Hospitalization #4, Day 6 and Discharge Day

Day six began with an early morning family therapy session which mostly consisted of my husband and I talking with Javan’s hospital therapist, as he was still asleep. The therapist seemed mostly to want to get across to us that this facility cannot help Javan get better. Yes, we assured her, we’ve noticed. We talked with her at length about all of the different options we’d explored and that, in the end, this hospital was the only place we could put him in the emergency situation in which we’d found ourselves. Ridiculously, I found myself feeling the need to apologize for taking the only available route – placing him in hospital care once again. She said she understands, but wanted to make sure we weren’t under the illusion that repeated hospitalizing will help him. She told us she’d be helping us look for available resources in our area and that Javan would most likely be discharged in two to three days. We made sure to once more remind her that we lived two and a half hours away and that we’d need advanced notice of discharge to avoid additional trips. The nurses then woke Javan because we knew he’d be distraught to find that he’d slept through our promised morning visit. He came in for some sleepy morning cuddles and groggy conversation. He repeated a story he’d told us at visitation the night before about a big nurse who poked him in the tummy painfully and repeatedly as a form of punishment for disobeying. His story wasn’t consistent or detailed enough for us to be overly worried about it, but both the nurse who heard his story the night before and the therapist filed reports about it for investigation to take place.

Later that evening, we were escorted to a private visitation room rather than the cafeteria due to the difficulty Javan had parting from us both at the last night’s visit and at the morning therapy session. Just as with his last hospital stay, they’ve found it easier to have him already on his floor rather than have to drag him down several hallways and an elevator after visitation. The nurse who escorted us was unusually large. He must have been seven feet tall. He was soft spoken with a slight stutter and kind smile. He explained that he was the nurse that Javan had made allegations against and that he had asked specifically to be the one to come get us so that he could explain to us personally that he never treats patients like that and answer any questions we had in person. When he led us to the private room, Javan showed no fear of him and in fact later identified him as “the one who comforts me after you leave.” I hesitated to write this part of the story at all, not wanting to smear anyone’s character or cause undue concern for Javan, but I decided to include it because I feel even more comfortable with this hospital now because I felt like everyone handled this delicate situation so well. We didn’t have to push or even ask for an investigation. They initiated it themselves.  And I found the fact that the nurse came to us himself, willing to talk openly about the situation, admirable.

I find it much less admirable that after driving home late after last evening’s visitation, we were called early this morning and informed that Javan was being discharged. Today. After the therapist said two to three days. After we emphasized that we live far away and want to avoid making unnecessary trips. After we reminded the therapist that this is exactly what they did to us last time that we wanted to avoid. So we got back in the car this morning and drive all the way back to Dallas to pick up our boy. We asked to speak with the therapist while we were there and expressed our displeasure over the situation and were, of course, assured that the doctors and therapists were “working on a more effective method of communication to avoid such incidents in the future.” Good grief. We also asked why he was kept for so short a time and the therapist explained some nonsense about him having reached his ‘baseline.’ I’ve come to understand this term to mean his ‘normal behavior.’ Once they determine a baseline and the patient is able to reach it, they discharge them. Even if the patient’s baseline behavior is unacceptable. Total poppycock.

So, what now? Well, now I suppose I continue trying to enforce routine. I continue to search for available resources. I love him the best I can. And I pray. That’s all I can do.

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