Monday, December 24, 2012

Silent Night is a pipe dream . . .

I didn't quite feel well when I left work on Friday evening.  By the time I got home I was shivering and found I was running a temperature of 103.  I have been sick since.  It has been a miserable Christmas weekend.  Our family Christmas was supposed to happen on Saturday and my siblings and steps siblings thankfully rescheduled for next weekend for me.  We cancelled Christmas Eve at our house that we usually spend with my mom, stepdad and brother.  We even cancelled the Christmas Day dinner that we planned on having at my mom's with just my family.  It has not been a banner year for Christmas around here.

Yesterday I thought I was on the upswing and hadn't fevered since early morning.  I woke up this morning and was fevering and it seems the plague is back with a vengeance.   I had promised the kids we would go see The Hobbit in 3D and I was going to make good on my promise even if I exposed everyone in that theater to my sickness.  Thankfully there was only 4 other people in the theater and I spread out on 3 seats and laid down. The worst part is that the Hubs is sick too and is about 12 hours behind me so he knows everything that is coming!

The 2 littles have been decent about helping out.  The most frustrating part is of course dealing with Dustin.  His impulse control is not easy to deal with on a good day, but being sick makes it doubly bad!   Add in the anticipation of the holiday, and he is absolutely bonky!  He has no compassion for anything someone else is dealing with.  He only thinks about himself and how what you are doing/feeling is affecting him and it is so very tiresome.  His brain is simply not wired to care about anyone other than himself.  I find it extremely hard to deal with.  He also fully aware that we are functioning at a small fraction of our ability and takes full advantage of that by trying to sneak around and get into anything and everything he knows he is not supposed to.   There is no resting in my household. The constant vigilance is tiring when you are well, you can imagine what it is like when you are sick.  Fetal Alcohol Syndrome sucks!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Solutions? . . .

Everyone and their brother is spouting off about what could've been the issue that  caused Adam Lanza to kill those at Sandy Hook Elementary and who or what is to blame.  I have consciously stayed away from speculation in the news media and have not read a bunch of article about the incident.  Usually I am all over this kind of stuff and I can't seem to get enough information, but this one, this one is different for me. 

Why?  My child has the ability to be the face of this tragedy.  The trauma he experienced early in his life and the attachment issues that have sprung from abuse, neglect, and being shuffled through 10 different placements have broken him in a way that is beyond understanding.  I walk with him daily through his issues, and I cannot even understand what it is like to walk in his shoes.  Now, I must also mention that my son is not only dealing with behaviors that are labeled as Reactive Attachment Disorder but a slew of other mental health issues and brain damage that occurred from maternal alcohol abuse during pregnancy (FAS or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome).  My child has the deck stacked against him.  My child has a "grab bag full of crazy".  I don't say that disrespectfully, I say that to make people understand that we never quite know which disorder is making it's way to the surface to control his thinking at any given time.  He is a whirlwind of trauma and it pains me to think abouot the utrmoil he lives with daily in his mind.  It is a hidden disability, the appears to be a kind and pleasant 17 year old in public.  He appears to be able to function at  a "typical" cognitive level, he cannot. There is not a connection of cause and effect with him.  He doesn't understand that their are consequences of his actions. He acts mostly out of impulse without regard of the fallout.   Without medication, mental health services and constant supervision he is not only a danger to himself but to others. 

As I sit here and make him out to seemingly be a "monster" he is NOT.  His mental health issues don't define him. When he is able to control himself and his impulses, he is a wonderfully pleasant, helpful and loving child.  He is kind and compassionate at times.  He engages in conversations and wants to be a part of the group.  He is not a loner who prefers to stay on the outskirts, he enjoys being the center of attention.  He is a joy.  He loves his family. 

I don't believe this answer is solely gun control.  I am all for owning weapons if you choose, however, I don't believe assault weapons or semi-automatic weapons are necessary for anyone who is not on a battlefield.   I also think each gun owner needs to be held responsible is their weapon is used to commit a crime by someone who had access to it.  Proper gun ownership is key. 

I don't believe that metal detectors or armed guards at schools are the answer either.  This is not about schools only, it is about malls and movie theatres and any where else a large amount of people gather.  I went to Jamaica in the 90s and everywhere I went there were armed guards outside of the building.  Want to go to Burger King? There is a man holding the door with a automatic rifle.  I don't think we need that kind of climate in our country. Besides, who is to say that man is mentally healthy himself and won't go bananas so day?

So what is the solution? My first thought is BETTER and more AVAILABLE mental health services. People that are this kind of crazy do not just "breakdown" one day and shoot up and elementary school.   There are indicator, there are signs. There is not enough services and not nearly enough affordable care for people who are struggling with mental illness. Too many families cannot get their loved ones help or the stigma is just too great. We need to have frank and honest discussions about the mentally ill  in our communities.  We need to eliminate the barriers to people seeking help.  We need compassion and kindness.  We need understanding and patience.  I would suggest that someone knew that this shooter was not stable from a young age.  Adults may refuse care, adults may refuse medication, but if we start early and are offering coping mechanisms and appropriate therapy, perhaps the lifelong healing process is in forward motion before it hits a breaking point.  Will it be enough is every case? Absolutely not, but there is still room for improvement.   

I mourn for these families. I mourn for the young man who thought this was the answer.  It may not be popular to say that I am sorry for the man who committed these crimes, but I am.  Somehow, "we" as a community failed him.  We failed the children.  It is time to be honest about what we can do to prevent this from happening to anyone else. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The day Craigslist nearly killed me . . .

OK, not really, but it could've happened!

A few years back I began looking for a desk for my daughter on Craigslist.  I found a cute one with a hutch that was really inexpensive in a town about 45 minutes north of me. I spoke to a man and he said that he and his wife would be there all night. He also told me that there was matching dresser I could have for a mere $10 more. I was thrilled!  I set out in my mother's van with my special needs son. 

We arrived and I left the car running because it was very cold outside.  My son was instructed to stay in the van.  I grabbed the money out of my purse and stuck it in my back pocket.  When I got into the house, which was on a very poorly lit street, I realized the man was alone.  He said his wife had left for the night.  Not one to give up a bargain, I walked in and checked out the desk ad hutch that was in the dining room.  He asked if I wanted to look at the dresser and I said I did.  He then said it was in the basement.

I got about halfway down the basment steps before I realized it was a very bad idea.  The man was behind me on the steps and as soon as I decided I should be creeped out he revved the drill that was in his hands (to take apart the hutch) and laughed when I jumped.  He apologized and I decided whether I should run or keep going.  Once again, the thought of  a matching set for $40 made me press on.  The dresser was in another room of the unfinished basement and he instructed me to open the door and go inside.  I refused, thinking he would push me in there and lock me away forever.  He went in first and I positioned myself between him and the stairs so I could run if I got weirded out.  I told him I would take the dresser and he helped me get it up the stairs.

He went up the stairs first.  We got about half way up with this incredibly heavy real wood dresser and he jokingly says, "Hope I don't drop this on you and trap you in the basement" and I nearly screamed in terror.  Just then, I hear heavy footsteps upstairs in the house.  He had said he was alone, I was certain that it was his partner in crime coming to kill me.  I freaked out and began to sweat thinking I was going to die in this small town basement for a bargain!  Then I thought of my son in the car, he had my purse and my cell phone.  He would have no idea what to do if I didn't come out of the house.  I began kicking myself for not bringing my cell phone into the house.  Just as the foot stomping got closer, my son appears at the top of the steps.  I was relieved it was his foot steps, but was mortified seeing him grabbing the back of his pants. 

Here was my son, jumping up and down in a stranger's house saying "Mom, I am gonna poop my pants!"  Thankfully the Craigslist killer seller was kind and apparently did not want poop on his floor and allowed him to use his bathroom.

I did not die that day . . . except from embarrassment.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Pffft. . .

So much for blogging daily in the month of November.  I really sucked at that one.  Oh well.  Life got in the way.  This is the worst time of year for my son, which is referred to as a traumaversary.  Things are just starting to even out and life is somewhat back to normal on that front. 

My husband's momma died very suddenly.  She went from preparing Thanksgiving dinner and shopping to sick 2 days later and ending up in the ER.  She was immediately diagnosed with Leukemia and ended up in the ICU within a couple days.  She started a dose of chemo, he went down to Kentucky and she died the following morning.  It was quick and unexpected.  We are all still reeling emotionally from that. My littles are struggling emotionally, but this was the first death time that they were old enough and close enough to the person who died for it to make a mark on them.  It has been overwhelming navigating their grief.  Being that she lived out of town, they weren't super close to her, but she is their grandmother!  And seeing daddy (the husband) stressing out and sad has made them very fragile.