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Turning Tides

As told to Leah Gebber

I was familiar with the hallways, the dayroom, the staff. Bob, jumping into my path, “Hello, hello, hello, hello, are you having a nice day, why haven’t you said hello to me yet?” Tatiana trailing her knitting behind her as she stalked the corridors — I never saw her actually knit a single stitch. And all the other faces I saw — young and fresh or old and grizzled. They were part of the landscape.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Even the way my son Yerachmiel stared at the ballgame on the screen in front of him was so familiar, though I knew he saw nothing, so taken up was he with the images inside his head. Strange how such a place can become as comforting as home. Today’s visit took a different rhythm from usual. I had an appointment with the head psychiatrist, and the community social worker would be sitting in. Together we’d be discussing the next stage in Yerachmiel’s care: discharge. As I passed the lounge where Yerachmiel usually sat, I stopped for a minute and dropped a quick kiss on his head. He nodded in acknowledgment, though he didn’t look up at me. After hesitating for a minute, I forced myself onward to the set of offices. I knew, before he said it, whatDr.Marim was going to say. He didn’t disappoint me. We sat around on orange plastic chairs andDr.Marim hid his mouth behind the open palm of his hand. What does that mean? I wondered. The social worker was to my left, and I knew this was done purposely, to make me feel that she was on my side.Dr.Marim opened the meeting. “We’re very pleased with Yerachmiel’s progress. For a while now, his condition has been stable. As long as he continues following the regimen of medication, we can begin to think about discharge. There’s really no reason for him to stay.” I pushed my shoes down on the faded rug, refusing to move. “I can’t have him at home.”

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