hi everyone, my life in a big nutshell

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Belzog, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. Belzog

    Belzog New Member

    Wow, I have found a home. That's how I feel. I have 2 boys. My 17 year old has physical disabilities (Spina Bifida, hydrocephalus, paralysis in his lower legs, bowel/bladder incontinence...) and Depression and ODD. He's been in an acute mental hospital for about a week each, twice. Also had a 2-day respite stay in a crisis shelter once. We've had family-centered intensive in-home counseling since last Oct.

    He's been on anti-depressants since last June. Switched from Prozac to Zoloft in Dec./Jan. The don't seem to help. Just added Seroquel a week ago, after trying Risperdal and Klonopin. The Seroquel seems to be helping A LOT!!! He's like a brand new person. He even showered today.

    He has a misdemeanor conviction for a concealed weapon at school from last fall. About a month ago I called the cops when I found him with pot at the park, so he has a court date for that coming up. Then, 2 days later, he was picked up for shoplifting. That charge has been elevated due to his prior conviction.

    The day of the hearing to see if he would get the shoplifting charge elevated or not, he wasn't going to go to court. He was lying on the couch - where he is not supposed to sleep because he does not do his self-care for his bladder and his diaper is insufficient to hold all his urine so he pees on the couch - and said the cops could just come and arrest him, he didn't care. I called his counselor that we have been working with since last Oct and he was able to pep-talk him into it. That was a very stressful day.

    He leaves his dirty diapers in the bathroom, making it unusably smelly, and hides them all over his room. He also wears his brother's clothes and pees in them, making his brother understandably upset.

    His psychiatrist says after he turns 18 next month that the first time he pees on my furniture I am to tell him, "I love you, but I love your brother and myself too, and this is unacceptable." And drive him to a homeless shelter or something. I'm still working on where to take him.

    His brother is 14 and, just this spring, got taller than his older brother, which irritates older brother no end.

    Older bro. smokes cigarettes too. He's threatened to kill himself. He's told me, "You know what I would like to do right now if there were no consequences? I would like to cut your throat, watch you bleed to death and **** on your corpse." Isn't that sweet?

    He walks with leg braces, and is supposed to use arm crutches, but doesn't always. He uses a wheelchair for long distances and sports (wheelchair basketball). He is also planning to use the chair for school this fall - community college.

    I have filled out his financial aid forms. His school application. His SSI application (twice now). Application for Medicaid (my kids had it for a year, then I got separated in '06 and income dist. payments made us ineligible) Now we are still ineligible (maybe) because my mom is paying the mortgage while I am in my last year of school this fall? I filled out another application for a 4yr university that is interested in him for a sports scholarship (wheelchair Bball). I applied, payed for and took him to his SAT. I filled out his Vocational Rehab application. And have spent the last week trying to find him a place to live. Most recently I have liaised with an advocacy group to help ID housing options and filled out a Section 8 housing application.

    All while he has been sleeping, or out of the house without my permission smoking cigarettes and talking to homeless people. and whatever else.

    I'm tired.

    He's got an idea that he wants my grandmother (93 yrs old) and my aunt to chip in with his step-father (who he hasn't seen since Nov. '06) to buy him a computer for college. I told him even if he gets the money, he'd be subject to having me confiscate it for not doing chores and self-care/hygiene.

    I have a dead-bolt on my bedroom door. After having to break in twice because I locked my keys in, I have a lock that can only be locked from outside by a key. I keep any alcohol and "controlled substances," ie: klonopin, percocet, and all the knives I've confiscated from him locked up. Along with my purse, cell phone, house phone, etc. (also any lighters I've found - he once made a "bomb" out of black powder from a road flare and a glass Xmas ball) in my room.

    I have my computer passworded and my car locked.

    I'm sort of used to it by now, but for a long time I felt like I was living in a prison.

    His brother, also has his door locked and I've recently given little brother a key to the rec. room because Big Brother was peeing on the furniture in there too. (The couch was in the living room. It's in the garage now because it had been peed on so many times that washing the cushion covers did not eliminate the smell. I'm hauling it to the dump first chance I get along with his mattress. I had a waterproof cover on it, but it got torn and he neglected to address the problem and peed all over the mattress.)

    So now my living room has the best $25 rug I could afford and 4 blue, plastic lawn chairs. The dog sleeps on the carpet, which is roughly in the spot where the couch was. I affectionately, and ironically refer to that area as "the couch" now, since she (dog) would never lay on the floor.

    I'm so happy that the Seroquel seems to be working, but I am so nervous as well. I don't trust to luck and I wonder if tomorrow I'll wake up and everything will go back to **** again.

    My sons have told me they don't like my boyfriend. The younger because he is concerned that said boyfriend is trying to step into the "Dad role;" the elder because, since my boyfriend's son is overweight, he has no prerogative advising me on parenting issues. Basically, neither of them want anyone interfering with their capacity to push me around.

    boyfriend has been in our lives for over 1 1/2 years. He has a 12 yr. old daughter who he is working with a psychologist to reunify with after his messy 06-07 divorce, and a 9 yr old son with Aspergers. We're quite a bunch, I can tell ya.
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Welcome to the board, Belzog!

    Don't really have any specific advice or experience in dealing with the situation you have there, but I'm sure others will chime in here and say hello and share their experiences with you. You certainly have a pile on your plate and sounds like you have MORE than done your share as the parent. There's only so much we can do and so far we can go it seems.

    My difficult child 2 just started Seroquel XR a few weeks ago and it seems to be helping him somewhat, though I don't think he's at a therapeutic level yet (300mg). He's already tried Risperdal, Abilify and Zyprexa with only temporary improvements before having dystonic reactions to all three.

    Anyway, I hope that Seroquel is finally the magic bullet for your difficult child and that you don't have to go on holding your breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak :)
  3. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hi Belzog,

    I'm glad that you found us and hope that you find good support and encouragement here.

    If the picture you used in your Avatar is one of yourself or a family member, we'd ask that you remove it and replace it with something that doesn't compromise your family's privacy. We've had some problem situations in the past so this is standard for us.

  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the board.
    I'll give a few suggestions a shot--and others will come along too with ideas of their own.
    Maybe look for somewhere he can live after he turns eighteen or even right now. If he is willing, you may want to have him get another evaluation to see if somebody else can help him more than this Psychiatrist has. Yes, I know he's probably seen twelve doctors already, but it may take thirteen to hit it lucky. I favor neuropsychologist evaluations.
    Are there any mood disorders on either side of the family tree? Substance abuse? Will Dad help out? Is your son maybe taking recreational drugs beyond pot (not that pot is good, but when they say "I'm just smoking pot" it very often means "I'm doing a lot more than that.") If he is, there's not much you can do unless he decides to quit.
    Little bro deserves a safe environment.
    Is your fiance truly up to dealing with your kids? Are you up to dealing with his kids? My advice: Think hard before you leap, especially with younger son not liking him either and his child having Aspergers (which can be difficult). Maybe pre-martial counseling would help you become a working family once you marry. I wish I'd done this with my hub! Poor guy didn't know what hit him--thankfully it worked out (don't want to discourage you). However, pre-marital counseling would have really helped our entire family.
    Your son sounds like he both has thoughts of killing himself and others--I would seriously wonder if he had bipolar. That's NOT a diagnosis because I am not qualified to make one. I'm just wondering if any psychiatrist has ever suggested that. If so, has he ever been on a mood stabilizer? (Lithium, Depakote, Trileptal, Tegretal, Lamictal). I'd see that neuropsychologist. THey do great evaluations :) Welcome to the board. I'm sorry you had to come here though.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    G'day, Belzog. Welcome. This is a good place to be when you need help with difficult kids.

    About getting out pee smells (and other smells) - have you tried splashing the area with vinegar before washing it? I cold water wash, because not only is it better for the environment but hot water can cook in a stain or a smell.

    For really difficult or severe smells, the regime is - splash with vinegar, soak in an enzyme soak (using WARM water, not hot) and soak overnight. If you need longer, drain and re-start the soak. Then cold-wash. If the stain or smell is still there, repeat.

    I have also, on the second wash or in a later wash, added a few drops of an essential oil to the wash. Good ones are eucalyptus; rosemary; lavender.

    THis method is absolutely brilliant for the smelliest BO, or socks, or just about anything else. It's even shifted tobacco stains from chain smoking.

    The vinegar - buy the cheapest white vinegar you can find. Do NOT buy "cleaning vinegar" unless it is cheaper than the cheapest ordinary white vinegar. easy child 2/difficult child 2 suggested putting the vinegar in a spray bottle and it is brilliant. Now she's moved out, she's taken the spray bottle and I have to buy another one!

    Most of the time I don't have to go through the full pre-soak regimen - I just spray the stain/smell with vinegar than throw the clothing in the laundry tub, to wait there until the next wash (which could be up to a week away). Generally that's enough these days. In the past I had to do the full soak system and also have had to wash difficult child 1's clothing separately, because it gets so smelly sometimes.

    I know it's not your main problem, but I figured any help has to be a bonus.

  6. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Hi Belzog and welcome!

    You sound remarkably together. The toileting issues alone would send me completely round the bend. ;) Is he as careless in public, or only in the home? Goodness.... I hear you about the uselessness of "adult" diapers - would he consider using a liner as well? We actually use a Pamper diaper as a liner for my oldest - has made a world of difference in accidents. It would be just a band-aid solution because your son really does need to manage this more appropriately (sounds like he's perfectly capable). Perhaps if he is able to go to college, the social aspect will nudge him in the right direction. But still.... gosh, what a frustrating thing to deal with!!

    I bought 2 quilted bed pads (like Chux pads you get in the hospital but reusable) that tuck in under the sides of the bed because my oldest is tube fed at night and ... well, I was washing a full set of bedding daily. Has really made the nighttime situation much more manageable. Would he be agreeble to trying that? Again, thinking in terms of him managing it, especially once he's out of the house?

    Does he acknowledge there's a problem, not only with the hygiene but with his behaviors in general? Is he participating in therapy or just going through the motions? What does he say he wants to do? I know that last is like opening Pandora's Box, but sometimes it helps to have an idea of what's going on in their heads, no matter how goofy, so you've got an idea of where to nudge them - sometimes. ;)

    It sounds like you are most definitely covering all the bases for him. Which I absolutely understand because as mothers we sure don't want our kids to end up on the street. But at the same time, he sounds completely uninvested in his own life and future. I kind of understand the pull, though my 17 y/o isn't living at home so I'm not having to deal with it daily. I have the list of resources at the ready, I've warned him and staff at TLP that come 18, he's out and on his own (will lose funding for TLP), but I'm consciously not taking any further steps because at some point he has to do it on his own. I don't know - maybe I should be more proactive but like you, I'm tired. ;) My own son, of course, has done absoluely nothing to prepare and will not even graduate high school.

    What is the plan for your son? Will he get his own place upon graduation? Will Voc Rehab provide services, and more importantly, will he utilize them? Would you be able to draw a line in the sand once he hits 18, and then follow through?

    Again, welcome and so glad you found us.
  7. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    How much of the extreme behavior you described started within the past year? I see red flags for an adverse reaction to antidepressants including the suicidal ideation, homicidal ideation, lack of impulse control (shoplifting), hostility. Other psychiatric adverse reactions common with antidepressants include anger, aggression, anxiety, restlessness, mania/mood swings.

    If some of his behavior is being caused or made worse by an adverse reaction to antidepressants, adding an antipsychotic is probably a temporary fix. It won't end or control the adverse reactions in the long run.

    Edited to add: I just noticed that your son engages in various forms of self harming. That's another red flag another for an adverse reaction to antidepressants. Has the self harming started or worsened in the past year?
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Belzog, welcome. Here's some iced tea ... :)
    I hope you stay around for awhile because this is a great group and you really have your hands full. You've already gotten some great ideas and suggestions.
    It's interesting that your boyfriend has a child who has Asperger's, because it indicates to me that he understands more issues than the average person and his experiences may be of some help to you.

    It seems to me that if your son can keep himself dry or at least wear diapers appropriately to play wheelchair basketball, he can be expected to keep himself dry on the couch. I'd work a deal with-him, that he needs to get up every hr or 2 if he's watching TV, and may not sleep on the couch, period. I guess that means you have to supervise him, or just remove the couch ... wait a min., didn't you say you have plastic furniture? Have you already removed the couch?
    Other than THAT :) do you ever get along? Are there any activities you enjoy doing together?
    I, too, am wondering when the self-harming and suicide issues surfaced.

    Long-range, I think looking ahead for an assisted-living place or group home for him to live is an excellent idea. I would definitely reinforce the idea that you love him, but he is old enough to take care of himself when he's 18.

    by the way, congrats on almost being finished with-school!
  9. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just popping in to add my welcome-glad you found us-you are not alone!
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Welcome!! I am so sorry you are dealing with all of this.

    what is the plan for after oldest is 18? Please be aware that if you choose to have him live at home, then want him out later then you may have to legally evict him. I encourage talking to Voc Rehab or whomever for places for him to stay.

    If he wants to go to college, the other kids are going to eat him alive for the toileting issue. It is harsh, but it may be the only way he learns to care about it.


  11. Belzog

    Belzog New Member

    Thanks everyone for welcoming me and your input.

    First an update: We talked to his public defender today. I had to yell at him to get him out of bed. "I am not coming back to the house to get you for your appointment this afternoon. I'm leaving in 20 minutes, be in the car!!!" Sheesh. I had knots in my stomach the whole drive to town.

    He's not charged with shoplifting but concealing merchandise. This is because the manager stopped him before he got out of the store. Had he actually made it outside, the charge would have been more serious. He's lucky. I have caught him with stuff lots of times that he didn't have money to pay for. Because he has a prior conviction, the seriousness of the charge is elevated though.

    The other charge we have to go to court for disposition for next week is his simple possession charge (marijuana.) That one is more complicated. My boyfriend and I are testifying against him, because we are the ones who found him with the pot. This being the case, I can't be present when his attorney advises him.

    When I talked to my mom about it, she asked me who's side I'm on. "His!" I want him to be held accountable for his actions before they escalate to something really heinous. I want him to learn his lesson NOW before something irremediable happens.

    When I asked the 3rd year law school girl assisting the atty how I go about requesting that his mental health be court-ordered, she told me that they would be representing my son and HIS best interests. "Wait a minute," I objected. "I have his best interests in mind too. I want him to continue to have the opportunity to explore his issues in counseling and if the only way he'll do that is if the court orders it, so be it." I figure about the best I can do is facilitate his having the opportunity to work on his challenges. That's about all I CAN do at this point.

    So I guess I'll be talking to the DA.

    Son says he'd rather go to jail than continue mental health treatment. What an idiot.


    Depressive symptoms: showed up before hospitalization last June. He's been a troubled young man for... a long long time. I had him psychologically evaluated by the school in another state after his bio-father dropped off the earth (ok, Japan) and he started pathologically lying. Actually that was about 2 years after he started having these fits. He would come home from school (2nd grade) and start cussing at me and trying to hurt me. Now, this is a kid who never swore, but he was using the most profane and violent language. And he was trying to bite me and claw me. Anything. He told me once that he was going to get a knife out of the kitchen and stab me and his little brother while we were sleeping. I guess I've been afraid of my son every since he was 7.

    Anyway, in 4th grade, the nice young girl with the dept of ed. said he was perfectly fine. The lying got worse. And I wanted to take him to counseling, but I was afraid he'd get me arrested. Besides, the nice doctor lady said he was acting appropriate for the life circumstances and everything was fine. I regret not having the guts to put in in therapy for another 5 years.

    He started skipping class and led some acquaintances to believe he was suicidal and had a knife at school in 9th grade. The school called me solely because they had to search his wheelchair and backpack. Otherwise they wouldn't have? What's up with that?

    So.... I don't think his mood issues are a function of his antidepressants.


    The Seroquel still seems to be helping, but not as magically as those first days.


    I already know about baking soda, soaks, vinegar, essential oils.... for urine smells. It's my experience that I've got a much better chance of having fresh laundry if it's cotton. Once a smell gets in synthetic fibers, forget about it. My boyfriend has gym clothes that he washed with scented fabric softener before we started dating over 1 1/2 years ago, and to me they still reek. Yucky chemical smell. ew.


    I've started my second summer school class. I'll graduate next spring. Wed. this week was the second day. I started panicking before class and went outside to cry. I called my boyfriend and he said all the right things. He assured me that my son would be ok, eventually and that things would iron out and all that. I don't care if it's plausible, sometimes I just need the hope.

    If he didn't have challenged kids, Autism and probable bi-polar daughter, I don't think he'd have the stomach for our load of ****.

    After court today, I felt totally emotionally drained and of course son was pitching a hissy because I won't entertain the notion of his friend sleeping over this weekend. "How about you do chores every day for a week, then ask me," I suggested.

    Well, he said he was going to try and die as soon as possible, and he was leaving the house without his leg brace or shoe on his right foot (he has an open sore that is not looking too good and is irritated by his appliance) and he didn't want to take the wheelchair, because it is one he's borrowing from a friend and he wasn't planning on coming back home. As you can imagine this all made me feel super.

    I was able to get him to agree to come home by 7pm and make an effort to be safe.

    My other son is spending the night at a friends' and by boyfriend and his son are camping tonight. So I went over to my neighbor's house and asked her, "Can I ask you kind of a personal favor?" "Will you give me a hug?" I started crying and she gave me a hug. We talked about how our sucky cable co. hasn't come through with repairing storm damage yet (it had been like 20 hours - come on people, we've got the net to surf and quality cable programs to watch!!!) and I told her about legal stuff.

    Don't you ever feel like you wish your life bored someone?
  12. Belzog

    Belzog New Member

    He had a neuropsychologist. evaluation in 07, was fine. I had my concerns regarding memory loss after some head surgeries in 06, either he recovered, or he was playing with me.
  13. Belzog

    Belzog New Member