Psychiatric Hospital #2, Day 8

HE’S HOME!!!!!! He’s home, he’s home, he’s home!!!

No more two hour drives to see him for one hour. No more leaving him behind in a strange city. No more hotels and fast food. Just home.

I know you want to know how he’s doing. I wish I had a solid answer for you. He’s very hyper, active, and loud. Mostly happy. But I wouldn’t say stable. He’s easily saddened and angered and still shows violent impulses. He’s able to limit his negative actions to scaring the animals  (instead of hurting them) and threatening to hurt us (instead of actually hurting us), but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if those behaviors are already present immediately after hospital release then they’re probably going to escalate to their previous magnitude within a short period of time.

I wish I’d had more time to prepare sensory activities and gather some kind of emotional work like books or worksheets on emotional control, but I haven’t so I’ll pretty much be winging it on that front. I plan to resume homeschooling tomorrow in hopes that the regular schedule will help him, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to a high level of anxiety about how the school day will actually play out. My goal is to complete a half day of school and then evaluate whether to proceed with the second half. It’ll be a wonder if we get through third grade before puberty.

I’ve been given stacks of paperwork from both hospitals to sort through and try to digest. I’ll try to flip through those and give you some highlights which will no doubt seem fragmented since I have in no way assimilated this information into any type of meaning yet myself. Here are some thoughts, observations, and conclusions from his psychological evaluation:

  • Concrete thinking
  • Extreme responses
  • Impulsivity
  • Depression
  • Lack of independence
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Altered thought process
  • Flat, blunted affect and monotone speech
  • Anger outbursts
  • Doesn’t understand what having autism means
  • Difficulty adapting to change
  • Anxious and agitated
  • Bizarre behavior  (i.e. calling out to his parents when we weren’t present, spelling our last name out loud repeatedly, and staying under the desk for the majority of testing)
  • Persistent delusional beliefs
  • Somewhat physically threatening to mom
  • Prognosis is guarded (From what I gather, this means they don’t think he’s going to get better.)
  • Meets criteria for Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Type, and Autism Spectrum Disorder

That information is all from the psychological evaluation alone. Here are some highlights from the rest of the paperwork from both hospitals:

  • Tried to assault his parents and hospital staff of admission.
  • Self-harming behaviorso
  • Alternates between hyperactivity, crying, and aggression
  • Oriented to his name, but not date or location
  • Irritable
  • Restricted affect
  • Poor insight
  • Poor judgment
  • Able to recall three objects immediately,  but not five minutes later
  • Estimated average intelligence based on vocabulary and conversation
  • Prognosis from one hospital doctor is a 40 on a scale of 10-65, 10 being hopeless and 65 being easily treatable. So pretty much right in the middle. But seriously, who starts a scale on 10? Is this some sort of trick to see if you have OCD tendencies? It should start on ZERO!

He helped to create his own individual wellness plan at Dallas Behavioral Hospital.  He listed his triggers and stressors, warning signs that show he’s growing more at risk, his coping skills, and healthy behavior goals. His goals are to do well in school, be a better son, and play basketball. Be a better son. Ouch. So much ouch.

So…where’s the hope? It honestly doesn’t feel like there is much hope. But we can’t give up. We won’t. For now,  we’ll try implementing the sensory activities as much as possible. We’ll start a color system – green, yellow, red – with rewards, like they did in the hospital. That motivated him well. We’ll try to keep the house visually decluttered. And we’ll pray.

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