Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Another State of the Author

It's been a hell of a month. Almost two now. And I'm still reeling a little while all the dust settles. And gets kicked back up again by the pound of feet. I'll do the best I can in recounting everything, but you'll have to excuse me if I leave things out.

TRIGGER WARNING: SUICIDE, PET DEATH

In April, my son told me on his way to school that he had been contemplating suicide. Inside I enter into freaked out parent mode and outside I start asking questions. "Okay, so what made you feel that way?" When his answer came back ambiguous, I asked him to think on it and let me know when things came up. I told him I was glad he came to me and told him we would get him the help he needed. As I dropped him off in front of the school, I went into panic mode. I was sick from work that day, so I was already going to be home. I got home and got on the phone with his pediatrician's office. I told them he told me he'd been contemplating suicide the night before and I sent him to school and I needed to get him in PDQ for an appointment.

The nurse, in the most distainful tone of voice I have ever heard come from a medical "professional", sneered, "You don't  want to take him out of school to take him to the emergency room?"

I hung up. I didn't even bother dignifying that with a response. I called my doctor's office, hoping they could help. They, in a much kinder tone, told me they couldn't help me, but I could take him to Nationwide Children's hospital and they would be able to care for him. I hung up the phone, texted his dad, then started pouring over all the places I might be able to call for him.

I dialed his school counselor. She called him into the office to chat with him. Then I started calling all the pediatricians in the area and leaving voicemails.

Two hours later I get a call back from the school. She said she didn't think he was suicidal now, but he had been, and if he threatened again, to take him to Nationwide right away. They sent him home. This was right before Easter.

I scheduled my son an appointment. They put him on medication to help with his mood. We began treatment over spring break. I think, yay! Crisis over as long as I get the meds into him.

This is when he started having panic attacks every morning before school. Every morning. I forced him to go every few days and he was able to make it work, but the next day the anxiety was worse. So I got up every morning, geared to fight to make him go to school. He missed a total of 8 days at the beginning of the year because of a stomach infection. His stomach hurt. He was nauseated. He was vomiting. So was he this time around.

The school started calling me about truancy. Not sure how I'm supposed to force a child who is having a panic attack to get into the car and go to school. How as a mother I'm supposed to listen to him cry and plead and beg me not to make him go to school. How as someone with anxiety I'm supposed to turn a callous ear to his cries for help.

This goes on for a month. Finally the school serves me truancy hearing papers despite me being in constant contact with them about his issues. Despite asking his doctor for a note to excuse his absences and being denied. Despite speaking with his counselor and the dean of students.

That's when my son loses his shit. Monday morning, he tells me he was suicidal again and he needs to go to the hospital. This time we take him in. He is committed. He has been there, at this point, for three days.

The visits go well. He seems perkier until we go to leave. He says he's homesick and wants to come home. He's fine now, he says, and wants to talk to his friends and be home with us. If they don't release him tonight, I might stay at the hospital with him overnight.

On top of all this, while my son was going through his issues, my cat developed a lump on the side of her face. Just a bump. Felt like swelling. She had a bad tooth. So we call the vet, get her in for bloodwork, set up a dental.

The vet is convinced, despite not having any evidence in bloodwork, that the cat has cancer and washes his hands of the whole situation. I bring her home. She isn't eating. She's getting thin. We start syringe feeding her baby food because my girlfriend is a vet tech. The vet's office gave me absolutely no care instructions for her post surgery other than "offer food and water".

I take her to Medvet because the lump is getting bigger and it's putting pressure on her throat. She can't swallow. When she drinks, a third of it drools back out into the bowl. She's having a slight difficulty breathing. Medvet does a bloodwork panel, checks her over. Determines she's anemic. We do a blood transfusion and bring her home.

She comes to work with me Friday morning after the hospital so we can keep an eye on her.

She's cold. She's not keeping heat. She's having trouble staying awake, having a harder time breathing. She's turning blue around her paws.

My kitty is dying. And now I have to let her go. We took her in Friday afternoon and had her euthanized. I got to hold her while she went. She was so peaceful. No more pain. No more suffering. No more struggling to breathe.

We had a convention over the weekend. I took Anthony with me on Friday and I was a scatterbrained idiot. But I was there and I met my obligations. Met some fun people. Got to hang out and chat with Matt McFarland and Matt McElroy, who are both pretty fun guys to talk to. I'll post more on that later, though, so people who are triggered by the rest of this post can read about fun convention stories.

It's  been a hell of a month. I lost my kitty May 6th, lost my dad a year ago June 8th, almost lost my son May 9th. And I came home from the psych ward last night and my girlfriend was all rageface. She was emotionally invested in the cat, she hadn't been in a clinic or had a euthanasia since her pup we put down a few years ago. And she's worried about my son, too. So she's got a lot on her plate and she can handle less piled on bullshit than I can, so I'm not surprised. I'm just incredibly short on patience with everything going on and I got bitchy with her. I know, really mature of me. I ended up leaving for awhile so I could clear my head. I was much less stupid when I got back home an hour and a half later. It's amazing how far you can drive in the city of Columbus and still not be out of your home quadrant.

So state of the author is "barely keeping afloat, but still bobbing", I think.