A Danger to Himself and Others

“A danger to himself and others.”

That is the special phrase used at the camp for kids with special needs (that Isaac was sent home from), the ER, and currently at the PPH to describe Isaac’s current situation. It is the horrible-but-magical phrase that opened all the doors and secured him a team of doctors determined to help him.

Now, whether Isaac’s frequent shrieks of “I’m going to kill myself” or, even, “I’m going to kill you” are what he means to say, or if he even understands the concept, I don’t know. But I do know that when he throws chairs at me, and he thrashes himself into walls and tables, and bites and hits himself, and screams and screams until he’s hoarse, and then screams some more, that whether he understands it or not, he is, in fact, a danger to himself and others.

Well, ISAAC isn’t dangerous. Schizophrenia is dangerous. Delusions are dangerous. Total detachment from reality is dangerous. Hallucinations whispering in his ear to hurt himself are dangerous. A mental disconnection from his actions and the subsequent consequences is dangerous. A complete lack of impulse control is dangerous.

These are the demons he battles every day. And these demons have multiplied and multiplied until they are now all-consuming.

Occasionally, though, I still catch glimpses of the happy, funny, loving, empathetic boy that I know is still living in there somewhere. On Wednesday, when we were at the ER, and he was thrashing and screaming and totally out of control, with a hospital room full of security guards and nurses, I was trying to talk to the intake nurse about what all had been going on. I began to be emotional as I explained (though in the moment it was painfully obvious) that Isaac has become a “danger to himself and others.” Isaac heard my voice wobble and saw my tears. He instantly calmed down and came over to comfort me and take care of me. It was so sweet. Alas, a glimpse is all we get these days.

Hubby and I went to visit him Isaac morning. He was happy to see us, mostly because he assumed that we’d finally come to rescue him and take him home. He was having a good moment, so he must be well, so it must be time to go home. He was heartbroken, again, when he learned that no, we weren’t taking him home. He doesn’t understand how sick he is. He doesn’t understand that just because he’s in control right now, he could lose control again any second, with no apparent triggers. Just…BAM.

One of his biggest fears is that while he’s stuck in the PPH, everyone is out there having fun. He doesn’t want to be left out, he doesn’t want to be left behind.

We talked in circles again for half an hour, with him begging to come home and us explaining that he can’t. Then it was time to leave.

Hubby went back to visit him again later this evening, this time with his parents. They found a changed boy. A boy who certainly wouldn’t be considered dangerous. He was peaceful and pleasant. They talked for a while and even played a few rounds of Go Fish. MIL told me that he was a “model child.” Once again, we were grateful for this glimpse of the real Isaac.

We had a good conversation with Isaac’s psychiatrist today.  He has come up with a new approach, from a medicine standpoint, to try with Isaac. We are crossing our fingers for success. Up until now, over the last three years, Isaac has been on more meds than we can keep track of. Nothing has helped. Nothing has begun to touch the psychosis. With every day, the psychosis is worse and worse, no matter what he’s on (or isn’t on). So we are cautiously optimistic, with an emphasis on the “cautiously” part. We’ve just been through too many “wonder drugs” to get our hopes up too high. But we are grateful for his efforts and we pray that maybe, just maybe, this one with be the perfect chemical combo.

This new medical plan will take 5 days to implement, so at the very least, he will be at the PPH for the next 5 days. That’s if everything goes perfectly. That’s really all we know right now about possible length of stay.

Our 15 year old daughter has been gone all week at Girl’s Camp with the youth in our church. I had debated back and forth on whether to text her about Isaac or not. I decided that I would, both because we have an “open and honest” policy, but also because I absolutely didn’t want her to hear it from anyone else before she’d heard it from me. She was a bit emotional about it (she and Isaac are extremely close–all the kids are, really), but she was surrounded by wonderful friends and church leaders who took great care of her and said all the things she needed to hear. Many of them are receiving this email, so I want to issue an ENORMOUS thank you on behalf of myself and her dad. You were heaven-sent.

She and her brothers, ages 14 and 12, are struggling with all of this, because they love Isaac so very much. But they’re also happy for him that he’s receiving help now. He is never far from their thoughts and prayers. I’m really in awe of their fierce devotion to each other. We are trying to keep their schedules and lives as “normal” as possible right now. Trumpet lessons, voice lessons, dance classes, piano lessons, play practice, all the wonderful things they are involved in–they’re all a “go” right now. One can only handle so much upheaval.

Again, I thank you with all my heart for the love and prayers. So many of you have asked what else you can do. Honestly, that’s all we need right now. So you get all the brownie points in the world for all of your wonderful intentions, but we really truly only need your love and positive energy right now. So THANK YOU!!!!

All our love and gratitude,

Mama Annie


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