Hope we're OK to post now that Joe's sprinkled some fairy dust.
Pat, I love you. Would that everyone had your wisdom and insight. The honesty and love and affection you bring to the situation would be good medicine for so many like me who have not had to deal with this situation on a regular basis, yet would like to know how to treat people like your son with the dignity they deserve.
I learned some great lessons from Shirley Strobel, of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. She and her group have been working for parity in insurance coverage for mental illness. She did a talk entitled Parity in Compassion, about how easy it is to sympathize, empathize, care for someone with physical illness, and their family. And about how much more difficult it is to struggle along without that compassion when the'illness' involved is not as 'socially acceptable' as cancer or pneumonia or hepatitis.
And, in future, would it be so hard for us to honor a heartfelt request like Rick's and start another thread?!