Hospital Stay #7, Day 2

I got a call from Javan’s hospital doctor a little bit ago. Maybe it was because the call woke me from a nap, but it felt much different communicating with him this time than it did during Javan’s previous stay. It was much harder for me to get any idea of what the doctor is thinking about all this. I might be misreading the situation, but it felt like he was a little frustrated that I returned Javan to the hospital.

We talked about how most of Javan’s issues right now revolve around him being afraid to leave me (more on this in a minute) and not wanting to go to school. The doctor remembered that  Javan had been homeschooled up until February of this year (fifth grade) and asked why I’d put him in school. I explained that Javan had become aggressive and defiant about homeschooling and refused to participate. I think he understood, but it felt to me that he was really asking why I’m causing these problems by making Javan go to school. I don’t think that’s probably a rational assumption. I realize that thought stems more from my insecurities than what the doctor actually said.

The conversation moved on to medications and what we wanted to try next. I told him that his regular psychiatrist recommended that we take one of two paths. One, we continue to increase the Latuda he was started on during his last visit and see how he does. Or two, we take him off of absolutely everything and get a clearer picture of Javan’s baseline behaviors. I prefer option two. Javan has not been completely off of psychiatric medication since he was four and a half years old. He’s now on a cocktail of four psychiatric medications. That’s too much. I feel like at this point, we don’t know if we’re combating parts of his illnesses or if we’re battling side effects of medications, or a combination of both. The hospital doctor agreed to take Javan off of three of the four medications immediately, leaving only the low dose of Haldol that he’s on. The nurses can observe him over the weekend and then the doctor can reevaluate Monday.

Depending on how he’s doing Monday, I may come clean with the hospital doctor and let him in on my high hopes plan of getting him off of everything and then trying all natural cannabidiol in place of pharmaceuticals. Cannabidiol is basically an essential oil derived from industrial hemp stalks and small studies have shown effectiveness in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, ADHD, autism, depression and dozens of other conditions. It has many of the positive effects of Marijuana that cause many mentally ill people to self medicate with it, without any of the negative, mind altering, or habit forming components, and it has zero side effects. And its legal in all 50 states. The only negative I can see for us is that it can’t be used in combination with many medications, so if I can’t get him safely off of all the psych meds or if cannabidiol alone isn’t enough for him, then it may not work for us. I hope it can be used in combination with his antacid medication. I’ll add that to my mental research checklist.

I also talked with the hospital doctor about how scared I am for Javan because before yesterday I’d never believed that Javan would harm or kill himself, but especially when he was threatening to kill himself if we left him at the hospital, both my husband and I agree that he 100% meant what he was saying. The doctor said he thought it was all just manipulation tactics and Javan is only trying to get his way. I felt so dismissed. He mentioned again, like last time, that Javan doesn’t act that way when he’s up there. Which I of course interpret as, “You’re the problem, Mom.” Again, probably not a rational interpretation. My emotions are just running high.

The doctor then ran out of time and handed me over to the head nurse. I explained my worry over Javan’s suicide talk to him and he agreed that it’s just manipulation, though he at least added that we do have to take it seriously when he talks like that. Javan has a good relationship with this nurse, so I asked him if he’d please talk to Javan about it and see if he can get Javan to express his seriousness or lack thereof about how he was feeling about killing himself yesterday.

I just feel so insecure and confused. Am I taking things too seriously? Should I not react when he threatens suicide? Is that giving him manipulation power? Am I causing these problems by forcing him to go to school when he has such severe separation anxiety? Does that mean it would be better for me to homeschool him again? I don’t know, I don’t know, I DON’T KNOW.

Jumping topics here. I told you I’d get back to talking about the separation anxiety. So, last week at our regular psychiatrist visit, he commented on the severity of Javan’s separation anxiety from me. Then he said a word that made my heart drop down into my bowels. He said “Freud.” Now, we’ve been seeing this doctor for six years and he’s never discussed Freud’s ideas with me, so I was willing to at least listen, but generally I think bringing up Freud in a situation like ours does not bode well for the mother.

He said, “Freud believed that separation anxiety stems from one of two things. One, the child secretly believes something bad about the parent and is afraid that if he leaves, the bad thing will come true in his absence. Or two, that the parent gets some kind of satisfaction from the child needing them that much. I don’t see that with you guys at all.” Ok, so I’m discussing Freud and not being villified or sexualized. Whew, that’s a relief.

So now we’re left with the idea that Javan may believe something bad about me that could become true when he’s away. I immediately thought it could have to do with Javan’s paranoia that someone will break  into the house and hurt or kidnap me, because he has discussed that with me before. But last night, while in the observation room of the hospital, a different and very unexpected truth emerged.

He was crying about how he just needed to stay with his mom and, remembering what the psychiatrist had said, I asked him why he needed to be with me and if he was afraid of something happening while he was away. He said yes. He is afraid that I won’t be there when he gets back, that I’ll be gone. I asked him where I would go and he said maybe to a beach vacation that I would stay at forever and I would never come back. I was and am heart broken that he thinks I might want to leave him. I reassured him that he and Daddy are me very favorite people and that I would never ever want to leave them forever. But I’m just so sad that he thinks I could abandon him at any moment.

We’re on our way to see Javan for visitation now. I’ll update soon.

_________________

Visitation went fairly well. They went ahead and had us come up to a private room on Javan’s floor to visit so that we wouldn’t have as much trouble when it was time to leave. Javan came in calmly and happily and gave us hugs. We asked him all about his day and he told us he ran around and around the gym in robot wolf mode until he was too exhausted and had to sit down, he did a little school work with the nice teacher there, he has a good room mate but he’ll be leaving tomorrow, and his doctor is really mean this time not nice like last time. He told us all kinds of things the doctor said and did that are absolutely not true because he wants us to think he’s unsafe so we’ll take him home.

Each time he’d get back on that topic, we’d distract and redirect. We played a Micky Mouse matching game that his little cousin was kind enough to loan us since we’d forgotten to pack any entertainment for visitation time. He won. Then we played “guess what character I’m impersonating from tv and movies” and had so much fun that the head nurse had to come ask us to laugh more quietly because some kids were already in bed.

The nurse came in at five minutes before we had to leave and told Javan what he wanted to see when it was time for us to leave. He wanted to see hugs and fist bumps and saying bye and walking away calmly. We also told Javan firmly that if he fought or hurt my glasses or hurt anyone or if he had to be led away forcibly that we would not come back for visitation on Sunday. He cried, but he actually did what was expected and walked out on his own. I was very proud of him.

I told him to try to be paying attention to how his mind and body feel different now that he’s taking less medicine and he said he would try.

The nurse told us he’d talked to Javan about his suicide threats last night and he told the nurse that he was just trying to get us to take him home. That might be true. I wish there was a way to know.

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