Tuesday, October 19, 2010

One Thing At a Time

My daughter is back in the hospital.  I know all the platitudes, that which doen't kill us makes us stronger, God only gives us what we can handle, behind every cloud . . .

But I just feel like hell.  Scared and sad for her, and yes, for me and her siblings.  My mom, my only local family member, is not willing to help, and was bitter and unkind when I asked for support.  This is not a new life lesson, but I always want it to be different, for her to be a different mom.

So, I need to put that away, it's not the most important thing right now.  I want Lily to feel better, to see improvement so she can function like a normal 13 year old girl.  I want her to roll her eyes at me over something inconsequential.  I don't want her to be so manic and lost in hallucinations that she has to be locked up with 17 year old troubled young men and young women.  The differences between 13 year olds who've been sheltered and 17 year olds who have not, is incredible.

The meds are wrong, they're not working, we've been talking to the professionals about it for weeks now.  We don't have anything good to show for all this trial and error manner of handling her distress.  I'll keep talking to the psychiatrists about it of course, and I clearly need to be more assertive about my concerns.  I've been told I need to bring my "bit*h" out when speaking with the doctors.  Maybe that's true, it's an approach I haven't tried yet, and I'm running out of tricks.

So I drove by the beach this morning on the way home from dropping my younger son off at school.  I wanted to see the surf and feel that cool breeze.  I love the blue water, the sparkle of the sun on the choppy tide.  But it's a foggy morning.  I parked anyway, high on the cliffs, and peered down at the surf.  The only water I could see was straight ahead, about twenty or thirty yards out.  Just a small section of crashing waves, foam and sand.  To my left, right and rear, a soft wall of gray fog insulated my meditative state.  Usual sounds were muffled, but I could hear the sea lions like they were in the next parking space over.

Why do certain sounds carry in the fog?  I tuned in, to the sea lions, and then to the waves crashing on the sand.  When I focused on the waves, the bark of the sea lions receded, and vice versa. I focused on the metal railing protecting the walkway from the drop of the cliffs.  Slightly corroded, gaps at the joinings, marked by bird droppings.  Just beyond the vertical supports, a dying stand of dandelions, fluff long since blown away, stems and withering leaves darkening before they crumble in the autumn wind.  A bird flew past and drew my gaze to her fellow scavengers.  They hopped about on the asphalt and picked at debris before scattering upward and onto the next likely picnic spot.

I have just about enough concentration for one thing at a time.  When I stay focused on Lily's suffering, or my own pain, I have a physical sensation of drowning, stomach ache, shortness of breath.  When I take a mini-vacation and retreat to the natural world, I breath better without thinking.  It's not a place I can stay.  I need to get back to my phone calls and war to help Lily heal.  But the breather probably helps to keep me from cracking up.  If I'm leaking all my insides out onto the ground, I'm no help to Lily, or anyone.  But if I can stay focused on what's right in front of me, I can handle one task at a time.  First, phone the hospital to see how Lily's night was.  Second, well, I'll have to decide on that after I've completed task one.


  1. Oh my dear. *sob* You have been in my thoughts all day (this ghost woman across the land) and my prayers go out to you. I didn't even know that your Lilly was hospitalized today, but I've been praying that you find the support you are so desperately longing for. I send you strength, courage, and grace.............

    I have a few followers and a network through the SITS (Secret is In The Sauce) group of women bloggers I and have just participated in a networking support group for Moms of Special Needs Kids. I sure hope you can join our group! Here are the links:
    (You might have to create an account to then sign into the group for special needs moms, "Spring Chickens".)

    In addition, I would be honored if you would be willing to share with my readers a bit of your story and share with them the link to your blog so they can offer support. That is what we are here for! I have begun hosting posts from other terrific bloggers such as yourself every Friday. You let me know if you want me to re-post something you already have on your blog (just identify which post) or you could send me something new. I can send you an email as soon as the post is up and encourage all who may read my blog that day to go and find you!

    What do you think? Would you let me host your post this Friday?! It would be my privilege.

  2. Mel - you're an angel, and I'd be so grateful to take you up on all your kind offers, just as soon as I get some sleep. : )

    I definiely can use all the support and wisdom available, and hopefully I can offer support back out there when needed.

    My daughter was better this evening. She was able to laugh about some things when I saw her during our visiting hour. I just want some da*m answers so that I can get her feeling really better, this takes too long.

    OK - no more venting tonight. Sleep time for now, and I'll touch base again tomorrow.

    You feel sort of like an old friend - the magic of the internet in a time of need. Thank you.

  3. Hi Mel,
    Had some sleep, even went into work for a few hours (Yay!) - and the sun is shining. Will head out to see my girl after while. Though I hate having her out of my reach, I know Lily is being taken care of and that I have to trust (easier said than done).

    Huge thanks again for your support. I'd be honored if you feel you'd like to share any portion of my blog. I'd be comfortable having you post my first entry, Learning to live without a plan. Let me know if you'd like to see some editing done, it's all pretty raw. And including my link would be great. My best hope is that others who've been through any of this will have some ideas or feedback. I'm operating in the dark, trying to pry sensible answers out of the pros.

    Will try again later to log onto thesitsgirls, have had no luck so far.

    Hope your family is having a very good week - and I'm looking forward to hearing more about what you and your little ones have going on.

    Finally (don't know how this became so epic) - should I contact you through hopeful parents or on your blog instead of just replying to your kind posts here?

  4. Welllll, I think if you click on my name my google or blogger profile comes up and my email is there. You are certainly able to email me there. Let me know if it is not there!

  5. Viola! You are an internet genius my friend! Your contact info is indeed there!