I’d told my son I wasn’t doing well the week after coming home from St. Joe’s, and he called on July 7th, persuaded me to come for dinner and stay overnight. That afternoon watched Nolan and Jack happily splashing in a backyard wading pool — with their daddy pretending to be a big fish for them to climb on. The next morning, Kieran talked me into walking a mile long trail with him — exercise creates endorphins and lifts mood, he said, and though I felt a bit unsteady on my feet — he didn’t  seem to notice — I kept up the pace, didn’t want to worry him.

I’d been taking  Paxil for three weeks, prescribed at St. Joe’s, no weaning from the Zoloft and Lithium prescribed at Meadow Wood which I’d been taking for about a month.  Now I was waking often at night,  walking  wobbly, head muddled — and had a urinary infection, a probable side effect of Paxil, I learned. On July 11th, after seeing Dr. Naguib re now cleared urinary infection, but feeling generally miserable, I panicked again and drove to Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital in Baltimore for admission to their behavioral health unit.

Kieran very upset this time.  I’d broken my solemn promise to talk to him first, but knew a brisk walk wouldn’t be enough to help. Took Angel to board at the vet, crying s I left her, I called my son to tell him I was going to another hospital. He tried to persuade me to come to their home, but I was determined. After a sleepless overnight in the noisy Emergency Room, was admitted to the In Patient Psychiatric Unit the next evening, then taken off the St. Joseph’s medicines and prescribed Effexor — an antidepressant I’d been on for fifteen years until last January and was sure had stopped working.

Very long days at Hopkins — working crossword puzzles, reading, taking notes for “The Perils” in the Common Room, talking to other patients. Few group sessions, an occasional craft workshop and sessions led by a nurse or social worker — “How to Find Happiness” the theme of one, led by an almost annoyingly chirpy social worker.

Was surprised many patients were allowed to spend most of the day in bed, some only coming out for meals. Not sleeping well again, given Ambien several nights, then taken off and prescribed Trazodone and Remeron at bedtime. Antidepressants can cause insomnia.  Sleeping medicines can aggravate depression.

Happy news in the  middle of all this:  My beautiful granddaughter, Maeve Gallagher, was born on July 15th, a healthy 8 pounds, 9 ounces.  Sad that I’d have to wait to see and hold her when I was discharged — finally, on July 26th, after an endless two weeks and two days.


  1. Chelsea geisel said

    I hope to see you soon Eileen! Stay strong! You’re a wonderful beautiful human. Thank you for the updates. It saddens me to hear of your struggles, but you exhibit such perseverance and pain shared is pain lessened. Much love.

  2. Patty said

    You will be in my prayers. I love and miss your witty sprit that brightens up the room. I would love to groom your Angel one day🐾🐾🐾. Your one of my favorite people. Congratulations on your beautiful granddaughter!!! Take one day at a time xo. Patty

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