The Visit

My 14 year-old daughter and I visited Grace in the hospital last night.  It’s a new facility dedicated to children’s and adolescent psychiatry so it feels a bit like a large clinic although it’s called a psychiatric hospital.  The last time Grace was in the hospital, she was staying in a very old facility that was reminiscent of “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”.  I’m quite certain Nurse Ratched did, in fact, find her employment there–maybe it’s her second job.  I’ll stop.  I’m being petty.

As soon as Grace saw us she burst into tears and ran to me.  “I wanna go home, I wanna go home, I wanna go home…” she cried, burying her face in my chest.  We went into her room appointed with a book shelf, desk and chair, and bed complete with nightstand.  It’s a very nice room all in all although Grace doesn’t think so.  Nothing is better than her room.

I asked about her day.

“How was school?”

“Boring.  I don’t like it.”

“How are the teachers?”

“Nice.”

“How are the kids?”

“The kids are so mean, Mom! There’s this new girl, and she slapped one of the little kids across the face today during class! She scribbled on my paper and scratched another kid on the arm! All the kids starting yelling and swearing.  They were saying the ‘F’ word and yelling, and one of the kids tried to hit her back.  They are mean!”

Admittedly, I was a little stunned.  “Are you okay? How did you feel about seeing that?”

“That was stressful! She had to stay in her room.  She’s not out with us.  I don’t like her.”

“Did she do that unprovoked?”

“Yes! Everyone was minding their own business.  I don’t understand.”

Welcome to inpatient hospitalization.  This is pretty standard.  There’s usually quite a bit of behavioral issues which is why the kids are admitted.  Grace is an aberration.  She’s not a behavioral problem.  She’s purely a “head case” although when she’s in a mixed state it’s a bit touch and go.  She’s a sensitive girl so these kinds of displays are tough on her.  What am I saying? If I were sitting in a room full of adults, and one of the women slapped a man across the face, scribbled nonsense on my work, and then started scratching another man, I think I would be fairly upset, too.

I was phoned yesterday for authorization to begin the Lamictal Taper.  It’s official.  They are weaning her off the drug.  I am following through on my assignment to research Lithium and Depakote.  Dr. Whiskey and I talked quite a bit about both drugs, and we ended our discussion with his assigning me the task of researching the drugs.  I am to come to a meeting on Tuesday with recommendations.  Isn’t that weird? He’ll be consulting with his colleagues, and I’m reading medical literature on the use of those drugs to treat schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder in pediatric populations as well as their side effects.  It’s quite the collaboration.  I think he has his opinions in place.  He likes Lithium, but Depakote will treat migraines and address any unknown seizure activity that might be going on since TLE runs in the family (Grace gets week-long, debilitating migraines which incidentally began during the prodromal phase of her illness).  It’s also a very effective mood stabilizer.  That’s my two cents, and that’s tripping him up.  “Oh my gosh, I 100% agree with you! I don’t know what to do! You do some research, and I don’t mean just read Wikipedia, and I’ll consult some other people.  We’ll meet on Tuesday.”  I’m not ignorant.  He might be asking me to do some reading so that I can live with the final recommendations simply because I am coming to the table with some knowledge about the pharmaceuticals.  In the end, this dude is the expert.  Not me.  BUT…I’m the expert on Grace.  By the way, all the cool and useful articles I find I post to Cool Info at the top of this blog.

In the meantime, the whole clan will be visiting Gracikins today, and we’ll be bringing her lots of books to read.  That’s how I calmed her down and gave her hope last night–“I know it’s too quiet in here at night–well, aside from the other kids screaming during the night, but what if we bring you lots of awesome stuff to read?!”.  My 14 year-old went to bed early so that she would have lots of energy for our morning bookstore outing.

An aside, we have two Siamese cats, and our big ol’ kitty, nicknamed Cleofatra, is very attached to Grace.  She is terribly sad and roaming about the house searching for her favorite person. Siamese cats are known to bond to just one or two people and remain loyal to them.  Cleofatra’s first love was me, but then an Australian Shepherd invaded our home; she was dethroned, and that cat has never forgiven me.  I am routinely shunned now for the love and affection of a certain 12 year-old who, in her mind, has abandoned her.  She now sings very sad songs caterwaulsall night long.  No one is sleeping peacefully now.

It will be nice to have our Gracie home although I don’t know when that will be.

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10 thoughts on “The Visit

  1. FWIW you’re probably right about the docs motivations for you doing the “research”, and you are right that you are the expert on grace. My doc is always asking me what “I” want to do. it drives me nuts. What am I paying him for? On a side note if I click the like button on your posts it is because i have no idea what to say, but wanted you to know I was here, not because I in anyway like what I am reading. I wish they had a “Jesus I don’t know how you do it and I want you to know my fingers are crossed for you” button.

    • Hi C! Thanks for reading…and commenting. Oh, I totally get the “Like” button thing. You’ve been following me in one form or another since the beginning of my web presence so you’ve seen this whole thing evolve. I think we do what we must. You’re a dad. You would do it, too, don’t you think? Most of us are made of stronger stuff than we realize, and that really is the gift of things like this. The superfluous falls away…Some things are a whole lot clearer to me now. It’s…not all bad. I think all of us in the middle of this would say that. xo

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