how and what Brandon is willing to accept for his life.

I never count him out though and am reminded of a summer at the beach. We were up at the boardwalk and he was off playing games. The game he played most had a prize of a $50 bill. I told him to stop wasting his money and only a fool parts with so much money playing those games. As I sat basking in the sun he showed back up and snapped a $50 bill in my face saying “say hello to a fool!”

He is nobody’s fool and if and when he is determined he will do exactly as he pleases just as he has always done. I just hope and pray that he is determined to get up and live.

Today I pray, I pray for Brandon … I miss him and I love him and I want all the best for him and I know that like he has always done, Brandon will continue to do as he alone chooses to do …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Our Health Our Responsibility

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Our Health Our Responsibility
By Bernadette A. Moyer

health

You can be as ill as you want to be or in many circumstances, as healthy as you will yourself to be! My mother was a Masters educated nurse who always encouraged us to be healthy. Often she made statements like, “sick people are in the hospital and you are not one of them.” She worked for more than 30 years in hospitals from pediatrics to critical care units and later assisted living. The bulk of her career was in a Catholic hospital where all life was valued. She never wanted her children to be ill or require any truly unnecessary hospitalization.

I used to joke that “I wasn’t allowed to be sick!” Not in her eyes and in many ways it served me well. If you ever find me admitted to the hospital, I am ill, very, very ill. People die in hospitals and I don’t want to die and certainly not there.

And yes there are procedures and hospital stays that have turned people lives and health from bad to good, but it NEVER happens without the patient being part of the wellness practices. And YES there are hospital stays that have turned patient’s health from bad to worse. Just ask any medical malpractice attorney. A patient has to want to get healthy; they have to be willing to be a part of the process. If the patient is a child the parent has the responsibility. But there is no hospital or no doctor or no pill that will make us healthy if we don’t want to become healthy.

Since July of this year I witnessed our adult son admitted to the hospital for at least 6 different hospital stays. Most often he was escorted there by a “crisis team” after shocking public displays of odd and assorted behaviors. He is an adult and he alone is responsible for his care. I have come to believe that he likes being admitted and enjoys all the attention he receives at the hospital. It has been communicated to us that since July he has spent the better part of two months in a psych unit of a hospital.

Most people in the hospital can’t wait to get out, he loves going in. I am so sad and conflicted because I believe he does not fully appreciate what he is doing and the long and short term ramifications of his behaviors. I also believe he has all the power and that he will not become healthy until or unless he alone decides to become healthy. There is no magic pill, there is no magic doctor and there is no magic hospital that will bring us to good health if we don’t do the work necessary to be part of the process it takes to heal ourselves.

What I have witnessed is well-intentioned social workers, doctors and nurses that think they are helping him. What I have also witnessed is a slow and steady decline since they have all come together to help him. In many ways his attitude and his behaviors are far worse than they have ever been. The magic doctor, the magic pills and the magic hospital are not helping him at all. He needs to help himself and he is not doing that.

As a small child if he fell and skinned his knee and you babied him and coddled him his screams would become longer and louder and more dramatic. But if you addressed the wound and comforted him and eventually said okay now knock it off he would gently respond with “okay” it was almost like he took all his cues from how you addressed him. I learned early on how to manage him. Not a single one of his “crisis unit” like episodes ever happened inside our home.

The last day that he was admitted, he walked himself into the hospital and as he was waiting to be admitted he posted a video of himself on social media about where he was and what he was doing in the hospital. He clearly was NOT in any distress. And he also seemed to enjoy the camera being on him. If I had any lingering feelings about what to do seeing that post drove home for me that if and when he wants to get well he will and if he doesn’t want to he won’t. It is pretty clear.

Everyone is different some people are born with disabilities and illnesses that do require treatments and hospital stays. What I am referring to here is someone who has displayed an ability to be fully functioning and manage a full life. I am talking about mental health and seeing in the past what someone is capable of and knowing that if they alone decide, they will once again be capable of a fully functioning life. They may also decide not to be fully functioning. So much of the quality of our life is all about the decisions that we alone make for our lives.

Once we become an adult, our health is; our responsibility … and good health can only come about if we want it.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

All books by Bernadette on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Health Care … In My World

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Health Care … In My World
By Bernadette A. Moyer

“America’s health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system>” Walter Cronkite

We have done absolutely nothing to address the real problem with health care; it is the costs, period! There is no reason on the face of this earth that an aspirin administered in a hospital should be billed for a few hundred dollars? And this is routinely done.

That ambulance ride that drives less than 3 miles is costly at over one thousand and two hundred dollars and it is because of all the risks associated with transporting and administering care. These costs are not just about the salaries of the trained staff but they are about the need to pay medical malpractice insurance premiums.

It doesn’t matter if it is Obamacare or any other type of medical insurance; we have failed to address the root of the problem, the high cost of health care. Much of the costs are driven up by lawyers and their lawsuits and by insurance on the hospitals and all the doctors, nurses and such.

Catholic hospitals always accepted patients and it was not about their ability to pay, if someone, anyone showed up at a Catholic hospital and needed care it was administered because that was what they believed was the right thing to do and for them, what God would have wanted them to do.

Insurance companies continue to get rich, medical coverage is lessened and medical insurance costs are increased and we are still buying it!

In my world everyone would have access to health care even the homeless and those without an ability to pay. I would build free clinics and create services and jobs and this would be afforded the same way that most nonprofits are run. The money would come from donors, appeals, grants and fundraisers.

“If you build it, they will come.” President Theodore Roosevelt

The VA has clinics but sadly like much of our government run programs it is not run effectively because the people in charge are not of a business mindset. Today the most successful nonprofits have learned to embrace some of the principles of running a successful business.

I do not believe the current insurance providers for medical care in our country the United States of America have the best interest of its people at heart. It is the insurance companies that are winning and getting richer and the people being charged outrageous premiums for even lesser coverage that are losing … and continuing to pay these high costs for healthcare has literally done NOTHING to address the real problem.

When an insurance company decides what is covered and needed over the doctors who are medically trained, we have already lost …

And what about “dental insurance” that caps out at $1,000 or $1,500 a year, how much work can you get for that minimal cost? Very little and many people according to my dentist have opted out of dental insurance and would rather just pay their dentist directly.

So many people are confused by the current medical insurance options we are all facing and few people really understand it, so what got better for us? When politicians decided they were the “gate keepers” for our medical insurance needs? And decided what we needed and helped to increase the costs also deciding that their insurance was different from the majority of people?

If the insurance plans being offered are not good enough for our President and our politicians they shouldn’t be good enough for the rest of us either.

Having said that no one in this country should ever have to go about without their medical needs being met … and in my world all people would have medical care. There is another way … there is always a better way and another way …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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