Thursday, May 22, 2014

This is why I need Xanax.

Brandon was Baker Acted at his school at the beginning of April.  This is his second hospitalization this year.  This time he went to Bayside in Sarasota.  The doctor and staff called me often and they had ketchup.  He had a five day stay and two med changes.  He is now taking Geodon and no longer taking Tenax.  He freaked out and tried to beat people with shoes while in the seclusion room at school along with other equally exciting, non rational behaviors. 

We enjoyed a beautiful two week honeymoon period with a wonderful, happy Brandon.  Things went down hill quickly and we are almost back to square one.  I do have to say that the violence at home is nowhere near where it was prior to his visit.  He does sleep a lot at school and at home, his mouth is still crude and sassy, his appetite even more peculiar than before.  You just can't win.  But at least he's not beating the shit out of us. 

One week prior to his hospitalization a spot for TBOSS became available.  This means the therapist comes to the house once a week and to school once a week for a more intensive therapy.  We will wait and see how it goes.  In my experience the first month or more it seems like therapists work on getting the kids to get comfortable with them so they can work on harder issues and know the kid a little better.  We have been through quite a few therapists and either this is what they are doing, or they are completely passive and will not push Brandon which results in nothing.  They need to see the behaviors so they can do behavior modification exercises that actually work for him.  We are almost two months in and I am eager to see where this goes.

On top of all the other exciting things going on, Brandon's school is closing at the end of this school year.  I had already tried to move him to a school in a different county due to an issue I'm not allowed to publicly talk about.  That request was denied by Sarasota County.  At our annual IEP meeting Brandon's school assignment was given to us.  They want him to go to Oak Park North, which is in Sarasota.  This is not going to work.  I get a horrible feeling in my gut thinking about him going there.  It's far away and makes bringing him to school after doctors appointments unlikely along with any awards ceremonies impossible to go to without taking a half day of work.  I understand why he needs to go there, the regular school campuses don't have a response team or a time out room which Brandon needs.  I found a school in Charlotte County that is close to my work and has the type of support he needs with the added bonus of a high school program.  This would be ideal since he has great difficulty with transition and as much as I would love him to have a normal high school experience I am realistic to his needs for the future.  We have a long way to go before a normal high school setting would be something he could participate in.  Because Sarasota County denied by request for an out of district reassignment I have gone the McKay Scholarship road to see if we can get him in that way.  He was approved for the scholarship so now I am waiting to see if they will accept him.  My only option after this would be to move to Charlotte County. 

Oh yea...and a big shout out to ObamaCare-Fuck you. 

June 1st Brandon's insurance changes due to changes with ObamaCare and Medicaid.  His current med management doctor and therapist with TBOSS are in the same medical group and don't take the new one he will be on.  I have to wait until June 1st to find out if they have negotiated a contract with the new one.  If they don't I have to scramble to find a new med doctor, START OVER AGAIN, and hope they offer TBOSS and that there isn't a waiting list and START OVER AGAIN.  Those of you that have dealt with mental health professionals will know that it takes awhile for them to realize you're not a shit parent and that you are also not a total idiot so they will work with you and listen. 

In other news....

We have been having trouble with our youngest, Noah.  Socially and developmentally he is not where he needs to be.  I took him to the pediatrician Monday and she suspects he may have Asperger's.  We have an appointment with a pediatric developmental specialist in June to evaluate and diagnose him.  I really do not look forward to two boys with IEP's, but I don't have a choice.  I feel good knowing who to talk to and where to go for help since this is my second time around.  I guess I'm just not ready to deal with more, but I don't have much choice.  He starts Kindergarten this fall and I want him to succeed. 

In conclusion, the above stated fun facts are the main reason I take Xanax. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Another stint in the Crisis Stabalization Unit...with no ketchup.

Last Monday, The 3rd, Brandon disclosed to his therapist that he wanted to kill himself.  This is not out of the oridinary for Brandon to say when he was angry.  This difference this time was that he told her he was going to get a knife from the kitchen and stab himself.  She sent us down to the CSU and the admitted him. 

The doctor never called.  And they don't have ketchup.

When I visited Brandon he told me they were increasing him Depakote.  I had to track a nurse down and write a note to the doctor letting them know he can't go higher on the Depakote because it will cause his levels to be too high.  They ended up increasing his Lamictal from 150mg to 200mg Wednesday night and sent him home Thursday.  How would they know if it was working for him?  One day? 

The previous week the doctor upped his Tenax to 2 mg twice a day.  Brandon is now taking Tenax 2mg am/pm, Lamictal 200mg pm, and Depakote 250mg am, 500mg pm. 

We had an awful weekend but a great day yesterday.  I came home from work and he was engaging me in conversation.  Our conversations were far a few between.  I hope that this is a continuing trend for him.  I am cautiously and hopefully hopeful.

The good that came from his adventure was that his therapist decided that he needs more intensive therapy.  He was bumped to the top of the list for TBOSS.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013

A successful Turkey vacation

Had a nice four day weekend with the family with a lot of activities and fun.  Overall it was mostly pleasant.  There was some bickering and fighting and yelling.  Nothing out of the ball park. 

We did Thanksgiving with Rick's sister.  It was a good time had by all.  Tori, Kaylin, and I did our traditional Black Friday (on Thursday) shopping.  Friday I had lunch with a good friend after taking care of some banking issues.  Saturday we went with the entire family to Busch Garden's Christmas Town.  It was beautiful how they decorated everything and the family all had fun.  Sunday was the definition of a lazy day.  Enjoyed getting to know my pajamas. 

Brandon is getting more and more lippy.  "F" this and "B" that and you're an "A" along with some creative comments about his balls.  He's been more verbally aggressive and more combative but not physical.  I'm not quite sure how to deal with that.  I feel like we are one step away from physical aggression.  I don't know how to stop the verbal filth coming out of his mouth.  I'm tired of being called a "whore" or a "fucking bitch".  I called to try and get him back in therapy but with a different therapist.  I should be getting a call back tomorrow to see what they can do.  He's being saying to students and staff members that he wants to kill himself.  I got three phone calls in a week and a half from the guidance counselor about it.  I know that he doesn't actually want to kill himself.  I worry that one day he will, and no one will believe him.  The little boy who cried wolf, you know?

And in the other corner I have Noah fighting preschool.  Doesn't want to take a bath or brush his teeth.  Keeps having these tantrums that I don't want to see.  Noah is my offering to the world.  What I was going to use to show the world that we really aren't horrible parents, that we haven't screwed up this one.  And yet that's not what's happening.  Did I not put this thought out into the universe loudly enough?  Did no one hear?  Or is it true?  Are these boys a reflection of my poor parenting, or is this a phase with my little Noah that will go away and he will work through?  After what I've been through with Brandon I tend to diagnose everyone.  I've read a lot and experienced a lot.  Noah has tantrums with very small triggers, Noah only likes a few food items that need to be cold, Noah does not do well with large groups of people or loud noises.  Is he on the spectrum?  Does he need occupational therapy?  Is my DNA tainted and causing them this pain of mental illness?  Are these challenges with Noah just normal 4 year old stuff and I am freaking out for no reason, or as Brandon says often "no apparent reason"?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

This post is about me this time

I've been feeling not quite enough lately.  Not enough of a woman, mother, employee, chef, house keeper, everything.  I don't know why, well I kind of do...

I guess I feel like somewhat of a failure, that I have gone terribly wrong with raising my children.  I wish they came with instructions, even though truthfully I wouldn't read them anyway.  I wish they would just magically turn out the way they are suppose to.  I wish they were happy, polite, grateful, appreciative, etc.  I wish that my four year old wasn't the one preschooler that has been suspended twice barely past the first quarter of the school year and that I wasn't in the process of calling a conference with his preschool to discuss what I feel are there short comings. 

My little Noah, my blessing, my joy.  He is becoming what we never thought we would have to go through again.  He is having tantrums, are they normal?  I don't know, all I have to compare his development with is Brandon.  I don't know what is normal for a 4 year old boy because I've never had a "normal" four year old boy. I know that his preschool is concerned, and parents have expressed concern for there children's safety.  And they are setting him up to hate school which is the last thing I want to happen. I know what I need to do, I just don't want to have to do this again.  I don't want to need to have a mental health assessment on another one of my children.  I don't want to do more therapy appointments, or possibly even medication management.  I don't want to be lectured by people that have no children or children without issues that have the label "professional".  I beat myself up enough about how I raise my kids.  What I should have done differently, what I may have done wrong. I don't need anymore criticism.  I need one of these so called "professionals" to really listen, understand, and offer some real solutions.  Not something they read in a book.

So here I am, in a hole, again.  This time I will not go to the doctor and get anti depressants like I did last time.  This time I'll work through it and find my worth.  I'll brush myself off and make an appointment with the preschool and ask what concerns they have and ask what they are doing in the classroom to help.  I'll ask if they called the "warm line" and if they didn't, why not.  I've already contacted the Florida Center and have the contact information to get him an assessment. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

And the teacher says....

Last Friday Brandon's school held an awards ceremony for the students for 1st quarter.  Thanks to my new job I was actually able to go for the first time.  They have always had these ceremonies on Thursday's at 1pm.  Seeing how I process payroll for a living and people always want to be paid on their scheduled check date of Friday, I have been unable to go.  Brandon goes to a special school for kids with behavioral issues.  The entire class body is quite small, maybe 50 kids for both elementary and middle school, a smaller amount being in middle school.  At first they had all the elementary school class skits and presentations.  Then they went on to do Honor Roll, Straight A  Honor Roll, Perfect Attendance, and so on.  Lastly they did classroom awards.  In the elementary school every child got an award.  Most improved handwriting, most inquisitive, etc...  In middle school they only gave awards to three kids in Brandon's class.  Brandon was one of the only kids that did not receive an award.  Normally this type of thing doesn't bother me, but this time it did.  If elementary classes did across the board, and the elementary and middle school has the same ceremony dates and times, I think the middle school should do the same.  I sent the teacher an email with my thoughts about this and he responded to me about the awards ceremony and also about the spitting incident on Monday. 

My Email:

Hello Mr. Connor,

I have been thinking since this afternoon's awards ceremony.

I think it is wonderful to show encouragement and reward academic achievements for the students that have worked so hard for it.  That being said I feel that all classes should be held to the same format during an awards ceremony.  All kids are not straight A students, or have perfect attendance, etc.  I know this because I am the parent of one of the kids that does not have straight A's or perfect attendance.  I understand that these achievements must be earned and not every child earns such an achievement.  I know that disappointment is a part of life and I know that not getting these achievements is important to build character and make people want to work harder.  But when I see the elementary students each get a classroom award for most improved handwriting, most inquisitive, etc. it shows that although not honor roll or straight A's that there teachers are seeing the good in what they are working towards.  For the middle school to not follow this format is upsetting.  Brandon did not get ONE award when if not all, almost all, of the other students received something for their achievements.   Seeing how the kids that go to Oak Park are up against great challenges, more than a child without a behavioral issue, wouldn't it be beneficial to their delicate self esteem to acknowledge something great about all the children?  Brandon is a great reader, and a good helper, and has improved his foul language along with other things that are important to him and our family.  It would have been fantastic to come to an awards ceremony and see a look of pride and a smile on his face and to encourage him to work even harder in the 2nd quarter to earn maybe honor roll, or an award for community of caring.  I try to look at things from his point of view, and can see him hoping inside that one of those awards were for him.  I know that I had my camera ready to snap a picture when his name was called.  I guess that what I'm trying to say is that if classroom awards are being done for all students in some classes, they should be done for all students in all classes. 

I hope that my feedback will be considered for future award ceremonies.


Julie Davidson
His Response:
Ms. Davidson,
I definitely understand your suggestions  for including everyone in the awards recognition, and I will definitely consider them when time for our next awards ceremony is coming up.  While I don’t necessarily believe in providing awards across the board, I do see them as a possible motivator to do better.  I would like to see Brandon strive for recognition in one of the areas that you mentioned, and would be happy to coordinate with you on a behavior of concern that we could target.  While he may not be a straight A student now, he is a very capable and intelligent student, and would like to encourage him to live up to his potential.   I will be more mindful in the future when choosing awards.
As far as his current behavior is concerned, I know you received the information about his behavior towards me today.  It started when he was off task, and was talking and being disruptive throughout math class.  I tried to talk to him, include him with our discussions, and encourage him to participate.   I finally decided to send him to time out when he continued to be disruptive, and crushed up the assignment we were working on.   He used inappropriate language towards the class, and spit towards me when he was leaving.  I am continuing to adjust my approach to see what works with Brandon, and was not sure why my approach today resulted in this behavior.  I try to keep students in the classroom when possible, and only when the disruption affected the rest of the classes ability to focus on the lesson did I decide to send Brandon to timeout.
Thank you,
Joseph Conner
Middle School Math and Science

Monday, November 11, 2013

Spitting Mad....

Well...I've got to give it to Brandon.  He sure livens up the household.  I guess the fact that things are calming down at home gave him the urge to spice um up. 

I just got off the phone with the school.  The new vice principal called to let me know about a disturbing incident that occurred today which results in his suspension from school for one day.  Brandon was acting up in class and calling other students names.  When the teacher approached him Brandon called him an asshole and spit in his face.  I cannot imagine any circumstance that would give me the urge to spit in someone's face...EVER.  He was brought to the time out room where the vice principal, teacher, and the police officer at the school had a talk with him about the severity of what he did.  The vice principal said she was disappointed at Brandon's lack of appropriate response to the police officer talking with him.  He told the police officer that it would be great for him to go to jail then he could live with his father.  Brandon has not seen his father since he was 3 years old.  By the time that his father gets out of prison in 2038, Brandon will be a man.  I cannot understand why he wants to be in jail with him.  His father is in prison for a reason.  A reason that I have yet to tell Brandon about yet.  Does this warrant me having a talk with Brandon about the circumstances of his fathers prison time?  When is a right time?  What do you say?  How do you say it?  The vice principal also said that Brandon is upset that he has no friends at school or at home.  Well of course he doesn't, he's a jerk to kids his age.  She then asked me if I would mind telling him about his suspension when he comes home from school because they don't want to upset him.  I told her she created the consequence, she needs to tell him.  That would be like him getting in trouble at home and me having the school tell him we are taking away his TV privileges.  Doesn't make sense, does it?  They don't want to upset him?

I have to so say that this school year at Oak Park South has been the most frustrating.  All the staff I have been working with over the years is gone.  Almost everyone is new, and not improved!

I hope that this isn't the beginning of another cycle.  It's been nice having him mostly stable.  I know that with this Bipolar disorder that it will always reappear, but it would be REALLY nice to have a longer stable period.  I won't put negative energy out there but saying what I just said.  I will attempt to remain positive, but I am realistic.