From time to time we all need to be reminded that what we do for patients and families is a “big deal.” I want to share this letter I got from a home office staff’s wife.
As you know, my mom was at Peak View just a few shorts weeks ago. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, an issue that has gone undiagnosed for most of her life it seems, but I am glad to report that she is back at home now and doing well. She is staying on her meds and doing her best to keep a healthy lifestyle and routine.
My mom’s path to Peak View started when I received a call from her back in early January. She told me she was having a mental breakdown. I knew she needed professional help, so my dad and I took her to Aspen Pointe for an evaluation. They referred her to Peak View when she shared her thoughts and plans for self-harm. I was so saddened and frightened for my mother but also thankful with all my soul that a place existed that could help her and keep her safe.
She was scared to go and kept saying she didn’t want to be locked up. She comes from a generation where anyone with a mental health issue was ostracized not helped. I assured her that Peak View was different. And she soon realized that it was. Instead of being restrained, as she thought might happen, she was asked to sit in a chair and tell her story. She was treated with respect and kindness. So, although her mind was manic and disjointed, the calm and steady environment she experienced during her initial assessment was so helpful. I don’t think her mind would have been able to handle any more stress or agitation that day. She might have broken completely.
She was an in-patient at Peak View for 3 weeks. It took her 2 weeks to come out of her manic episode. My mother was a moderate case we were told, but it was a very traumatic time for her and our family. But as hard as it was to leave her in a strange place, it was comforting to know that she was at Peak View. The staff was professional, patient, and kind despite the stressful nature of their work environment. My mother was by all accounts a high maintenance resident for sure. She must have asked to see Doug, the Food Service Manager, regarding her food about 20 times. And each time he listened to her intently and then did whatever he could, within reason, to accommodate her. All with a smile and a “Always good to see you, Miss Theresa.” And when Rec Therapy met in the Day Room, Vicki would bring her iPad and speaker to play music, making sure everyone got to request a song. She would even turn the speakers up a bit and sing along. This brought such joy to my mom during a very painful time. And on some days, she told me, those songs were the only joy she would have. The nurses, I believe Bob had her on his case load the most, and all the MHTs did such a great job of giving her the tough love she needed when she needed it. They were a calm and steady force as she struggled with her mania….and even though she wasn’t always a fan of the structure, it was what she needed. I am thankful for their continual patience with her. And when I called every morning to see how she had done the previous night, they always took the time to give me a detailed report and answer any questions. I even received a call each Sunday night from one of her therapists to see how I was doing…and did I have any questions or concerns. This was such a pleasant and welcome surprise. Although my mom had the hardest job, it is hard to be the family member watching her go through it. So it was very nice to be contacted. I also have to mention Charise, Dr. Underwood, and Dr. Sanford. They did a fantastic job evaluating and coordinating my mom’s care. They truly helped us better understand what my mom was/is going through and guided us each step of the way regarding her care. I know that I didn’t get to meet all of the staff who helped my mom and that many people work behind the scenes. Just know that I am very thankful for each and every person there.
After three weeks as an in-patient, she then went to the PHP program for three weeks. I was nervous about my mom going to this part of Peak View because I didn’t understand it very well. But I was able to speak with Halcy over the phone. I had so many questions and she graciously answered each one. She has such a comforting and benevolent tone in her voice. The more I talked to her the better I felt. And the more I learned about the schedule and processes, the more I knew this would be a great transition program for my mom. And indeed, it was. She called it her “school” and it really helped her learn about bipolar disorder and gave her tools and strategies to help manage it. It is a nice stepping stone down the pathway to recovery and going back home full time. Which is where my mom is now…. Home. 🙂
I am so grateful for this as I realize that my mom could have ended up somewhere very different or not alive at all if not for Peak View.
You know when my spouse first started working for Strategic and would come home weary from travel or frustrated by the day’s events, I would always encourage him and remind him that he was doing GOOD work, that people needed the safe places he was helping create. He would agree and seem to get up the next day with restored energy. And then, when I first met the home office staff and they addressed everyone as if they were family, thanking wives, husbands, and kids for supporting their loved ones who work long, hard hours, days and nights, keeping Strategic growing and reaching out into communities that are in desperate need of mental health services. I was humbled to be thought of as family and impressed by the passion, impressed that you all have chosen helping others as your life’s work. But it isn’t easy work and encouragement is often needed. And that is why I wrote you all this letter. I wanted you to know that the work you do every day is helping. It is making a difference. You have created safe places for people with mental health issues. You have reached out a helping hand to so many families who desperately need it. You have given families hope and the chance to live happy, fulfilling lives. I know you did for for my family.