Near the end of February of 2012, an old and dear friend from college suggested I email his wife and her dad with some details about mom’s condition in the hopes that they might be able to offer some advice.
Here is the email I sent them:
From: Gagne, David
Subject: My Mom
Sent: February 24, 2012 10:28 PM PST
Here is a summary of the details I have. I’ve included a very basic timeline at the end. I have taken extensive notes during every phone call I’ve had with anyone regarding my mother — every nurse, doctor, social worker, etc. — since she was admitted to Stewart-Marchman Act at the beginning of December 2011, so there are a million more details I can provide. (I have called and talked to someone, anyone — a nurse or social worker or someone working for the state of Florida ElderSource program — at least twice every day for three months now, so there are a lot of notes.) But this basic outline should provide enough information for anyone to understand the current situation.
I know you recommended that I get a lawyer, and others have suggested that I get “power of attorney” over my mom, but I do not even know where to begin with that. I know several lawyers in California, but none of them specialize in family law, and I would assume that the laws in Florida are wildly different. (I am not even sure if lawyers are allowed to work between states. I know that when I got divorced a decade ago I had to get a lawyer in Florida to handle the case because lawyers in California all told me they would not be able to do anything.) Do you know anyone that I could contact to find a lawyer in Florida? Should I simply Google someone? That seems absurdly inefficient. Any advice you can give me related to that would be welcome.
I am overwhelmed with gratitude for any help you can possibly give us. Even if there is nothing more that you can do, simply talking to you tonight has given me hope that everything is not hopeless, and I cannot thank you enough for that.
(1) Personal Information
Full Name: KATHLEEN ANNE GAGNE
Also Known As: “KATHIE” GAGNE
Maiden Name: ALBANESE
(2) Current Contact Information
Halifax Psychiatric Center, Unit 2500
303 N CLYDE MORRIS BLVD
DAYTONA BEACH FL 32114
Here are, to the best of my knowledge, the drugs my mother is currently being administered:
HALDOL — 2mg/2x/day since 2/6/12
NAMENDA — 5mg/2x/day since 1/25/12
ZYPREXA — 5mg at bedtime since 2/6/12
ARICEPT — 10mg in the morning since 1/26/12
BENADRYL — 2x/day
LOPRESSOR — 25mg/2x/day
PRENAVIL — 10mg/2x/day
HCT2 — 12.5mg in the morning
Just today (Thursday, February 23, 2012) my sister told me that they are going to discontinue the Benadryl starting tomorrow in an effort to minimize how sedated she is constantly for the last few weeks.
I know that some of these drugs are prescribed for high blood pressure.
(4) Doctors and Contacts
Dr. Stephen Oh; psychiatrist – (386) 258-6455
Dr. Dahila Fulop; psychologist – Neurology Associates – (386) 673-2500
Dr. Dannie Buck; internist – (386) 676-0505
Dr. Shoemaker; long-time family doctor – (386) 677-0453
Dr. Caliendo; Halifax Psychiatric Center AND Stewart-Marchman Act – (386) 254-4080
Constance Wade, Social Worker; Halifax Psychiatric Center AND Stewart-Marchman Act – (386) 254-4080
Sophia Mas, Social Worker; Stewart-Marchman Act – (386) 236-3260
Rodney Curtis, discharge coordinator; Stewart-Marchman Act – (386) 236-1729
Delia Mcclain; ElderSource – (904) 391-6600
(5) Financial Information
My mother currently receives $1104.00/mo from Social Security, on or about the fourth Wednesday of the month.
She has been receiving these funds since November 24, 2010.
She has no health insurance or savings account. Her checking account contains less than $100.00.
She has approximately $10,500.00 in a state of Florida pension fund from the time she spent in the early 2000s working for AmeriCorps, where she managed all of north central Florida for years. My sister and I are not really sure how to access this, and there is some question regarding the tax penalties for withdrawing money from it before she turns 65.
Here is a timeline of significant events to date:
05/04/2007 – My maternal grandmother died from complications during emergency surgery because she was dropped on the floor by a nurse at Indigo Manor assisted living facility in Port Orange, FL; the nurse “covered up” the accident and for three days my grandmother was in tremendous pain until finally someone realized she had a broken femur that had become infected; My mother has since been (understandably) terrified of being placed in a nursing home.
07/31/2008 – Mom lost her job at AmeriCorps when her position was eliminated (layoffs)
03/2009 – Indigo Manor settled my mother’s lawsuit against them out of court; she and my uncle each received a negligible amount of money
10/2009 – Mom was in a pretty serious car accident when she mistakenly made a left-turn into oncoming traffic
12/14/2009 – administered CT-Scan and electrocardiogram at Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach, FL; was told that there is nothing at all wrong with her brain
01/20/2010 – the last date I received an email from my mother; she discussed attempting to find free psychiatric counseling because she was scared and nervous about her mental state; from this date forward she seemed to completely forget how to use any electronic devices at all
07/02/2010 – moved into The Park apartment complex
08/22/2010 – my son [redacted] was born
11/01/2010 – my sister wrote a letter explaining that my mom was exhibiting short-term memory loss and difficulty executing daily, routine activities
11/09/2010 – Mom and my sister flew to Los Angeles to visit and meet [redacted]
11/24/2010 – Mom began receiving $1104.00/mo from Social Security
06/01/2011 – Neurologist Dr. Fulop prescribed 40mg of Citalopram daily; said he wanted to do neuro-cognitive tests to discover extent of dementia
08/18/2011 – Psychiatrist Dr. Oh stated that mom seems markedly less depressed and noted a definite improvement in her cognitive abilities
12/01/2011 – found wandering lost in the apartment complex parking lot; administered CT-Scan at unidentified hospital in Deland, FL; admitted to Stewart-Marchman Act http://smabehavioral.org/
12/??/2011 – first Baker Act hearing
12/08/2011 – requested to speak with Dr. Caliendo; was told he would contact me when he could
12/20/2011 – conference call with Dr. Caliendo and Sophia Mas, social worker at Stewart-Marchman Act; Dr. Caliendo told me that mom has incurable dementia; asked for specific diagnosis and was told “dementia”; Sophia Mas called to say that CT-Scan from 12/01/2011 revealed an “old lacunar infarct of the left thalamus” and “periventricular white matter hypodensities” that were “suggestive of chronic small vessel ischemia”
01/05/2012 – Dr. Caliendo returned from vacation
01/05/2012 – Sophia Mas called to tell me that it was time for mom to “go somewhere else” because there was nothing more they could do for her at Stewart-Marchman Act and they were being pressured by their administration to get her out of there; Sophia Mas told me specifically that she had done all the work necessary to have mom added to the appropriate waiting lists for supplemental Medicaid assistance
01/12/2012 – was informed that Dr. Caliendo agreed to slowly stop administration of Respirdal
01/18/2012 – administration of Respirdal ended
01/19/2012 – Sophia Mas emailed me to apologize and admit that she had NOT done the work necessary to have mom added to Medicaid waiting lists.
01/19/2012 – Rodney Curtis, discharge coordinator at Stewart-Marchman Act, called to say that mom’s condition deteriorated dramatically between 01/16 and 01/19; that she was no longer bathing or dressing herself and not “maintaining hygiene” and that they were transferring her to “Halifax Hospital Geriatric Ward” because no assisted living facility will take her because she can’t bathe or dress herself, and no nursing home will take her because she has no insurance
Rodney asked why she wasn’t receiving Social Security, and I informed him that she was, in fact, receiving Social Security.
01/19/2012 – admitted to Halifax Psychiatric Center in Daytona Beach, FL
01/20/2012 – administered MRI / EEG at Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach, FL; began taking 150mg Wellbutrin once each morning (I was not consulted or informed of this.)
01/20/2012 – first conversation with Constance Wade, social worker at Halifax Psychiatric Center
01/20/2012 – ElderSource in Jacksonville added mom to “assisted living facility waiver” waiting list
01/25/2012 – administration of Wellbutrin ended; was told for the first time that I am the court-appointed Guardian Advocate of my mother
01/26/2012 – another Baker Act hearing
01/30/2012 – third phone call with Dr. Caliendo, who told me he was responsible for having mom transferred from Stewart-Marchman Act to Halifax Psychiatric in order to rule out potential medical reasons for her dementia
01/30/2012 – received Guardian Advocate forms via USPS
02/01/2012 – returned Guardian Advocate forms via USPS
02/14/2012 – Jennifer Gagne, my little sister, arrived in Florida