If you have not been reading here for a while let me fill you in on our current psychiatrist. He is a true gem. When we first began seeing him I decided I liked his short, to the point, and to the point attitude. Through his VERY business like and professional I could see a man who truly cared about what we were dealing with in our home. I don't think he truly understood yet the extent of Dustin's disorder. After a few months with him as our doctor the crap hit the fan and we had to do an emergency hospitalization. It was over a holiday weekend and the doctor on call medicated the crap out of Dustin, to the point that he was drooling and not in reality any longer. We decided the first day that our p-doc saw him to take him off all his meds (which we had never seen him without, EVER) and see what we were dealing with. It was during this time that he saw what we were dealing with on a daily basis. He commended us and apologized for not understanding. He promised me at that time that he would do what he could to stabilize Dustin and make it work in our home. He was sent home after 14 days and we tried to make things work. He returned 2 weeks later for another 13 day stay. When he left that time, he lasted about 15 days before he needed to return for a third visit. It was this time that the Dr. suggested we think about institutionalizing Dustin. He could not fathom keeping him functioning in our home while keeping the rest of us safe. I freaked out and he agreed to continue treating him until the point we came to an impass.
I knew that I was not at the point that we needed to put Dustin into treatment. I knew that with Dustin's FAS and his moderately mentally handicapped status that he would not be a child who would flourish in a treatment program. He needed to be in a family. I was not ready to admit to needing that kind of support yet, but knew that it may very well be a necessary evil in our lives in the future. When asked, I would always say, "we plan on keeping Dustin in our home as long as we are able to keep him and the littles safe." I had no idea how long that would be, I knew that it would be a part of our future. EVERYtime we see the psychiatrist he is very complimentary. He tells us that he cannot believe that we have lasted thins long and that he cannot fathom him thriving in a home environment other than ours. He tells us that we are committed and it shows. It makes us feel like we are somewhat doing the right thing. But, I always know that there will come a day that he is no longer able to live in our home.
Bringing us back to recently, I have been seeing things in a new light. Dustin is still difficult as can be, but the dynamics in our home are changing. I have been seeing it, but I have not yet vocalized it. Today I had a discussion with Robert and he feels the same way. Dustin is becoming much more manageable. Our daily struggles are changing to things that are mundane and easily dealt with. Our stretches of "typical" behaviors are becoming longer. Our ability to keep him occupied and involved is much greater. So the thought I have is this . . .
For the first time in 9 years of having Dustin in our home, I can visualize him living here long term without institutionalizing him.
Wow! That feels weird admitting that not just to myself, but to the bloggy world. Now, I am well aware that things can change at the drop of a hat in my world, but for now, it is pretty amazing to feel this way.
I think maybe one of the factors in this feeling is that the littles are not so little anymore. The constant vigilence of watching Dustin around the littles is not so consuming. They are able to "hold their own". They know what is appropriate and what is not. They are not so easily swayed by his behaviors. They can fend him off if need be. The also offer 2 more sets of eyes to watch over him and make sure he is not doing anything terribly dangerous or just plain stupid. We still have to make certain that he is under constant supervision, but the littles are not so much like antique tea cups anymore. It is easier to breath and enjoy our home-life when you are not constantly concerned that he will do something foolish enough that will hurt one of the babies.
Whatever it is that contributed to the feeling of success and having a future with Dustin, I welcome it. I like envisioning him as a part of our life at home in the future. I know that he will likely never live alone and it makes a mother's heart proud to see him being with us for the long term. Our journey is definitely not over, but it is these pit-stops that help us make it through the race.