Rick met with Holly while she was still in the RCW office. He told Holly to let the men know that there would be a mandatory group meeting at 11:00AM this morning. He asked her to emphasize that all residents must attend and that those that were still in bed would need to be woken up at 10:30 AM to get ready for group. Rick then went back to the supervisor’s office to make some phone calls. He was able to get a hold of his two week day residential treatment counselors.
After he finished his call to one of his counselors Rick heard a knock on his door. It was Detective Barnes.
Rick let the detective in and prepared for an update and another round of questions. “Were you able to find anything out detective?”
“No, nothing really helpful. Some of the staff on the other floors of the building knew Bret but others did not. The ones that did know him all thought that he was a nice kid. How did Bret get along with the other residents?
“Bret was well liked by the majority of our residents. Many of them respected Bret and looked up to him,” Rick answered.
“Why was Brett so well thought of?”asked Detective Barnes.
“ Mostly because he was what is known in residential care as a high functioning client. He was one of our clients that I had predicted would probably have a good chance of living on his own in six months to a year,” said Rick.
“What was preventing Brett from living on his own?”
“Brett needed to reassess who he chooses as friends. While he was in high school he got in with the wrong crowd. In grade eleven he took an auto technology course and ended up befriending some guys who were into dealing drugs and stealing cars. As Bret got more involved with these guys he managed to get himself a criminal record. At his hearing the judge declared Bret to be NCR.”
“NCR? Not criminally responsible?”
“Yes,” answered Rick.
“Why do you think his peers at the center liked him so much?” inquired the detective.
“Bret had excellent people skills. His two parents are very educated people. They are both university professors in the United States. Bret was also a leader and was level headed. He’s very patient with the other guys. He’s not a push over, but he’s usually willing to help the other guys out. It probably doesn’t hurt that he’s physically fit and has a strong build as well.”
“He sounds more functional than a lot of people walking the streets right now,” concluded the detective. “ So if he could learn to stay away from his sleazy friends on the outside, he would probably be good to go.”
“We would have to be reasonably sure that he would take his meds too when he was released from our program. From what I’ve read in his files, Brett is a much different guy when he’s off his meds.”
“In other words he could be a danger to himself or others.”
“Rick, you said that the majority of the residents liked Bret. Which ones didn’t?” asked Detective Barnes.
“He started to regress. Prior to the break up Bret was showing signs of what we like to call recovery.
He was relatively upbeat and had developed a much more positive attitude towards his treatment. He started attending his classes regularly and Slash, our teacher/residential care worker, said that Bret was starting to demonstrate the qualities of a leader. Then the break up with his girlfriend happened. Bret stopped attending his life skills and creative expression classes and started spending the majority of his time isolating in his room.”
“ Did he give any indication of being suicidal? queried the detective.
“Brett didn’t give us any definite signs of suicidal ideation, but he had been saying some disturbing things lately.”
“ He said that he was losing his faith in God and was wondering why God allowed him to be born.”
“Was Bret a Christian?”
“Yes,” answered Rick.
By this time some of the residents were starting to wake up. They sensed that something was not right especially when they saw the detective in Rick’s office. It didn’t take some of them too long to figure out that Detective Barnes was a cop. The trench coat and short cropped hair were a dead give away. Most of the residents did not deal well with change of any kind especially where trauma or crisis was involved.
A few residents were already nervously hovering outside Rick’s office waiting to talk to him.
‘Rick, I know you’re tired right now. Can I ask you to stay in the building until at least 10:00 AM? I have many more questions I need to ask you, but I can see that you have your clients to attend to. Can I come back to your office in about an hour’s time? There are some other staff that I need to talk to right now.”
“No problem,” said Rick wearily.
“Wasn’t Brad able to work a double shift?”
“Oh yeah, he was, but our administrative director frowns on paying any staff overtime rates.”
“So you had to come in and work the shift?” asked Barnes.
“Yeah,” replied Rick.
“ I don’t understand. Wouldn’t you have to be paid at the overtime rate?”
“No, I’m considered as management not a unionized worker. Administration will give me some time off in lieu,” explained Rick.
“So you worked your usual day shift today as well as having to cover the
“That’s correct,” replied Rick.
“That must be murder on the system,” stated Detective Barnes.
“It’s not easy. Let’s put it that way,” offered Rick.
“What was the time when you last saw the deceased resident before being called to the stairwell?”
“At approximately 12:15 AM,” answered Rick
“Okay let’s start with the deceased client’s name and some background information,” Detective Barnes stated.
“The client’s name is Bret Harkness. He was twenty-seven years old.”
“Was he originally from Winnipeg?” asked Barnes.
“ No, he was born in the United States. Boston, Massachusetts to be exact. He was attending Boston University when his father was offered an opportunity to be a lecturer at The University of Winnipeg.”
“So Bret moved to Winnipeg with his family?”
“Yes, but he waited until his university semester was over. Bret was also quite involved with Boston University’s athletic program. He played on the university’s hockey team and was also an amateur wrestler. Bret was an accomplished athlete from what his family told me. Bret started to present with the symptoms of a serious mental illness during this time period.”
“I’m confused,” said Barnes, “How does a bright young man with athletic ability end up at The House of Hope?”
“That’s a long story,” answered Rick.
“You said a serious mental illness. What was Bret’s exact diagnosis?”asked Barnes.
“Schizo affective disorder. He presents with both the symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.”
“Did Bret suffer from depression also?”
“He was certainly presenting with symptoms of depression this week.” Rick noted. About two weeks ago Bret had broken up with his girlfriend.”
“How did the break up affect Bret?”
“He started to regress. Prior to the break up Bret was showing signs of what we like to call recovery. He was relatively upbeat and had developed a much more positive attitude towards his treatment. He started attending his classes regularly and Slash, our teacher/residential care worker, said that Bret was starting to demonstrate the qualities of leadership. Then the break up with his girlfriend happened. Bret stopped attending his life skills and creative expression classes and started spending the majority of his time isolating in his room.”
Garry Phelge was very happy to find out from Todd Finlay that he was approved for a weekend pass to accompany Wally Stanfield on his visit to his grandfather’s place.
“You’re set to go,” said Todd as he dropped by Garry’s room while doing his rounds.”Dr. Weisenthall told me that you’re doing really well and should be ready for some approved day and weekend passes. I agree with him. I’ve seen a lot of growth in you over the last month.”
“Thanks Todd. I really like it here especially your classes.”
Todd laughed, “I’m glad that you approve of my teaching. I wish you worked in administration. Some of the administrators find my teaching to be a little over the top. So all you need to do now is get packed for the weekend.”
“Do you like pro wrestling Todd?” asked Garry
“I love it. I used to be on the amateur wrestling team when I was attending at university.”
“Who’s your favorite all time professional wrestler?”
“That’s easy; Mick Foley. He had three different personas and would attempt stunts that no wrestler in his right mind would dream of trying,”
“Of all Mick’s personas who was your favorite?”
“I would rank Dude Love third, Cactus Jack second and Mankind first,” answered Todd.
“Did you know that Mick Foley is now a professional writer?”
“I sure do. In fact, I own and have read all his books including his books about his wrestling career, his two novels, Scooter and Tietam Brown and his children’s books.”
That’s why I like talking to you Todd. You and I share so many of the same interests.”
“Wow, We sound pretty good together,” said Drake.
“Well, I’m not going to quit my day job just yet, Drake,” said Dr. Stein.
“I don’t blame you,” laughed Drake.
“Well, I think it’s time that we got down to business,” said Dr. Stein. I’ll go over the results of your Strong -Campbell test first Drake. The results are pretty definitive. According to your scores you definitely fit into what is called ‘the helper’ category.”
“What does that mean?”
“It indicates that you like to work with people and to help people. Several professions fall into this category including the ministry, social work, lawyer, teacher and a few others. You score high in all these occupations Drake but your highest score is in teaching. According to the Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory you demonstrate a strong interest in any of these occupations but your highest aptitude is for teaching.”
“Oh, great. So I should continue being a teacher?
“Not necessarily. This test just shows that you still have a strong interest in education. Your Myers-Briggs test results indicate that you belong to a personality profile that is not common for a teacher. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be a teacher because there are working teachers with the same personality profile as you. Let’s explore the field of social work. You also have a strong interest in this profession but I can tell that you hate paper work and bureaucracy. Unfortunately, the field of social work has even more bureaucracy and paper work than teaching. For this reason, I wouldn’t think that it’s a good fit for you.”
“So, where do we look next, the ministry?”
“We could. Let’s explore that. Are you a Christian and do you attend church?”
“Yes, to both but I’m a bit irregular in my church attendance,”
“Does that mean that you don’t go to church every Sunday?”
“Yes, I often don’t go to church on Sundays. I might go once per month.”
“Don’t you like church?”
“Sometimes I do, but I’m often bored in church. Most Sundays I’m simply too burned out from my job and feel that I just need to sleep late and take it easy on Sundays,”said Drake.
“I don’t think that sending you to seminary to be trained as a pastor is going to be a viable alternative,” said Dr. Stein.
When Drake went to see his doctor he did not get a clear bill of health. His doctor told Drake that he had a form of mononucleosis that could lie dormant for awhile but cause later flare ups. He could not guarantee Drake that he would ever get his premorbid energy level back. The doctor suggested that Drake seriously consider a less challenging occupation that would not excessively tax his energy level.
“What am I going to do?” asked Drake. “I have been a teacher for most of my adult life and I have a family to support.”
“I know that this is not what you wanted to hear Drake, but I’m obligated to give you my best professional assessment and recommendation. I’ll tell you what I can do for you. I know an industrial psychologist that counsels people in your situation all the time. This guy is good and I know he gets results. I have already referred a few of my patients to him. You will likely be able to keep your health insurance for a few months yet so seeing the psychologist shouldn’t cost you anything.”
Drake knew that he could trust his doctor and that he would only refer him to another professional who is very competent in their field of expertise. When Drake returned home he reported the details of his doctor’s appointment with his wife, Judy. Drake was very emotional and started to weep when he told Judy that he shouldn’t return to full time teaching. He also told her about the referral to the industrial psychologist.
“ I know it doesn’t feel that way but I think that this will work out for the best, Drake. You’ve been working much too hard and you no longer have the stamina that you had before you got sick with mono. Your principal and your doctor both care about you and want what’s best for you, and so do I. To tell you the truth I was very concerned about your return to teaching but I didn’t want to discourage you. I think that you should definitely make an appointment with the psychologist that your doctor recommended. You are a very talented man, Drake, and I’m sure that the psychologist will show you many other career options that you can pursue,” said Judy.
“I’m sure blessed to have you for a wife, Judy. Most wives in your position would tell their husbands just to tough it out and go back to teaching,” said Drake as he moved towards Judy to give her a hug.