Saturday, August 28, 2004

Just TELL me what to do--why do I always have to decide?

Mixed messages and different advice seems to go hand and hand with parenting no matter what--but when your child has special needs---OMG--- just digging through the pile of advice--support and information can be a full time job!

Goodness!

Our Attachment Therapist is--All for--the Day treatment program and sees this situation as a blessing! BUT DR. Joe wonders why we would even consider it now that we have found medication and a good combination of therapy and intervention!

So we ask ourselves is DR Joe motivated by the $250.00 an hour and if so why would that be the case when there is such a shortage of child shrinks you know there must be 6 more kids just waiting to get an appointment?

Then we try and consider the prospective each person involved has....and The attachment therapist clearly has a great deal of 'HANDS on' with Adopted children having raised four of her own and fostered 16 more....BUT DR Joe was an Adoptee who came from an orphanage at the age of 8.

And some of the biggest issues I feel underlay the situation is the sexulaized behaviors---which ONLY DR Joe has seen because he is a man.

He seems to feel the medications are helping enough and that Makala is NOT really having too many problems in School so why mess up a good thing?

SHE LOVES SCHOOL.

and the more confused we get---the more likely a space will open up sooner---forcing us to make a decision.... so I expect they will call me next week and say they have a space for her-----and CRAP we will have to decide. Everyone knows that no matter what we decide at some point or another we will regret any decision we make today!

Isn't that how it always works?

But, DR Joe is still playing around looking for the right combo of meds....and he seems to feel Makala is dealing with RAD--PTSD--and possible Bi Polar and Possible ADHD....and that everything is a treatable situation...... HE cut out the Clonidine and instead added a Ritilan Boaster for the Afternoon.

And he is suggesting that there is something other then the Risperdal which may not have the hunger and weight gaining issues with it.....

At this point in time I am starting to think that maybe we should stick it out with the mainstream and not place her into day treatment and this is a decision I will likely question for the rest of my life..... We are however going to attend a meeting at the center and continue to maintain an open mind....until we have to decide.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Will they ever agree?

So it is a week and a half after the big crisis and the intervention! Four nights in the hospital--a visit with the attachment therapist--intake meeting for Day treatment for emotionally destrubed children and finally the actual appointment with the new shrink we finally have found who has space in his practice but does not accept the state heath insurance and our insurance only covers 50%!!!! .........and truthfully we are more confused then we were two weeks ago!In patient treatment, and the attachment theripists FEEL the biggest issue is anxiety and we were told by both that Cloinidine might be a good soultion to help keep her calm so we can have a few days without 5-6 hours of raging sessions....

We do not like the side effects we were told about this medication and we really would like to aviod it completely as it is an adult blood presure med and could lower her heart rate to a point of concern and I really am not interested in doing CPR.The new doctor has ALL the records of the hospitalization and is a man...the first man we have seen. During the 2 hours we were at his office yesterday Makala acted the way she 'does' with men which was interesting and the female doctors and therapists have NO CLUE about 'these behaviors' because they are not good looking strong and handsome men...

Before the end of the session yesterday Makala had told the doctor that she was the mom and he was the dad of the doll...and that because they got married they played with each others privates and made a baby! She NEVER would have interacted this way with a female.He spent a great deal of time talking with me about the EXACT way a rage goes down....and he feels that we are dealing with some real issues...

His oppinion is that any progress we are making with the Attachment is set back and delayed in some ways simply do to the extreme amount of time and energy we are dealing with the rages... I did bring what I do have on vedio tape and he sees what I do.... a little girl completely out of control and unable to even speak real words.... flipping around on the floor with her arms out for hugs and kisses--which are freely given even in the middle of the rage.

During this time she cannot hear anything...and often speaks jibberish and eventually gains a sort of distant control over her body--and then withdrawls to a degree... For us the withdrawl is less noticable because we are just happy there is silence and she appears to be in control.Then almost always withing minutes the second round starts which generally is the most serious and includes the hitting, biting, scratching, pinching spitting, and throwing things around...

The chanting starts and in this cycle it seems like she hears and understands but she has NO desire to reach out for hugs and kisses and will not accept them when offered.... This is the longest period of a rage and this is the time that can last for hours... and usually ends with her being physically exhosted and totally unable to fight any longer....

Then she withdrawls again and appears to be interested in something else.... but 9 out of 10 times will go back to the behaviors of the first round and beg and plead and want hugs and kisses.... but she seems to be able to hear us...and it appears she realizes how out of control she was which does actually cause her to express remorse and be sorry about what happened...sometimes she will even clean up after herself...

Sometimes we think this is simply an act of still trying to minipulate us... but on the vedio tape it does actually look like she just woke up...from a bad dream... If we talk about what happened often she still wants her way and will use the fact that she feels bad and helped clean up and is in control now--so she should get what she wanted.... and then it can escalte again...It is usually not over until some SUDDEN moment when she looks at us and says something like....."My barbie is so pretty!" or Mommie I love your hair cut...and then it is OVER.

The new doctor says these rages are more like a Bi-polar episode with a child... That she is cycling through the ups and downs during these rages...and that she really does not appear to hear or have much control over herself during the hight of them.

He agrees with and appears to understand a lot about Attachment and suggested that we continue with this therapy by all means....he does not agree with some of the advice we were given...especially the advice that the next time we cannot get her in the car we should drive off around the parking lot...he feels that is very bad advice that we need to keep working on Makala to not ever feel abandond and he thinks that is a bad action to take (we didn't really like the idea when we first heard it either)He has put Makala on Risperdal in order to help keep the edge off the anxiety and the HIGH UP's and help her reamin calm... He gave us a daily doseage and an additional small doseage for emergencies which if used could knock her out for 24 hours.... I am not sure how I feel about doing this... but his feeling is that we CANNOT possibly attach with these kinds of daily episodes and that Makala needs to expereince several months of NOT having the rages in order to even begin to attach.I would say the majority of attachment talk we did was the same kind of information we have learned from the therapist.

DH--felt much better with this doctor he addressed the concerns of the eating and weight gain and agreed with the therapists and said do not put limits on it... DH--felt better with a doctor who could witness the behaviors we are all rather concerned about... We left his office feeling mixed emotions....knowing he supported most of the Attachment therapy...but also seeing what we do and that these rages are beyond what any family could possibly face daily and attach with...plus the baby is acting out and copies his sister and that showed up on some of the vedio tape... This doctor wants our family to have some period of peace...to work on attachment with a child who can hear us and feel the hugs we do give her...

He is supportive of the bottle and rocking and reparenting methods...he does not rule out the need for the day treatment and he does not rule out mental health issues.He is going to cost us a load of money but I have to wonder if this is not the one time in someones life where money should not even be part of the issue... We are going to need to pay him about $400.00 a month... for awhile... He also wants us to back off the EXTRA activities and try to stay home.... It sort of hurt my feelings because when we were talking about Makala's background I used the phrase the state had with me that birthmom was a 'sofa surfer.' When we talked about the vacation -- he thought is was a bad idea and told us the last thing M needs is to sofa surf for two weeks...

He also does NOT want me to allow the chiropractor to work on her and help her relax her back--and I agree with him because he said my daughter does not need that kind of physical touch coming from anyone other then me... I had not thought about that before....

So---I guess for the next 30-days we are going to try the medication and see if it will take the edge off these rages long enough to have any kind of quality of time with her... She is to take it an hour before bed and we gave her a dose last night... There has not been a rage yet today--and she is not a zombie so that is good... The last thing I want is to knock her down... She has been pretty happy today.so...............that is where we are and I am packing to sofa surf at mommies house for two weeks..... We are taking the trip.... I do think in the long run it will be a good trip and I think that the time we spend together around other people who actually LOVE mommy is very important....We live around DH's family and we do have some differences....so having my family be there and confirming I am a good person and I am the mom could do some real good...

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Keeping my mouth shut.

Today has gone very well..... We met at the therapists office as mom and dad without the kiddos...and it was wonderful. DH has this inner hope that all of this will just suddenly stop--but, he is also intelligent enough to recognize good suggestions and try new things... The book "99 Ways To Drive Your Child Sane" came today Wow that is a great read because it makes the parent know they really are not all alone!!!! I am all right about trying a few new ideas...

Today was funny because I tried the idea of having a Tantrum Contest...When she started to throw a fit--I said, "Oh Goody a tantrum---lets have a contest--I bet I can scream louder and longer then you can...." and I started.................her reaction this time was to Stop and then try to get me to stop!!! How funny but guess what--the tantrum was over right then--so in a way I won today huuuuummmmm this attachment stuff is upside down and thankfully by the end of the day I was finally starting to feel like 'I wanted to engage with her...." that really is a major improvement because yesterday I really didn't even want to interact at all and I know that is not a good thing....

I know for sure that the father of my older kids is a RAD baby..... We got married at 18 and I lived with RAD for 14 years and now I know why the 'normal' way of relating was not possible.... I sort of feel bad because now I think that I could have learned how to help him......I guess that wasn't what a wife should have to do---and that is why I really pray Makala makes it to the healing side... It is so painful to imagine adult life with this kind of trauma not being dealt with in a healthy way....

Gosh I used to think he had some master plot written in a secret meeting where I was selected to be the one they drove crazy! Honestly an adult who does not have the right kind of help is a sight to behold and so difficult to love.... Sometimes it really does seem like there is a real plan to their mission to drive us over the edge. Makala has been able to strum my buttons just as magically as my oldest son and Tori's father learned to do.... My relationship with their father still includes button pushing... in fact the only real communication we have is by phone maybe twice a month and no matter what, it always includes some kind of dig or jab from him.... It is sad that he has this problem...

Our Children do grow up and they need to be healthy so they can have long and happy relationships with their spouses and children too... That is really what I personally have to focus on... Makala is still young and there is so much hope that we can get beyond this stuff.... I keep telling myself that I have had all those years of experience with a RAD person....and I have tried all the tricks once before--they didn't work and here is a whole list of things I didn't try--because I didn't know what they even were.... Now I have a chance to help someone...who is still ripe to be helped.

I am usually the mom who talks too much and is pretty open to conversation about just about anything.... But, I was never a mom who didn't add my own commentary---and my own opinions... I always did a lot of talking with my oldest son and Tori--and it was pleasant conversations... not circles and meaningless questions...and not getting it.... The hard part is not talking too much for me.... I have been doing VERY well on my facial expressions today--I have tried to keep a pleasant expression on my face....

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Day Treatment Meeting

YESTERDAY--I had the meeting to get on the waiting list for the Day Treatment program Oh my goodness to me this just seems like a great answer.... I have been soooo worried about school starting. The program is actually 18-24 months long 9 am- 1 pm five days a week with only the Major Holidays off.

The public school provides transportation and the program is considered school replacement. When she exits the program they work directly with the school and she re-enters through the special ed program. They suggest this because during her time in day treatment she will be in a situation of one adult for every two children and it is too hard to enter the school and be 1 adult for 25-30 children...

The special ed department has a lower ratio and can work on getting Makala mainstreamed. The program deals with only Emotionally Disturbed children 3-8 years old. I was told to imagine a one hour session in therapy and to consider every hour M is there is therapy....They will integrate what she needs in to every part of her day--including the educational things. Parents are required to spend one hour a week min there--with 30 mins for 'quality' time with the child and 30-min dealing with the TEAM and her plan.

They also offer the family counseling, marriage counseling, and will help with at home living skills and parenting ideas....that fit with Makala and what they can learn from her. Our first step was the intake meeting I had yesterday and now her file will be given to the head shrink and he will decide if there is enough in the file to move it forward or if he would like to spend time with Makala.... Once he moves her forward there is a committee that decides which children are placed on the waiting list..... and then you wait for space...

They only accept 12 children in Makala's age group. We have been told to go forward and start school and continue with all the other therapy until we find out what will happen with the Day treatment situation.....My fingers are crossed....... I feel like this program could really make a difference.....This afternoon DH has agreed to go with me to the Attachment Therapists without the children..... Thank goodness it is about time! And....... things have been EVEN--Saturday went well but Sunday there was a melt-down and spitting and general not cool things.... I am just at the point where I am simply not responding to very much of anything.... I am saying, "bummer" a lot and I am keeping my facial expressions straight.... I also have to admit that it is not easy to want to enjoy time with her right at this moment.... I really do hope that the trip is going to be nice...I cannot wait to see my mommy!

Friday, August 06, 2004

Psyc Ward Meeting

We met with the 'people' this morning and were advised that they do not feel meds are called for right now......but, that M was dealing with some very serious and complex issues. Poor boundries in most areas... Loss and grief and ODD were the biggest issues.

They have taken steps to have us placed on a waiting list for a Hospital University Day treatment program.... Which is 15-18 months long --very close by--and would include school and EVERYTHING! She is on the waiting list and openings are expected in September it is a five day a week program and only takes the MAJOR Holidays off....

I have our intake meeting Monday at 10 a.m.

We have been advised to keep our Attachment therapists and that the Attachment issues will also be part of her day treatment program. It is covered under the state insurance.I am feeling a little like a big blessing has been dumped on my lap so we will have to see if everything continues to be what we expect it to be.

Makala was released after dinner time. The drive home was interesting..... Mom got her and as we were driving she asked about her church group meeting on Wednesday night and what day was today? I said 'Friday.' and she realized she had missed a meeting-----then she said, "I hate you...." I just said,---"bummer" and she started talking about other things....She said, " they did NOT fixed my problems."

I said, "They weren't supposed to that is up to you and me to work on."

She said, "I don't even think they helped me."

I said, "You haven't had a tantrum in four days have you?"
She said, "NO."

I said,"Well, that looks like they helped you a lot to me...no tantrum in four days must feel pretty good......"

We are going to do this one day at a time.....

Thursday, August 05, 2004

More Mom Chatter

I should clarify how the therapist intended to say she was affraid it would end up as residential treatment--She was saying it in a way that she was affriad WE would go that direction or that someone in the system would want to point us in that direction. and that she would rather have 'this' happen then RTC be wanted or taken.....

Actually, if I can think clearly enough and write better this thrapists seems to hit a lot of nails on the head! We had already talked about how Makala would love it if I left and she had daddy to herself... and we have been starting some things to work on that area.... Including the threrapsits setting up some meetings with both parents....

We will have one next week.... DH has not had much contact with her and right now he is a little untrusting of the therapy because of the weight gain--he sees the weight as a possible lifetime issue and unhealthy....DH considers that to be a strike.... He is also annoyed that if she anticipated this kind of situation coming up why didn't she advise us?.... all I can do is point out that we WERE ADVISED that something like this could be antisipated all the time during training, and in everything we have read.....

I personally have been looking at myself and some of my reactions and my own parenting styles to see what I can change in myself too....

Personality and upbringing taught me that "Athority" always gets the 'last word'..... With Makala that is impossible and so I am trying to see things different and say that I will be OK with things if I am happy with getting "My Own Last Word"....even if it is not the last sound I hear about something.....

The therapists suggests that I learn to say "Bummer" a lot and just stop talking.... She is right because it has always been my mouth that gets me into trouble and for once in my life I need to learn how to shut up.... I can do it---I can do it---I can do it--- I just tried it with the college kids who had to start a political argument...I have one Rush Limbaugh conservative republican child and another---Peace loving, liberal democrate....WOW---all could say was 'Bummer' surprisingly they got the point....knowing I am working on this to help Makala.....

It was actually a good exercise for me.

The other thing I know I must take care of about myself is my facial expressions...Apparently, I would never make a good poker player because I have very animated facial expressions... When my oldest son and Tori were little I could send them a message across the room with "A Look" --knock it off---come here---nice job---I disaprove....whatever and they got me---and responded.Makala--has said she doesn't like some of my expressions (I can't blame her) so I am very VERY much working on trying to NOT use "Looks"....

Makala is not the first person who has had a problem....I was once nearly fired from a job for a "look" I had on my face! So I have been keeping a mirrior arond to see just how bad I really am..... My father had some faces too and I can remember not likeing it much....

I am also going to take the advice for some relaxation tactics. I have needed to learn and use many different relaxation methods in my life and I had already decided this was a great time to start doing them more often. Little brother started biting his nails about 2 months ago and he seems to have some nervous habits 'grinding teeth' so the more the merrier!!! Daddy is so high strung he cannot even feel a back rub--so maybe it can calm him down too.... Daddy is ALWAYS doing something.... he works hard and he plays a lot with the children he always has a project going on and he is not the kind who comes home from work and sits down....he goes from one project to the next and keeps busy.... In a structured way but the man is on the go all the time.

Anyway--we see Makala again tonight. and have the meeting in the morning.I hate to think of it being horrible after she gets home. We do have door alarms set up. Walgreens actually sells some portable ones we took on vacation for a low price and they are great.I am not sure what we are going to do about the trip to Illinois we are suposed to fly Aug 16! I know once we get there my Aunt and mom and step dad will be there and all of them are exactly the right people to be around....

Aunt Terrie has Fostered nearly 60 children and adopted....she is wonderful she was the wife of Uncle Eddie who was in an orpahnage his whole life and she is my best support by phone...so once we are there I had thought this would be a great trip for Makala---There is so much family there with a lot to offer....the two weeks we planned to stay.... It is the getting there and getting home I am concerned most about...can you imagine a delay in an airport or an airport evacuation with a RAD kid and a 2 year old by my self????? Not sure I even want to try it?????hummm......

A little better.....?

Well, I am feeling a little better.... It has been a hard few weeks.Makala--is safe and fine. The place is not as horrible as I thought it might be. And thankfully she is getting all the help we could ever hope for.

Our Attachment Therapists has been deeply involved in this whole situation.... She has recomended that Makala not be kept the full 7-10 days as that would be too long....she would like Makala to be released on Friday evening.(total of 5 nights away from home) We have found a 'shrink' finally!....

A man who was working with a bigger group office has recently left to make his own practice and slow his life down a bit--He has 22 years experience and his wife is a Family Living Coach (?) They can see her Monday! He only likes to treat the pre-school and very young children under 10 so we fit with his likes....

Our thrapist told me that she antisipated something like this would take place.... and that her greatest fear was that we would need to get residentail treatment due to the great shortage of real psyc help in our area. I wish she would have told me this! The therapist says she believes that Makalas biggest issue is sever anxiety and that she is always ready to snap--and release the stress....

Which goes along with my Chiropractor who checked her out last week and said he had never seen a little child with such tense muscles in her back! The therapists suggests that Makala is always so filled up with anxiety that anything will cause her to need to release this stress and that she is not finding ways that she can let it go without the tantrums and rages...I have to admit that her stress is starting to make me stressed out and that I have been getting to places where I overreact sometimes....

Last night I ran and got fast food for the rest of the family and the whole way home I was thinking--"Oh gosh I hope they didn't forget sweet and sour sauce, or a straw--or the prize--Oh no I got something for mayself and Makala is going to be mad she didn't get what I got...Oh no, did they give me apple juice I don't see it............oh thats right M is not home, I don't have to worry about all this..........."I guess the stress is affecting me so much more then I realized!The therapists wants both my husband and I to come in....

My husband is somewhat less convienced there are such issues... as RAD there is so much literature which refers to RAD as POP-Psychology and a fad. We are still on the same page but I feel he is doubting me and my abilities more and more.... But like he says he is here 1/3 of the time that I am.Anyway--that is a quick update.... We saw Makala last night and she is NOT being medicated... she was still out of control in many ways and wanted us to play UNO her way and not by the rules...she wanted me to leave and she is still not being very nice to me unless someone else is looking....

We are just telling her that we want to find the right way for her to feel good and not be upset so much.... She actually seems to be having fun at the center but has asked to come home.... We can take her anytime we want however the therapists has advised us that if we pull her out and something were to happen to her or the baby there could be some ramifications we wouldn't want to face....so we are following the advice of everyone involved....

Monday, August 02, 2004

Tonight she was admitted for Pysc Evaluations

........tonight she was admitted for Pysc evaluations......

Well, it has been a hard weekend here.... and a very hard Monday.I spent most of last week looking for a child shrink (I can't spell it right now) and never could find one who was accapting new patients.... The regular doctor had a heart attack last week when he saw M's weight gain and said it was time for some real evaluations and we needed to look at the possiblity of some meds......

I called EVERYone listed in the Phone Book for 75 miles.Still doing all I can working on the attachment therapy.Saturday there was another event of Running into the street at dusk when daddy said it was time to go home.....neighbors had to help get her home....she was spitting--screaming--foamng at the mouth--biting--hitting and full out hell....She spent Sunday at home---isolated to some major degree--mostly with me....

Today I "accidently" bought her some apple juice from the vending machine on our way out of the YMCA after swimming....and she dropped it--because she WANTED it right now and couldn't wait until we got to the car and I opened it for her so before we left she opened it and it fell right out of her hands ........It was all my fault......

I should have known she wanted it right then--I should have been a good mom and made sure she had her unspoken needs completely met. Even though typically we don't get things from the vending machines. Instead of being happy we did she decided to be angry that her impatience caused a problem.... In the car she went 'APE' because I wouldn't get her more.

I was supposed to run back in and buy her another one.When we were driving she got out of her seat and started pulling my hair...hitting the back of my head.... I nearly called 911 I wanted to drive straight to the hospital but we managed to get home after I pulled off the road and waited for her to settle down...

HOME was worse then ever.She attacked me--spit on me--thew things out the front door...Threatened to take herself and "HER" brother and levae... I am not her mom--or his mom--and he 'BELONGS" to her..."YOU are nothing--I hate you--I wish you would die---I want you to move out and leave--I hate you--I didn't ever want you--YOU GET WHAT YOU GET and if YOU don't like it too bad I don't care--I hate you..............."I talked for a long time to a woman at the Oregon Post Adoption Resource center.....

I called all the shrinks again....Then I didn't give her a soda when she demanded it. I didn't give her what she wanted--she packed her stuff and said if I wouldn' leave she would....then she woke up the baby....hit him in the face with HIS hot wheel track and told me she would do anything she felt like to HER brother....So I took her to the Hospital.....and 6 hours later they told me to go home and bring her things tomorrow.....

They felt she needed to have an evaluation....she will be there for 7-10 days....I am feeling like a loser right now.... I am devastated inside. I love her soooo much. I am not feeling better--I dont' care if tomorrow will be nice without her here--I don't care if I did my best--I feel like I am spent and really hurt and all I want to do is go and get her.................

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