Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bipolar children (or....if the shoe fits....)

I did a Google search on "medications that control angry outbursts" and found this:

Bipolar Children

I had been kind of doubtful about the bipolar thing. After reading this, I have no doubt at all. yikes. They wrote that article about DD.

Just when you think you've heard it all

Well, to start out with things, my mom is back in the hospital. The geri-psych one, the one that did such good stuff last fall. My mom couldn't find her bathroom in her apartment again, and was not able to recognize her cat. She was not able to complete the process of using the bathroom (i.e., pull down pants, sit on toilet, wipe, etc.) I'm not nearly as confident this time, as it sounds like the doctor is kind of leaning towards "natural progression". If that's the case, my mom will probably have to move soon. That's a scary and intimidating possibility.

The nursing home is attached to her assisted living apartment(s) and is 4 miles away from my house. But it really doesn't strike me as all that compassionate, and they prescribed non-dementia-friendly medications last time my mom stayed there. Plus it's about $6,000 a month. And the money is definitely a potential issue. At that rate, her money will only barely last a year. Then there's the memory care assisted living 35 miles away. Much more knowledgeable, more compassionate, and only about $5,000 a month. But much farther away. And I just found out that there is a new "memory care" assisted living opening up in our town in August. Probably expensive, because it's new, and I don't know anything at all about it yet. None of these are optimal. So I'm mildly fretting about that, but trying hard not to put the cart before the horse....

But then....of course....DD is still hugely unstable too. Her psychologist has advised us to forego rules/consequences for now because she cannot make rational decisions right now. All we are supposed to do is concentrate on keeping her safe. So today I got home from visiting my mom in the hospital and DD comes up to my car and says "Mom, I ate some of your Weight Watchers stuff." (I buy Weight Watchers food on occasion--it's more like wishful thinking, LOL--but since DD just polished off an entire box of cereal in less than 24 hours, she has been instructed not to touch the expensive Weight Watchers stuff unless she decides to limit her caloric intake.)

I said, "Ok, well, that's the way things go sometimes...." and probably wouldn't have said anything different even if DD was stable. But she wouldn't let it go. "Aren't you going to give me a consequence?"

Me: No.

DD: But I took something that was yours. That was stealing.

Me: (in my head) Ok, that was today. What about the other 800,000 times you did something like this and had a tantrum when I pointed out that the rule is "If it isn't yours, or if you aren't sure, ask before you take it or use it."

Me: (out loud) Well, not that big of a deal.

DD: (raising her voice) YES IT IS A BIG DEAL!!!!

Me: We can talk about this when you are calmer.


Me: No.


Me: That's right.

Me: If you want a consequence, just let it be the guilt you're feeling.


Me: Ok, then.

DD: Give me a punishment!!!!!

Me: Maybe later.


Me: Um...no I don't.

DD: (in dramatic disbelief) What???!!!!! What???!!!

DD: So you really don't want me. I knew it!!!! (Runs to the bathroom and slams the door and starts screaming at the top of her lungs) (then starts slamming her body against the bathroom door) (really hard).

Me: (to myself, in my head) This is the absolute dumbest argument I've ever had.

DD: Ahhhhh (still screaming) (and hitting the door)

Suddenly, DD realized that all of her door hitting has caused the door to be damaged and now she can't get out of the bathroom. She started screaming for someone to let her out. By this time I wasn't in the best mood (as you might have guessed) and DH was trying to sleep. I told her that she had made the decision to damage the door. And I didn't let her out. (All of this took place in about a minute's time). DH woke up when she started screaming for him. At first he started laughing because it was so stupid, but then he got really angry and told her he'd open the door, but only if she wasn't going to do that any more. So he opened the door. SLAM!!!! Back shut, more pounding. Door itself is now broken. She is still screaming. I told DH to go to work, since he's so new to his job it wouldn't be good for him to miss work on a busy weekend night....and DD started screaming "BOTH OF YOU GO!!!! JUST MAKE SURE THE SHED (that's where DH keeps the one remaining gun that he hasn't pawned yet)IS LOCKED!!!!"

At that point, I told DH that he could call 911, and he did. The sheriff's deputy came out and an ambulance. I was really upset (of course). This is the first time ever that we've had to call for help with DD. Of course, when she realized that we really did call 911, she calmed right down. What that means, I'm afraid to venture a guess....When it was all said and done, I was 5 hours late for work, and that wasn't good (luckily, of course, I've been there for quite some time, so they know that if something like that happens, things must really be bad....) and DD has been re-hospitalized. Of course it's two hours away from home.....

When it rains, it really pours, doesn't it????

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Famous last words.

Me, to DD's psychologist: I have been so incredibly lucky that with three people in my life who need huge amounts of help, they only seem to get unstable one at a time.

Why on earth would I say something stupid like that?????

You all know what happens when you say something like that....

DD is still very unstable. We had a meeting at the school so that the teachers could be aware of the situation. DD gets snotty and disrespectful every time I say something that isn't exactly what she wants. We are waiting to find out when our appointment is (for her to be re-evaluated for FASD). I honestly have no idea what is going on.

I did (fortunately or unfortunately) talk with one of my fellow Census workers (I think I told you I was going to be a part-time temporary Census worker?) who has an adopted son who is now 23 and living in a group home. His story (starting at about the time when his son hit age 16) sounded eerily like DD's. Tantrums, drama, and violence. On one hand, I felt good after talking with him, because I knew that what has been happening with DD probably has more to do with her (and her biology etc) than it does with us....but it made me sad and scared for the future, too. I guess I'm still grieving the fact that she will probably never grow up and be on her own. It's been tough for me to let go of that, no matter how much I fantasize about her not being in our house any more.

But wait!!! There's more!!!!
My mom is getting confused again. It's not a UTI (test was negative). Blood work at Dr.'s was all negative, too, so it could possibly be a "natural progression". She's having trouble following directions. Even simple ones. The other night I got to her apartment and she was in the bathroom. She couldn't remember how to wipe. Since she had just gone #1, I instructed her to wipe between her legs. So she started to wipe her ankles. I said "No, you've gotta wipe much higher than that." So she started to wipe her outer thigh. Then she said, "My arms are getting shorter. I can't reach to wipe any more." It made me so sad.

When we went to the doctor, we brought paperwork with us, just like usual. It has a list of her medications, her diagnoses, recent observations, etc. We've been bringing the paperwork to the doctor's office since she moved into her assisted living apartment 4 1/2 years ago. It's very much a routine. But this time, she was extremely worried about the papers, and kept asking me what was written on there about her. She told me it was "pointless" to bring those with us. She started to get angry.

We made it to the doctor's office, but they couldn't find anything wrong.

Then later that night, she decided to fill her cat's water dish. Her cat has one of those heavy self-waterers--it holds about a gallon of water and lets a small amount of water flow into the dish as needed--it was bought so that my mom would NOT try to fill it. So she (about a year ago) put out one of her porcelain dishes for cat water, so that she could fill it. I tried "helping" that bowl to disappear, because I could see what was going to happen eventually, but she always got frustrated and anxious when I did that, so finally, despite my knowing better, I let it stay.

She fell. She was filling that stupid porcelain water bowl. It broke all over. Luckily, my mom didn't break anything. She didn't even have a bruise. But it could have been terrible. I was glad the bowl was finally gone. Little did I know she would almost immediately find a "replacement bowl" in her cupboard. Argh.

Right now I don't know really how bad things are. I'm hoping it's just a "few bad days" in a row, and they'll go away and "normal" will be back.

Alzheimer's sucks.

Friday, May 14, 2010

What a week.

DD was released from the hospital and (get this) they took her off ALL of her meds because they think her problem is anxiety and not bipolar. So now she has no meds, no PRNs and her appt with the med person is on Monday. How intelligent is that?

And the plan was going to be....DD's social worker was going to look into a longer term hospitalization or a residential placement. So we started to mentally prepare for that. But then the game plan changed, and we are going to have another eval done to make sure she really is FASD, because apparently that opens up a lot of doors for her (since her last eval was in 2004 (for FASD), I guess that one's too old to be relevant(?)) So now I'm waiting on info regarding this new eval and trying to keep things together at home. And DH is really disgusted. He told me that one part of him just wants her gone, but when he thinks about how things have been in the past (much better behaved, more stable, more fun DD) he just wants to cry. So I'm not sure really where he stands, but he's definitely not happy.

And she's no better. Yesterday, in an attempt to do "family time", DH and I took DD to Walmart. I wanted her to get some new shoes. She came back with a pair of Mens size 9 shoes. I told her those were too big. She started to explode, telling me that the "Size 7s were way too small, and these are the only ones I like!" I told her too bad, I'm not going to buy shoes that don't fit. She kept arguing, raised her voice again, and I told her that she should show me the 7's. Sure enough, the Mens size 7's were way too big, too. At least an inch and a half between her toes and the front of the shoe. So then I said no to the 7's, too. Told her to find something else. "BUT I DON'T LIKE ANYTHING ELSE!" So I calmly said "Ok, well, there's no rule that we have to get something today...." and she started blowing up about that. So she finally did find some shoes in the right size that "I guess I like them". Then, she wanted to pick out a new towel. She knew that I had recently bought DH a new towel because there are showers at his work and I didn't want him to have to have a tattered and torn towel there. But DH has decided that he probably won't be using the towel at work. So he suggested that DD just take the towel that I had bought for him--after all it hadn't been used yet....bad idea. "I WANT MY OWN TOWEL, ONE THAT I GET TO PICK OUT!!!!!!" (Oh for Pete's sake.) Ok. To avoid meltdown at WalMart, she got to pick out a stupid towel.

But wait!!! There's more!!!! DH and I decided we wanted to eat at Taco Johns. It's been a long time since we've gone out to eat. Another meltdown because DD DIDN'T WANT TO GO TO TACO JOHNS. ARGH. And she wonders why I never want to go anyplace with her.

Supposedly we are meeting with the pdoc on Monday to see what we can do. I don't know if I'll make it that long.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Talked to DD on the phone...

Well, earlier in the week I called DD at the hospital and our conversation went like this:
Me: Hi there, how are you doing?

DD: Fine.


Me: How's the food there?

DD: Fine.

Me: Are the kids nice?

DD: I guess.

Me: Are you keeping busy?

DD: I guess.

Me: Well, I guess I'll let you go then....I love you.

DD: Ok.


Last night, I called her again. Here's how it went this time:

Me: Hi, how are you doing?

DD: Hi Mom!!!! I'm good! Guess what, I made a dog that looks like Frosty!

Me: I can't wait to see it! Did your staff tell you that I'll be coming on Saturday?

DD: No they didn't tell me. You';e coming to visit me??? (with a smile in her voice)

Me: Yes, and Dad might come too, if he can.

DD: Dad too? What time on Saturday?

Me: Well, visiting hours are around supper time, so that's when I'll get there.

DD: Ok.

DD: Mom, I've gotta go, someone else wants to use the phone.

Me: Ok, I love you and I'll see you on Saturday.

DD: I love you too Mom.


Holy cow. I know they've done med changes, but what have they done to her???? Whatever it is, we haven't had a pleasant conversation like this in ages, even if it was a short one. I'm looking forward to seeing her later today.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Guilt and fear. That's what we've got.....

I talked to the staff at the hospital, and they are administering some tests to find out if FASD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder are just the tip of the iceberg. I talked with DD's staff and he told me that DD is "very hurt" by "something her dad said". I'm aware of that, and I know that while DD was in the process of hitting DH, he said, "I'm through with you!". And DD said a whole lot more than that, but of course her words don't count--but DH's will be remembered forever.

I know her penchant for untruthfulness and knowing that she's there in the hospital, I get worried that she's exaggerating or lying and that they will believe her stories. I know that she isn't the first kid to lie though, so they've probably figured some of that out....and I worry about how our family and family dynamics will be perceived. I'm sure that DD will tell them all sorts of bad things about DH (and probably me, too, although she's more upset with DH right now), and won't bother to explain to them that after nearly four years of struggling with mental illness of his own, he has just gotten back to work again and with me being laid off but working for the Census, our family does not have a routine or a lot of stability right now.

Her staff already told me that DD is upset that we haven't come to visit yet. The hospital, though, is two hours away and I don't get paid time off from my part time job. Not to mention that it's virtually impossible to find a replacement at a minutes' notice. So I feel guilty about that, too.

Mostly, though, I feel bad that I haven't been as good of a mom as I could have been. There are so many things I wanted to teach her and experience with her, and all of this working and DH's problems and my mom's problems have really taken that away from us. And now I'm just a "mediocre" mom with a kid who's acting out and somehow it's probably my fault, since DH can't be blamed (since he was completely out of the loop for so long).

They are trying some new medications for her. This hospital (which is a different one from the one she was in last fall) seems like they really want to help.

But you know, just imagining the things that she is saying to them about us makes me very angry and I haven't even heard them yet (this time). But she's said similar things enough times.

Truthfully, part of me wishes that the hospital would say that she SHOULD go to a group home right away. Things seem so peaceful and easy at our house without her. But I miss the nice kid she used to be.

I am going to visit tomorrow. I don't really know how I feel about that.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A somewhat surprising turn....

I went in to talk with DD's social worker about the possibility of respite or other resources. I was told that due to budget cuts, there is no respite budget at all :-(

But the social worker advised me that since DD is 17 now, she could get a waiver to allow DD to live in a group home. To me that really seemed like rejecting her. I don't think that's the answer "right now". However, I was and am willing to say that if she becomes violent again, that will be, apparently, the "other" option that we have. I can't stand violence, and even though DH did contribute to the escalation of the problem, the verbal aggression did not let up for days afterwards. So if she loses control again and hurts one of us physically, I think it will be clear that she needs something more than we can provide. Actually, right now it's pretty clear, but I'm hoping....

Don't worry, the courts/county will not allow her to go back to her "real" mom--that's what caused this in the first place!!! DD and her bio family are very well known in our area and I think every worker in the Human Services Department would fight as hard as they could to disallow something like that. It's not even an option except for DD's "wishful thinking". If she went to her bio mom, all the progress DD has made these past few years would go right down the toilet and she'd be in jail within a month, I'm sure.

Anyhow, like I was saying, I feel like sending DD to live in a group home would be a kind of rejection, and I'm absolutely sure that she would see it that way, too. But since that is the only option, I wanted to know what her therapist, who I view as a mentor of mine, thought of the group home idea. Surprisingly, she said, "Realistically, DD is not going to be able to live independently as an adult. She is always going to need some kind of living supports/assistance. So, given the fact that she will definitely be living in a group home setting in the future, does it really make a difference whether she goes now or in a year or two?" She told me that if DD had been put into a group home setting back when we got her, she would have been "shattered". But now she's 17 and although maturity-wise, she might improve somewhat, really things are not going to get much better. So basically, what she said was "Why not now? It's going to happen eventually anyhow..." Although I really don't want to admit that we might be at that point now or very soon, her comments did comfort me, because she is right--if DD is going to keep doing this, I have enough on my plate with DH and my mom....might as well have someone else deal with the crap. DD's therapist was quick to point out that DD would still be a part of the family, just like my mom is. DD would just be living somewhere else, with others to help her besides me. It gave me something to think about.

Ok. Back on track here....While the social worker and I were trying to talk to DD about this possibility, she screamed at me "Shut up!" and was chastised by the social worker--I didn't bother chastising her myself because I knew we'd end up with more problems.... that's how it's been lately. Anyhow, after the social worker told her that was NOT appropriate, DD asked to go to the hospital. The social worker called in the pdoc who was going to start DD on Depakote, but DD was adamant, she wanted to go to the hospital. Social worker, pdoc and I were all of the opinion that DD just wanted to go somewhere where she wouldn't have to deal with rules and/or consequences, like she does at home. None of us thought she would be admitted. I brought her to the E.R., though, wasted an entire day, and what do you know??? She's admitted.

And I'm kind of surprised and kind of not, but I don't miss her. Mostly I'm just relieved.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Finally. Kind of. DD and I have made peace. A very hanging-by-a-thread kind of peace, but today I was able to talk to her without her screaming at me, and without her telling me "it's not my fault", and without her insulting me. I guess it's a start. After telling me in one breath "I'm moving out. I already talked to my bio mom and she says I can move back there" (of course she says that--it was the courts that took DD out of there in the first place and the courts would not allow DD to go back there before she turns 18)--I called her bluff. I said "well, if that's how you feel, I guess...." I know she wanted me to buy into all her drama and say "oh no! Don't go!!!" But I won't give her that card to play for every time she's mad. So I just said "I hope things are more fun for you there." Once I said that, she said "But Mom, I LOVE it here. I just thought it'd be easier if I left." (yes, it probably would, but that's not what families do if they can possibly avoid it...)

DH, I sense, is torn. He loves DD and wants things to be ok. But she's been getting more and more violent with these tantrums, and all the pdoc does is raises her dosage(s). DH tends to lean towards the "we might as well give up now" viewpoint. He wants her to go away so he doesn't have to deal with her any more.

And that leaves me torn all asunder. I love DD so much. But I absolutely HATE her behavior and I don't' know how to make it better. I know she's really gotten the "short end of the stick" these last couple of years, with DH being unstable and my mom being sick....I know that in a perfect world she should have and would have gotten a lot more attention than she has.

I feel, though, the same way about her tantrums as I feel about "That Guy". I hate them and want to do anything to get rid of them. Somehow, though, in the same way that I am able to separate "That Guy" from DH, I am able to see that the tantrums aren't the only facet of my daughter. I don't want her to go anywhere. Unfortunately, DH says he does want DD to leave.

Now, since I've been the "person in control" for the last few years in our house, I probably do have the power to override him and allow DD to stay. And in fact I will probably do that, because I don't give up that easily. But it is going to cause a rift in our marriage. I feel like I'm kind of taking advantage of the (previous few years) situation. But I do feel strongly that if DD goes anywhere, she will be forever damaged. More than she is now. And while I might not be the best mom that could have happened to her, and DH not the best dad, she's got us and if we give up on her, the message that sends is so much bigger than anything that she's done.

I don't want to fight with DH about this. I know he has a right to be hurt and angry. I need some help here for sure. I see my therapist later this week, I'll probably ask her about the situation. And I've set up an appointment with DD's social worker on Monday, too--I don't know if there is any respite type thing available to us, but it would be nice if we could take advantage of something like that if it was available.

I guess what it boils down to is that when I talk to DH, I am going to have to remind him that I did not give up on him when things were at their worst--when he was going to bars, stealing from me, meeting up with old girlfriends (he only did that once that I'm aware of), etc....and that I'm not going to give up on DD either. Hopefully he'll understand.

Oh--P.S. There is a rule in our house. DD is not allowed to cook on the stove unless she is supervised. She gets very angry about that rule, because she thinks she is old enough to cook whenever she wants. And she has been very sneaky about it. I haven't said much about it, but I have stopped buying eggs (one of the things she likes to cook) etc. We've had bigger battles to fight, or so I thought...

Today I ran to my mom's house. DH was sleeping, DD was in her room. When I came back, about an hour and a half later, I walked in the door and was assailed by fumes. For some reason I got scared when I smelled that smell, but it took me a few minutes to realize what it was. Then it dawned on me. Propane. Lots of propane. I asked DD "did you use the stove?" I didn't expect her to be honest, and I didn't think she had used the stove. I was thinking we had a bad, bad, leak. I was about to wake up DH and have him help me get everyone out, when DD said, in a small, surprisingly honest voice "yes". I ran to the stove and discovered that one of the burners was on, but no flame. The house was full of fumes. I opened up all the windows and very quietly told DD what could have happened. And explained that things like that are why I want her to be supervised when she cooks. And for once she didn't say "It wasn't my fault!" All she said was "I'm sorry." That was when I knew we might get through all this somehow.