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Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Doc's, part two

Then there is Dr Tom. Dr Tom and I have fought like a married couple. Mark and I have had stages with Teale that were wrecking us all, but one in particular put Dr Tom and I at odds. Dr Tom is Teale's psychiatrist, but quite frankly he might as well be the family psychiatrist. At one time or another he has helped with each of us. He doesn't bill for all our care, but he is a smart, caring man and he gets that we all live this, not just Teale. He knows Mark and I need to stay stable and healthy to live with our challenges. He knows Beau and Gwenn struggle with loses of normalcy too. He has seen us all demonstrate post traumatic stress syndrome in stages of Teale's mental illness when being on our guard constantly is our only defense. Dr Tom is empathetic and extremely intelligent. He knows the options for care out there and he understands the medications he prescribes with amazing insight. When Teale was about three years old the behaviors started escalating. I was pregnant with Gwenn and all of our world was crashing. Teale had become defiant and explosive, her sleep sporadic and her behavior exhausting, unpredictable and often violent. Luckily for me, I was on the search committee for a new minister at our church. The woman we had appointed as the chair of the committee was a counsellor and a personal friend of Dr Tom's. As God often does in my life, I was in the right place at the right time. I was sharing our struggles with my friend and the chair of the committee one night after our meeting ended. She listened with care and then said she would contact her friend Dr Tom for me. Within days I had our first appointment. I often wonder where we would be today had Dr Tom not come into our lives. He and Dr Dave work hand in hand to help Teale. They are a dynamic duo and when I am in trouble, as in, when Teale is in a rough patch, they are both there for us. Texting them is common in this relationship, they have both come to respect my opinion and know that I will not pull them in unless I am truly struggling. Dr Tom and I had had about three years under our belt when Teale's most intense mental break happened. She was in the first grade and stopped sleeping. I know most will find this hard to believe. Many will think I am over exaggerating the truth, but I kid you not, Teale went from sleeping 10 to 12 hours a night, to sleeping two or three hours a night. After she woke for the night, she was "ON." Mark and I were fried by a couple of weeks of this. We had a daycare to run everyday for ten plus kids and we had Beau and Gwenn too. The school was finding it tough to believe what we were telling them, after all Teale was fine at school, her usual full of energy self. Thank goodness Dr Tom and Dr Dave didn't doubt what we were saying. We tried every sleep aid safe to a 6 year old and many that were questionable too. She was taking adult prescriptions like Ambien, with little to no relief. Dr Tom prescribed and we kept hoping the cure was coming, but every night was the same. Teale would sleep the first hour to three after putting her to bed and then be up the rest of the night. I never felt like Dr Tom or Dr Dave doubted us, but after a month of such little sleep I was becoming doubtful of myself. My mental state was skewed. I was not sure what was real anymore and my very core ached for relief. The school finally started to see it too, Teale's behavior was escalating and she was having spells that looked like seizures. The day I told Mark "I know I won't do it, but I'm as close to suicide as a person can be." Dr Tom and I fought. We had been in touch with both doctors multiple times a day. The exhaustion was simply overwhelming. Our extended families were not there for us and our friends did not know how to help us. There was no relief in this nightmare. Mark and I against the world and quite frankly, the world was winning. Then Dr Tom and Dr Dave saw what needed to be done, the solution was to hospitalize my six year old, severely disabled child. We were to take her to emergency and have her admitted into the child psychiatry ward. Teale, who needed sign language for understanding, who wore a leg brace and a hand brace to help with her cerebral palsy. Teale, who had hearing aids that cost a fortune and unless you knew the signs, she would try to destroy in a rage. Teale had GI issues and her speech was not easily understood, her frustration escalated with misunderstanding. Teale hates being touched, so her personal hygiene was a challenge to work through. She took many medications and often those meds had to be administered in a forceful manner. To have strangers, who did not know and love her do this, scared me. These were just some of the thoughts going through me. Dr Tom was asking me to hand over my daughter to "the R wing" as it is commonly referred to. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest went through my head, would Teale be restrained, would she be locked up into a padded room? What monster would suggest this as the solution to my 6 year old's sleep issues? But her seizures also scared me and that was the deciding factor. I knew of children who had gotten into seizures that could not be stopped and they had passed. Teale needed sleep or her seizures were sure to get worse. So while Dr Tom and I fought over this decision, Mark tried to calm me and help me see it was our only option. I was mad, no I was FURIOUS. God was letting me down and I could not understand why my daughter suffered so much. What God would allow this? Why us, what had we done so wrong?   ~to be continued~

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