Many preschool teachers earn around just $10 an hour in programs that are chronically understaffed and underfunded. And that’s just the beginning of the problems they face.
A daughter recounts the difficult experience of getting her bipolar father the help he needed to get better:
“I could feel everyone getting tired. The emergency-screening service kept sending the same patient to the psychiatric hospital, only to see him again the following week. The hospital had to baby-sit for a man who refused to comply with treatment. I made dozens of phone calls and was getting nowhere. The only people who hadn’t succumbed to fatigue were my mother, though her fingers were cramped from praying so many rosaries, and the local police, who had no choice in the matter. The same roster of officers responded to each call, shepherding my father from the street to the emergency room to PESS to jail, and periodically driving past my mother’s house to make sure things were calm. I worried that before long they, too, would give up and release my father, on his own recognizance, to the street.
“And then what?
“I imagined him circling a drain, the pull of love and obligation dragging my mother and siblings and me behind him.”
The first report of a zolpidem awakening came from South Africa, in 1999. A patient named Louis Viljoen, who, three years before, was declared vegetative after he was hit by a truck, had taken to clawing at his mattress during the night. Thinking he was suffering from insomnia, his family doctor suggested zolpidem to help him sleep. But 20 minutes after his mother ground the tablet up and fed it to him through a straw, Viljoen began to stir. His eyes, which normally wandered the room, vacant and unfocused, flickered with the light of consciousness. And then he began to talk (his first words were “Hello, Mummy”), and move (he could control his limbs and facial muscles). A few hours later he became unresponsive. But the next day, and for many days after that, zolpidem revived him, a few hours at a time.