Where to start? On Tuesday I went to a review of 2son at the hospital after he’s been there three weeks.
I was quite looking forward to this as I had gone to see 2son on Saturday without his brothers and we had a long talk about what he wanted to do when he grew up, about the options available to him. And we talked about the housing market in London and how difficult it was to be able to afford to live on your own. He volunteered the idea that maybe this all started because he was scared of growing up. He also acknowledged that although his behaviour had improved dramatically that didn’t mean that if he came home he wouldn’t revert. He was very enthusiastic about the future and I was really pleased but I didn’t want him to think he was all cured.
So I was feeling positive until I walked into the meeting and was greeted with “In theory, we could discharge 2son today”.
Present were the consultant psychiatrist from CAMHS, the resident psychiatrist (who was on holiday when 2son went in), a ward doctor who just took notes and one of the nurses responsible for the day to day care of 2son.
They said that another psychiatrist had given 2son some standard tests for autism and had this been mentioned before? I pointed out that we’d had an ASD assessment and decided that he hadn’t got it. He then gave me the very baby explanation of ASD, explaining that there was a whole spectrum ranging from severe inability to function properly to the mild social issues at the other extreme. Apparently they’ve observed some autistic behaviour in 2son. It wasn’t clear cut and he didn’t think it was necessary to “label” 2son with the disorder. He gave me the full spiel about autistic people focusing on the detail rather than the big picture. I said I completely disagreed with that; the big picture is part of 2son’s problem in that he’s worried about how he’s going to live in his own home, earn a living, raise a family etc. This is not detail.
By this point I was fuming. If I could have made steam come out of my ears I would have. I think I was ready to explode when the psych’ changed tack and said that the label wasn’t important. What was is how you treat it.
As an aside, we’d been talking about mental health and I was comparing this to the idea of a doctor saying you may or may not have a broken leg but let’s just treat the symptoms shall we. I had meant to blog for World Mental Health Day but couldn’t find the enthusiasm.
So we’re looking at treating him for ‘anxiety’ and possible autistic behaviour. Anxiety seems to me a catch all diagnosis for those not suffering clinical depression or another diagnosable mental illness. How are we going to do this? Let’s send him to CATE, to his last place of education where he seemed pleased with. Oh yes, the one he went to for a few weeks. That worked well. Can he go to CATE from the hospital for the first scenario so that he still has that environment looking after him. Well, they can’t fund someone to take him. I said I couldn’t take him: collecting him from hospital, taking him to CATE, going home, picking him up an hour or later and repeating the journey in reverse? They hummed and hawed, debating whether they could get funding and agreeing it wasn’t worth trying and turned back to me. I said I was in the same position as I would have to give up work to do this, apart from missing out on the other boys’ school run. They didn’t like me saying no, but I was thinking of BFF1 running around after her mother, taking her to medical appointments as no-one else was volunteering.
I offered a half way solution, that they put 2son on the train and I picked him up the other end, a whole 4 stops But no, that wouldn’t be acceptable. What the difference is between his travelling on his own on the bus or the train, I don’t know.
The only solution is to let him come home for a few days at a time and see if he can cope with going to CATE from home, on the understanding that he could go back to the hospital if necessary. We would see if CATE was happy about that and think about an overnight visit this weekend.
I did ask whether we would be going back to therapy at CAMHS, and whether we would have the same therapist. Yes we would. when I said that I was concerned that we hadn’t actually addressed any of the issues that brought 2son to this point, the psychiatrist told me therapy wasn’t particularly relevant, we wouldn’t discover the issues and it was best to get 2son back to school so he would be having a positive life and then he wouldn’t worry about anything.
This was the point at which I wanted to burst into tears. The consultant from CAMHS jumped in supporting this position. As far as I can tell then, we’ve removed 2son from his home, giving him a mental kick up the arse, kept him away for a few weeks and then we’re just chucking him back. Nothing is resolved or barely addressed. He might be fine, he might not. Without going any deeper into his issues, how do we prevent him going back to CATE, being discharged and then throwing another wobbly in six months. It’s a sticking plaster.
We then brought 2son in and asked him what he thought. Would he like to go home? Would he go to CATE? Oh yes he said, no problem.
So that was it. I’m waiting for confirmation of his weekend leave and finally getting round to cleaning 2son’s bed and surrounding furniture of the nit debris and smeared poo.
And feeling miserable. Then I’ve got to go to school and have words with 4son’ s teacher who is still making him cry. They had 6 pieces of homework yesterday for today which is ridiculous. So 3son and I helped him do half of it.
I did go out for lunch with BFF1 yesterday but feel under incredible pressure. I haven’t yet caught up on work since the Easter break, 4son is unhappy at school, 3son is argumentative although they’ve been fighting less in the last week, I haven’t cooked properly in weeks, am blogging less and have barely exercised. Last week I was feeling really low and by Thursday I realised that I was feeling like I did before I started on my anti-depressants. This came to me as a blinding flash and I promptly upped the dose. I haven’t talked it through with my doctor as I haven’t had time but it’s helped.
The conclusion of all that is that I ought to write more often so I wasn’t dumping a whole week’s worth in one go and that I am going backwards in terms of finding time to look after myself. Oh yes, and I’m bloody worried about how I’m going to cope with 2son at home if I can’t cope when he’s not here.
Apart from all that, everything’s fine.