Thursday, April 26, 2007


I have that head cold feeling. The slightly salty taste at the back of your throat. The stuffed up nose, but not so stuffy that you can't breathe through it. Just sort of swollen. Sort of raw or itchy skin under the eyes. I also smell atrocious--too much sweat on the back of my neck which is, um, unattractive. My throat's tight too. My head hurts. My eyes are achy too.

Except I'm not ill. I'm not sniffling and my throat isn't scratchy or hurting. Just tight.

This is all the aftermath of crying.

Or maybe it's the aftermath of trying to hold all those tears in. The dyke is cracking.

I hit the wall this morning. Great big HMO-named-Kaiser wall. I went to an appointment at Kaiser to get a prescription for my son and had to jump through one more hoop. Except I really couldn't do it. Couldn't get that lift to jump high enough for them. Instead I just stood at the reception desk and cried.

I eventually stopped crying, but then again I've been crying off and on all day. Really, whenever I least expect it. The taste of salt will not get off my tongue. I think it's just all those tears of frustration that I've swallowed over and over again. Ever since October really. And here it is April. Well, almost May.

I walked out of Kaiser with nothing. No meds. Nothing except another appointment for next Wednesday. And that appointment (with a whole NEW psychiatrist) may not give me a prescription for this kid either.

Fuck. All I want to do is just TRY some anti-anxiety meds for him. Just try it. Been wanting him on a prescription since October.

But Dear Butcher was reluctant to go forward without a deeper diagnosis. Which is fair, but frustrating. So we got the diagnosis, and now Kaiser won't take the evaluation. They want to re-evaluate (and essentially medicate him as ADD instead of anxiety). The doctor who wants him to be ADD has never met my son, never read a single report, and has never talked to me for more than five minutes. And now I get to fight all over again. A whole new fight with a whole new person.

Meanwhile my son is spiralling further and further out of control and there's not one fucking thing I can do about it. I just get to watch it happen. I don't even know if the anti-anxiety meds will work. There's no guarantee that any of it will "work" -- I mean, there's no magic pill here.

So far this year I've put up with teachers harassing my son, cops harassing my son, aides tackling him in the hallway, teachers dragging him through the library, tearful meetings, angry meetings, changes of personnel, trainings of the new personnel, watching him develop a school phobia to the point where he "elopes" from school repeatedly, chauffeuring him back and forth to tutoring, medical appointments, therapy appointments, hearing rumors of teachers talking about him behind my back to other parents, more meetings -- this time with lawyers, hearing from another trusted teacher that I was being too lenient with him, more meetings, more signatures, problem solving with him about how to deal with recess stress, learning that he is now kicking other students at recess, problem solving with aides, problem solving with professionals, more meetings, convincing him three or four times a night to go back to bed, trying to wake him up he's only had four hours sleep, losing his only babysitter since her husband was beating her, more meetings, more evaluations and more tears.

This has all been since September.

He's always been a tough kid. A prickly kid. No Doubt. No Question.

But shit. This is all in one year. He wasn't like this last year. Not at ALL. He was in a classroom last year. He was at recess last year. He was even at the wrong end of a bully early this year and kept cool and collected during that.

Now, watching him spiral, trying to hold on to that whirlwind, I have totally hit the wall.

I would like to hand in my parenting card now. I am no longer interested in this board game. Let's pack up the pieces and go swing on the swings.

I think I have done all that a reasonable person could be expected to do for her son. I've probably done more than some (although that isn't saying much). And I get to do most of it myself. Dear Butcher has two butcher shops to run and works seven days a week. I get to juggle this crap along with raising two other kids and serving on the school board. Have I mentioned laundry? Yeah. I don't do that anymore.

I wish, I desperately wish that all these people who are asking me to try one more thing, to sign one more form, would just come live at my house for a day. Maybe a week. You tell me how to get him to eat. You tell me how to relieve the tantrum two hours later when he's so hungry that he's seeing stars. Go ahead. Be brilliant. You get him to stay at school. You get him to sleep. You get him to stop throwing his clothes and books around him room. Go ahead.

"Maybe he's allergic to wheat."

"Maybe he needs Anger Management courses."

"Maybe he's Asperger's."

"Maybe he needs self-visualizing relaxation techniques."

"Maybe he'll grow out of it."

"Maybe he needs less access to the computer."

Fuck. Maybe it's all of that.

In the meantime, can you give this poor eight year old some fucking medication? He's eight, guys. Remember eight? Third Grade? No eight year old should have to go through this.

And I shouldn't be made to helplessly stand here and watch him crumble. Because I love him too much to leave him alone through this, but it's killing me to stay and watch him dissolve.

Because today I can't stop crying, and I don't much like crying.


Bev (BB) said...

Suisan, I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. Now I'm going to tell you two thing that are going to sound totally contradictory but they're not and I want you to think about them until they make sense to your tired confused mind.

You are the expert on your son. Never, ever let anyone tell you otherwise. No one else knows your child the way you do. And that includes doctors and educators.

What you need to find immediately for both of your sakes are experts on working the system - the whole system. I don't mean simply the educators but also the doctors. Does your state have a special needs advocacy program? Find them and tell them your story. Do not let the fact that you're a member of the board stand in your way.

It's not a magic cure but you may find out some interesting things.

EvilAuntiePeril said...

{{{{big hug}}}}

And what bev says. Also, you've just reminded me that i need to get down on my knees and thank my parents again.

Have another hug too.

Marianne McA said...

I'm sorry too. And nothing useful to say.

JayP said...

(((Suisan))) I am sorry to hear of the struggle you are having. I don't have any HMO experiences to advise on. I think Bev's idea is a good one. Someone has to know how to make the system work for you.

I've been in your position. Parenting a child with special issues is very lonely. Even the people who aren't actively working against you seem to undermine your resolve passively with their lack of real support.

I would also suggest you try to find a support person just for you. Find someone outside the situation who is just on your side. Dh and I largely agree about ds' treatment, but I think someone outside the family or school who sees the situation and supports you is essential. My 15yo ds has Asperger's and my saving grace is his psychologist. Our insurance hassle is that no psychotherapy is covered for him so we pay for it all ourselves. We can barely afford that, let alone therapy for me which I could use after the years of dealing with the world in relation to ds. But 20 minutes of every hour of ds' therapy is my time with the therapist. Over the 2+ years she has been seeing him, she has become our best partner in helping us reach our goals for him. She believes I understand him best and that his progress is due to my choices. Her support is invaluable to me.

Kerry said...

I have no wise advice to offer and I hope enough sense not to try.

I do agree with Bev though - you are the expert, not the stupid doctor who spent five minutes with you and has never seen your son.

I've been reading your blog and just want to send you heaps of hugs and wish I could offer them in person - although a total stranger rushing up to hug you is probably the absolute last thing you need right now.

Here are some cyber hugs anyway.


Suisan said...

cyber hugs work. I 'm not turning down cyber hugs.

I'll have to report though that I'm not feeling that much better today. I've lost my light at the end of the tunnel I think.

My son went to school today and tore up every piece of work he had done all week and his reward card. Asked the aide to tape it back together and she said that she was really sorry, but she didn't have any tape for him. She didn't have him pick up the mess he had made, but she wasn't going to make the effects of the tantrum magically go away either.

He tried to run away from home twice today--although the second time he was naked and that seemed to slow him down until he could reconsider.

The whole thing just flowed over me like a watercolor wash. Oh. Look at that. He's heading for the door. Hmm.

Later this month my mother is coming to visit too. Jeez I'm going to need some hard liquor.

CindyS said...


You are stronger than you give yourself credit for and it's okay to have a few bad days. The light will come back but I'm thinking you'll need to see something positive to re-ignite it.


Anonymous said...

Hoping everything works out SOON for amazing you and your wonderful son.

Kristie (J) said...

Aaaawwwwww Suisan ((((((huge hug))))) Can I be allowed to say your medical systme sucks big time. How can they be so rigid when you are the parent. You live with him every day and how can a doctor who has never even met him in any way shape or form make any kind of diagnosis??? That just doesn't make sense.
My heart and thoughts are with you through this struggle with your dear son. And courage and strength to you to keep fighting for him.

Doug said...

One additional thing I thought of since last night's conversation. If this truly is an anxiety disorder and not ADD, the meds for ADD could make things worse. I'm not a psychiatrist, as you well know, but my gut feeling on this is that giving your son stimulants (which is what they use for ADD) may not be a good thing.

So you've had a psychiatrist's opinion that an anti-anxiety drug could help. That would be good enough for me -- I'd go for it at this point. Now, some of the anti-anxiety drugs you mentioned last night are not terribly expensive. Even if the HMO doesn't pop for it, you need to consider possibly going out of pocket, if even for a month, to get those meds. Lay down the law to DB -- this is how it has to play out. And if he doesn't like it, demand that he spend ONE MEASLY DAY caring for your son.

Good luck, m'dear!

Bookwormom said...

(((((HUGS))))) I vote with Bev & Doug.