I am always happy to say when I have made a mistake or maybe judged something too quickly, and I am very happy to report that Matthew's homecoming has been much smoother than I had anticipated.
The last time I saw him in the hospital, before I picked him up on Wednesday, he had been very, very hyper-alert, and was full of a nervous energy. He did not seem anywhere near ready to be coming home, nor did he seem ready to want to come home.
There are so many aspects of hospital life that make things easier for Matthew.
1. In the hospital you know exactly what time you will eat all of your meals and snacks.
2. There is a menu in the hospital so you can know early in the morning what your meals are going to consist of.
3. There are a LOT of staff, so you have a lot of people to interact with and there are always new sets of ears to listen to you.
Unfortunately, as a working mom, our dinner time is usually between 6:30-7. This means that from the time I pick Matthew up until the time we sit down to eat there is a certain amount of anxiety about when we are eating. Also, unless I can tell him the minute he gets in the car what we are eating, down to the side dishes, there is an anxiety and energy he struggles with about knowing what will be served.
Given life, while I would love to say I can just ensure we eat at a specific time and that I always know what we are going to eat, that is simply not possible. Additionally, life does not work like that. Some mornings I may pick something out and plan to make that for dinner but by bedtime I don't want it anymore. Some days I may get a phone call or one of the boys may need me and dinner will be delayed. That is life, and my most important job in the world is to ensure that my boys leave my house ready to live life in the real world.
When the boys were reunited on Wednesday, Jacob got immediately in the car and grumbled that he wasn't ready for Matthew yet. Matthew quickly replied that I could take him back to 4 winds if I wanted too.......yes, my heart broke, but I decided they needed to work this out on their own. Thankfully, with a little time, they were back to playing together and bickering and then playing again.
I have taken a firm line with Matthew since he came home. He knows that he has hurt his brothers and that he has to work hard to help them feel safe. I am not sure how much he understands this, but he is working hard to listen, and is responding when he is asked to take a break.
I would love more than anything in the world to say that his medicine is working and I have my little boy back! And in a few weeks, I may feel brave enough to say this. For now, he is on an up and down cycle of about 5 days up and then a really low day. I am enjoying our good days. I am hopeful that the new meds will keep the good days coming, and I will keep you posted on our journey!
Without the positive thoughts that you all share, the past week would have been very hard. To know that there are supporters who are helping to spread the word of our story so that maybe one day mental illness is seen as the same as any other illness, and we can truly help people rather than ostracize them has kept me going!
- 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!