On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Preparations 101: A Photo Essay

Or this post could also be named Nausea as I'm listening to Beck at the moment. Seemed appropriate because good Lord, I've done this too many times and I know it's just the tip of the ice berg. By the time ya'll are reading this post, I'll be on the same nauseating road to the metro area to deliver Sissy to the same hospital, meet with the same intake team, the same nurse staff and the brand-new unit director (here's to change. woot.)

Step One: click play on this video

Step Two: Buy elastic shoe laces and velcro-closure shoes
(standard shoelaces are a hanging risk for suicidal patients. Zippers, buckles and other metal closures are potential weapons)

Step Three: Buy new pajama bottoms
(some residents have been sexually abused and the all-girl unit has shared rooms. Pajama bottoms deters the risk of the residents playing looksee.)

Incidentally, the draw strings have to be either cut, removed or sewn down so they are not removable. See also: rules for shoes.

Step Four: Do five loads of laundry so the resident's items are washed and ready to pack and because, by golly, everyone's laundry needed to be cleaned too.

Step Five: turn up the volume on the video because this really IS getting nauseating. And to think, between all the RTC stays and crisis stabilization stays, I've done this um... let's see, six or seven times in twenty-one months?

Step Six: Recover the comforter to extend it's life, toss the disgusting matching pillow sham and, after tears and sobbing, agree to make a matching pillow case. Then decide, if the blanket has been to every hospital stay, so has the pillow.

Step Seven: Buy new pillow

Step Eight: Copy the therapy book we picked up at the library
(It was serendipity. I got the book from the library the same day her IFI therapist decided to go back to the beginning with Sissy and discuss infancy and attachment.)[1]

Step Nine: Go through every photo album in the house to make color copies of photos to update her pocket-sized photo book.

Note: it must be polyvinyl and cardstock. No metal rings, no wire spirals. See also, rules for shoes.

Step Ten: Buy new rubbermaid bins to deliver personal items

note: you are not likely to get these back so don't spend a lot. See also: dollar store.

aside: you aren't likely to get many things back, actually. So be forewarned, anything you send with your child has the risk of magically disappearing. As Sissy proclaimed today, someone on the unit must have spied on her last time when she was hiding her temporary tattoos, her rewards for attending therapy, because they always ended up being taken.

Step Eleven: hit replay on the video above and crank it up. Remember, I'm on the road, driving to and from a psychiatric hospital ... again. Oh nausea

Step Twelve: make a strong pot of coffee

Step Thirteen: fill up the net.flix watch-instantly cue with a bunch of feel-good romantic comedies. Click "play" on the one that looks to be the most hysterical.

Note: don't read all the stupid reviews. what the heck do they know? life is funny as hell when you think about it. After all, as Sissy's fortune cookie read last week, life is a tragedy for those who feel and a comedy for those who think. (Ironic, isn't it?) So don't waste your time wondering what other people think. You already know what's funny.

Step Fourteen: prepare your coffee, grab a pen and begin. The stack of intake papers is long. Oh, so very, very long.

Aside: I flipped through the stack this evening as I said to AB, "you think you have a lot of homework now? Just wait until you're a grown up! I have to finish this TONIGHT!"

Oh, and my secret sister has a picture of me filling out this exact same paper work while in Orlando in March. The.Exact.Same.Paperwork. Oh nausea... SECRET SISTER HUG! Thanks for the card Angela, it was awesome if for no other reason than it made Sissy mad that I got mail today. BTW, nice timing!

And that, my friends, is how you prepare your child (and your family) for the next psychiatric hospitalization for your preteen daughter.

I leave you with this little gem:
Sissy sleeping after a rage. Her journal, the offending party that incited the riot, is on her chest. The laundry I asked her to put away two days prior, still on the bed. Because it's easier to sleep on a bed with a giant basket of laundry than it is to actually put away said laundry. The camera flash woke her up and she shouted angrily, "I wasn't sleeping!!!!!!" What do YOU think she is doing then?

[1]What Baby Needs I highly recommend it for anyone whose child is missing pieces of attachment from infancy through late toddler years. Sissy has been entranced by this text and it has spurred many questions and conversations about her life story.


Bee Burg said...

*sigh* :-( Big hugs and lots of prayers. <3

Last Mom said...

How emotional this must be for you. (((Hugs))) Thanks for the book suggestion. My girl loves talking about baby stuff and how we would have taken care of her if she had been our baby then.

Jennifer said...

Safe travels with Sissy. Hope getting her admitted goes smoothly...

Sincerely Mama said...

I was going to suggest you keep the containers full from her previous visit to save yourself the trouble, but now I see that won't work. Can you copy the intake forms before you put in info such as dates? At least save some time filling out certain parts that never change?

On the other hand, that does seem to be lacking in hope, doesn't it? Hope is such a luxury, isn't it?

Becky said...

I think I love you, lol!

Btdt ... you just put it into words so well and that song ... Uh-Huh!