It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. It has been a very busy time here. While our son was at the residential treatment facility my husband and I drove the 5ish hours back and forth often.
He has been home 3 weeks now and things are going very well. Every day we marvel at how far he’s come since the day we drove him to the treatment facility.
He can walk around without covering his nose all the time. He doesn’t flip out when he sees me touch something of hers and then touch something of his. Do we have work to do still? Definitely. He is still fighting. But his quality of life now is so much better than it was 3 months ago, and for that we thank God!
Today I’ve been reflecting on the 2 months he was gone. It seems like a distant memory already. I was asked by another parent that I met on an online support group what it was like to have my child gone at this age. This parent is facing the same situation and is not sure what to do. I told her I’d try to give an honest assessment for her family and many others that are facing this difficult decision.
When we got the call that he could go inpatient, I wasn’t ready. Is a parent ever ready? Maybe not completely. But often when this time rolls around, parents are at their wit’s end and as hard as it is, they need a break from OCD. I didn’t have those feelings. Not that I was happy that OCD was living in my house. And not that I wasn’t at my wit’s end. But my heart really just couldn’t accept that the best thing for our son was this…even though I knew it was.
Leaving your child is awful. You feel like you are leaving them to drown while you go back to your nice comfortable home without them. It’s a paradox between knowing that you are doing the right thing for your child and at the same time wondering if you are doing the worst thing possible for your child. It doesn’t get easier leaving on subsequent visits. You just get used to the feeling. But it is still painful. It still cuts deep.
There are so many ups and downs while your child is gone. You’ll find yourself sitting in your living room rocking back and forth, processing everything over and over and over again. You’ll be crying, but then you’ll get an encouraging email about your child having a good day! Then you feel a little better. Because that means that this horrible ordeal might actually be worth it!
Speaking of that, in the back of your mind, you’ll always think that you don’t really care what their amazing track record is, because your child is probably going to be the exception. Because you know your own child and you know how many hours of therapy you have already gone through with him, and you just don’t think it’s possible to get over this hump. Yet you’ll continue to come to the realization that as difficult as it sounds, you know you’ll be ok if it doesn’t work! You’ll keep fighting! You’ll never accept the status quo for your child.
As time goes on, you will hopefully see progress. Some children progress slower than others. Our son was fortunate to have an amazing team of therapists who were determined to have him home with us for Christmas. They may have pushed him a little harder because of this, but it was effective! Some kids are there 4 weeks, some kids are there 4 months. I think it’s best to go in there with a reasonable yet flexible discharge goal in mind, and make sure to communicate it to the staff there.
A lot of the time that he was gone is just a long, sad daze to me. Looking back I wonder why time seemed to drag so much while he was gone! Since he’s been home I feel like time has flown by.
But the benefits of this type of program far outweigh the hardships! We are thankful for this program. It was the means God used to help our son live a better life. We are so glad we did it. It was awful while it lasted, but now it’s wonderful to see him so happy and actually talking with his sister! It makes me so happy! I don’t think we will ever take that for granted.
And one last thing: you’ll be amazed by the love and support that others show to you. We are still blown away by every single act of love shown to us. I want to say a special thank you to everyone who reads this blog that prayed for us and supported us every step of the way. We couldn’t have done it without you!