Thursday, February 21, 2008

Battening Down the Hatches

I know I have not posted in over a month. My apologies. Honestly it was partly due to our youngest son, J, going in for a tonsillectomy and ending up with some complications. That was a crazy and worrisome time but it all ended well. Gave me some insight, just a little, into what parents with chronically ill children must have to contend with. All my prayers, blessings and encouragement to all of you who do.

Lately though, I am in a funk. Maybe it's partly the weather. Maybe it's that I hate my job. Maybe it's that I just cannot seem to get motivated to do anything - I cannot even get motivated enough to be stressed about getting further and further behind in my paper work at the office. Sigh.

Mostly though I can tell I am laying low and gathering my strength. I should have seen it coming. Obviously my subconscious did and looking back, I can see the signs that I was battening down the hatches without realizing what I was doing. C is spinning out of control again. His compulsions and obsessions are leading the way. we are trying a new medication, who knows if its working or making things worse. This time of year is always difficult for him. We don't really know why but always during lent and usually waning after Easter. Last year he was threatening to kill himself. Actually his words were "Sometimes I think about using a knife, like this, to cut myself". He was making himself a sandwich which was a new thing for him to be doing (it was just a butter knife but still). While I willed myself to stay calm and matter of fact I asked "Oh, why would you want to do that?" and he answered almost as matter of fact "so I could bleed until I had no more blood and then I would go to heaven to live with Jesus and everything would be good there." He was 8 years old and there was no doubt in my mind that he really felt that way. He was struggling and hurting so bad that he thought dying sounded like a better option than living his life the way it was.

I know I haven't gone into too much detail about his diagnosis and his needs in my blog. It seems so exhausting and complicated. I work with exceptional children every day and have for my entire adult life. Honestly I have only met one or two other children who are as complicated as my son. He is in that frustrating place of being super sensitive and bright and yet struggles to make connections in both learning and socialization. People who meet him briefly often think I have exagerated his needs. He can seem so "together" and insightful. Yet he can fall apart at the drop of a hat. Then those same people think I am making excuses for him and his poor behaviour. Apparently I am an enabler. Even my own husband has accused me of that at times.

Those same people should have witnessed the scene yesterday. The frantic text messages from C's worker who cares for him for 2 hours after school on the day I work. "You need to come home - it's bad". She had never sent such a message before. Needless to say, as soon as I saw it I floored it home. As I drove I called her (preach safety to me later) and she filled me in. He would not get in the house. He was running back and forth across the street. She had the phone poised in her hand to call 911 as she was certain he would be hit any moment. I could tell she was scared, he had never shown this side to her before. Few have seen it aside from my dh and I. I got home and you could see from afar that he was completely wound up - when he is like this even his pupils dilate so that his eyes seem like huge black pools. I could not get him in the house. At one point he bolted (Damn that kid is FAST) but I was able to coax him back - it was almost like dealing with a frightened animal. Once back in the house he fell apart, sobbing from the bottom of his heart. Yelling "You don't know what it's like not to have friends". I got him into his room and we cuddled on his bed. I thought he was calming - I was SO wrong. I though he went to sit up, he bolted. He's fast. He got to the front door before I did and without his boots or coat or anything he went running down the street. No way am I going to be able to catch him. I call A and cryptically tell him what's happening as I am getting my shoes and coat on. He offers to come home. I catch up to C at his school just down the street. Luckily a couple of kids were there and I was able to encourage them to come toward me and he followed (again, doesn't that sound more like a frightened animal than a 9 year old boy?). I am trying to gear myself of for a struggle to get him home. As soon as I put my arm around him he melts against me sobbing "My feet hurt, it's really cold, I should wear boots". The rest of the evening was tumultuous but we got through and we were able to keep him safe. I'm kind of shell shocked. What are we supposed to do now and how do we keep him safe?


  1. Ohmigod. This post has me in tears.

    I have seen a bit of this behavior in my own son, but not to this magnitude. I cannot even imagine as to how this is breaking your heart.

    When Jaysen was escaping, I had an alarm installed that chimed whenever the door was opened. He was only 4 though, so I could still catch him.

    I wish I had some advice.

  2. We had alarms - but never really needed them when he was little - it never seemed to occur to him then to try to leave. This "running away" is a new situation and he just bolts - which makes it harder because no one is fast enough to catch him. Sooooo we are left trying to find ways to just prevent him from getting so worked up that he feels the need to bolt.
    thanks for your thoughts, I hope you never have a similar experience.