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.