- I am a single mom of three amazing boys! All three of my sons entered my family through adoption. All three of my boys have developmental disabilities. My oldest son, Matthew has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder. David, my middle son, has a genetic condition, he has a duplication on his 15th chromosome which leads to autism like symptoms, seizures and learning challenges. My youngest son, Jacob has learning disabilities. Each of my children bring unique challengs to our family and also bring their own personality and joys to our everyday life!
Saturday, October 15, 2011
riding the roller coaster
Maybe I am like most people, and maybe I am more judgemental than most people, it is hard to know......but in this blog, I have committed to total honesty, and so here I am going to tell all. If I knew someone who had a child that was 10 years old and was placed in a psychiatric hospital 4 times, I would truly wonder what was wrong in the family. What the parent was doing wrong. What could be done differently? I would be very concerned that a family was that broken that the child needed that level of hospitalization within such a short period of time. I think this is one of the reasons I truly struggle with what is going on in my home. Here I am, someone who would knowingly think another family was doing it wrong, yet it is going on right here in my home. The last few weeks have been horrid. Of course mixed in with horrid has been some amazing times, but as a whole, it has been intense. I think the hardest thing has been that there is no predictability for when Matthew is going to get angry and it is like constantly walking on egg shells. Sure, most of the time he gets his angriest I can second guess myself and wish I had done something differently, but also for the most part, I truly believe that if he is going to explode it is a matter of when he will explode not if he will explode. To give you two examples..... The first one happened on Yom Kippur. I woke up in the morning and the food box, where we keep all of our snack foods, had been locked. Typically we keep the box locked so that I can limit Matthew's access to junk, but the babysitter had accidentally taken the key home, and so it had been left unlocked. When I came downstairs to get the cereal, I found the box to be locked. Now I was 99% certain that I had gone to bed with the box unlocked, but it seemed odd to me that Matthew would lock it, so I asked him what had happened. He did an amazing show of going to look for the key, and denying he was the one who went into the lock box. I truly thought for a few moments that I was going crazy. Maybe the sitter didnt take the key home as I had thought. Maybe I locked it, but I couldnt find the key, so I didn't think that was possible. Since we were getting ready to go to services, I decided to drop the topic, and I texted the sitter to find out if she had the key. We had a great time at services, and when I got back in the car, I had a text from the sitter saying she did have the key. So now, I had to ask Matthew again, how did the box get locked. After more rounds, he finally admitted he had taken the extra key and gotten in the box and then locked the box with the extra key. Now my frustration are many fold here... 1. if he was smart enough to get the extra key, why can he not figure out that I am going to be frustated when he goes into the box, he knows he is not supposed to go into. 2. If he was sly enough to do a big show of looking for the key, why was he not sly enough to understand that he would be in better shape if he simply told me, on the first try, that he had used the key, gone in the box and was sorry. At a loss, I decided that there had to be a consequence for him not telling the truth about his behavior, so I told him since he had been dishonest and had eaten too much unhealthy food in the morning, I would have to supervise closely what he ate at dinner time that night. Matthew immediately fell on the floor in hysterics. He ranted and raved, screamed and cried, and was out of control. By contrast, my father was here, and just kept telling Matthew over and over again, that this was no big deal. I always pick his food and supervise what he eats, so I would just be doing the same thing at dinner tonight. It was over an hour before Matthew calmed down. He got in the car with my father to head to their house, and was still upset. He tried to get out of the car as my dad was driving out of the driveway. He basically was just raging and out of control. After a while, he settled and had a good rest of the night. He was a little on edge, but for the most part it was a decent evening. The other example happened the other morning. I woke up and Matthew was not asking for breakfast- this is highly unusual behavior for matthew, and likely I should have just left it alone. However, he was heading to school, and like all good parents I wanted to make sure he had something in his stomach before heading off to school. When I asked him what he ate for breakfast he told me a cheese stick and an orange. I noticed that there weren't any orange peels around, but I basically just went on with my morning. Matthew became furious when jacob started to eat breakfast. He raged that he had NOT eaten, he needed food, he was starving. He ran out of the house, screaming and throwing things. He came back in the house and was throwing blocks, and trucks. I told Matthew calmly that he needed to calm down. That anything he threw would be thrown away or put away because he could not have toys that he was going to throw. He threw another truck at me, so I took the truck and threw it out, he threw a block at me so I reminded him that the blocks would now go to the basement. He raved for over 30 minutes. In that time, his school bus came, but he would not get on the bus. Finally, after he took a bat and was swinging it at me, I told him if it did not stop I would need to call for help. When he swung the bat again, I called 911 for help. The safety officer for our school district responded, and he was fabulous. He was helped calm matthew down, and then told him it was time for school and time to clean up. After he cleaned up, he got his bag and got in the car for school. I filled in the school principal about our morning, and headed off to have a day with jacob, because he had the day off from school, and I had the day off from work. Two hours later I got a call from 4 Winds. I had called them over a week ago, asking for a bed, because of Matthew's agression and they didnt have a bed at that point. It was hard to get a phone call yesterday saying they had a bed. It had been an emotionally exhausting morning, and I was feeling drained. However, it made no sense to say that we didnt need 4 winds on the day that we had the police at our house. That was an odd statement to make. After lots of thinking and weighing the options, I decided that Matthew needed more help than I could give him at home. What I never want to do is feel guilty that I didnt keep the other boys safe, or that Matthew hurt himself in anger. I never want to look back after something major happens and say I should have or wish I had ....... So I once again brought matthew up to 4 winds. I met with his doctor at the hospital, who again reminded me that he has a very damaged brain. That his brain will not respond as we want to medications. He reminded me that he wants matthew to be as healthy as possible, but that the next meds we will use come with worse potential side effects. he also reminded me that the staff at 4 winds cares for Matthew, and is there to help him. When I brought him to his unit, he was greeted kindly by staff, who call him "Bloomer". This is never a place I imagined being with my son. I never ever thought that the psychiatric hospital would be somewhere he went once, let alone more than once, or 3 times in 6 months. I never thought this would be parenting for me, and all I can hope is that we will find the medication that will help Matthew to be the best matthew he can be.