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Thursday, May 19, 2011

It's Not the Hilton

Editorial Note: Red is already back home and doing better. I couldn't write about this when I was actually going through it last week.  I am now telling the story as I have a little perspective on the situation. 

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As we sit in the waiting room through this grueling evaluation process, Red has grown weary and tired.  He put on his good-boy hat when he we walked through the door.  As he his exhaustion becomes more profound, he starts in on me --at first quietly, but with each repetition, the volume and intensity rise.  He is sitting in the waiting room talking to me about his summer vacation plans, of all things. Where are we going to take him?  He has to get on an airplane this summer and visit his family.  We still have doors to replace that have been thrashed.  Vacation my ass!

"I didn't buy that Six Flags Season pass for nothing!  I have to go to another Six Flags this summer," he says.
"What do you think I'm going to sit around all summer and be bored!?"
"You don't understand!"

This is said in a loop with slight variation over and over and over again.

Summer vacation plans are so far on the back burner, they can not be seen with the naked eye.  They have evaporated!  Poof! Up in smoke.

One of the gay male nurses sees him beginning to rant.  He calls me over to go over some imaginary paperwork, just to get me away from him.  I fall in love with this guy with his pink t-shirt and pink sparkly wrist watch --his prance across the room so much sexier than my own.  Five minutes later Red comes over and interrupts us to get back in to his frivolous, manic conversation.  My new nurse-friend tells him, "Sweetie, I've been watching you riding your mom for the past 30 minutes.  This conversation isn't going anywhere, so you may as well sit down."  My hero!

Finally, someone gets to see a little taste of what I deal with day after day.  This time,  Red is just so out of it, that he does not care that we are in public and that he has an entire waiting-room audience.  Notice, his father is also in attendance.  He is not directing his conversation to his father.  In fact, Dad is falling asleep.  He has been actually trying to work all day in-between the craziness.  

Meanwhile, I'm sitting there going crazy.  Electronic devices are not allowed in this secured area.  (You've got to be freakin' kidding me!  No cell phone, no Kindle, no laptop! How will I survive??!!) See where Red gets being spoiled?

One thing about having Aspergers, is that you really don't lie, at least not very well if you try.  When I try to get my kids to take our own candy or drinks into the movie theater.  They call it smuggling and they are really uncomfortable with not following the rules.   I have to corrupt my own children into being sneaky in order to save a few bucks.

Red is completely honest throughout this evaluation process about what he has done.  He does throw in the fact that he really loves his family and would never do anything to hurt us.  "I'm just feeling out of control," he says.  He also expresses sincere remorse for his actions.  The kid does have a good heart.  He just needs to work on controlling his behavior, these things don't come naturally to him.

We visit the floor where he will be staying.  All of the kids seem perfectly normal (whatever that is).  No one looks particularly sad, unhappy or mistreated.  They look like a typical bunch of teenagers hanging out walking around in socks, no shoes with laces.  Red complains that his bed looks uncomfortable.  "The blankets are rough and there aren't enough pillows.  I sleep with 3 pillows on my bed.  These sheets feel like they're going to tear."  He is use to high thread count sheets.  (So spoiled).

"Well, it's not the Hilton baby.  This is a hospital.  If you want the comforts of home, you have to treat us like you want to be there," I say in the nicest tone I can muster.

It isn't as bad as I had envisioned.  There are no "crazy" people running around talking to themselves  in straight jackets.  The are just kids...kids who have issues.  The youngest child there is 9 years-old.  They would be kept separately on the floor.  But still, there are kids there!  (Poor babies.)  I knew that he would be alive when I returned the next day.  He wouldn't be mistreated.  He would be getting help and he would be o.k.  And so we say our good-byes.   Talk about gut-wrenching.  I am too exhausted to fall apart.  We go home and I crash...hard.

The following day I come for a meeting with the Social Worker and a visit.  I pull into the parking lot, still  in disbelief of where I am and what I'm doing.  Whoever would have thought?  Certainly not me...not in my wildest dreams.   I guess a lot of crap happens in life that wasn't apart of our happily-ever-after fantasy.

The therapist asks how I am holding up.  "What choice to I have?  I have to keep moving through it.  I have another child to take care of.  The stress is showing up in the form of fatigue."  My body hasn't been so tired since I was pregnant.  I have too many details to take care to slow down.

Each day Red gets better.  Meds are slowly taken away and new ones replace them.  He becomes more and more engaged in conversation and introspection each time I see him.  He admits to having a "little" fun watching the old P.G. and G movies from childhood with the other teens.   He is a little bored, but he isn't miserable.  He lets me know that he is ready to get back home to his bed and his computer every chance he gets.

I became hopeful that he would start to appreciate his blessings when he came home.  Every child doesn't have their own queen-sized bed, their own computer, a Blu-Ray movie collection, a video camera and software to make videos with.  Every kid doesn't have two parents who build their world around them, who will do anything to love and support them, to help them become all they can be.  Maybe there is hope.

Still to be continued...

Thank you all for your support and prayers during this difficult time.  We are getting through it.  


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