I've never written three posts in a day before now, and I don't think I ever will again, but I wanted to write about visiting Janey at Bradley Hospital while it was fresh in my mind. I'm blogging lately for myself as much as anyone, to remember these eventful and challenging days accurately.
The couple pictures here are ones I found on the internet of Bradley. You can't take pictures there yourself. The room looks very similar to the common room of the ward Janey is on. I'm not sure it's the exact same ward, but you can get an idea how nice it is.
We called this morning to make a time to meet with the staff at the hospital, and agreed on 11 am. We left about 10, thinking the drive was an hour, but it was actually more like an hour and 15 minutes, which was fine, but good to know for the future. It's a pretty drive at the end, through Providence, a city I've never spent much time in, although both my parents and my sister have lived there at points in their life. It's great the hospital is south of Boston instead of north of it, as that avoids the horrible traffic that driving through the city always involves.
When we got to the hospital, we had to show ID at the main desk and wait for someone to come get us. Everything is very, very secure there, which we don't mind at all. It was striking at Boston Children's Hospital how very UN-secure everything was. It was only on the weekend you had to show any kind of visitor's badge at all. Anyone could walk into any room there pretty much unchallenged. But at Bradley, that would not happen.
The social worker assigned to us came to get us, and we went into a meeting room. There we talked for a long time to quite a few people---the psychiatrist that has been assigned to Janey, a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, someone I think was a behavior therapist and a few more people whose roles I am not sure about right now! They asked us many, many good questions about Janey, things like what upsets her, what calms her, what her speech is like, how her behavior has recently changed, what medications she takes, how she is at school, how her sleep and eating area---all that. Everyone was very understanding and respectful. The process felt unrushed, unlike anything at all at the regular hospital.
After the long talk, we went to the ward to see Janey. We had to put our things into a locker---my pocketbook, Tony's jacket, a clipboard---you can't take much of anything in with you. I did bring in a big bag of clothes for Janey. Once in the ward, we had to sign in again. And then we saw Janey! She looked very cheerful. There was a relaxed smile on her face we hadn't seen for several weeks. It was wonderful to see.
The rules of visiting are that we have to visit with Janey in her room, not in the common area. Therefore, we stayed just a minute, because I couldn't bear to have Janey shut in a room again. She was happy being active, and it was the middle of their day there. She was about to have arts and crafts with other kids. So we put away her clothes, gave her a few big hugs and said goodbye.
The hospital is very strict about talking to other children. We saw a few boys who are on the ward with Janey, but the rules are that you can greet them if they greet you, but can't talk to them otherwise. I can see the reasons for this, although I would love to get to know other children like Janey a bit more.
We got the feeling that Janey is already winning over the staff. They had a few cute stories to tell about her already, including how they did the "Turkey Pokey", like the "Hokey Pokey", and that Janey loved that and did an impromptu solo dance and song after it was over. I can see Janey being very happy there. They will keep her busy and give her attention. I think the question will be more---will this carry over? Will we get help and ideas and medication changes and so on that will help us once she is home? I am going to try hard for right now not to think about that, to just be glad she is in such a great place and to try to relax at home. This is the respite we had wanted. Not in the way we ever wanted to get it, but I still need to use this time to regroup mentally---between drives to Rhode Island. I am certainly going to sleep well tonight, and I hope Janey does too, a whole state away from me.