Mostly just wanted to check in with everybody and say hello.
Also, my coworker and good friend, Debra Goodlett, has been in the hospital for almost three weeks after suffering a very serious stroke. I've been thinking about her a lot. Her condition is very grave, and things aren't looking very good at all.
Debra was working the mental health docket since before the time that I started on it, and she worked on mental health issues, both at the Austin State Hospital and at the probate court prior to working for the County Attorney's Office. On a professional level, Debra has been very knowledgeable and good at her job. She taught me much of what I know about the way that the local mental health hospitals, agencies, and service organizations work. She's been really good at talking to victims, in particular, many of whom are family members, neighbors, and friends of mentally ill people, and many of whom are just sort of at the end of their rope. When victims and witnesses have needed someone to talk to someonewho understands the impact that mental illness has upon the people who are living with mentally ill people (and also about the difficulties of navigating the mental health care system and the justice system), Debra has done a really good job at relating to them and making sure that their viewpoint is taken into account as we resolve cases.
On a more personal note, Debra is a really good friend of mine. For years now I've been talking to her every day at work about topics ranging from family and friends to office gossip and food. In a work environment which can sometimes be stressful, she almost always managed to make me laugh or smile. She's even given out some good advice from time to time- not the least of which involved encouraging me to ask out Amy for the first time (which would have happened anyway, eventually, but I'm sort of a wimp, so Debra definitely helped move the process along). On her pop ins, Debra's even been watering the cactus in my office and helping to keep it healthy.
Anyway, Debra's been on my mind a lot lately, and I miss her a whole lot, so I just wanted to say so. She's a good friend, a good/fun coworker, and a great person. My heart goes out to Debra and her family. Everyone here at the County Attorney's Office is thinking of you and yours, Debra.