Friday, July 13, 2012

Sensory processing, PTSD and 4 days in a hospital

I have started this post at least  a half dozen times since we came home on Friday and have not quite figured out the right words or directions to take the post. I am still processing the what has happened and the aftermath of spending four days in the hospital with a child that has sensory processing difficulties and PTSD.

We were admitted to the hospital on Tuesday for a blockage in his GI tract, nothing scary, but certainly had gotten to the serious enough point where they hospitalized us. I knew when we walked in that it would be a couple of days stay. Little man and I had talked about going to the hospital, why we were having to go and to the best of my knowledge what they were going to have to do. I was trying to prepare him the best I possibly could. What I have discovered was I needed as much preparation as he did!

The staff at the hospital was amazing. I could not have asked for better nurses, nurse practitioners and the various other staff that stopped by to check on us. They listened when I talked about his needs and respected it. When it came time to get him ready for an IV, the nurse sat on the floor, had him help her put the numbing cream on his arm and then discussed what she was doing. She brought in a sample NG tube and helped him "place the NG tube" in his stuffed animal. They told him whenever they were going to do something and talked him through each process. I was amazed and thrilled.  Unfortunately at 3 while the talking helped him through at that instant it does not hold off the trauma of it all and the feeling of not having control of the situation.

Now for the more emotional side of my writing this post-
    Just about a year ago little man began having horrible nightmares. It took me several months to reach out for help and not long after that for a doctor to say looks like PTSD, go see this person..who we have now been seeing weekly for 8 months for PTSD. We have come a long ways, in helping little man talk about his "big feelings" and recognizing when his body is having "big feelings" And I think I undid a lot of that this past week.

Since we have gotten home these are a few behaviors and emotions I have seen- anger, throwing toys, stripping his bed to nothing, throwing his toys away in the trash can (favorite toys nonetheless) and panic about food again. The last one I think is the one that hits me, because I totally forgot to anticipate that. I took a child who came to me at just over 12 months hoarding food and spent 4 days telling him he couldn't have the food he was asking for, that all he could have was jello, juice, chicken broth and popsicles. What did I expect? I just didn't think about it and there was nothing I could do to change what they were giving him. but I maybe could have changed the way I answered him, the discussion that went with the  "no".

We have been home a week now....and I still have not finished this post..tonight I am going to finish.

In the week we have been home I have watched him struggle and begin to regain his comfort with food. I have watched him loose all his connection to what his body is telling him whether that be the need to go to the bathroom or eat or sleep. I have seen him seek the structured of his organized day at school and evening routine and then panic when I went to leave him at school. I have watched him fight the demons at night. His fitful sleep has returned and his fear of going to sleep is at a high.

We are tired, we are emotional, we are drained...we are clinging to each other to make it through. And yet, I am brought to my knees in gratitude that through all the troubles we are having and as angry at me as he is, he seeks me in his fear, he calls for me even in his sleep. Something bad and traumatic happened last week and I was there to witness all of it, I sat by his side, with him through all the scary moments, lack of control moments and he came out of understandably angry, but knowing mommy doesn't leave. He came out of it witnessing my unconditional love and the love and support of so many people who came to the hospital to check on him.

We can and will work through all the rest of it, because he knows that we are a family. We will work through tired, angry, emotionally confused and drained because we are a family and nothing is going to make me leave his side.  For tonight we sleep, as best we can and face tomorrow together. Tomorrow we work on healing, we work on connecting to our body again and what it is telling us. Tomorrow we work on laughter instead of anger.