The Psychiatric Hospital, Day 3

Seeing Javan last night was the highlight of our day. He smiled. He laughed. He made jokes. He gave running bear hugs.

He didn’t see a doctor or therapist because it was Sunday, so I have no new information to relay. We were surprised when we went up to his floor to turn right into the main children’s unit instead of our normal left into the children’s enhanced unit. Apparently, they combined units at some point during the day. The nurses did not know why or for how long. We were uncomfortable with not being notified about that and asked to be immediately informed about any major changes in the future.

They told us upon admission that with his autism he would do best in the smaller enhanced unit because it’s much less stimulating. Fewer kids equals less stimulation. But by merging units, they increased the number of kids he was with from 5 to 16. During our visit, he said he didnt like this new unit. He doesn’t know how to interact with that many children. I called this morning and the units are still combined,  so I asked to be put in contact with management as soon as possible to discuss their reasoning and express my concerns.

He told me, and the nurses confirmed, that he was in time out once during gym. A little known fact about Javan: he’s really, really good at impersonation. It took everything I had not to laugh when he shifted into the gym teacher’s voice and drawled, “Naw, son, this ain’t a good thang. You in time out because you don’t listen to a word anybody says.” He said he never heard what the gym teacher wanted him to do, that he was confused about directions. I wonder if that’s just a cover story or if perhaps the gym teacher doesn’t know that in a gym filled with 16 loud and rowdy children, it would be extremely difficult for an autistic child to pick out and focus on his teachers voice.

While he did laugh and joke more yesterday than in our previous visits, he also showed more of his usual defiance and anger. He has a lot of body picking habits and we could see those were worse. The scabs on his legs from long past mosquito bites that he has picked daily for months looked worse, more like craters than scabs. And the insides of his cheeks that he constantly chews and creates bleeding sores on looked worse. He wouldn’t quit picking his nose while we were there, although we made sure there was nothing in it to pick. When I tried to get him a kleenex to make him blow instead if pick because he was starting to make it bleed, he put his body between me and the kleenex box and wouldn’t allow me to get one. We eventually won, and he did blow his nose,  but seeing that defiance and willingness to use physical force to get his way reassured me that he does still need to be in the hospital right now. That and when the nurse came to tell us our time was up, he forcefully tried to close the door on her body with her pushing back. The larger male nurse was called to take him to time out and he went without crying or fighting. When I saw the male nurse, I recognized him from Javan’s earlier description…”the dweed in the red hat.” No that’s not a typo. He is just a dweed.

I hope to be able to tell you in tomorrow’s entry that I was successful in making the management see that combining units is not in the best interest of my child or the other children who need the enhanced unit. Keep your prayer hands up and your fingers crossed.

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