A Clean Start

Sweetest tacos,

Holy cow, guys. This is a long one. Bear with me (or, if the suspense is killing you, feel free to skip to the end. Haha).

I spent the morning cleaning Isaac’s room. “Clean and organized” are not really words that describe my housekeeping skills (or Isaac’s…) anyway, but you can imagine that in the whirlwind leading up to Isaac’s hospitalization, things were especially chaotic. As in, curtains literally ripped from the wall, garbage cans emptied on top of clean laundry piles (or were they dirty?) and retaliations for time-outs in the form of bodily fluids. Now, in a perfect world, I would have Isaac clean up all of that stuff himself. But I decided that coming home from the hospital, if that was indeed going to happen, should include a clean slate in every possible way, including in his own space.
So I dawned my handy hazmat suit (if only!) and in I went. I was just vacuuming up the last spider (don’t tell my arachnophobic Hubby that I saw a spider… or two… million…) (Bud, however, would be proud of me for not killing them, just ridding myself of them) when my alarm chimed that it was time to head to our big meeting at the hospital.
Hubby would be meeting me at the hospital, but he was running a little late. So I was shown into an “interview room” at the hospital to wait for the psychologist. Now, as luck would have it, Isaac’s usual psychologist at the PPH, who has been working with him since Isaac’s first day there, is out of town at a conference this week. He warned us about this and told us that his replacement for the week would be handling Isaac’s discharge.
Well, in she walked, totally clueless about my kid, having met him a grand total of once. She started in on a spiel, but it was just the same old regurgitated psych talk. I tried to be patient, because maybe she didn’t realize how many millions of times I’ve heard this exact speech since this is the first time she and I were meeting each other. And maybe she was building up to the good part, or something. When Hubby came in a few minutes later, she started over and I just kept waiting for something helpful or original to be said. But it became painfully obvious that she didn’t actually know anything about Isaac or his situation. In fairness to her, this was not her patient and she had been forced to step in at the last minute on a very complicated case. But I spent most of our conversation teaching her about Isaac rather than the other way around. And I found that very unsettling.
I kept waiting for our psychiatrist to walk in–Isaac has actually had three psychiatrists while at the PPH but the latest one was with him the longest and while we didn’t always see Isaac the same way, I really came to enjoy working with her. And at least she, you know, KNEW him. Unfortunately, there was a crisis that she needed to run off to (not rare at the PPH) and she never did make it to our meeting. So it was just us and the stand-in psychologist.
Sorry, I’m making this a lot longer than it needs to be. Suffice it to say, I found myself disagreeing with Stand-In a lot. At one point she brought Isaac in and asked him some questions. Some of the things he said showed that he had memorized some of her spiel, which, to her, sounded like “progress,” but to me sounded like the same old crap. Memorized lists that never actually make it to his heart and soul. Yes, he can tell you that running away is dangerous (and no, you weren’t the first person to teach him that). But guess what–he runs away anyway. And on and on and on.
And then Isaac responded to one of her questions with an answer that set off flaming red alarms for me–an answer that showed me unequivocally that he was still totally out of touch with reality. And if this was what he considered reality, then he still very, very dangerous.
She didn’t blink an eyelash at any of this. I started to push back and I started to push hard. I tried to explain that I’m not saying that he ISN’T ready to come home, I just haven’t seen sufficient evidence that he IS. She kept saying things like, “his psychosis is better now thanks to the meds and therapy!” No! It isn’t! She just doesn’t know what she’s looking at! I’m WATCHING HIM HALLUCINATE while she’s telling me he’s better!
Anyway, it was very frustrating for me. And, as usual, I had a really hard time articulating any of that. Hubby didn’t feel the same frustration as I did. I think he felt ready to bring Isaac home. He was actually pretty surprised at my reaction (but always supportive, even if he didn’t agree). In the end, though, it was clear that my/our thoughts on the matter (and, like I said, I don’t even know exactly what my thoughts were) were totally irrelevant. The farce that we had any say in this was exposed. A decision had been made. He was coming home. Case closed. Stand-In can go wash her hands of us and pat herself on the back for saving yet another child. (Okay, I’m not being very kind, and I apologize. I really do think she was in a tough situation. But I was realllly frustrated.)
She knew I was frustrated, so she kept reassuring me that Day Treatment starts tomorrow. And she’s right. It’s not like he would be coming HOME home. He’s coming home to sleep at night but he’ll be with therapists and doctors all day long starting bright and early tomorrow morning.
So, trying to set aside my frustration (and my loneliness in my frustration), I signed all the necessary papers and celebrated with a VERY happy little boy that he was coming home!
He walked with us through the big metal doors that had always been off limits and joyfully soaked in the world outside. On the car ride home, he asked about all the things that had changed since he’d been gone. Well, as you can imagine, not much in the world has actually changed in the three weeks that he’s been away, but three weeks to a kid feels like a million years. So cute. I’m really glad he’s home. He’s such a joy to be with. I just wish I felt better about the whole thing.
When I dropped him off at the PPH three weeks ago, it was so very hard. But I felt such a sense of peace and reassurance that it was the right thing to do. I was really hoping and praying for a similar feeling about bringing him home, and I just don’t feel it. But it doesn’t matter. He’s home. So we’re going to do the very best we know how with that and fight with all we’ve got to make it a good thing.
He’s home. He’s beautiful. He’s happy. He’s wonderful. And he’s sleeping soundly in his clean room.
A clean start for all of us.
And, of course, he starts his day treatment tomorrow.
OR DOES HE??! Ha! How’s that for a cliff hanger! Yes, there is yet another exciting twist here, but this email is oh-my-golly-too-long-already, so I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.
Thanks for all the notes, texts, messages, and goodness sent our way today. We can’t ever sufficiently thank you for your amazing support through all of this. xoxox

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