Despite all the efforts on their daughter’s behalf, despite wonderful community support, Taylor’s suicide attempts continued to increase. Over the months that followed, she attempted suicide at least twenty-two times. She saw at least thirteen psychiatrists and five other medical doctors. In one instance, seventy hours passed while health professionals bounced her between three different facilities before she was finally admitted. Everywhere the Pryors turned, they received conflicting messages. One doctor would say she needed the psychotherapy treatment program available at the Selkirk Mental Health Centre. Another would decide she wasn’t well enough to go. One would prescribe medication; another would take her off that and give her something else. Some staff would communicate freely while others would state that Taylor was an adult and privacy rules prevented them from sharing the information with Doug and Darseen.
Waiting in noisy, chaotic ERs where the staff seemed focused on settling Taylor down and sending her home did not work. Many times, they would release her and within twenty-four hours she would be back in the hospital after attempting suicide. With a choked voice, Doug tried to describe the pain of standing helplessly by while several professionals tackled his daughter and held her down so they could shoot a sedative into her.
In one incident, Taylor’s sister Raela found her on a bridge near St. Boniface hospital after Taylor left the ER. Raela knew where to look because of something Taylor had said while seeing the bridge from a hospital window. Sure enough, when Raela arrived, Taylor was preparing to jump into the Red River below. A stranger in a bright orange shirt stopped to help. Taylor did not resist but allowed the young man and Raela to escort her back to the hospital where her parents waited.
In the chaos, the young man simply disappeared, and they never learned his name. Doug is convinced he was an angel sent from God, wearing Taylor’s favorite color.
In August of 2019, a passerby found Taylor lying in the middle of the road on William Avenue after she was discharged from the Crisis Response Centre. Police picked her up and took her to the Health Sciences Centre ER.
Doug and Darseen managed to secure an appointment with a concussion specialist in Calgary, a full day’s drive from home. While they were there, another suicide attempt caused Taylor to miss the appointment. They returned home in defeat. The constant vigilance was taking a deep toll, despite feeling tremendous support from their church community. Doug served on his church board at the time, and sometimes the pastor would stop the board business so they could pray for Taylor. There were nights when family and friends were out searching for Taylor in Winnipeg while board members prayed back in Portage. They texted Doug about what God was showing them. In one instance, a praying board member received a vision of Taylor sitting on a park bench. From that description, the family was able to find her.
They continued trying to get Taylor into the treatment center in Selkirk, typically a six-month wait. With the help of Manitoba Legislative Member Dr. Jon Gerrard, Taylor’s name was moved up the list, reducing her wait to two months. While they waited, her family grew hopeful as they were invited to join a support group for families of other Selkirk patients already in care.
On October 16, 2019, another attempt sent Taylor to the hospital where she was seen by psychiatry and kept overnight. Although she asked to stay, she was discharged the next day.
She walked out, then began to run. Her mother tried to follow in her car but lost sight of Taylor after she scaled a fence along a busy highway and disappeared into a wooded area at the University of Manitoba. It was the last time Darseen saw her daughter alive. She was four days away from being admitted to the Selkirk treatment center.
Continued next week.