It's funny how the mind and body work when you are in the middle of a crisis. There must be some kind of system that kicks in that lets you keep going when normally you would have collapsed on the floor, overwhelmed. That system was in high gear from last Friday until yesterday. It's not that I didn't cry some or feel exhausted, but I was functioning. Last night, the system wore out and I was hit hard.
I was okay yesterday morning. I did housework and laundry and dishes, enjoying the feeling of doing everyday work again. We drove to Providence to see Janey midday. Freddy came too, to see her in the new hospital. The drive went quickly---we are figuring out new routes to take, and it's a pretty straight shot to drive there, although a long straight shot. We are starting to know the routine, how to check in, what not to bring into the hospital, where the long locked halls lead, all that.
Janey looked well cared for, which was great to see. Her hair was clean and brushed, and she was dressed in her nice clothes. She seemed much quieter, calmer overall. We visited with her in her room, as we are required to do. She seemed happy to see us. We brought her her toy Olivia and Beanie Baby style My Little Pony, and we played with those a bit. Then I sang her some Christmas carols, letting her choose what I would sing next. She looked at me with the look I only see when she is totally overcome with music---a look of wonder and amazement, as if she can barely believe the perfection of the songs (not my singing!) When I sang "O Little Town of Bethlehem", she kept repeating the line "yet in thy dark streets shineth" and I sang that part over and over.
After a while, she was getting restless and started asking for the kind of things she asked for in the hospital, over and over..."Want to take a shower? Want to watch Olivia? Want bacon? Want take off socks?" We realized it was probably time to go, before she got more upset, and we told her we were going to say goodbye. She said "Put on shoes? Go to Mama's house?" If there is a moment when a parent has their heart broken, that is it---when your ten year old daughter, in a locked psychiatric ward, asks for you to take her home. I hope I never again feel what I felt that moment, and I hope none of you ever have to feel that feeling.
We took her back out to the ward---the area they seem to spend weekend days in, outside her room. I won't write much about the other kids there, because it is not my story to tell and I respect their privacy, but I will say Janey was the only girl I saw, and also the only child that seemed to talk. She stood out, as it feels like she has done all her life. I wish so much sometimes I could gather all the girls together that I have met through this blog, that we could get our girls together in a room so Janey for once could have peers like herself. Maybe someday that can happen. But for now, it so often feels like Janey is very alone.
After we got home, I did mindless things---watching some Star Trek, reading, knitting. Tony was working on a long, long application we have to do to try to get state supplemental insurance for Janey, to help with the bills that will soon start rolling in. At one point, he asked me for a little information for the form. I found I couldn't answer. I couldn't think. I couldn't put together simple sentences.
Tony quickly realized what he was dealing with. He stopped asking any questions. He made me some hot chocolate, and then, a French bread pizza. He comforted me as I collapsed into my bed, crying and crying. I am incredibly lucky to have a husband like him.
Later, my rock of a friend Maryellen called me, and we talked for an hour. She listened to my teary account of the visit to Janey. That is so important---to have someone I can pour my heart out to, someone outside the family but still very connected. I am so lucky in the support I have, from friends like Maryellen, from my family and from my extended blog family. I truly want you all to know that---how much you all have helped.
Today I feel stronger. I am sad we will probably not visit Janey today. The Patriots play in between where we are and where she is, and traffic back and forth becomes a nightmare. I would not let that keep me away, but I think also Janey might need a day without the confusion our visits seem to bring. I hope I am right there. I know she is in the place she needs to be, but I miss her so intensely. It is not the normal course of things to have your little girl so far away, literally locked away. My life has taken a turn which is often feeling surreal. I need to get through this. I think today, I will retreat to gather strength for the next round, to go on and keep on fighting.