Today has been an absolute disaster. Lizze is not doing well and Elliott and Emmett are at each others throats. My back hurts from having slept on the couch with Elliott who is having a rough time with everything. We aren’t doing anything special today and that’s ok. Lizze really isn’t doing well and I would want her to try to do anything right now anyway. To be completely honest, I probably don’t deserve it anyway. As a father, I’m supposed to make life for my family better. I’m supposed to have the strength to just keep going. The sad truth is that I don’t. I fail left and right with almost everything I attempt. I can’t get anything done that needs to be done and we are CONSTANTLY struggling, financially and physically. My son, Gavin, was sent to a psych ward yesterday and I made that happen. I Father’s Day and I’m sitting here while everything around me is falling apart.
To make matters worse, I just got off the phone having “gotten into it” with one of the psychiatrists or psychologists at Akron Children’s Hospital. She called for “information” but gathering “information” turned into a lot of what felt like “judgement”. They appear to be more worried about the fact that we would dare use oatmeal as a punishment then the fact that Gavin IS PULLING HIS FREAKIN’ TEETH OUT. Never mind the fact that Gavin is physically BEATING THE CRAP out of himself. Let’s instead focus on the oatmeal because clearly that’s more important. The conversation got heated when she told me that “all the oatmeal was doing was reinforcing the behavior”….. WHAT? Are you kidding me? Hello, it’s called a POWER STRUGGLE. She went on to say that “all Gavin has to do is have a meltdown, and you bring him here, where he won’t have to eat the oatmeal.” I stopped her right there. I explained that we DON’T bring him up there after every meltdown. He has been there 5 times and that’s it. I’ve lost track of all the meltdowns Gavin has had. I said that he has 3,5 or even 6 meltdowns a DAY at times. I also explained that if she looked into the record she would see that we were in fact FOLLOWING Dr. R’s orders. We were NOT using their facility as a dumping ground and I resent the implication.
She told me that none the less Gavin escapes his punishment by getting sent to their floor. To which I replied, “so then make him eat a bowl of Oatmeal. That way he isn’t escaping anything.” She told me that “they would NEVER do something like that.” She even said that she “has discussed this oatmeal punishment with the staff and they ALL agree that it’s inappropriate.” I told her “that’s because you are unable to think outside the box”. I asked her is she has ever dealt with a child who has Schizoaffective Disorder? I took her silence as a “no”, then said that Gavin is NOT your typical child and so typical things DON’T work. I have said this before, statistically, Gavin is 1/100,000. Meaning that she would have to see 100,000 kids in her career just to have a chance of seeing a child like Gavin. This 1/100/000 statistic is ONLY referring to the Schizoaffective disorder ALONE. I’m not sure what the numbers are when we factor in everything else. The point is that she CANNOT take Gavin at face value because he is FAR to complex. I explained that if we had any hope of finding him help, they will have to recognize and accept this. I realize that it’s difficult to grasp Gavin’s complexity, especially in a 3 day window but come on, really? She told me that I will need to talk to one of the doctors in charge a because she is just “hired help”. I thought to myself, “I would like more then hired help to be caring for Gavin”, although I didn’t say that out loud. Perhaps I should have.
I explained that when we left yesterday, that everyone was on the same page and we all agreed to make this experience “less than” pleasant for Gavin. It NEEDS to be that way so he can learn that this isn’t a game and Akron Children’s Hospital is NOT vacation. Apparently that was more lip service then anything else because from the sounds of it, they aren’t following through. She tried to terminate the call because I was to “agitated” and she felt herself getting agitated as well. In reality all I had done was “challenge her” and defend our position, nothing more. I told her that we will have to “agree to disagree” on the oatmeal but I’m very willing to move past this and give her whatever help or information they need to help Gavin. She was silent for a minute as if debating whether or not she could compose herself. She asked me a few more questions but I think the meaningful part of conversation had ended a while back. Before she hung up she asked me (which honestly felt like a dig) if we were going to come up to see Gavin. Honestly, I was a bit put-off by that because we had already made clear what we were and were not going to be doing and WHY. I felt the need to explain myself AGAIN so that we were crystal clear as to our motives. I explained that this is the ONLY thing we have left to do. I said that we MUST make this work and if he views this as a vacation then it won’t. I told her we are doing this BECAUSE we love him NOT because we DON’T. I told her that if these behaviors continue as he gets older he will have a whole lot more to worry about then a bowl of oatmeal or a weekend at Akron Children’s Hospital. Gavin will be looking at jail/prison time. We REFUSE to let that happen. SO we are working very diligently to deter these behaviors, even if it means thinking outside the box.
I apologized for losing my cool and explained I shouldn’t have done that, BUT I have a lot on my plate and I get frustrated with people judging what we do without stepping into my shoes for even a little while to get a better idea of what’s going on.
While this whole thing went down, Lizze was on the phone with Dr’ R’s office. Dr. R is going to call up to Children’s and explain once again what they are dealing with when they are dealing with Gavin. Hopefully they will gain the needed insight to actually help him……or…transfer him somewhere that can.
Now I have to go. I made a promise to Elliott that I intend to follow through on. I promised him that I would give up my XBOX 360 games and trade them in so he can get some things for his DSi, it’s the only way I can do this for him.. I want him to have something that’s just “his”. I want him to be able to have an escape for right now until we can get through this. He deserves this and desperately needs the distraction even if it means giving up mine.
Thanks everyone. Goodness, I can't imagine what they would think if they found this blog. lol
Thanks for all the support and for your thoughts and prayers.
She obviously is NOT in her job for the right reasons. ANY psychiatrist or psychologist who works with children (at large) should be their FOR THE CHILD when the child can't be there for themselves. Obviously she is "just the hired help" and not there to be proactive for THE CHILD she is caring for. People who are more worried about appearances don't do CRAP for the kids they are supposed to be caring/protecting/HEALING.
Agian another reason why you ARE NOT A FAILURE at parenting or otherwise. None of the above mentioned things are true for you Rob. 🙂 Honestly if you WEREN'T upset or at the very least bothered by what is going on with Gavin or the ripples of effects it has on the rest of your family THEN and ONLY THEN would you be a failure.
Happy Father's day to one of the BEST FATHERS, MAN, AND FRIEND I know 🙂
Ugh, I'd want to give her a 'less yappin, more healin'". The fact that she didn't clearly identify herself as to what kind of doctor she was tells volumes about how she feels about parents and patients. One of the reasons we love our doctors so much (GP and psychiatrist) is that it's a partnership and they write down things I learn, and vice versa. They trust me, at least enough to know that what I say may be valid and worth looking into. That seems to be rare, though. At least you have Dr. R to advocate for you, since clearly only someone with a DR in front of their name is worth listening to. (Although when I was in nursing school, if I even mentioned THAT fact, medical people took me more seriously, which is kind of silly.) Good luck.
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Thanks. In fairness, she did identify herself I just couldn't remember whether she was a psychiatrist or psychologist. However, this is frustrating non the less. I would expect that a hospital with the reputation could employ a more mufti-dimensional approach to thinking. I'm sure she's good at her job, just not experienced with a child like Gavin. Also I realize that these places are a proverbial dumping ground for troubled kids.
They need to realize that not all parents are just dumping there child of there like a discarded piece of trash. Some of us actually are seeking help for our beloved child. Frustrating….. Thanks again.
Thank you for sharing your journey. Even family members who claim to "get it" usually don't. I am raising my son alone and walk the bumpy path of Asperger's, ADHD, Bi-polar disorder and ODD. It's a very isolating journey but when I do reach out for help, often times I'm met with disbelief, insensitivity and judgement. My skin is getting tougher but I no longer "trust" like I used to. There are well meaning professionals out there (in school systems and private practice) who want to find fault with the parenting and not treat the child. It's an easy out … blame someone else so you don't have to look for solutions yourself. A moment of insightfulness or a tiny breakthrough makes all the difference in the worlds of these children and their families. I'm not looking for a miracle anymore, I'm just looking for someone who tries their best and cares enough about my child and his quality of life to be their best … and tell me if they've reached the limits of their helpfulness. Happy Father's Day to you … you make a difference within your family and to those of us who read your blog and find strength in your words to carry on another day …
We are dealing with many of the same things. Gavin was originally dx with bipolar but as he grew older the other symptoms presented themselves. I can't imaging doing this alone and have the utmost respect for what you do. Thanks for sharing your story and thoughts with us here.