Seriously Unpleasant Things
All this time I’d been waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the fallout from summer visitation. I’d been waiting for the kids to melt-down and stop being the cooperative Stepford children who came home to me after being with Bubba for two months.
It finally happened around the six week mark. It was almost as if a switch had flipped. Big feelings were coming out all over the place and the house became a battlefield. I was thankful for the six weeks of peace but this made up for it all.
Shane completely went off the deep end. He was raging again and attacking anyone with whom he was angry. Serenity and Liam were calling each other names and fighting constantly. It was not a good time for any of us.
I’d finally been able to get Shane an intake appointment for a local, government-run mental health facility to see their psychiatrist and to see what other help they could give us. I was feeling very hopeful that I’d finally be able to get him some real help. I’d been trying for years to have him evaluated to see what was going on. Right after getting home from that summer with my parents, I’d taken him to a psych in a neighboring city but the distance hampered our ability to effectively find the correct diagnosis and meds. Then Bubba just refused to give him the meds that the doctor had prescribed (and that Bubba had agreed to at the time) because it was yet another means of fighting me.
The thing that is important to realize about Shane is that things that don’t seem logical or rational to us make absolutely perfect sense to him. He will take one look at a new person and decide whether or not he likes that person or not. There is no way to predict this. There is no checklist he uses that I can discern. He simply decided based on criteria only Shane understands.
At the intake appointment, Shane got belligerent almost immediately upon walking into the intake coordinator’s office. We were talking about history, background information, and she was trying to engage Shane in the conversation so that it didn’t feel like we were just talking about him – he was part of the conversation. As the minutes passed, he became more and more angry until he exploded. He physically attacked me and then tried to run away. As it was late, we were the only ones in the office and the intake coordinator told me that she was going to call 9-1-1 because this was was over-the-top behavior and she thought he needed to be evaluated at the ER. I told her this wasn’t even a really bad rage, I’d say it was about a 4 on a scale of 1-10. She was floored by that and called.
I’d gotten Shane back in the office by then and was giving him a hug to try to keep all of us safe. When the police officer arrived, Shane got away from me and hid under the chair. The police officer was extremely nice and just started chatting with him. Shane asked about his gun and they talked about that for a few minutes. Again, Shane made a decision about a new person in his life. He decided that he liked the cop and eventually came out from under the chair and cooperated in being escorted to my car. The cop drove behind us to the ER and escorted us into the facility and stayed with us until security took over and escorted us to triage.
When we’d gone through all the steps to finally see the psych, she talked to us both together then asked to speak to Shane alone. In my gut, I was terrified. What would Shane say about everything? From the way she was asking questions, I knew I was again on trial about my parenting. I knew, absolutely knew, that this was a test. If I refused to allow her to speak to him alone, I would be showing that I had something to hide. If I consented there was every chance that my mentally ill child would tell all kinds of wild stories about how awful I was and how great his dad was. Slowly, I got up and left the room.
For the next 15 minutes, I stood in the hallway, willing myself not to pace, willing myself to have a demeanor of calm and peace all while praying furiously that Shane would not do anything to have himself removed from my care.
When the doctor called me back into the room she explained that he was a very bright but very angry little boy (well, duh! I could’ve told you that) and that she would like to admit him but that their hospital did not take our insurance for pediatric psychiatric care and the closest facility that did and had beds open was four hours away. She also knew that that was not in Shane’s best interest. The best she could do was to get him back into the facility we’d just left and get him an emergency appointment with the psychiatrist there, instead of waiting the 3 months that they’d told me we’d have to wait.
She also told me that restraining him was the worst thing I could do for him because he hated it and said it made him feel worse. Having already explained that restraining was my last resort, I looked her straight in the eye and said, “Then tell me what to do. I have two other children and myself to protect when he attacks. If you can give me another idea to keep everyone in my house safe, I’m more than willing to hear it. I will not allow him to hurt anyone because he doesn’t “like” being restrained. Until he can control himself, I will supply it for him so that he can’t hurt anyone.” She told me she’d go consult with her colleagues and come right back.
An hour later she finally returned and she had an action plan – that included restraining if necessary. Being a non-violent person, it shocked me that I so thoroughly wanted to smack the living daylights out of this woman when she admitted that restraining was the best option if I’d tried everything else. Really? Your professional opinion is what I’ve already told you I’m doing that you said was wrong? Her colleagues must’ve told her she was off her rocker and that I was right.
Sadly, she didn’t follow through with her promise to get us an emergency appointment with the psychiatrist. I had to call three more times to talk to various people to explain the situation. I finally got in touch with the other intake coordinator who got us another intake appointment for the next week.
Thankfully, Shane took a liking to her, cooperated the entire time (even if his ADHD was in full swing and he was all over her office and into every book and manual she had in there), and was able to show her why he needs an emergency appointment. We were able to see the psychiatrist the next week. We also got community support services in the way of a therapist who comes to our home once a week to work with Shane on learning new coping techniques.
I have great hope for the future with Shane. He’s a smart boy. He wants to learn new ways of behaving. He has a big heart and he doesn’t like how afraid it makes him when he loses control.