Tuesday, November 27, 2012


photo credit-Tim Green
creative commons license

Life is full of so many milestones for your kids-the first time they roll over, crawl, and talk.  Some kids hit all of their milestones "on time", some are delayed, and some never hit certain milestones.  Others, they hit some other milestones...

like the first time they're admitted to an inpatient psych unit.

Buddy Boy is almost 13 now, and his behavior has become more problematic since this last summer. He's been not only much more argumentative, but more angry (screaming, yelling obscenities, and sometimes hitting, kicking, and throwing things).  We've figured it was the result of puberty kicking in, and old medication regimens becoming ineffective.  Besides his autism and ADHD, Buddy Boy also carries a psych diagnosis, and has occasionally had suicidal ideations since he was at least 4 (it really hurt to write that last sentence).

We've been working with Buddy Boy's psychiatrist to get him evened out, but mounting behavioral problems (with daily calls from school) finally led to a mutual agreement that led to him having "homebound" school starting in mid-September.  We still haven't had an IEP to chart a future for school.

Over the weekend Buddy Boy was perseverating over an erector set project that we've been working on.  The kit is a bit above his level, but he's been wanting to do it, so we've been helping him alot.  Saturday Buddy Boy announced that we promised him we would complete it by the end of the weekend (neither of us had promised this, but he insisted).  I worked two hours on it with him on Saturday, and another two hours on Sunday.  Today he managed to finish it, but it (a motorized forklift) didn't work right.

When Liz pulled into the garage from picking up Sweet Pea from school, Buddy Boy was standing in the garage, reeking of the smell of week killer.  He spit two batteries out of his mouth before starting a tirade against Liz, telling her how this was all her fault, and that he had drank a cup of week killer.

Liz grabbed the week killer and Buddy Boy, told Sweet Pea to stay in the house, and sped to the Emergency Department (ED).  She rightly judged that she'd get there quicker driving him than calling and waiting for an ambulance.  She called me from there, where I joined her.

In the past, Buddy Boy has threatened to do things like cut himself, but we've always been able to fairly easily and quickly talk him into putting the knife down.

When I got to the ED, Buddy Boy was sitting on a cart, with a fairly angry look on his face.  He told me couldn't wait to get out of there, so that he could really get back at us.  Evidently he had repeatedly voiced to the doctors at the ED that if he went home, he would repeat the same thing.  So they wouldn't release him.  He admitted after awhile that he hadn't swallowed any batteries (he initially claimed he had, so they had to x-ray him), but still said he drank "some" of the weed killer, though from talking to poison control he was showing no signs of it.

He remained relatively calm until we took him to the unit.  They insisted he take off his "Ben 10" wristband, and he was told that neither of us could stay with him.  He lost it, screaming, crying, saying he wanted to go home.  Liz held it together, though it had to have been one of the worst days she's had.  She's only been away from him for a total of 4 nights since he was born (two to attend the out of state funeral of her mother, and two to take a short trip to see a friend).  I've been away to at least one conference a year, but still it will be hard tonight.

I'm just hoping he can get it together enough to get out of there quickly.  We've done anything to avoid inpatient placement, as I just don't believe in a "good" inpatient setting.

Prayers and well wishes welcomed.


Danni said...


I hope that this is a short stay, and it is beneficial. I have a little understanding of what Buddy Boy is going through (my depression at his age mostly displayed as anger and verbal aggression) and I really hope you can find the right method of helping him.

I know at that age I didn't understand my own feelings, and it was a struggle to express them (hence the aggression). Severe anxiety didn't help, nor did puberty. I also wasn't diagnosed as autistic then so I had no way of knowing why I was different and odd, which made things worse.

I'm 26 now, and things have improved. I stopped being outwardly aggressive around 16, and inwardly about 24. I was diagnosed at 21, and I think if I'd been diagnosed earlier I would have recovered quicker.

Knowing that Buddy Boy is autistic and has ADHD will help, so long as those treating him understand he may respond differently to treatments (including medication- I tend towards oversensitivity but sometimes get the opposite reaction to what is intended).

Good luck. I really hope you find a way for him to be at peace with himself and the world.

jypsy said...

Warmest thoughts to you all. Wishing you all the very best.

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

You know... you are not alone. And it is hard. And I am praying for you all.

I think there is starting to be some real hope for our children, but sadly we also have to realize that this is a chronic condition that needs monitoring/help like diabetes or anything else.

I find myself reading your post and being so thankful that even though you are going through HELL right now, that Buddy Boy is in a safe place... wishing you the best always.

Anonymous said...

We were in the same spot 18 months ago, and today our daughter is doing well in high school. I still remember that snowy drive to St. Charles(the only open bed for adolescent in-patient that night). Hoping for a good outcome for all of you.

farmwifetwo said...

Sorry to hear that.

My eldest (13, passing for normal (now) ASD)has always had severe TOM - the kid has no ability to infer or empathise although his severe ASD bro does. He's also had behavioural and anxiety issues. From 6 to 8 he was on Risperdal after it rebounded and until last Xmas he was high maintenance but not "wrong" and with the IEP and us working at it daily it was "OK".

Then last Xmas his memory skills vanished and by Feb he was on Adderall. But with the anxiety we could not stay at 15mg and in less than a week were back to 10 and at the end of school back to 5. By June he "went off the rails". He lived in high anxiety, fight, flight, sensory overload. After a miserable summer, he's on Strattera. I know, it creates the suicide thoughts in some, but for him it's a miracle med.

With the school's help in rebuilding the social filters, we're back to normal, cranky, teenager... I do hope with help for your son you get there too and soon.

Anonymous said...

I feel AWFUL that I didn't see this post until I went looking for something today. My heart goes out to you and your family. I hope and pray that Buddy Boy is getting the help he needs and is donig better.

I think I took you out of my blog feed because I thought you had closed down your blog. I think of you and your family from time to time and always send good thoughts to you when I do.

Wishing you well. And hugs. xoxo Niksmom

Anonymous said...

Joe, I don't blog anymore and rarely read blogs unless a pop up shows up on my facebook feed, but I wanted you to know how sorry I am for all of this difficulty and struggling you, buddyboy, and your family are going through. Last year was a bad one for us too, Bub (was in the Mercy outpatient program off of olive and then ended up at Cardinal Glennon for 2 weeks. In the middle of that he broke out a window and ended up on a roof. I metion this not because our kids are exactly a like (they aren't), but that we are having similar issues, and as you know, I'm physically close to you(though we have moved further into the country). If you need anything, your wife needs anything, please pm me and we can e-mail, chat on the phone, or friend me on FB. Anything. Just let me know.

kathleen said...

Haven't been by in a while...I am hoping things have settled down since this last post-and that you are all o.k.

Anonymous said...

Things HAVE gotten better (if not great). We hustled Buddy Boy out of there after one night, and now that school is out (a BIG stressor), we are into a fairly low stress summer routine.

Our garden is in (with SOME help from the kids), and we just came back from a few days visiting family and going to the beach.

Too soon, it will be time to start planning in earnest for the coming school year.


jypsy said...


Thanks for the update Joe!

Daisy said...

I'm reading this long after it happened - my heart just breaks for you. I hope life is straightening itself out, if only a little.

kate said...

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