Separation and Exhaustion.

There has been an increase in behaviors this week.  I’m getting a delayed response to my mom’s hospitalization and my absence in dealing with it.  Yes, she is still in the hospital.  Today will be Day 13.

As a result, with my dad refusing to leave her side, I have some extra duties.  I must care for my mom when I’m in the hospital, feeding her, cleaning her, combing her hair, getting medical updates from staff, contacting the outside specialist (her neurologist for her Parkinson’s medicine which they apparently discontinued in the hospital), and talking to insurers about coverage for this illness.  My mom.  The person who raised me and cared for me.  The roles are finally reversed.  I’m washing clothes and blankets for my parents, going to their house each day to get the paper and the mail, switch the light patterns, talking to the neighbors, and preparing the checks to pay their bills.

I’m trying to perform a few tasks in my job as a lawyer, taking care of my own household tasks and then, most importantly, care for my son.  In the morning when I visit my mom, she looks at me, holds my hand and asks me not to leave.  In the afternoon, my son climbs on me at the office and tells me to stay.  I am on an anti-biotic for a bug I have had since the end of February.

While my husband took my son to one therapy session and one day of school last week, my little guy did not like that and let me know that mama better be doing it.  As my own mom has slowly and steadily started to improve (knock on wood), I resumed several duties including taking my son around for school and therapy.  In the midst of it all, things have begun to show their wear and tear on my son.

Odd behaviors are sprouting.  The first of these occurred last Friday when I learned he had hit two of his behavioral therapists.  Not hard, as far as I know but a splendid return of a previously short-lived behavior nonetheless, warranting a big mention to me.  I was asked to watch for it.  This does not happen at home so, I don’t get how I can keep an eye on it.

Then, there are the behaviors related to his relationship with an old nanny.  Before the diagnosis late April last year, a nanny watched my son about 40 hours per week — when she showed up for work.  When the nanny was there, she was there 110 %. But every few weeks, she simply would not show up – no call and no communication for 3-4 days at a time.  Extremely flaky.  Then, she would make up the most ridiculous excuses imaginable for her absence. We kept her on because, when we tried to replace her (twice), we got disastrous results.

We knew her excuses were lies but at the time, I knew my son was a handful and the alternatives were nil.  When she was there, she played games and toys, read books, got him to eat, took him to the bathroom, gave him juice and ice water and took walks outside to throw parachute men in the air and play sidewalk chalk.  He loved her.

After 1.5 years, right after he got his diagnosis she abruptly, without warning or notice, quit.  My son was left with no transition period and no goodbye.  It broke my heart and is something I cannot explain to him to this day.

Since I’ve had to leave for the hospital so much, he has started bringing up her name.  “Miss Megan, is a girl or a boy?” he asked last week.  They were working on distinguishing boys from girls when she left.  He has pulled out many toys he has not played with since she left and began playing them again.  Worst of all, he has said “I love you Miss Megan” and asked “What face does Miss Megan make?” this afternoon.  He is learning how to read emotions from facial expressions.  It seems he is wondering what her emotions were that made her leave.

I’ve pretty much ignored his references to her because I don’t know how to tell a 4 year old boy that someone he loved abandoned him.  I certainly don’t want to tell him what I think!  I feel horrible for my son because he loved her and he had so much fun with her.  I have no explanation for what she did.  She left when my husband was in the first few days of a nearly month long jury trial requiring him to work 16-18 hour days. Interestingly, when she was not there, my son also hit his teacher at preschool.  (I was called to pick him up that day!)

So, with me gone at the hospital so much, I think he fears that I may not come back although he is not able to tell me this outright.  I’ve told him I will come back but he still needs his reassurances.  The therapists are reading him a social story but he’s still going through bad separation anxiety.

He is constantly telling me he wants to go to the hospital.  He says he wants to see his grandma.  I think he wants me.  I’m the one who knows his language and his needs the best.  How can I not love that he wants me?  I’m doing as much as I can to be with him and manage it all but it is not easy.  I cannot imagine how it would be if I had more children!  I admire the moms I know who have more children and are able to manage it all.

As for me, I’m tired.  Many people have urged me to take care of myself.  I’ve tried but between all the places I travel each day for everyone else, there is very little time left for me.  Something’s gotta give or come along to make it better.  I’m working through it for now, trying to be as positive as I can on every front.  There are no alternatives.  In the end, it’s just me, trying to hold everyone else’s hand and give enough love to all for their needs.  For now, I will just have to let events, like the current of a river, carry me on.  I’m too weak now to fight it and I will just have hope that current will take me where I need to go.


About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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28 Responses to Separation and Exhaustion.

  1. Keep on keepin’ on! Seems like you’re doing some good things. This is an unbelievable sequence of events.

  2. Kelly says:

    Hi Karen. Oh, boy. I can easily imagine an overwhelming urge to run away, covering your ears, screaming, “lalalalala!” Or just get really drunk (that’s my vote, personally!).

    But, you’re right. It isn’t time for that now. Of course, everyone who tells you to take care of yourself does mean well – I do, I swear! I also know, WE are what we drop first: our needs are first to go so that everyone else’s needs get met. It’s what we do and who we are. I just want you to know that so many of us can relate and understand parts of your situation. We are pulling for you and your mama, your little man, and your entire family.

    Regression sucks, big time. It will pass, I promise. It’s just one more thing you have on your plate to deal with right now.

    You are amazing and you are doing an amazing job juggling all the balls being tossed your way. Just remember THAT!

    • solodialogue says:

      Kelly -weird – you know me! I want to run away to a beach and get drunk! Haha!! But that’s just every day… 😉 No really, it just helps to be able to get it out and whine a little and then keep going with the support of all the wonderful people who drop by here! Thanks!

  3. Lizbeth says:

    Oh, I feel for you…know you have a friend wishing you the best and hoping you find peace with all the additional duties you’ve acquired. It’s not easy and I don’t know how you’re doing it. Being pulled in a bazillion directions is daunting at best and knowing you are needed equally by all makes it even worse trying to determine which direction to go.

    I’m thinking of you and yours.

  4. Big Daddy says:

    You need to take care of yourself and hang in there. There are always going to monkey wrenches thrown our way. Just got to get through them. You will.

  5. Karen, I read your post and I just want to cry for you. It IS a hard time and harder still knowing that your son is suffering for it.

    I wish I lived near you. I’ve never met you in person, but I would do anything I can to help you out right now. If there is something I can do from halfway across the country… please let me know.

    For now, I’m sending my strength. I hope that somehow that can help you get through this.

    • solodialogue says:

      You are such a sweetheart! I’m so glad to know you this way. You help me every day when I see a picture of Kaia or read your blog. And especially, when you stop in here to lend support. Thanks, Karla. 🙂

  6. Grace says:

    This is what we do. Of course we all need to take care of ourselves, but there is no time for that. We just keep trudging along, putting one foot in front of the other. As long as we do that, we’re accomplishing something. There will be days when we scrape by doing the bare minimum. But that’s ok as long as we keep going. The world puts enough pressure on us, we don’t need to add to it ourselves if we can help it. You’re doing great because you are still going, and that is saying a lot. ((Hugs))

    (And I get a little thrill whenever Big Daddy stops by to see me, too. :-))

  7. ((Hugs)). We have similar problems with separation anxiety. It looks like he things hitting is the way to get his mama back, poor boy. Like Big Daddy says, you will get through this. Every experience leads to a little more understanding. One day he’ll be able to put this into words.

  8. Lynn says:

    Seems like there is far too much going on and too much stress to expect that there wouldn’t be repercussions. His bringing up Megan is heart breaking but also really interesting. You can’t help but read into it. You will look back on this time and wonder how you got through it…and you will get through it. Hugs to you!!!!

    • solodialogue says:

      Thanks, Lynn for noticing that. I hurt so bad when he brings her up and just don’t know what to do. I cannot wait until the day that I can look “back” because that means it will be complete. Thank you Lynn – you see right where I hurt and make me feel better! 🙂

  9. Lindsay says:

    It sounds like you have so much on your plate. I was heartbroken and tired just reading it. I hope things get better soon, and you find a perfect nanny!

  10. eof737 says:

    Good Lord! Find a way to share the work with someone else, anyone… you must be bone tired! Sending prayers to all of you.

  11. Flannery says:

    These times when there is so much going on, so many things to deal with, it tests our charachter. I’m sorry to say there have been times I didn’t pass the test. But I know that you will. I don’t know why, I just know it.

  12. Pingback: DVD Flashbacks. | Solodialogue

  13. I had not read this. The “bad nanny” story breaks my heart… I hope he’s put her behind him now.

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