Faith vs Fear

Faith vs Fear

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hot Fun in the Summertime

Mount Timpanogos

We had a busy summer filled with short outings, family get-togethers, as well as working around the house, and on his beloved hot rod.  David worked through a lot of depression this summer, but he did a great job of keeping it together especially when we went to family events.

The problem: Toward the end of June, when he was on his way to work at 6:00 a.m., he swerved in front of a highway patrolman. We don't know if he was momentarily distracted or hit something in the road. The patrolman pulled him over, called in five (5!) other troopers, and had him do a field sobriety test (even though there was no evidence of alcohol on him or in the car). He failed the test because his knees are so bad he isn't able to walk in a straight line. But he did volunteer to a blood test. Then, when they looked in the car they found a small bottle with a few of his prescription meds. He has a hard time pronouncing the names under the best of circumstances, and since he was talking slowly and slurring his words a little (he does that when he's extra stressed), they accused him of being in possession of controlled substances. David told them he was bipolar and what the medications were for, but that didn't stop them from handcuffing him and taking him to the highway patrol headquarters for three (3!) hours. Eventually they took him to the county jail where the intake officer (who knows him from the gym) helped get him released in as short a time as possible. Oh, and our car was towed and impounded, which cost us a bundle of money. Fortunately he was able to get his drivers license back without any problem, and they have yet to file a complaint. But it has been hanging over our heads, wondering what is going to happen with this episode.
     David was so good during the episode and cooperated with the patrolmen, but it took a real toll on his emotional health. "I didn't even swear!" he said. He knew he had to stay calm to keep the situation from escalating. The aftermath, though, was a deep depression because he was afraid to take more than the bare minimum of his medicine.
     Am I mad? Oh, yes! Even though he wasn't "acting out," they made no effort to take his bipolar into consideration. David managed to stay calm and in control of himself, with no thanks to the patrolmen. But so often with this disorder, that doesn't happen and tragedy results. I told the local NAMI chapter about what happened; they were sympathetic, but there wasn't much they could do except refer me to a lawyer in case we need it. This episode is exactly why more highway patrolmen, police officers, and other public servants need to know how to interact with those who have mental health issues and take the crisis intervention team training. I don't care if it costs the department extra money; field officers need to know how to help the people they come in contact with, including those with mental illness. Sometimes when I think about this experience I shudder to think about how easily it could have turned bad.

David has also had severe knee problems, and his hands have been hurting badly. I'm sure his part-time job aggravates the problems he's having. He went to the dr. and found that he has arthritis in both of his knees and carpal tunnel in both of his wrists. The dr. gave him some cortisone shots in both areas, and while it has helped, he still hurts.

What helped: He had a check-up with his dr., who made it clear he needed to take all of his medicine, including zyprexa, lithium, and his sleeping medicine temazepam. Since then, he's slowly coming out of the depression. Another thing that helped was a visit with some friends from our ward who let him know they understand and care about him. They also left him with a priesthood blessing. It was just what he needed to give him extra strength to fight this disorder. After that, David made the deliberate decision to go to family, ward, and work parties and to socialize as much as he was able. I admire his determination.

Summer highlights: One of the highlights was a weekend trip to Manti, Utah for my nephew's wedding at the end of July. We decided to make a weekend of it, and enjoyed the drive there that took us through mountainous and rural countryside. We found the last available motel room in town, which happily coincided with being the same one my sister and her family were at. It had originally been a small apartment, separate from the rest of the motel, and still had the feel of being from an earlier era; we loved the solitude of it. The wedding was beautiful, and the officiator gave the bridal couple some great counsel about the importance of working together.

Even though I was limping badly (the week before this trip I had jumped into the shallow end of a pool with too much enthusiasm, and severely bruised my heel), we had a good time exploring Main Street and its local vendors. One of our finds was a small restaurant that featured an in-store bakery as well as ice cream treats. The pastries were melt-in-the-mouth fresh. And so good we decided we'll take another trip there just for the donuts. David does so much better in a small town atmosphere that I wish we could move to one for his sake. We liked the area, and he kept saying, "Can we move here?" On the way home we took a back road through the mountains and enjoyed the vista.

We also had several family get-togethers, went to a family reunion, ward campout, and a (partial) family campout. While he enjoyed these experiences, he didn't really get the full measure of fun and satisfaction from them. We're hoping he has turned the corner from this latest round of depression.

Mount Timp

Currant Creek Reservoir

Currant Creek


Manti, Utah

Manti Temple

Manti Temple at night