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, November 15, 2011

Crap on a Cracker

The road is long. 140 miles one way across mind-numbing pavement. In two years, I've logged 30,000 miles on my van, the bulk of those miles easily attributed to road trips to see Sissy.

Yes, two years. This November 23rd. It's a long time to be actively in crisis as a family. It's a lot of miles on the road. It's been out of hope and determination that this half-smiling face that is the spitting image of her birth mother, might be functional in a home environment.

I won't say "heal" anymore, which may be taboo in some adoption circles.  After two years of active crisis, the pinnacle of the previous nine years of turmoil attempting to help my daughter, I've downgraded my expectation and hope to "functional".
It's been a long, monotonous, weary, exhausting journey.

And it's not over.

The emotional and mental anguish will likely ebb and flow through my veins like the tide for the rest of my life. PTSD is alive and well in my body. Some days I can't separate it from my anxiety. Other days my body just says, "Nope. No way. Not gonna happen. Forget it."

I'm battle weary, war torn and despairing. This weekend we'll try again with another overnight visit. I WANT to be positive. I WANT to hope it will go well. I WANT my daughter to be back under my roof and be happy to be here. I WANT her functionality to have increased over the last four months. I WANT it. But I don't believe it's possible. Essentially, I'm telling myself what I want can never be and yes, I'm very much aware that my own mental approach could become a self-fulfilling prophecy for Sissy. She needs to believe in herself, she needs to believe that I believe she has overcome. She needs to hear my positivity.

I'm all out of positivity.

Monday I went to the hospital to do an off-campus family session. The therapist went shopping with Sissy and I. Imagine this please. I had to plan my grocery shopping list, with coupons and without any perishable items. I had to get WG and AB dressed, fed and off to school in enough time to be at the hospital at 11:00 A.M., planning for the construction traffic (20 miles of it both ways). I had to remember my list, my coupons, organize them according to the store's layout (only to find that the Kroger near Sissy's hospital is not laid out the same), pick up my daughter and the therapist, discover that we can not go in MY vehicle because it's hospital policy, dash back to the van to grab my grocery sacks, purse, list, coupons, etc. all with Sissy giddy as crap because she hasn't been to a grocery store since August. Then I get in the vehicle with the therapist and Sissy, instruct the therapist where the grocery store is (she doesn't live in the area of the hospital so even though I live 140 miles away, I have a better command of the local area - go figure). Thus, I'm navigating while Sissy is yammering about ... well, darn it, I love her and she's cute as a button but the girl can yammer about nothing and she can yammer for a.very.long.time.without.taking.a.single.breath.

Then three of us shop in the crowded store (who knew 11:30 a.m. on a Monday morning would be so busy?!) and the only correction I got from the therapist was "take of your hospital ID badge to protect Sissy's privacy" and "next time bring a clip board and a pen and organize your coupons to streamline the shopping process".


Oh, I attempted to defend myself, a skill I am working on in individual therapy for ME (by God, I'm sick of Sissy being the only patient in this family) but what was the point? She was already writing it in her notes that those were the suggestions she had for me.

OK, show of hands. How many of you, given that set of circumstances (and remember, I had to shop in a limited amount of time so I could be back on the 140 mile trek east bound to pick up AB and WG by the 3:30 bell) would have remembered to #1 - organize your coupons according to the lay out of a store you've never been in and #2 - remembered to bring a clip board and #3 - even if you remembered your clip board would have remembered to snag it in the 10 second impromptu car-switch just as you are about to leave for the grocery store?




yes, well, now it's in clinical notes that this is how i've failed and what I need to do in the future. Oh, and the tag thing? I wear a name tag nearly EVERY DAY now because I'm either at the school volunteering or at some meeting for Sissy. It's a miracle I remember to remove the dang things before I launder my shirts and ruin them! And why did the therapist mention the tag in the first place? Because a nosy customer overheard me showing Sissy how to read a coupon and locate the proper item so he remarked that I was being a good parent for not only teaching her how to shop at such a young age, but that I was teaching her how to save money. Then on the heels of praise from a stranger, correction from the therapist.

I didn't panic on the way home - took my tabs every 30 minutes, took a coffee break, arranged with The Dad that he would pick up AB and WG so I didn't have to face the time squeeze and got home in time for a clenched up belly, severe bloating and gas, extreme fatigue and lethargy, took a phenergen and went to bed after watching Jane Eyre. Then I slept almost all of today until I had to go to the school to observe AB because his teachers have really been complaining about his classroom behavior lately. As if I didn't have enough to contend with.

I'm not looking forward to Friday when I (or The Dad) go get her. I'm not looking forward to her tantruming because we designated this coming weekend as yard weekend several weeks ago and it needs to stay that way because there's winter prepping and Christmas decoration prepping and Thanksgiving and and and ... I'm not looking forward to her yammering. I'm not looking forward to the bickering between siblings. I'm not looking forward to the disrespectful attitude. I'm not looking forward to putting the alarm back on at night after four months without it. I'm not looking forward to the grilling from the therapy team when she returns Sunday night so I'm also not looking forward to the road trip to take her back.

I know the quilting will relieve my stress but I'm so stressed, I can't move. Can't think. Can't. I just can't. And that pisses me off. I'M not better. I'M not ready for Sissy to be home. But there is no concern for us, never has been. Sissy's the identified patient, her needs are paramount and even though I drove 140 miles one way to go grocery shopping for non-perishable items with a psych patient that hasn't been in a grocery store in four months, I erred because I had no clip board or pen and my coupons were not tidy.

Crap on a cracker. Someone come tidy my *bleeping* coupons and surprise me with a dollar store clip board (in purple) with a matching pen that I can keep in my van at all times for the occasional 280 mile round trip grocery shopping excurstions i am prone to make to appease medicaid and therapists. Really, i should be more prepared, *tsk tsk*


schnitzelbank said...

Maybe that therapist would complain that I didn't click the mouse efficiently. ???
How useless. What a waste of time, money, space, energy.
I'm sorry.

Becky said...

I just love you!! We have so much in common with these hospital trips (mine is 204 miles round trip and boring as heck!) I feel the heat of external evaluation as well.

Your writing it all out helps me. I haven't been writing - it seems so hard now. Reading some of my experiences in your writing affirms I am not alone in this. Someday I want to meet you IRL and "sit a spell" with someone who understands. (((Hugs))) to you <3

Kathleen said...

Hugs. Wish I could help. This just stinks, in so many ways...

Miz Kizzle said...

Did you get any positive feedback from the therapist? Like "great job for finding the store when you live 140 miles away and I live practically within spitting distance and I had no clue where it was?"
Or how about acknowledging the fellow shopper's praise for your parenting brilliance?
I would have pointed out that it is no longer 1967 and people don't carry clipboards with grocery lists; there are apps for that right on the marvellous new thing called a cell phone.
And can she explain how the hell are you supposed to organize your shopping according to the store's layout if you had never been there before?
The therapist was useless. You are magnificent. Forget her. Pfft.

Last Mom said...

Ugh. I was exhausted just reading that. Sending you love and good vibes today.

Cyndi said...

I never, ever take my kid with mental health issues to the store. I just can not make my brain function when I have to deal with her and try to get thins done. You are braver than I will be because I won`t do it. Give it a break do we have to involve mental health in the grocery business too?

Heather said...

I have to admit, I am at a loss as to what the point of that whole exercise was anyway. Is this supposed to teach Sissy how to shop? (which you were doing a fine job of) Was it to test how well you organize coupons? Was it to put you in an abnormal situation to see if you could bounce back and succeed?

I suspect she couldn't find anything else about your visit to criticize, so she settled on your organization and the lack of a clipboard. How is that even a normal expectation for anyone??

How can these people even hope to help Sissy if they continue to focus on minutiae instead of the real issue here?

Kelly said...

Seriously? The whole shopping thing is bizarre to me and then to add in the criticism is beyond my grasp. Can't even wrap my mind around your day. {shaking my head in utter shock and confusion} WOW.


Lisa said...

I am stunned....what in the blazes was that supposed to teach you? Was it some bizarre test of your parenting prowness? I avoid taking my kids to stores now if I can possibly help it. Even when they are on their best behavior, my PTSD is always waiting on high alert for the other shoe to drop. I don't care how organized you are, if you have a kid start raging in the store, the issue is not how organized your coupons are, it's the KID. It sounds to me like this therapist is just trying to change YOU and make everything "easy" on Sissy. That's something I'm coming to terms with in our situation as well. It's all about us changing to accommodate them and here we were trying desperately to obtain services so our children would fit into the real world (stupid, stupid, stupid).

Here's hoping the weekend goes well. I know what you mean about the whole self fulfilling prophecy thing but don't let anyone fool you on this. Sissy is either capable of living in a family, or not. She is the one calling the shots no matter how positive you are. There is a fine line between being positive and being delusional.

QueenB said...

Arrrggghhh. Here's my suggestion: have a 5 item shopping list. Store brand Ritz, peanut butter, juice, pickles, and a can of peaches. Done. Ooopssss, maybe you will get a fail for not making nutritious choices. Sheesh. You did a great job. We've all been in this long enough to know that they cannot ever let you feel that you are doing a good job. They are like the IRS. They have to make a problem if they can't find one. :)Have a better day tomorrow, prayers your way.

Sammie said...

Sending many hugs, wish I could change things for you, but knowing I can't, sending much empathy and support.

Trauma Mama said...

I don't get the shopping exercise either. Maybe the therapist is a little wacko and you are a frieking saint for putting up with all this crap on a cracker. Sheesh!

Hugs and love sent your way.

fishfinder said...

How was this trip supposed to be representative of a real shopping trip if it's not duplicating the circumstances at home???