Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Here Comes the Son

And I say, sometimes it's all right and sometimes it's not.

Look at that picture. Young man—high school graduate, college bound. Smiling, well nourished. Bright, shining future. Well, if your Son looks nothing like him, you've come to the right place.

Now don't get me wrong. My son Sean is the apple of my eye. He always has been, and up to his junior year in high school 2 years ago, he could have been that kid in the picture. Now we are at a whole different juncture. His being 18 and of "legal age", well, your options as a parent concerned about his health are very, very limited.

To continue with the story of my kids from a previous post, Sean was diagnosed with clinical depression about a year ago. He didn't care about anything. He didn't care about school, he didn't care about graduating, he didn't care about taking care of himself, he didn't care about his sister or me, he didn't care about eating, he didn't care about working. All he basically cared about was sleeping and running around with his friends. My normally very funny, very personable son was turning into Mr. Hyde. Oh, he could turn on Dr. Jekyll for short bursts if he had to, but it was becoming harder and harder. He chain smoked, smoked pot. Came home totally wasted one night, where he had spent part of it passed out on my front lawn. A girl dumped him and everything spiraled out of control. Every thing went right downhill until my 5'11 inch beautiful son weighed 113 pounds, had a heart rate of 38 and a blood pressure of 90/60.

I had done everything I could think of up to this point to intervene. Doctors, counselors, psychologists, 2 different psychiatrists. I begged, I pleaded, I punished, I cajoled, I guilted, I bribed, I prayed. And then I begged and pleaded some more. Last July, I talked him into an assessment at a local behavioral health hospital. They put us in the ER because his heart rate was so low. When they released us from the ER, I took him back to the behavioral health hospital, where, even after acknowledging he was putting his life at risk, he walked out. I took him back after more talking. And he wouldn't get out of the car.

"He's 18," they said. "You can't force him."

That's a great thing to hear. You feel your son is dying and there's not a thing you can do until he 1. passes out; or 2. finally agrees to hospitalization.

Days came and went after that. Some up and some down. Mostly down. Then last week, after he slept through Thanksgiving and couldn't eat, I sat down again and begged and talked and pleaded and appealed to the one thing he has always held onto: his music. If it wasn't for music, I think he wouldn't be around anymore. But his love of music and the guitar and playing kept him alive. So I told him, how does he expect to go to music school next year if he's anorexic, depressed, and suffering from panic attacks? I refused to help him until he helped himself.

That sent us to the same behavioral health hospital that my daughter is at, where she is still in the Adolescent Anxiety/School Refusal program, but doing very well. He was assessed again....and with some quick moves and fast talking, they got him to sign the inpatient admission voluntarily and escorted him to the 2nd floor -- "High Functioning Adult Unit".

As a preview to come, when they started to walk us to the 2nd floor, Sean looked panic stricken.

"What's wrong?" asked the social worker.
"I'm going NOW?" asked Sean.
"Yes," he answered. "You signed the papers as inpatient didn't you?"
"Well, yes."
"Voluntarily?
"Well, yes."
"Then what did you think would happen?"
"Well," Sean said. "I don't want to go up there now. I'll come back in the morning and be admitted. I didn't know I'd have to go today...right now."

And he looked at me and said he wasn't going. I told him I hadn't signed a thing. They hadn't even talked to me but for about 5 minutes and I was there when he signed the inpatient agreement. I told him I couldn't do a thing. He was an adult in the eyes of the law and the hospital.

The social worker took him in a private room while Erin and I waited outside. Eventually, they got him admitted to the second floor.

That's when the real nightmare begins.

3 comments:

No Nonsense Girl said...

thinking of you and of Sean...

xxxxx

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