Mom Seeks Support So Bipolar Daughter Can Go to College

June 27, 2019

Long-distance call

When Emma headed to college several states away from home, her mom, Janet, was understandably nervous.

In addition to the usual worries about managing classes and making friends, Janet had another concern: Would Emma remember to take her pills?

Emma is bipolar, and missing doses of her twice-daily medications could be catastrophic.

“(Emma) has this condition, but, I looked at it like, let’s get her the support she needs so she can go to college,” says Janet. She likens the situation to Helen Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, who accompanied Keller to Radcliffe College.

A Google search showed a BrightStar Care franchise a few minutes’ walk from campus, and Janet cold called the office with her unusual request: someone to check in on her daughter regularly.

Campus Visit

BrightStar Care nurse Diane, met Janet and Emma that fall, and they crafted a plan. Janet would prepare a 10-week tray of medications that she would give Emma during school breaks, and Diane would meet Emma at her dorm each week and text Janet a photo of the tray.

Janet had explored buying a machine that would dispense pills and issue her a report, but she really wanted a nurse to lay eyes on her daughter and help keep Emma accountable.

“The human meeting is important,” Janet says. “Diane is so cheerful and upbeat, which was a big plus, too, in encouraging Emma to stick with her medication regimen,” she adds.

Report Card

Janet also asked Diane to check on Emma a couple times during the school year when Emma was under the weather. Diane, who has three college-age kids herself, understands. She stopped by the dorm with chicken soup and took Emma’s temperature.

“I was mom’s second hand when she couldn’t be here, and she was so appreciative,” Diane recalls. Especially when it comes to mental health, missed dosages can lead to a downward spiral, she explains.

“It’s such a mercurial condition,” says Janet. She cites high-profile suicides such as Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, both of whom appeared happy to family members shortly before their deaths. “A weekly meeting, or biweekly meeting, is no guarantee, but it made me feel better,” she says.

That peace of mind is priceless. “I thank God that I found (BrightStar Care), and I’m going to continue using them as long as Emma needs it,” she adds.