Allow me to describe the process for you who (hopefully) will never have to experience it. Once you check in to an ER, the doctor sees the patient and makes a determination if the patient is in need of hospitalization. Once the doctor determines that he/she is, you wait and wait and wait until the social worker comes to ask you all the same questions the doctor did. It then becomes the social worker’s job to find a bed available for the patient in either the current hospital or hopefully one in the area. They leave to make calls and then you wait, and wait, and wait for hours to find out whether they have landed a bed for you. There are horror stories of people being in these small ER rooms for days and days while they wait.
Often, the social worker comes back to tell you there aren’t any available beds because it seems that there is a very elaborate algorithm in order to determine if a unit can take another patient. Gender is important. Age is also a factor, a facility may have a bed available for a 16 year old, but not a 13 year old. Then, for us, it is always the added necessity of a one-on-one aid. Jerilyn usually needs one and this requires more staffing, and sometimes they just can’t find staff for it.
We lost beds this go around after I thought we had them once because she was a female and there were only male beds available and a second time because she needed one-on-one support. It’s so disheartening once you think you have a bed, only to lose it. After waiting a few hours with no response from the social worker this time, I had an aha moment when I realized I could start making these calls and lobbying (literally) to get Jerilyn to the top of the waiting list of as many places as possible.
I was actually told by one facility that it was good I was calling…it makes a difference when a parent was calling. I told him, “Well, Adam, prepare to be my new best friend, because I will be calling often today.” Thankfully, he responded with “I look forward to your call.” The sad part was realizing a lot of the kiddos who need desperate help are actually just dropped off in the ER with no one to make those calls on their behalf. They sit and wait alone, getting pushed to the bottom of the list, because no one cares enough to make them a priority.
Guess which facility we got into? The one where my new best friend, Adam, worked. I happened to call again just as a bed was opening up for, you guessed it, a 13 year old girl….praise God!!
God inhabits the prayers of his people and so many of you were praying for us. I am so utterly thankful and truly feel prayer is what made the difference.
We also had another CFT (Child Family Team) meeting yesterday. Sixteen participants. Multiple service providers and people involved in coordinating care for Jerilyn. Sixteen is a very large group and that alone shows the intensity of Jerilyn’s case. The blessing was that everyone seemed to be on the same page, understanding of the turmoil Jerilyn is in and ready to start agreeing on solutions. Before this meeting, it seemed that most agencies were avoiding responsibility and busy trying to push off the problems to another agency.
We will see if this new understanding holds true once we get closer to Jerilyn’s release from the hospitalization. At this junction, they are expecting her to be in for about three weeks to stabilize her meds.
Obviously, we still need your prayers. Ainsley, Daisy and I have all been sick over the last week. Daisy has been home with her asthmagiving her trouble since Monday afternoon. When it rains, it pours….and sometimes it feels like the best we get around here are the days when it only sprinkles! I’ve decided to look for the rainbow. The beauty of a rainbow is revealed even while it is still sprinkling. Keep praying for Jerilyn!! Our God is a God of miracles and I plan to keep asking for them.
Love you all. Blessings to you!!