After Lily's psychotic episode, I thought we'd been through the worst, and that with treatment things would just improve. I was wrong. Each day was just as scarey as the one before, and anxiety levels for all of us were sky high. Lily's hallucinations were increasing.
I tried to keep Lily and her brother busy with fun activities. Sleepovers, visits to the Boardwalk, going to the park with friends. I tried to keep a close eye on Lily and minimize her distress, but that didn't always work. We spent an evening at the Boardwalk which ended badly. The sound levels bothered Lily, but she didn't want to leave. She rode one particular ride on which the ride operator encouraged the riders to yell as loudly as they could. Lily was in tears when the ride stopped, and furious at the ride operator. I knew we needed to leave, and we headed for the car. By the time we got to the car, Lily was yelling at her brother, unhappy about sounds he was making. She was out of control and it was a hard short ride home.
Within a week, things deteriorated even more. We had a double sleepover on a Friday night, with a friend each for Lily and her brother. No one got much sleep, and we tried to keep things calmer the next day. By that evening however, Lily was higly agitated. She spent a fair amount of time yelling, mostly that she didn't feel safe. I repeated that I would keep her safe and tried to hold her close to calm her down. It didn't help, and she was clearly afraid of me. I agreed to step out of her room to try to make her feel more comfortable. Lily picked up the phone and called her friend's mother, asking to be taken to the doctor. I was unaware of the call, and the mother called my cell phone. I gave her a brief explanation, and rushed back up the stairs to try to calm Lily down again.
By then, Lily had locked her door and phoned 911. I got the extension and explained to the operator that Lily was having hallucinations and was under the care of a psychiatrist. The operator explained that she had to send deputies out to check on Lily, and we stayed on the phone until the deputies arrived. The operator explained to Lily who was coming and that they'd need to go into her room to speak with her. Lily was completely compliant.
When the deputies arrived, I fell apart trying to explain what was happening. The trio of deputies were compassionate and amazingly good with Lily. She wanted to see a doctor, and the deputies made the decision to take her to emergency. They explained everything to me, and I followed them to ER. Lily was admitted on a 5150, code for a danger to herself. We spent a long night in ER. There is no local adolescent psych ward, so Lily would be transferred to the nearest one, about an hour away. When the ambulance came to transfer Lily, she asked me to ride with her. Of course I went. By then her hallucinations had stopped and she wanted me with her.
We rode to Fremont and I followed Lily into the facility, thinking I'd go to the cafeteria and get coffee after I got Lily settled. I thought I'd sit and wait for a reasonable hour to call for a ride home. Wrong again. We had entered a locked facility. I was stopped at the door to the adolescent ward. It was explained to me that I couldn't go in, and there was no public cafeteria. I was let out the locked exterior door, purse and cell phone in hand, in a city I wasn't familiar with. It was not quite six in the morning. No car, no knowledge of a nearby coffee shop, no place to wait besides a bench in front of a closed Quiznos sandwich shop. I'd left my precious daughter in the care of strangers and would be allowed to see her that evening, for not more than one hour. Her admittance to this facility was involuntary. Neither she nor I had any control over her admittance for the next 72 hours.
In tears, exhausted, feeling destitute, I wandered up and down the nearby streets hoping to find a Starbucks. I finally sat on a bench and called my mom who'd been blissfully unaware of the events of the previous evening. I'm sure I frightened more than one person on their way for an early shift somewhere. This was as low as I'd ever been.