Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Ana Manuela Manon: Aka Mom, part 2
After nearly two years; after a long time of worry some years, my mom returns to us. My mom returns to my dad's job in Manhattan, after a year plus in search for her existence; she sits silently and looks in a confused yet serene manner towards me, as if waiting for me to say something? I was a bit uncomfortable, but I understood my mom is older and must be on something. (I know this because of the way she looked; pale, sunken cheeks and very slow reactions when she moved).
My brothers showed up and greeted her with excitement as well, and showed her how much they themselves missed her. It felt like a reunion. We talked a bit and she mentioned to us how she needed to leave. She said that she now lives in Weston House on 113 Street, at the corner of 7th ave. We were surprised that she was around and some what close to where we were living. We were all glad to know that she was around, and we vowed to see her soon. I made it my personal business to see her as often as I could.
And that's exactly what happened. I saw her everyday. After working in Victoria secrets, I took the 2 or the 3 trains to 116th street and walked over the familiar neighborhood. Once familiar with the place and the staff, I then had a meeting with them, for they were letting me know about my mother's condition. I was told by the facility managers the history of my mothers mental state and what it was. I found out that my mom has schizophrenia . They also told me how often she needed to take her medications, and how they are covering for them.
I was stunned. All along I thought she was just drunk and sad, as well as saying things that she was thinking out loud. Now all made sense. The news took some time to let it sink in, into my heart. I had some questions that I had to ask the staff member, such as:
me: "can it be cured?"
me: "is it hereditary?"
staff: "possibly, cant tell if your family line has a common gene, if so yes, if not
I didn't let the news bother me. I place my time in seeing my mom as often as I can which helped me coup internally. She at least needed to know that someone loves her and that they are there. I made sure she understood that. So I visited her and took her out for lunch every afternoon, and or walks around the central park walk side, all the way down to 42ND street. yup we can walk. Some days I took her out to the movie theater and then walk right back to her facility. This was a fantastic time for me and her to bond together. She told me stories of her survival experience living in the streets. From almost being set on fire while she was sleeping on a public park bench, to the time she was scavenging for food in trash cans. She told me that she was arrested for peeing in front of a church, and a bunch of police officers arrested her and placed her in a van. a couple of days later she was in New York city. This mom of mine, walked all the way up North to Rockland County.
Fast forward to the year 2003. My family had the opportunity to move from the shelter and into a brand new home of our own, a 4 bedroom apartment in Brooklyn Crown Heights. This was such a thrill that we couldn't even contain our excitement. This same year my older brother Tomas left to Iraq. The year 2003 was the year that my youngest brother decided to take my mother out of Weston House and bring her "HOME" back to us, as we once was. I have to say, it was a wrong mistake.
My mom agreed and was very motivated to leave at once from her medical and social worker staff that she left with a bounce in her steps. Once home we had a nice room set for her and everything. It felt like a traditional family. I was at peace. months turned into a year, and I started to notice that my mom would return home a bit late. One day I asked why was she returning home so late, (11pm ish) and would say, "I was taking a nice walk, and getting to know Brooklyn better". As she was speaking, I smelled alcohol in her breath. I ignored it, but was conscious that she did it. A couple of days after, she continued to do the same. I confronted her and I told her that it wasn't a good idea and that she really needed to stop. She would say "yes yes, I understand, but its only one drink". There was no hope. There was no way getting to her. Her mental condition started to return to how it used to be while we were living in the shelter. I was getting so worried. I felt that I didn't have power this time, the power to monitor her. (this is the time period that I was also living in S.U.New Paltz as a student and an Resident Assistant).
I pleaded with my brothers and my dad to place time for my mom and give her, her medications. Tehy all tried, but they all had their agenda and their lives fixed. It was hard for them to brake their routine, so my mom was left alone once again.
Month turned into a year. 2004 I found out I was pregnant, and my mom was there for me. At least this new opportunity arose for her to changer her habits, because a new family member was about to be introduced to the world. The year 2004, was a year that I found out that I was schedule to leave with my combat medical unity, to Iraq and fight the "terrorist and care for the wounded". I was at least 3 month pregnant and they still wanted me to go. (long story, but to keep it brief, I didn't go. way too many Combat medical assistants were lined up to go, and I was one far too many. So I, and 80 other soldiers were left to work in the states).
2004 became 2005, and pretty much the same scenario. I graduated from school and I gave birth to my son Wesly. My mom was there for everything that happened to me. She baby sat for me as I did a few errans, worked part time and did some art gigs.
2006 storms on by, where my mother drinking resurfaced. The summer of this year as well as the fall was hard for us economically. The year 2007 the turning point of my mother mental condition began to regain more strength and her attitude towards us, was more and more defiant, refusing her medications, refusing to stop drinking and refusing to get help. She was getting way out of control. Eating with her eyes close, and drank her self to sleep. Peeing on her cloth, barley caring for personal hygiene and was arriving home extremely late and staggering. This particular year she was something I did recognize, a behavior oh so unwanted. She didn't take a shower for months. She slept with her going out cloth, and eat in her bed, which so happen to have 3 dead mice on her bed as well. He entire bedroom started to look like a dumpster, a place where old food with fungus, pee stains in her bed and on the floors, food /garbage where she slept, and it all smelled so bad. She started to eat soap and had dirty underwear covering her entire face. The most disturbing bad habit was that shes refuse to talk to people, and would sing and laugh out loud. She would often talk to herself and get angry every time.
On a steamy hot summer of June 2007, my mom didn't arrive home at all. She was missing for an entire day. A day knocked on my door saying that she saw my mother on the last floor laying on the ground. I rushed to see her and it was true. I found her in my building on the 6th floor hallway area floor. She was incoherent, and was angry at me, and was sweating heavily. She was drinking alcohol and was wearing two sweaters, one coat and dirty underwear over her entire head. I tried to take that ugly underwear off her head; and as I yanked it out, I saw quickly that her eyes were shut close with some Vaseline and turpentine ointment. She smelled so bad and started to fight me physically. She couldn't event get up. Her skin of her face was so caked up, and dry. She was also wearing socks on both her hands for some days now and now they were torn and dirty. She was trembling as of being cold, but its June, the hottest day this week? Why is she wearing a coat? I called the ambulance as an emergency aid, to convince my mom to get some medical help. She didn't react to people in a normal way and was hurting herself very badly. The paramedics arrived shortly, and took my mother away. I went with her, and I noticed that they placed her in a phyiatric ward near where I lived. The Hospital was called, "Kings County Hospital"I was surprised this was the spot to evaluate her condition, and I follow what the doctors were telling me.
I stayed with my mom. She wouldn't let me go either, digging her sharpen nails into my arm's flesh as if clinging to me for dear life. And all the time she was calling me a "stupid son of a bitch!", for sending her there. I been telling her that eating soap and drinking liquor or even turpentine was not a natural thing to do, and she needed professional help. Eventually we got some doctors that evaluated her in front of me and asked me about her condition, and why I sent her there. They agreed with me and told me that shes is Schizophrenic and its something that she needed frequent medical attention, and the alcohol made it worse.
Below is a YouTube clip of the very same place I took my mother to. This event happened one month after her admittance to Kings County Hospital.
Late (hot and very humid) June 2007 passed and a few month later, my youngest brother Jorge was frustrated that my mom was held in a mental ward, requested that she should be taken out and that my family would take better care of her. The hospital didn't hesitate and respected Jorge's' request. He called me and told me to bring my mom home. And so I did. I took her out, filed some paper work, and everything was well. I wanted to took a taxi to her house, but she didn't want to go home at all. I convinced her, and on the arrival of our destination: "you stupid son of a bitch!!!! I told you I didn't want to go here! Why did you take me here?!" I was so surprised that she said that!. The entire day I was forcing my mom that she need to go back home, that it was getting cold on this late July afternoon. She refuse. She was waiting for an answer to see if she can move in with me. She was out side her home for one entire day. From 3 o'clock until 11:28 pm she was standing out side, refusing to eat and drink, and often peed on herself. My older brother Tomas decided to call the ambulance and take her back to the hospital. And so it happened. He went with her to re admit her to the Phyciatric ward. One day later, Jorge to the rescue. This time I took her home again.
One year later her habits continued where she was uncontrollable. More strange, more behaving as a captive and waiting to died in her room. 2008 April my mom felt it was time to leave. She left one morning. One day later I called the police for a missing older woman. days turned into weeks, until I got a phone call from Jorge. He called me that my mom just arrived and he needed to go to work, and wanted me to go to his house and convince her not to go out again. I took a taxi from where I was and ran up the stairs, keyed myself in, and opened her bedroom door and saw her. Laying on top of her bed, with glasses , shoes and everything she has taken with her.
Below is the report of my mom being missing:
Once again, one more time, I was face to do something to prevent me from losing my mother. I told my older brother Tomas to call the police to report her reappearance. he did and they arrived 30 minutes later. They questioned her and they asked me for my father who wasn't there at the time. I called my father and my sister for advice, and they suggested that I should re admit her again, and this time do not allow
any one to take her out of the hospital. I told the police that I strongly suggest to place her once again to the hospital that she was in.
Teams of police officers arrived at the foot steps of my building, ambulance and medics were assessing my mother and persuaded her to get up from her bed and move towards the ambulance; and while that was happening, my family stood still. We were all surrounded by silence and flashing of red, blue and white lights, from the police cars, playfully dancing all around us. "One more time", I said to myself, and this time I went with her. (Once again she told me storied of where she was for the week she was missing, and what has happened to her: sleeping while it was raining in the parks, getting violated in Eastern Parkway and had a bunch of teenagers that picked her up from her sitting on the bench, and how all 7 other this guys punched her and kicked her. She also showed me her wrist which was badly swollen and black and blue. The pain ran out my eyes as tears and into my hands. I felt helpless.) We stayed together and got her re admitted. She cried out and cursed me out as usual. Sleeping on a chair until her name was called. She was waited in the waiting room for about one week, until there was a room her her sot sleep in; and then a month later she was relocated to a different hospital where seniors with mental stress were located at Kings Borough Phyciatric Hospital in Brooklyn off of Utica Avenue.
2008: The run down until present.
She appears to be in great faith, and I saw her practically everyday. I sometimes took my son to see her, which she loved oh so much. We talked about my family's progress and disappointments, and I tried my very best to bring her spirits up as she once did when I was a little girl. "Mami, I miss you so much. I want to take you to the park as we once did, and take you to the movie theaters." but in do time is what she replied.
Now my mother is relocated as of November 24th 2008, her birthday, to upstate New York at a Seniors hospital called Hedge Wood in Beacon New York. I haven't yet seen her but have been calling her as frequent as I possibly can.
Thank you all for reading my story.