Mental Health Update

I should have posted this before my post titled Starting our Journey. Oops.

My son was admitted to the state psychiatric hospital on Friday 5/26, which just happened to be a Holiday weekend. That meant he only met the doctor who would be treating him briefly and had to wait until the following Tuesday to actually meet his team of providers and start treatment. He spent the weekend being what I would consider babysat. He was asked how he was feeling,  but had no therapy or group counseling all weekend. He did spend time with the other kids in his unit. They used the playground, played in the gym and watched movies. He didn’t like the way the other kids behaved, and did not feel like he belonged there. 

When Tuesday finally arrived he met with his doctor briefly and participated in 2 group sessions. His assigned social worker called me at 11am that day saying they were ready to discharge him. I was a bit surprised, since the people we were dealing with from the other hospital were so convinced he was a suffering child who needed intense in-patient treatment. The actual professionals in the field felt how my husband and I had started to feel, which was that although the thoughts my son is having are disturbing,  he doesn’t seem likely to act on them.

The hospital contacted a therapist who works with children in our area, and made an appointment for us. This was the appointment I discussed in my previous post. 

So, my son is home, and still dealing with his bad thoughts but heading in the right direction to get better.😊

He’s struggling with the chaos that is life with 2 young children in a small house, but I’m no longer worried he’ll let his frustration lead to harming his brothers. He still tries to parent, but my husband and I are stepping in to keep him from taking on that role. He likes to be in a position of authority over them, but if it’s going to lead to him being angry/frustrated he needs to know when to leave parenting to us parents. πŸ˜‰

Starting our JourneyΒ 

Today was a busy day of appointments. Our first of the day was to meet with a therapist for my 12 year old son. He had been hospitalized this month for mental health reasons. He has been having thoughts of hurting himself or others, and thoughts of swears/gestures that he would never say or do. While hospitalized, we discovered he has a thyroid condition which may have contributed to his sudden change in personality and thoughts. We have to give his medication a few more weeks to see if it helps.

In the meantime we will be going to therapy about once a week. Today was a two hour appointment, to gather information. My son was a bit stressed by it all, but being honest and sharing everything is the best way to get the help needed to get back on track. During the appointment he said he wanted to be fixed, but the therapist stopped him right away to say he has to make this work and want it. Nobody can just “fix” him. They can give him the tools to help him change the way his mind is working right now. She explained that right now his thoughts are stuck on a path in his brain, and he needs to train his mind to follow a new healthier path. ☺

I think we both liked the therapist we met, but unfortunately her availability is pretty limited. 😞 She’ll refer us to another therapist in the practice and we’ll meet them next week. She comforted me by saying she didn’t see my son as being an imminent risk, in need of immediate intense treatment. My husband and I agree. We know he needs help to cope with his bad thoughts and to hopefully stop having them but we don’t see him acting on them.

Our next appointment was to see his endocrinologist. She explained that we will never know what caused the autoimmune response that destroyed his thyroid, because there just isn’t a test to determine that. It’s hard not knowing what caused his condition,  but we’ll just moved forward and treat it. We are very thankful that his condition was caught, since she said his thyroid doesn’t feel like one she’d normally be concerned about. She said his thyroid level needs to be checked in about 4-5 weeks, and if his level is normal we do another check in 6 months. If the level is still high they will increase his medication and check his level in another 6-8 weeks.

I don’t have anything else to share right now. I think my stress levels will be dropping some with my son home again,  but we’re still going through  a lot. πŸ˜›

A lost identificationΒ 

I have to hand in my driver’s license when I visit my son. When I finished my visit today, guess what was missing. Yup, my driver’s license! 

Upon entering the building, bags are checked you go through a metal detector and you turn over your id. When you leave you hand in your visitor sticker and retrieve your id. Mine was no where to be found. My guess is that they gave it to the wrong visitor, who just didn’t notice. Luckily my husband’s was not missing too.

I made sure they knew I would be returning tomorrow for another visit, and that My driver’s license is my only photo id. 

They better find it, or pay for a replacement. I hope I don’t get pulled over driving before that happens. 

😑

*Update: My license was found on the floor in another room. Apparently when the person who takes the ids goes to break, they give the ids to an officer in another room in case visitors leave during that time. I’m happy my license wasn’t given to another person by mistake, and that I don’t have to go to the DMV to replace it.πŸ˜€ It was still frustrating to go a day worrying about where it was, and what I needed to do.

Mental Health

I’ve been absent for a while due to a family crisis.

My son turned 12, and our lives turned upside down. I had a blog started about how life with a twelve year old was going to be an adventure, but decided to trash it when things got serious in an instant.

Here’s how it started… my boy started questioning the words he was using, and whether he was telling lies by not choosing the “right” words for the situation. I explained that so many of the words we use can have different meanings and interpretations, and that he had nothing to be concerned about. He was concerned, since God sees all sins as equal. Β So, this was all my original blog was really going to be about. Then things got serious. He confessed to hurting his brothers. He said he had squeezed and bitten the two year old, and that he had shaken the baby. I was in shock! I knew he would get frustrated with them from time to time, but I had no idea he hurt them. The two year old is very difficult when it comes to diaper changes, and the baby gets distracted during bottle feeding so those get difficult too. Of course the two year old interrupts and requires a lot of entertaining and the baby crys when he needs things. That’s all to be expected.

My son’s personality completely changed. After he confessed about hurting his brothers, Β my husband came home from work to talk about it with him. My husband was obviously upset that the babies had been hurt, and he was as shocked as I was that our 12 year old had been doing it. My husband asked how he felt about hurting his brothers, Β and how serious shaking a baby could be. My son had no emotional response to those questions. His only concern was of his punishment. He also seemed to be ignoring my husband during this talk.

My son confessed to having thoughts of hurting his brothers the next day, and they were for minor things like chewing loudly, Β or for just sharing space. We were concerned that he might act on these thoughts so we brought him to an emergency room.

They were prepared to send him home with us, with the plan to find out patient therapy. We chose to keep him there and requested in patient care. We had to protect the babies who couldn’t protect themselves. 😞

He was in an emergency room, just waiting for a bed to open up in one of the psychiatric hospitals. They did no testing while he was there, and he didn’t even have a functioning nurse call button in his room. He had security guards stationed right outside his room too. They were there to monitor the whole floor. The staff didn’t even remind my son to order his meals on time. It was very frustrating. We saw some improvements in his personality during our visits, so after 2 nights we decided to bring him home. He was home from Thursday night to Monday evening without many issues. If he had a bad thought he left the room, or I would take the other kids away from him and quiet them down or whatever was needed. We were doing ok, and just waiting for calls back from local therapists.

The two year old was napping on the floor Monday while my son and I were playing a video game, and when it was time for us to stop to get chores done he stepped over the 2 year old to put a controller away. After doing that, he confessed to having a thought of stepping on the 2 year old. We discussed how hard, where on his body and what damage it could have done. It was scary! After that he did his chore of cleaning a litter box, then took a shower. After his shower he told me he had suicidal thoughts while in the shower. He told me those thoughts became homicidal too.

I messaged my husband, and we decided we had to bring him back to the hospital. We chose a different hospital this time though. They were much more thorough, and the care seemed to be better.

They actually ran some blood tests, and discovered my son has a thyroid condition. It can be linked to mood changes and psychological changes. He was started on medication and had a “sitter” in his room 24/7. He wasn’t allowed utensils or sharp objects. We visited him every day, and were waiting for a bed in a psychiatric hospital again. 😞

We had heard that strep infections can cause psychological changes in children too, but his strep test was negative. Since we were all very sick during the whole month of April we thought there might be a hidden infection. We were able to get him treated with an antibiotic just in case. He was in that hospital from 5/15-5/26. They wanted him transferred sooner, but there are only so many beds available in our state. My husband and I had hoped the thyroid medication and antibiotics would have made a difference before the transfer happened, Β but sadly they haven’t done enough. He says he has thoughts less frequently though. 😌

He was transferred yesterday. He had to ride in a sheriff’s vehicle with 3 officers.😞 It was not due to his threat level, it’s just protocol.

We met with some of the staff, saw his room/unit and had a short visit with him. We called him to say goodnight and left it at that. My phone was charging after our call, so when my husband when to check on it he saw I had a missed call from an hour before and a voicemail. It was after the time my son was supposed to be in his room for the night. The voicemail was my son, saying he didn’t like it there. It was heartbreaking to know I missed that call and chance to comfort him. I called the nurse’s station right away to make sure he wasn’t still upset. Β I wasn’t allowed to talk to him since it was after bedtime, but they left him a note to say I did return his call.

He called me at 8:30 this morning,  and again at 9:30. Both times he asked to talk to his 2 year old brother. 😊

The plan was for us all to visit tonight after my husband got home from work, but it would only be for an hour. My son requested that I go this afternoon with his brothers so he can visit longer. It is awful to have him away from home, and know he doesn’t like it. He says the other kids are crazy and he’s the only normal one. He said they swear, and one girl has cut marks all over her arms. 😞 I wish I could just wave a wand and take away his bad thoughts. He needs to learn how to get through this, and I don’t know how to help him. He has to be there.

I know this is a lot to share on a blog, Β and I left some things out too. This has been such a stress filled month. I just want my life and son back!

Oh What A Night/Morning This Is Going To Be

Around 8 pm hubby was getting tired. He had been up since 3:30 this morning, and worked 11 1/2 hours with an hour commute on each end of that, so I suppose being tired was warranted. πŸ˜‰ I thought well, I can’t go to sleep now. The toddler was “napping”. He had been cranky around 5:30, so I put him in his crib with a movie to watch so I could get some things done before dinner. He fell asleep, like I knew he really needed to. 

I should have woken him up for dinner, but the house was peaceful. πŸ˜‰ I just didn’t think to wake him, and when I did think about it, I also thought he might just sleep through the night. 

I had put the baby to bed around 8, and then the rest of the family just hung out in the livingroom using devices and watching tv. Hubby did fall asleep on the couch, but around 10 I woke him to go to bed. I guessed that the toddler would wake up as soon as I decided to lay down, but no, it was the baby who woke up as soon as my teeth were brushed. I took him to bed with me, so I could nurse him and get some rest. He ate for about 30 minutes then fell asleep. I figured it would be too risky to take him to his crib, since he shares a bedroom with the toddler. I really wanted to get at least 2 hours of sleep. Lately the baby has been up every 2-3 hours to nurse. The baby slept on my chest, and I tried to fall asleep. Around 11:15 the toddler was calling out a request for pizza through the monitor.:(

It was time to carry the baby to bed, and switch to toddler mode. πŸ˜‰ I changed his diaper, got him a drink and made him a pizza. He’ll be up for hours. 😦 

So, he’s got Paw Patrol on, a couple of toys to play with and his tablet…he can’t just focus on one thing. Especially his “dinner”, he’s only had a few bites of that pizza he was calling for as soon as he woke up. 

My eyes are feeling heavy, and I just want to pass out. I don’t have a set time to be up, but we have a busy day ahead of us, and I wanted to be well rested. I guess that won’t be happening. πŸ˜› We have to go to the library,  drop the car off at a garage, pick up a rental car and grocery shop. We would like to get everything done early, to be home at a reasonable time. The library was to be our first stop, and they don’t open until 10am, so I suppose I could still manage to get a few hours of sleep. I’m hoping the toddler will be satisfied with his meal soon, and happy to go back to his room if I offer another movie. We’ll see. Until then, I guess I will just read some blogs. 

How Our Garden Grows

We don’t have a huge yard, but we like to get out in it. Since having a baby in the fall of 2014, and another in the fall of 2016 admittedly our yard has suffered. We have lots of leaves to move, and we plan on moving our current vegetable garden. 

We have daffodils, lillies, irises, and hosta plants that do well where they are. Unfortunately we have had trouble with some of our trees. We lost an awesome pear tree after a transplant one year, our flowering dogwood that was new last year didn’t survive the winter, and we’ve lost a crab apple too. My magnolia has never done well,and is just puny. We have decided to purchase a different variety of magnolia in the future from a nice nursery. We just need to save $175.00 for that purchase.πŸ˜‰

This is my pathetic magnolia.😞

We have a couple of lilac plants, some holly bushes, azaleas, rhodedendrons, a concord grape vine and a few more miscellaneous plants around the property. This year we will be adding some more grapes, since the concord variety aren’t great for snacking on, and we will try to grow kiwi again. I forgot to mention we lost 2 kiwi plants in the past too. It’s very sad to lose plants, almost as sad as losing a pet, since they bring us such joy when they thrive. 😞

This is my grapevine,  which we moved from the area by our strawberry plants. It seems to be doing well so far.

Here is our peach tree with some blossoms. πŸ˜€

Here is one of our apple trees.

We now know we need to prepare our soil better to supply plants with what they need, and we need to make sure we plant them with sufficient sun/shade.

I want to plant a few veggies this year, but with 2 little ones I don’t know if we can get a garden ready in time. Outdoor planting in our area will probably be safe to do in just a couple of weeks. I have asparagus and strawberry plants that need to be moved out of the current garden that has been dismantled. 

My asparagus plants are in a row lined up with the little arborvitae shrub. The strawberries are in a row in front of those, and the newest retaining wall/garden area my husband built is in front of them.

Right now I just have to remind the boys not to walk through the asparagus area, because only a couple of shoots have popped up so far. The strawberries are much more visible and easy to avoid.

My husband built this bridge and these stone steps to cross the ditch separating our driveway and garden area.

We have so many projects that we’d like to work on. We have lumber to build a tree house for the boys… it’ll be a get away for the 11 year old mostly. We have a pool to fill/clean, rocks to move, stumps to cut back lower to the ground, a fire pit to build and basic tidying up to do.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Walnut Cookies

I loosely followed a recipe from the Quaker Oats website for these cookies. I say loosely, because I’m an idiot. Lol! I thought my batter seemed a bit too moist so I checked the ingredients list again. Sure enough it called for one cup of pumpkin, not one can. Oops! 

I just added a bit more oats, flour and sugar. I had already deviated from the recipe by adding nutmeg and allspice too. πŸ˜‰

I know baking is sort of a science,  and the ingredients really matter so we’ll see how they turn out in a few minutes when the first batch comes out of the oven. 

Ok, so I may have made the first cookies a bit too big. They were browned nicely on the bottom, but since they are so thick a tad too moist. They are bit gummy and cake like.

I think the flavor is good. I LOVE pumpkin pie, but the rest of my family could take it or leave it. πŸ˜‰ If they really hate these, I will have to freeze them. I never freeze baked goods though, so I wonder what they’ll be like thawed. Hopefully my family thinks they’re edible and I won’t have to find out.

I’m making the next batch smaller, and just watching them closer so they don’t burn.

They are smaller, but a bit darker. πŸ˜’ I think they will be just as cake like as the first batch too. Oh well, not every recipe will be a winner. (Especially when the recipe isn’t followed exactly.)

I offered the 2 year old a cookie, and he wanted one until he saw it. He called it yuck! It’s official, the 11 year old doesn’t like them either. πŸ˜›