Walls tumbling down

Just as the youngest gets settled and even though it is a different place that we would like at least it is steady, routine stable —and then : the second daughter is admitted to a mental hospital. She is non compliant in taking meds, has filed a patient’s rights complaint, and the powers that Be have changed her from voluntary to involuntary status. And we are powerless, because she is an adult and we have no POA in place we can’t talk with the doctors, therapists or anyone and we have limited contact with her.

There are many thought that have raced across my mind these last 48 hours and none of them were positive as far as outcomes go. So my prayer for today is for wisdom for her, wisdom for me , peace in the chaos because the Sovereign Lord remains in all things, over all things and through all things AMEN

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Resilience, endurance, mental agility

The youngest has been home about a month and we are all adjusting to the new routine. Some obeservations include, calmer demeanor, more smiles, joking with me and dad, keeping up with chores and calmness in general. These are all good things. Sometimes we don’t appreciate these little things and yet when they are not present; we miss them sorely. Take a minute and appreciate those little things right now, because in the next minute they can change.

We hope that during this period the youngest is at home that he will continue to take steps forward, and he is. Just last week his boss let the youngest know that he would get some extra time at the office working with job placement. And so we will see. Resilience is defined as : (dictionary.com)

  1. the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity. 
  2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy. 

And the buoyancy, elasticity of someone with a fragile brain is always something to discern, and is hard to comprehend. I am in awe of the progress the youngest has made with all the struggles he has had. Like the energizer bunny, he just keeps going, pots banging, voices yelling he still went to work,did his job and kept moving forward. One more thing to say about “returning to the original form”; as a Christian living in a broken world my original form has not yet come to pass, and when I get to my eternal life I will be made complete, the original form, who I was meant to be, made by the Sovereign Lord. And is so for all believers and it is true for the youngest. Yes we can and hope to continue to build resilience and endurance into this life in this broken world. We can also perhaps build some mental agility into the youngest’s brain so that he will be better able to recognize triggers for his anxiety, which in turn triggers stress hormones, which then turns into voices, pots banging etc. . Is this easy, quick, noticeable- no; it is a hard slog through many trials, some successful, some not so much.

So my prayer is for patience in the process, celebration of all the good things, encouragement for the seemingly microsteps and praise for the Sovereign Lord who provides strength, wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit. Thankfulness for the Lord who remains in all things, over all things and through all things. Amen

Fragile brain

So we end this year having seen lots of progress as well as lots of new insights. Some of the insights are not what we had hoped for or even considered but they are in front of us like bold print on crisp white paper. And they cannot be denied or down-played because they impact the youngest and his quality of life.

We have had several ER visits, several medication changes and one hospitalization. We have also seen the youngest go to work, be successful in a job and search for an apartment -all good an positive things – Except …..

We are faced with the fact that he has a fragile brain, not in intelligence because he is quiet intelligent, but in the fact that almost nothing triggers stress hormones which in turn trigger voices, pots and pans and General bad stuff. This is what I mean by fragile brain. Like last Friday-he went out for his daily run, in the rain which transitioned into a downpour. His phone got soaked and it shorted out. He let us know something was wrong and we went and found out the phone was insured and got a replacement phone. But the anxiety and stress hormones from that one thing caused voices to occur, sleeplessness and he was still not feeling good this morning. He got up, ate his breakfast and went back to bed for another hour or so. Fragile brain syndrome I am calling it.

This puts things in perspective because while the voices are not here today, what happens when the triggers are activated day after day ???? I think we have seen that this year with all that has been going on. Can we put things in place so that when triggers occur he is able to step back and pause, can he notice the triggers himself and pause, and how frequently are the pauses going to be ? Is he going to be able to take the necessary pauses and sustain a job no matter how short the hours and move forward? These are just some of the questions that loom large for 2019.

So my prayer for today is for continued wisdom provided from the One who knows all things and in whom we live and move and have our being. This is a hard job, I did not sign up for it, but I am doing the best I can at observing and calling attention to the needs of the youngest who cannot do that for himself at present. So may you all be blessed in 2019 continue in prayer or those with mental health issues and their caregivers because it is needed AMEN

Weekend retreat

So last weekend I ran away, not really but I was away. Away from volunteer duty at the clothes closet my church hosts, away from the cantata and all the uplifting Christmas music, away from our annual Love Feast celebration and even more holiday music, scripture readings and smiling faces. AWAY. It was a much needed away. My best friend from 6th grade invited me to her lake house, and without thought I said yes.

We had a great time, it rained all day and when it wasn’t raining the fog rolled over the lake like the sorrows of my soul and drifted away to be followed by another shower and more fog. It was relaxing without thinking, just knitting , talking, napping , eating.

And now I am back , back to the appointments, the blood draws, the routine of ordering refills, picking up meds and everyday stuff.

In this season I have to admit I am not very Christmasy if there is such a thing, but I am better for having been away and gaining some perspective, some validation, some tears over the what is , and perhaps one day I will be able to dream again of what can be. The youngest is still in conversation about changing his living situation , and is still looking perhaps into a different apartment in the same complex . So MERRY CHRISTMAS and remember Emmanuel, God with us is still with us today even if we some times have to be away to find that He is present wherever we are.

So my prayer for today is that away never calls me to be away for long, that away makes me aware of being back home, that away draws me closer to Emmanuel God with me and you because He truly is in all things, over all things and through all things AMEN

Advent season and Christmas Blues

The youngest is still sleeping well and doing well after his recent hospital visit. We are still apartment shopping; hoping to find something affordable, close to his work and on a bus line even if he can’t (right now) ride a bus or  even stand at the bus stop without sheer panic setting in. And I am second guessing every step and finding myself in pools of tears for no apparent reason. Hubs and I met with the youngest’s  counselor on Friday and again I found myself weeping without reason, even now tears are forming and threaten to drip all over the screen as I type. 

I am sure part of the distress is coming from me rehashing this year of ups and downs and pausing to consider if this is really the right path. I am stuck in the knowledge that my son’s brain is fragile; so fragile that missing a night’s sleep can send him down the road of constant wakefulness and hyper anxiety. His brain is so easy to teeter into high anxiety and exacerbation of his fears that it is scary for me to watch. Even scarier knowing that I can only point out observations, make suggestions and pray. 

In my devotion today Laura Storey posits that we should be asking God questions- just not the why questions. And I admit I am full of why questions. She says to instead ask the how question- how can this trial be used to glorify God. But in all honesty I still want to know the why. And I am not sure I will ever see as it says in Romans 8:28 “all things work together for the good of those who love Him.” But then maybe I am not meant to, but the hurt is real and the grief remains, deep and weighty , tears flowing. So it’s a good thing that tears are prayers too. The first Sunday of advent is tomorrow, and it is Hope. I am not in a place of hope right now, I see little hope and I am raw and tired of hoping only to find that I have to lower my expectations once again and throw another dream in the trash. Perhaps I should just stop dreaming. 

So for today my prayer is that hope returns and that I find a way to dream again for now it is a vague and cloudy thing that is like mist – there but IAM unable to grasp, or hold onto it. But God remains in all things, over all things and through all things. AMEN

Next steps and home again

   So we are home finally. It has taken all day it seems. Check out of the hospital, go by vocational rehab, pick up clothes and meds, eat lunch then off to see his counselor, and finally home. This journey started eight days ago and now we are home for the Thanksgiving break. 

   As we left the vocational rehab, one of the counselors there suggested that Joe come home and apartment search from home. It is all very foggy and unclear. But transitions are generally unclear and this disease makes even clear things feel foggy and disoriented. 

    So our next step is to sit down and decompress. Think about what we have learned over the past year and what are the positives and negatives, as well as what the youngest wants to happen. This means serious talks about budget, work and continued follow-up with counselors and doctors. And hopefully with the voices currently gone the youngest can and will participate in this conversation with his best brain in gear and his dreams and hopes vocalized. 

So my prayer for today is one of thankfulness. Thankful for the doctors and nurses who help those in need. Thankful we have access to this facility which is close to home. Thankful for those who work with people who have mental health issues. Thankful for prayer warriors who stand in the gap and pray when asked at a moments notice, via Internet, email, and list serve groups , thankful for the Sovereign Lord who bends His ear and listens to petitions and prayers and who works all things together for the good of those who believe and love Him. Thankful most of all that this Sovereign Lord remains faithful, remains loving, remains present and a presence in all things over all things and through all things . Amen

Hospitalization

   Yes, the youngest is in the hospital. This was not unexpected. The weekend was rough and raw and deep down I knew that he was headed back (at bare minimum to the ER) to the hospital. Monday came and went and I let the doctor know that I thought he would be in the ER sometime this week. Late that evening the youngest texted “if I don’t sleep tonight I am going to the ER.” We had a conversation about not using the ambulance but calling me or letting the vocational rehab folks know would be the best option and that I would keep my phone at bedside , just in case.

   Tuesday early (I was drinking my coffee) the youngest let me know that he was going to the ER, that he had not slept, and that one of the counselors would take him. So after getting dressed and collecting myself I went and found the youngest in the ER. I had come prepared for a long wait, and knitting a pair of socks, we waited. The ER psyche doc talked with us, decided to talk with the youngest’s outpatient doctor, hopefully to see if she could see him that morning. We were hopeful this would be a short ER visit.

  But his outpatient doctor recommended he be hospitilized. So boom, now we were officially a psyche patient. All things were taken (including my knitting) and we were placed in a lockdown area. The docs came and talked and the youngest was in negotiations , he wanted to come home, to stay with us to “hang out” until he could get his sleep regulated. But the decision was made to admit him and he was angry with me (or at least that is what it felt like), so he decided he wouldn’t talk with me. As I left for the day, I was prayerful that we had made the right decision.

Once home emails, Facebook posts and more emails were sent requesting prayer , first for an inpatient bed to open as the medicine changes would not start until he was inpatient, second for the youngest to have peace that this was the best, and thirdly for wisdom for the doctors and nurses, and finally for peace for me, endurance for me and wisdom for me. 

Here is what happened. After having been told that inpatient may take a while (hospital code for we don’t know) a bed opened within 36 hours. He has his treatment team meeting this morning and is getting sleep. And on my devotional today up popped Romans 8:28”for we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose”.  Now that my friends is affirmation.

So today is my thankful day, thankful for prayer warriors who step up and pray, thankful for a God who lavishes grace upon grace on believers, thankful that in the midst of trials we can approach His throne boldly with our petitions, that He turns his ear and listens to those petitions. Thankful that He remains in all things , over all things and through all things AMEN

There will be changes

So we are apartment hunting. In our area there is no affordable, convenient housing for persons who have mental handicaps and this makes the search somewhat daunting. But we are in search of something illusive of greater value – my son to have some independence. All the while knowing that I am needy and depending on the Sovereign Lord for His blessings, mercy and grace.  So the search is on and we look at things like bus routes, and grocery stores and as they say location, location, location. It is draining in some ways and yet I feel like I am on the cusp of a new thing, a wonderous thing, which the Lord alone knows.

We are also in the midst of a visit from the eldest and the grand boys,from Nepal for only a short time. And we who are used to the quiet silence of our days have had our ears tickled with little boy questions and baby crying and lots of smiles. It can be a harsh adjustment from the quiet, made harsher knowing the youngest is still in the depths of depression, and lack of solid sleep and rest. We are trying our best and on most days that is enough, but on some day the weariness creeps in and the snippy words escape without warning and everyone needs a nap. Those (naps) are short-lived and not near frequent enough, but we muddle through.

So my prayer for today is for all those who are weary, bone tired, and down. How long oh Lord, how long will you forget us??? NEVER  He answers back strong and bold yet loving and grace filled. Never will I leave you nor forsake you, NEVER.  So praise to the Sovereign Lord who remains in, over and through. Full of Grace and mercy and strength for the day, and for the many days to come whatever they bring, because come they will and often bring  with them unexpected delays, turns, and twists that we can never expect, BUT GOD knows, and has plans, and REMAINS ever faithful in, over and through.

Round 2 hurricane💨💨 and more changes

So number two blew through last week, power outages from Thursday until Monday and lots of downed trees. We were fortunate in that about 20 years ago we put in a whole house backup generator so we had power but many did not including the youngest. So he came home.

We celebrated my birthday the week before this last round of wind and rain and on Friday I received a text from the youngest “Hey, me and Eric are looking from an apartment to move to” “We are graduating.” I have to admit my stomach clinched a bit because I was not expecting this, nor did I know exactly what “graduation” meant to the youngest. We celebrated anyway knowing this was a good thing.

Life happens, hurricanes blow through, sickness occurs. This week we have been non stop as the youngest was sick and there were appointments to get to. The good thing is I spoke with the jobs counselor at the vocational rehab place asking questions about what this graduation meant. I came away reassured and comforted. Both gentlemen were very complementary of the youngest, very confident that this next step would be good and safe for him to take on. So basically he would move from a supervised apartment where he checks in with folks for his meds and such to an unsupervised place of his own. He would have no one except self to get him up , to get his meds taken, no supervision for his medication. He will still have the full range of services and the jobs counselor assured me that they would still have a close eye on the youngest.

So now the youngest is apartment hunting with the housing counselor. And though he has been ill this week, he will return to that task soon. Perhaps this affected his immune system, perhaps it was just a cold, but he returns to his safe home was nurtured a bit and will return to work soon. His voices or noises are still present, but he is learning how to ignore them, how to distract himself so that he can still be somewhat productive. This is the way it has to be. There is no “cure” for schizoaffective disorder, and to medicate the voices and noises into silence would make him a vegetable, so he has to learn to cope,  voices, noises and all.

So my prayer for today and I suspect any days hence is for me to have wisdom to help the youngest but not make him dependent on me. My prayer for him is to continue making these small steps forward. My prayer is also for those workers who are patient, kind, yet place resonable demands on those with mental health issues for their strength, and wisdom for each individual they deal with on a daily basis.

I am also thankful so very thankful for the Lord who remains in all things, over all things and through all things. That HE is faithful even when I am not. That HE is patient and wise when I am tired and less than wise. Thankful the HE is present, has been present, and will be present through this journey.AMEN

Breakthrough 💨👍🏻🙏💡💡

So the hurricane blew through and dropped a massive amount of rain which flooded much of the East and southeast of NC. We are still in damage control with more than 300 roads still out of service and many still without power, homes and basics of life. We are fortunate that Baptist Men and Women’s disaster relief is here from several states serving food, doing muck outs where possible and providing prayers. Anyone can donate to this organization and 100% of the donations goes to help the people – no administrative cost deducted.

So with all that going on and the youngest is still making steps forward. He has become sort of an administrative assistant to the jobs counselor at the vocational rehab place. He has sort of created this job for himself and he works at it. This week he was excited because as he texted me “I found jobs for 2 people this week” yes son that is a good thing to help others. On Wednesday he met with his peer counselor, talked about riding the bus, and then later that day actually got on a bus rode it into town and back home. I was stunned, pleasantly stunned but stunned all the same. He rode the bus with a friend not the peer counselor. He admitted that some of the ride was “kinda hard” but mostly was not as bad as he thought it might be. And just like that another wall, barrier has crumbled a little bit. Not a Jericho walls come down but a definite cracking and crumbling and this is what we at our house call a working miracle.

so my prayer today is for the walls and barriers to continue to crumble, for the set backs to be smaller and smaller for the negative self-talk to be replaced by loving koneness self-talk. I will be ever thankful that the Lord remains in, over and through all things. That He is ever present, ever patient, ever faithful even when I am not. For the people who have been devastated by this hurricane to know His presence , for us to be His hands and feet as we can to the best of our abilities thanks be to the Lord AMEN