One Crisis To The Next

We live one crisis to the next. Parenting 7 children (between the bios and the fosters), I guess this is to be expected, but it certainly is never any less alarming or intense.

Monday afternoon, Tink’s ex-boyfriend brought her home from school and shared that Tink had a plan to commit suicide by overdose that night. Tink confirmed the plan, so off to the ER we went. It was determined that she should be transferred to a psychiatric facility and she was moved the next day. A series of events has begun since Tuesday that overwhelms and consumes me. My heart is broken for Tinkerbelle and all she has to deal with, but I know that the hospital is the very best place for her to do that.

Despite that stressor, I have continued to be on top of managing the needs of the other children as well. Daffy was vomiting Saturday through Tuesday, but has finally been able to keep food down and return to school. Donald has been having a very tough week at the RTC with multiple agressions. We will be visiting him as a family on Saturday so my stress level is obviously increasing. Goofy and Pluto are truly my saving graces and I am doing my best to stay connected to them and be sure their needs are being met as well. They are just so “easy”, but I dont want that to change and find them seeking negative attention.

That said, my goal is to focus on all the positive things in our lives each day to keep me going. This morning I am thankful for:

  • Snuggles in bed with our puppy who has healed well from his injuries
  • A gorgeous foster daughter who asked me to straighten her hair (a rare occurrence)
  • An amazingly supportive network of friends and family (both in real life and on Twitter)
  • The ability to work from bed in my pajamas while drinking coffee
  • A social worker who always goes above and beyond the call of duty to support us

Despite our circumstances, I am blessed and grateful.

No meds? Are you nuts?

I spoke to Donald’s group home today and they shared that they (along with a nurse practitioner) are removing him from his lithium over the next 8 days. I don’t support this on any level.

1. During his hospitalization his liver enzymes were high (to the point of being a raging alcoholic with liver failure) from having taken the previous concoction of meds.

2. They chose lithium as a course of treatment because it is filtered through the kidneys rather than the liver. They also added Abilify.

3. The Abilify caused his liver enzymes to sky rocket again so they removed it on discharge day leaving him with lithium as his ONLY medication.

4. The lithium stabilized him to the point he could be released (going from being physically assaultive twice per day to every other day).

5. He is mentally ill. In addition to previous diagnoses of ADHD, PTSD & RAD, they determined he likely has childhood biploar disorder.

Does this sound like a kid that should come off ALL MEDICATION for 2 weeks???? I am truly terrified for the other children in the residential home and the children in his classroom.

The discharge and a few other things…

Donald was discharged yesterday. Before we attended his discharge, I commented to Mickey that I felt they were “rushing” his discharge just as much as they rushed his transition to our home. Little did I know there was more to come. Apparently they decided to do last minute blood work and learned that his liver enzymes have once again spiked. They had transitioned him onto Abilify and Lithium during his stay. Because of the test results, they decided to STOP the Abilify yesterday. And STILL discharged him. They have NO IDEA if he will remain stable (and I still dispute that a stable person is violently assaulting people every other day) once he comes off the Abilify. And furthermore, the group home he is returning to does not support the use of Lithium in children so they have scheduled an appointment with his usual med provider for TODAY. According to the doctor, Lithium is one of very few drugs processed by the kidneys rather than the liver so there are not a lot of options. The group home staff is also disputing any hint of bipolar. They indicated that the doctor does not know him as well as they do to know how he is triggered. While this could be true, I am resentful that they feel they are the only ones who can understand or manage him but are willing to send him on to an unsuspecting family.

The group home also decided that it would be appropriate for us to speak to him daily- depending on his behaviors. I have been given a number to call each night. If he answers, we will talk. If he doesn’t, then he has lost the privilege to talk. I do understand the need for “carrots” with behavior but I feel its completely out of line to use a family and his attachment (or lack of) as a tool. Shouldnt the love of a family be there no matter what? And what happens when/if he returns here? We wont have the same carrot to dangle thus are set up to fail again.

Apparently he had a good enough day yesterday that we were able to talk to him last night. I wish I could find the right words to describe his tone…. not depressed, but whatever is the opposite of “manic”…. his voice was calm and he spoke more slowly than I have ever heard him speak. If I didnt know better, I would assume he was severely drugged. Maybe he is at baseline because he is at a place he knows and is safe? Maybe he was just drained from the transition of the day? Maybe he is having some sorrow that he has “ruined” another family for himself? I just don’t know. I will be eager to get an update from the group home about how these first few days go.

In news related to Daffy, respite has once again been cancelled for her. The state let our social worker know that they do not approve of respite while we should be working on attachment. I find that quite interesting considering THEY are the ones who pulled her off the adoption track. They felt that we used respite too soon with Donald when we were supposed to be attaching. Should I remind them that our goal was never attachment while he was here? Our only goal was SAFETY. Anyway, I dont mind Daffy being here at all. We only agreed to send her because we wanted her to have an additional support and we had explained to Donald that this was a “normal” part of foster care so we wanted to show that both kids would ultilizing the same services to not single him out.

Remarkably, Daffy’s behavior turned around 100% yesterday. After the “cat incident”, she got herself ready for school in record time and got on the bus. When she came home, she was far easier to deal with than she has been in weeks. She did not finish her homework, but it did not become the usual battle either. She went to bed without an argument even though we had company (including kids) at the time. This morning she stayed in her bed to wait for Mickey to get her up, took a shower and got dressed without argument and even brought me toast and a slice banana in bed before going out to the bus! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let this beautiful little child stay for a few more days before sending back the child who tests us and defies us constantly.

The Overdue Update

So many things are running through my mind right now, I hardly know where to start with an update. Definitely expect this to be a scattered post without rhyme or reason.

Donald is being discharged to the group home today. It was discussed that his transition to our home didnt work well because things were not planned well and I feel like the same thing is happening to him all over again. As angry as I am at his behaviors while he was here, I am sad for him that he has not been given any notice about what this transition will be like and what things will look like going forward. He called me last night at almost 9pm because he didnt even know what TIME to plan on leaving. Thats just not right! There is no therapy appointment set up. There is no med check set up. He doesnt know what his communication with us will be like going forward.  Hell, most of the “team” did not even show up for his discharge meeting yesterday.

As for the discharge meeting, a few interesting things of note came from that.

  • The doctor said he is reluctant to diagnose a child with bipolar, but clearly, Donald is bipolar. The caseworker who attended (the boss of Donalds usual caseworker) seemed surprised but said he very much trusts the judgement of the hospital doctor. I have some limited knowledge of bipolar as Tink was diagnosed “Mood Disorder NOS” so I have done some research, but I do not know what this will mean for Donald and how this might change his course of treatment.
  • The hospital doctor and social worker both noted that Donald is quite “attached” to us and that its very important for him to get back to his “family.” Our agency social worker said that there has not been adequate time for him to attach and thats its simply not possible. I dont know what to believe. Our focus with Donald when he lived here was safety. We never got into any attachment work and honestly, I am not even sure I completely understand attachment. I mean, I get the concept of how a baby attaches, but Donald isnt a baby. I have asked numerous times how we would know if the kids were attaching to us and never got any answer that made me feel like I could definitively  tell.
  • The doctor indicated that when Donald first arrived, he was disregulated and having physical altercations twice daily. At this point, he is down to having physical altercations every other day. This makes his safe enough to be discharged??? I understand that he can not stay at a psych hospital for the rest of his life, but if he is still physically assaulting people regularly, how can he be released?

Daffy is definitely letting it all hang out at this point. Every day is a battle with her. Every. Single. Day. It’s just as draining as our social worker told us to expect and then some. My gut tells me that a lot of it is attention seeking. Mickey and I discussed it last night and I had a great plan in place to shower her with positive attention today. I planned to give her so much positive attention that she wouldnt have a chance to do anything negative at all. She didn’t even give me that chance.

At the Daffy’s request, we set up a baby monitor in her room so she can communicate to us if she needs to at night. Its a video monitor which I felt sort of funny about just because of privacy (especially for poor Tink who shares her room), but Daffy loves it. In fact, when she has been angry she accuses us of not watching enough. So this morning, I was watching her play in her bed before we went to get her up. She had a small stuffed animal and she was aggressively hitting another stuffed animal with it. I wondered if she was working through some stuff, until about 3 minutes into it when she ripped her hand back because she got scratched. It was OUR CAT that she had been hitting, but I hadn’t realized that while watching through the monitor. (Mickey had removed the cat from the room before he left take Goofy to school, so she purposely had gotten out of bed to bring him in prior to my waking up and watching the monitor.) I marched over to her room and the second I opened the door, the cat sprinted out. I angrily told her that it was unacceptable for her to harm the cat. She tried to tell me that she hadn’t. I explained I had seen her, so she promptly covered her ears. I walked out and she threw something at the door. I opened the door and said “throw all you want, but you will NOT touch my pets.” Suffice to say, I wasnt at my best but I simply could not bring myself to speak kindly or lovingly after watching her hit my cat. Thankfully Mickey and I complement eachother well so he was able to help her get ready for school while I continued to stew and mutter under my breath.

To be continued…