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Friday, November 12, 2004

More of Texas's ugly side

For those who can't get enough. This story in the Chronicle today is extremely sad. It's about an incident that happened back in April when a grad student at UT's music school, who spent quite a bit of time helping out one of the professors who had MS, flipped out and killed her one day. The whole thing could have been avoided if the student had gotten proper care for his mental illness, which he tried repeatedly to do. But since he was a student, he had to use the state services, which are unsurprisingly over-booked and underfunded. He was repeatedly diagnosed as bipolar, a misdiagnosis that ended up costing a woman her life and him his freedom. Even the cops who were called to the scene--by him--realized that the young man was suffering from schizophrenia, since he seemed to be unaware that he had killed someone but insisted that he was trying to get a computer chip out of her head. This tragedy has only helped increase the volume of requests that state services be funded and managed properly, but I don't expect much to come out of it.

And then there is this item from The Daily Texan about a group that doesn't want UT to move a statue dedicated to the Confederacy off the South Mall. It's a mind-bending story, where the group suggests that racial harmony is nice and all, but not if the price we pay is moving this stupid statue. And for those who think that "Christians" only hate gays, here's a nice reminder that there's room for hating blacks in the name of Jesus, too.

After praying in front of the statue of Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Texas Division declared their opposition to a proposal to move Confederate statues off the South Mall.

Not to leave the homo-haters out, here's a news item about how Texas legislators, feeling left out of the homo-hating legislative race, are proposing amending our constitution to ban gay marriage, too. Granted, we amend our state constitution like 200 times a year or something like that, but this is still a big, sucky shame. If this gets on the ballot, and it almost surely will, I plan to harangue my friends until they remember to go vote against it. Not that it will help, but you do what you can.

30 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The story about Ngai really struck home. My adult son has bipolar disorder (although he was misdiagnosed as OCD for a couple of hellish years) and the struggle he had trying to get help through the Texas system was horrible. First, they intentionally hide services to make it difficult to make a claim. The offices you had to go through weren't even listed in the phone book or on the state's web site and it took literally dozens of calls to various offices before we found the right people to talk to. I had three different people in that office tell me it was the wrong place before a fourth finally admitted that it was the right one. Then they required reams of documentation and kept changing what documents were required every time they were submitted. They eventually determined that he would receive nothing because he made too much money per hour during the periods he was working, despite the fact that the periods in between were so long that he earned less than $3000 per year. That didn't even cover his medications ($5000 per year at the time), let alone treatment or anything to live on. We payed what we could (but we still can't claim him as a dependent since he's "high function"). Without a doctor who was willing to sometimes wait for payment and low-cost drug programs from phamaceutical companies that we found out about on our own (our informal national health plan), there's no way he would have been able to maintain his treatment. He's doing pretty well now (which means he's also able to work enough to keep his health coverage) and we think he'll be able to move out on his own in the next year or so, but no thanks to the state. The Texas system is to deny him care until he breaks down completely and then (if he hasn't committed any crimes) give him some treatment. But it keeps taxes low and that's all that really matters.
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11/13/2004

 
Blogger Amanda said...

Gosh, I'm glad things are getting better. Yeah, that story nearly made me cry--on top of his misdiagnosis, he was too shy to really pursue the help he needed. I remember when it happened. Even the cops and the crime scene people were flummoxed. In this story, it makes it sound like he picked up the cleaver in order to attack the police, but from what I understand, the police on the scene thought he was going to further mutiliate the corpse. Classic example of why we have the insanity defense.

11/13/2004

 
Blogger marble said...

Wow. Just, wow. I am bipolar and have been receiving mental health care through the Bluebonnet Trails MHMR system for about two years now (I lived in Williamson County, in Cedar Park). It hasn't been perfect, and it was a rocky road to get me on just the right combo of meds, but I am doing well now. I actually moved about a year ago, but I didn't tell them because they would have had to transfer me to Travis County MHMR, and frankly, I just couldn't take the risk. If a new doctor chose to change my prescriptions and it made me suicidal (again)... well, it's not losing a life but it's losing all *enjoyment* of life. I shuddered to think of what the care at the busy, urban MHMR facility would be like.

I finally got a permanent job with the state and my medical bennies kick in after the first of the year. I will tread carefully and switch around if necessary to find a doc who will keep my meds the same.

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