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

Sunday, September 4, 2011

White flag of surrender? Never.

The picture of health. She was just that. My first time seeing her in four weeks since her placement and my daughter was the picture of health. That is to say, she was well groomed, dressed nicely with no food stains on the front of her shirt and the colors matched. Her hair was tidy, her face and hands were washed and her eyes were bright. How can she look so healthy, show no signs of psychoses and be bright-eyed when she is so very ill at home? It boggles my mind.

Likewise, the rest of us, without her, are also very healthy. We're laughing, being silly, playing, doing our own things without needing the other to assist all day long. We're enjoying meals at the table and silence at bedtime. We're sleeping peacefully and waking up ready to go. There are no glitches, no hiccups, no problems to solve, nothing.

We spent yesterday on a road trip to the beach and back. AB managed well, but required a v.staril for the road trip home. WG ran and laughed and played and never once looked over her shoulder for impending trouble. All of us care free and relaxed. I found a few shells to bring to Sissy this week when I visit again. It's just impossible for me to forget her, even when I'm astounded and giddy that we are functioning so well in her absence.

Though sometimes I do forget about her. I get caught up in the ease and gaiety of everyday life without the incessant rages and crises we endure endlessly while Sissy is home. Quite literally, I have SO much time on my hands. I shake my head in consternation that Sissy's issues steal so much time, among so many other things.

I'm mentally caught in a rock and a hard place. With Sissy as an active member of our family, we can't function. With her out of the picture, we can. But keeping her out of the picture isn't realistic. My energies are spent contemplating what middle-of-the-road possibility there might be; what would that look like and what compromises and out-of-the-box thinking will we have to consider to find that solution? The problem is I've been thinking outside of the box for so long that I no longer know what a box is!

It's obvious, all five of us function and are healthy when we are separated. In the absence of a financial windfall, how do we make it a long term reality without costing us further undue heartache? I'm at an impasse. I am no longer willing to subject myself or my family to any further crisis but I'm drawing blanks for a solution. Every night I dream about it, my subconscious mind attempting in vain to solve the riddle.

Four years of active daily crisis with Sissy's mental health has taken its toll. I'm anxious to move on with life, ready to consider getting back into a career. I'm tired of eeking out a minimal existence, waiting for enough money to repair our house or expand it. I'm tired of putting who I am and my desires aside. I'm weary of wondering when the tide will turn in favor of my family's survival. I'm anxious to thrive. Like a root-bound potted plant, if I'm not transplanted soon, I fear it will cost me the ability to be fruitful, if not wither altogether. And if mothers are the pH meter for the balance and harmony in a home, then nothing short of sounding an alarm should speak for the cause. Our family is dangerously acidic and has been so for far too long.

Hot on the heels of my personal position of declaring "no more", the children's psychiatrist announced he will no longer serve medicaid patients in addition, our state's medicaid is undergoing a drastic shift that could essentially strip us of all potentially beneficial mental health services including prescription treatment of such illnesses with anti-psychotics. The solution may be traveling more than two hours to find a psychiatrist that will treat AB and Sissy. It may also require that we attempt to manage their challenges without appropriate medications because we won't be able to pay the retail price for them. The time frame? December 31st of this year. My own will and wishes may very well be usurped by bureaucratic red tape, a faltering economy, a stalemated congress regarding health care and the state of medicaid, an upcoming election year and the fact that our family is not solvent to provide for private care for our daughter. Essentially, my own fate and the future of my family is no longer in my hands, regardless of how loud my alarm sounds or how acidic my family becomes.

For the time being, I cannot escape the feeling that our family is condemned to failure because my daughter can not be healthy in a home environment. My basal instinct is to run away and never look back. My dutiful, responsible nature of integrity regardless of circumstances keeps me tethered to this reality no matter how bleak. I'm finding it increasingly more challenging to factor my faith into the equation and equally difficult to reason out a logical solution instead of rushing into the first semi-hopeful option. It may be peaceful at home, but my insides are waging a war the likes of which this world has never seen and I refuse to waive the white flag of surrender.


Last Mom said...

I wish the Answer Fairy would visit you and give you a good solution. (((hugs)))

kisekileia said...

You should look into the patient assistance programs offered by the drug companies. You may be able to get the kids' meds that way. I'm SOL because I'm in Canada and the companies seem to think that people up here have government coverage for meds (it varies by province--in my province the government will only pay for an extremely short list of meds that includes none of my expensive ones), but you're just the kind of person those programs are meant for.