Bradley Hospital, where Janey is being held, is in Providence. In ideal conditions, it could be a 50 minute drive from our house. However, anyone who has ever driven in or around Boston knows that those ideal conditions exist only at the rarest of times. In some ways, the drive to get to Janey seems like a metaphor for so much of the last few weeks---frustrating, exhausting, yet crucially important.
I'll give yesterday as an example. Tony went in to work extremely early, so he could leave at 2 and we could get an early jump on going to see Janey. We left the house right around 3. When we got to where we get on the highway (about 10 minutes from our house), we could see it was almost completely gridlocked. There is s storm predicted for today, and Boston is full of college students and others who want to go elsewhere for Thanksgiving. So Tony made a change and got on some local routes. We used our GPS, which seemed intent on giving us a tour of southeastern Massachusetts. After a long time, we made our way back onto the highway, and proceeded to creep toward Providence, at 10 miles an hour.
Finally, we got past an area where bridge work was being done, and we were able to make some time. Regardless, the drive to Bradley took two and a half hours.
We had agreed a few days ago to be part of a major study of autism while Janey was at the hospital. I spent a big part of yesterday filling out about 10 long forms about Janey's behavior. We had agreed to have blood drawn last night. By the time we got there, the woman we were going to meet with was gone, but a head of the study and the blood-drawer had stayed late to get the blood. We explained the traffic, and I hope they understood, although Boston traffic seems to be something very Boston, which although Providence is quite close, they seem somewhat mystified by.
After having the blood drawn, we had to go back to the waiting room to wait to see Janey. We were told she was a bit upset and we'd have to wait a minute or two. When they came for us, they said she had been taking off her clothes again, and asking to go to sleep, as she often does at home, far too early. They calmed her down and she was waiting for us in her room.
The visit on Monday was great---Janey was calm and happy. Last night, she was less content. It was nothing like the scenes at Children's, but she bit herself a few times and at one point half-heartedly pulled my hair. She also did the repeated asking for things "Want chicken nuggets? Want to take a walk? Want water?" We finally resorted to singing---we sang her a mixed medley of her favorite Beatles and Black Sabbath songs, Black Sabbath being my older son's favorite group. We modified words as necessary!
After about 40 minutes, though, Janey wanted more action. We aren't allowed to visit with her outside her room, and she wanted to get out. So we said goodbye.
Before we went home, we needed to drive to Waltham and pick up William at college, so he could come home for Thanksgiving. We were thrilled to be getting him home, but tired beyond belief. The traffic was okay on the way back, but not perfect. We took local routes home, and finally got home about 9:30.
When I got in and checked the mail, there was a badly photocopied 5 page letter from something called something like Value Health in Rhode Island. It said they had authorized a 5 day stay for Janey at Bradley, and that any longer of a stay would have to be arranged by the hospital. I am assuming that has been done, as today would be day 6, but I am not sure at all. In my hazy state, the form was hard to understand. We have Blue Cross, so I am unsure why some other agency is the one to decide on Janey's stay. There was no number on the letter. Instead, there was a form for JANEY to fill out to authorize me to get information on her behalf. I need to read the form more today, but a quick look last night said this had to be done even if the patient was a minor. I need to make calls and try to figure out what is up with all of that, but I have a feeling the day before Thanksgiving is not a good day to reach the right people. I also know my mind is not in a great place for figuring out complicated letters and forms. I assume the hospital would let us know if the funding for her stay had ended, but I have nightmares of multi-thousand dollar bills arriving.
And that is where we are. Janey is calmer, but far from all the way back to what I am learning is called "baseline". We are tired and stressed almost beyond functioning, worried about Janey and money and what comes next. Today the weather will keep us from visiting, it seems, and although the drive is a nightmare, it kills me to think of a day without seeing Janey. Nothing feels settled, nothing feels calm. And I wonder if it ever will again.