Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Month That Wasn't

It's been a month today since the day that I got the call from Janey's school, the call that they were calling an ambulance to take her to the hospital.  It's been a month that in many ways, I would like to erase from my life.  In other ways, it's been an important month---in some ways, even a good month.  But I think it's fair to say I hope I never have another month like this one.

Here's a little synopsis of the month.  Janey's behavior, which had been escalating for a week or so, got even worse on November 14th.  I rode with her as she went by ambulance to Children's Hospital in Boston.  In the emergency room, she was assessed and it was determined she needed hospitalization in a psych ward for children.  There were no appropriate placements available right way, so we spent 6 days at Children's as boarders, waiting for a placement.  We got one after those 6 days at Bradley Hospital in Providence, and Janey was there for 18 days.  She came home after that, when they felt she was stable enough to leave.

Those are the bare facts, stripped of emotion.  Here's some of the emotion.  The stay at Children's was hell.  I can never think of another word to use for it.  The 28 or so hours in the emergency room were the deepest, darkest levels of hell, and the next 5 days in a room on a kidney transplant ward were regular hell.  Janey wasn't able to leave the room, was periodically attacking the nurses, the sitters who sat in the room and me.  She screamed extremely often, asked frantically for one thing after another we couldn't do, and slept poorly.  I don't think I'd survive another 6 days like those.  The stay at Bradley was in some ways a relief and in other ways not.  The drive to Providence was often very, very tough, both in terms of traffic and in terms of giving us time to think what we were doing---visiting our precious daughter in a locked psych ward.  The visits with her were both wonderful, because we missed her so much, but also awful, because in what was a theme for the month, we were not supposed to leave the room with her, and she would quickly become bored of us and restless.  It would become a situation where either we saw her for far shorter than we wished or we risked setting her off into a spiral of a meltdown.  Having her home, although joyous, led us to see nothing had really changed.  Janey has been often very unhappy the 5 days since she's been home, although there have been good times too.  A few days ago, she attacked my father, in a frightening repeat of what started this whole time.

What has been good?  Well, we got a letter yesterday saying we had been approved for state supplemental insurance for Janey, so going forward, we might be qualified for help with therapy and things like pull-ups.  I need to work on getting that all set up, but it's something we probably should have done years ago.  Janey is off two of the three medications she had been taking, and we are seeing some improvement in her talking, which leads to the upsetting thought that she may have been overmedicated for a while, but in trying to be positive, also means she might be no longer overmedicated.  And the greatest good part--the absolutely overwhelming and incredible support, in so very many ways, from all of you, all my friends who read this blog---those I know in person and those I know through the magic of the internet.  You are a wonderful bunch of people, and you let me live through this.  I mean that with all of my heart.

What are our fears?  We have many fears.  The biggest is that Janey is going back to school tomorrow, if everything goes well.  Her school has been wonderful, and they are eager to have her back, but we truly feel everything might repeat itself.  I have no confidence Janey is going to be able to not repeat the behaviors that started all this.  We have realized places like Bradley are not set up to change the future.  They are set up to deal with children in crisis, during the crisis, and they do a outstanding job with that.  But they are not set up to change the child.  I am not sure it's possible to do that, to be fair to them.  I don't think I'll ever relax again while Janey is at school.  I will always be waiting for another call like that horrible one a month ago, a call saying she is out of control and they think she should be in the hospital.

I will close with right now.  Right now, Janey is happy.  She is having bacon that Daddy is making---bacon made by the best father in the world.  We are looking forward to getting a Christmas tree today.  We are together, our older son William will be home from college soon, and we will celebrate Christmas and look toward 2015 with hope.  And that is enough, for right now.

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