First-time hospitalization

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Vonnie, Jul 19, 2018.

  1. Vonnie

    Vonnie New Member

    Today was a rough day. After a violent episode, I called 911 and had my 13-year-old son taken by ambulance to the hospital. I knew, without a doubt, that I was doing the right thing for my son so I stayed relatively calm during the day. The psychiatrist says we're looking at a 7-10 day stay as they stabilize medications.

    What I didn't anticipate was actually having to leave. I don't know why I didn't; I guess I was just so focused on getting him help. When it was time for him to go to sleep, his dad said it was time for us to go. Every maternal fiber in me said ":censored2: no, I'm not leaving my son." I started to cry, then cried some more. When we were walking down the hallway, I could hear my son screaming, and it was the most painful moment of my life. Admitting him to the hospital was one thing, but leaving him there alone was another.

    I'd love to hear about what others have gone through with hospitalizing their children. What were your experiences? What can I expect? And how did you manage the awful pain of having to leave your child?
  2. CareTooMuch

    CareTooMuch Active Member

    I don't have that experience but I can only imagine. Huge hugs.
  3. dgrace

    dgrace New Member

    My daughter was hospitalized this past September. The first couple days are the hardest. Of course, she wanted out. It was an hour drive from home but I visited every day. I hated leaving her there. She was there for 8 days. They get them stabilized fairly quickly on medications. Each day gets a little better. My daughter was able to make friends with some of the other kids there. While they are all there for different reasons, it’s amazing how similar they are underneath. I promise, it gets better. The hospitalization was just the beginning of this journey with my daughter. There’s no perfect cocktail of medications that is a total fix but it’s a good jumping off point. Wish you strength. It will get better
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  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I've not had that experience either, but I can imagine how much that would impact your Mother's heart......
    I'm sorry, I would have responded similarly.
    Take good care of yourself while your son is in the hospital, nourish and nurture yourself, this is hard on our hearts.....
  5. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Active Member

    I had to hospitalize my son in jr high. It was awful. My sympathy is with you.
  6. Baggy Bags

    Baggy Bags Active Member

    (((Hugs))) It's so hard.

    Mine was this last Feb, a month after my son's suicide attempt which was almost successful. He's 15.

    At first the psychiatrist said to just continue life as normal and "give him some space". At that point, the psychiatrist was believing my son's crazy stories (we are cult-like, drug-using, abusive parents who keep him locked in with the goats, tie him up, sedate him... at one point he had family services people thinking I was a stripper, I kid you not). Anyway, a month later, doctor realizes his mistake - to some degree anyway - medicates my son and tells me exactly this right after a therapy session: "If you don't hospitalize him right now, best case scenario he grows up to be a psychopath, worse case scenario he kills himself tomorrow." Wow, thanks doctor, lovely load to put onto an already traumatized mother who was recently watching her son die on a hospital bed - seizures, eye-balls popping out, the works...

    I was horrified at having to medicate my child, hospitalization was my idea of hell. We planned to not tell him, send his bag ahead of him, and just say that we were going to a family therapy session. I cried the whole night before.

    When we got there, it just looked like a brick house from the outside. THERE WAS A LADY SCREAMING. I thought I was going to die. My son seemed un-phased. I was sure he'd know right away, but he didn't seem to catch on and even thought it sounded like a howling cat, so I went with that. Okay, yes, that must be a howling cat. ?? o_O When we went in, I knew the male nurses were ready to pounce if he tried to run, but he stayed calm. I couldn't understand how he didn't realize what was happening. There was a guy rolling around in the grass. Still, no reaction from my son. It was all very surreal.

    We went into a waiting room, just the three of us, to wait for the doctor. He got there shortly after and asked to see my son alone. My son walked out calmly, and then it was our turn. doctor told us that he had talked to son and he was totally willing to stay! I later learned that doctor had sold it like "just stay here with us for a while, dude, take a break from your parents...".

    He was only there for a week. He was the only teenager. There were some very ill people there, but the guy who'd been rolling around in the grass was normal-ish, so they hung out. But he was continually calling us to ask us to send money so that he could order out. Um. No. So he was very angry on the phone.

    It's a very different story, but still hard for us moms no matter how it happens. One more scene in this never-ending nightmare. Hugs all around.
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  7. Vonnie

    Vonnie New Member

    Thanks so much for sharing that. So far, the first night was the worst--he injured three staff and had to be restrained. But like you said, they did stabilize him fairly quickly. Yesterday was probably the best day we've had together in years, which is ironic because we were in a hospital room. I know we have a long road ahead, but having one good day together gave me hope.
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  8. Vonnie

    Vonnie New Member

    It must have been so stressful to take him! If an ambulance hadn't taken us, I don't know if I would've been able to gather the strength to actually take him to the hospital myself. Actually, the fire captain who first responded to the call tried to talk me into driving my son to the hospital, but I knew there was no way I could make that 30-minute drive alone. Not only would it be dangerous (my son has attacked me while I was driving before), but I couldn't have handled it emotionally. You are a strong mama to be able to do that for your son. Hugs.
  9. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Active Member

    The last time for me i sent a social worker and police to his house he came willingly but when he realized he wasnt going to be able to talk his way out this time he went balistic and had to be heavily sedated. It turned into a nightmare and had serious legal ramifications. I do not trust the system at this point in time. Everybodies. Experience is different. Even though it turned out badly i still dont feel i had any other choices.
  10. Vonnie

    Vonnie New Member

    I know what you mean about not feeling you had any other choices. It's so tough.
  11. dgrace

    dgrace New Member

    I’m hoping you’ve heard from the dr and the team of people there and they’ve given you some feedback.
  12. Vonnie

    Vonnie New Member

    I am hoping to hear something clear on Monday. He's been in the ER for four days while they wait for a bed to open in the developmental disabilities psychiatric unit at a different hospital. The team working with him is great, but since he hasn't been admitted, they can't make any major changes to his medications. Basically, they are just keeping him stable.
  13. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Sounds like your son is in the right place, as difficult as it is.

    Both of my stepsons have been psychiatrically hospitalized. Our situation is a bit different in that we are non custodial parents, so due to that and other dynamics between the boys and their mom (my spouse), we do not have anything close to a typical parent-child relationship with either of them.

    The hospitalizations were far less dramatic than most other things we have endured with and because of them both, to be honest. At the time, we knew they needed the help and that a hospital setting was the place where they'd be the safest. They already hated us and spent very little time with us, so we weren't too concerned with rupturing a relationship with them.

    As adults we can see what they need better than they can. In situations where fairly typical parent-child bonds exist, if the family relationship was positive and loving before the bad period began, no matter how ugly a child's rantings may be in the fury of their rage over the situation, ultimately the child will accept the parent's decision and no lasting damage to the relationship will occur.

    I know it must kill you to think of your child alone in some strange place without you there to help protect him. If your son is violent and abusive to you, though, it does sound like he will benefit from being in a situation where his outbursts can be managed and YOU can begin to heal, yourself, from the terrible things that he has done to you. I know he is your child and you love him, and at the same time, he has hurt you and others. That has to be addressed. Living in fear is not living in my humble opinion. That belief is what brougth me here searching for answers when my oldest SS became violent.

    Best of luck. I hope the hospitalization helps both your son and yourself.
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  14. Vonnie

    Vonnie New Member

    I needed to hear that. You're right; I need to heal myself. It has been surreal the past few days to realize just how much we've been living in fear. So many dysfunctional little things have become normal for us and I didn't even realize it until my son was gone. For instance, my four-year-old and I came back from the store and he went in the door to the house before I did. I ran to jump in front of him because the rule is Mom Always Goes in First because we don't know what version of his brother we might we walking into. I had this moment of "wait--I don't need to do that" when I realized my violent child wasn't home. How messed up is that? My little boy can't even walk into his own house freely? I've been having a lot of little-wake-ups like that.
  15. Baggy Bags

    Baggy Bags Active Member

    Yeah, my life has been filled with those "oh, wait, I don't need to do that" moments these last two months that my son has been at my mom's. I'm still filled with dread at not knowing what happens next. The idea of him never coming home is terrifying, the idea of him coming home is terrifying... but for now at least, my nerves are slowly releasing and calm is gradually kicking in. It's so important to learn to relax when we can.
  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Vonnie. HI. Welcome.

    You are very, very brave. And you are doing the absolutely right thing. The other mothers' replies are instructive. For them, after the first few minutes, they are okay. They cope. They adjust. They make friends. It is the new normal. It is like taking them to kindergarten or day care. It is only until you leave, the first day.

    The important thing, is you are giving your son a huge chance. He may likely stabilize on medication. There is no reason why not. But you really had no choice. If he became violent, he was a danger both to others and to himself. There was no other option.

    Make sure you ask for an IEP at school, if he does not yet have one. He will be entitled to interventions and supports, and possibly placements, for which he would not otherwise be eligible. It is contractual. The school is obligated. Parents here know how to help you advocate for him, and there should be local agencies that provide legal help, as needed.

    Anyway. I hope you keep posting. It helps very much. Take care.
    What kind of a doctor says something like this? If he was suicidal what you do is put him in the hospital. You don't crush a mother and make a sinister speech like this. I have never ever heard of any doctor making a statement like this. Maybe psychiatry is different in my country, I don"t know.....

    Bags. You were wise to hospitalize him, because it brought you to where you are now, which is stability and safety for you, and the beginning of healing.

    My son is almost twice the age of yours, and I am in the same place.
    I wake up at 2:30 am every morning unable to sleep. To me this was always a vulnerable time, as long as I remember.

    I am either filled with dread. Where is he? Is he in shelter? Will he die without treatment? Is he in danger?

    Or I feel like I want to die. Like my life is over. It is that kind of despair. It is not like I want to die. It is just that these thoughts get planted into my head and it takes a few hours each day to rise above the sense my life is over. Or that I want it to be.

    Vonnie. This is very, very hard stuff. Right now you are centered in your son. His pain. His feelings and struggle. But the very real thing is that this is extremely difficult and traumatic for you, for us. That is why it is important to find community around this, whether here, or Al Anon or NAMI, or group therapy. But someplace where you can tell the truth about what is happening and how you feel.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  17. Baggy Bags

    Baggy Bags Active Member

    I totally get that, Copabanana. I wish I were dead so I didn't have to feel this, but I wouldn't take my life. Before I would have said that I wouldn't take my life because of the tiny hope that my son will "come back" one day. But now, I don't really even have that. I go on living for my partner, my dogs, and for the chance of something new, some day, or that I might be of use to some cause or something bigger than my self. It's a strange place to be after loving life so much, feeling so happy with my perfect family, my perfect home...
  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am having a very hard time righting myself. It is as if the person of before died...and the reborn one is not equipped to handle what is presenting itself. My greatest success was through my work, but I am not the person anymore who can do that work, at least, in the sphere in which I worked. And to work in a new sphere, to launch myself anew, requires a stamina, self-love and focus that I have not yet summon up, and as I keep getting knocked down anew, begin to doubt I will ever summon up.

    But I am down right now. I will feel better.
    I never felt my life was perfect. But I felt that love trumped everything. I never doubted that my love was enough to make my son okay. That is what has changed.

    This sense, this absolute faith in love, I am coming to see as a fantasy. And with that awareness, a crushing sense that my whole life was based upon self-deception. To some extent. My son cannot be my g-d. It was never right for him or me. I see that. But to me, my love for him was everything good in my life. The end all.

    In the deeper sense, I believe that this kind of disillusion with illusion is the basis of great faith. And I have the belief that I will come out on the other side. Very sad am I.
  19. Baggy Bags

    Baggy Bags Active Member

    Our processes are so similar, Copa. I never loved anyone like I loved my son. I too thought that that love guaranteed something - grandkids, a happy son, a family... but this is like the universe slapping me in the face, saying "love is stupid, you are stupid, and this is what you get for believing in love".

    I still can't muster up enough joy to do the work (with children) that I was doing before. I used to sing with them, but singing reminds me of my son, it was something we did together, like so many other things.

    But -

    We WILL come out on the other side.
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  20. Vonnie

    Vonnie New Member

    Copabanana, I really like your comparison to starting kindergarten. I think you're right on.

    After nine days in the ER, my son was transferred to a mental hospital last night. We were able to visit for the first time today. After the visit, I feel so much better. Being able to see all the resources they have for him was a huge relief. I truly believe he is in the right place, which makes that painful choice so much easier.

    They are estimating 30 days in-patient. The timing will be perfect for going back to school. He goes to a school for children with behavioral challenges. I love the support he gets in school, but he falls apart when summer vacation hits.

    Thanks so much for your support and encouragement <3