Meltdown at Hospital

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by tired Cheryl, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. tired Cheryl

    tired Cheryl New Member

    This is the encore to "going out in Public with difficult child" posted yesterday. Mostly just a way for me to vent arount others that understand.

    Started out the day looking for another private pre-school for difficult child while the negotioations with school district continue. The place would never work-won't bore you with details. difficult child had the teacher and other kids pretty freaked out within 5 minutes of touring the place.

    Proceeded to Neurologist and discuss increasing Risperdal to 0.5mgs at night and adding 0.25 in am next week unless things are much better on 0.5 pm alone. Discuss her filling out OHI paperwork which she is happy to do.

    After that is therapy. It was almost enjoyable to watch difficult child try to control and maul intern the entire session (last week the focus of the therapy was my parenting style vs husband and mother in law) so I took a little guilty pleasure in this session

    Went to food court for lunch before stop at neuropsychologist to pick-up ammended report (that reflects expulsion from school and recommendations for PPCD)
    After navigating the horrors of the packed food court while alone with difficult child (no, unfortunately, there is no one that can help me on these visits) I actually got to eat lunch The only times previously that this has occured at hospital was when difficult child was admitted. difficult child ate as well. I was cleaning up our trash and asked difficult child if he was done with his fries and if it was ok for me to throw them away. he replies YES.

    I throw them away and he explodes like someone stuck a hot poker up his rear. Yelling, screaming, ripping his clothes off, biting me, scratching me. I sit on the floor with him, try to hold him so that he will not run wild through the place (he is wearing only a t-shirt at this point) get his underwear back on, but the rage continues, I am sobbing, people are horrified but not offering to help until a kind woman sitting close sees how bad it really is.
    I am sitting on top of difficult child while he is attcking me-any attempt to give him some space and he tries to flee, good samaritan helps me trap him in corner. Phone neuro and tell them that I am on my way up there. Receptionist tells me to go to ER- I say NO, I just need a safe quiet room for him. Good Samaritan carries my stuff and his clothes while I carry raging difficult child up to the neuro floor. I am scratched up and so is he. He is screaming. It was quite the scene. One that I have been through too many times already THANK GOD this one occured where I could actually get some help!

    Once in a quiet room where I can safely let him go he is better but still pretty enraged. doctor comes in talks to us and returns with some Risperdal. Tells me to wait there until I feel safe enough to drive with him.
    I ask her "what am I supposed to do with him when he does this at home? Two weeks ago when I phoned mother in law/father in law they thought I was over-reacting. Therapist says that I am supposed to remain in control, so what do you think?" She replies that he needs a "safe room." (with lock on outside so I can lock him in when he is dangerous) One of you veterans had posted this as the solution when I posted the story two weeks ago. But the therapist shot the idea down.

    Neuro doctor had a meeting to go to but tomorrow I will phone her and get "safe room" instructions in writing or an actual prescription written for such.

    I do not think that the 0.25mg Risperdal tablet she gave him helped as much as a place for him to just get it out of his system with hurting himself or others. He was not sedated by the medications and remained agitated for at least two hours.

    I never want to go <u>anywhere</u> with difficult child again! I feel like I have PTSD! Have an appointment with therapist for me next week. God I hate this! So much time, energy, and money spent on this crap!
    I hate epilepsy, odd, adhd, and whatever else he has as much as a mother with a kid that has a brain tumor hates cancer.

    When I read the posts of you veterans with older difficult children it makes me want to cry. I see my life before me and don't know how I will survive this child. I know that forums like these self-select for the worst cases and those that improve drop out most of the time. But when I look at my little difficult child I see a very long hard road for all of us.

  2. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    My heart hurts for you.

  3. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    Oh Cheryl! What a day! I'm so sorry you went through that bad of a meltdown in public.

    The bright side of things, the therapist now sees your side of things. I'm glad he gave her heII in there.

    I too think it was the "safe place" that helped him and not the medicine.

    I often think my difficult children do things specifically for the attention they get from others, good or bad. I may be wrong, but it seems like youngest difficult children ODD behaviors that I pick up on get worse in front of others.

  4. tired Cheryl

    tired Cheryl New Member


    Also, many times I feel as though he is "setting me up." Just like today when I asked him if he was finished AND if I could throw his french fries away he emphatically replied YES.

    I am probably way off base and reading more into this than I should but so many times I feel like he is setting me up for the explosions. It's like I walk around on eggshells never being able to predict his "triggers" or like I will never learn difficult child's rules. I am jumoing through flaming hoops all day.

    Earlier this very day meltdown at coffee place happened because I ordered him banana bread (I thought was his favorite) and not pumpkin bread. Stupid, stupid, mean, horrible me! This resulted in 15 minute tirade, throwing the evil banana bread and his drink! Yelling, screaming, etc, etc....

  5. Dara

    Dara New Member

    Cheryl, I am so sorry to hear it was so bad. I am glad that you were in a place where you could get help though. Usually these tantrums happen every where else but there. I dont know what else to say other than I am sending hugs and good thoughts your way!
  6. Dara

    Dara New Member

    Cheryl, I just read your new post and your son sounds exactly like mine. Sammy does the same thing, setting us up for an explosion. It is so frustrating because it happens at any time with any possible situation so we too are walking on egg shells and jumping through hoops all day long. I have asked the horrid question "do you want some juice" and we ended up in the er for that one. I wish there was some kind of device that could translate what was going on in those little brains of theirs! It would make life so much easier!
  7. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I've been in your shoes. The only difference was my daughter could control her rages -- there was no medication that helped her. They helped me because they sedated her, but that isn't what I wanted. If a medication wasn't specifically needed for an underlying condition, I didn't want her medicated. Sadly, her issues were behavorial. Your son has underlying conditions that do need medication. They may not always help, though. I'm glad you had a safe room for him. (I was the one who suggested the safe room.)

    For my daughter, her "safe room" was her bedroom. Her mattress was on the floor. She had a few soft toys in the room. The rest were in another room I called her playroom (it also had a sofa she could sleep on if she wanted). I took anything hard or breakable out of her room. Her window had a transparent plastic sheet on it that I could quickly remove if there was a fire. I installed a cheap, plastic ceiling fixture for lighting. The door locked from the outside. I did paint the walls with rainbows, stars and flowers so that it still had some warmth and caring for her.

    When I did this, I gently explained to my daughter that this was HER place. Here, she could go whenever she was upset or wanted to scream or needed to gain control of herself. She could go in it on her own if she wanted or I would escort there if she needed help. I did my best to not have her think of it as a place of punishment, but rather a save haven for her.

    If she went in it by herself, she was free to leave when she felt she was ready. If I simply walked her to her room, she was again free to leave on her own. If she had to carried into it, the room would be locked but would be unlocked the second she was in control. (If she went back into a rage, she was simply put back in there.)

    The other thing I did was explain to my neighbors that my daughter was having difficulties that, hopefully, would be under control in a year or two. I apologized for the noise but did want to reassure them that she was not being abused. If they ever had any doubts, I told to please call the police. I would take no offense and would understand perfectly.

    When I made the safe room for my daughter, she was five. I honestly wish I had done it much earlier. The room existed until she was 10. When she first had it, she could rage up to 4 hours. Once she saw this was not working, the rages decreased in time. As I said, your son's issues are complicated by medical and chemical problems. Hopefully, you will be able to find the right mix of medication and therapy to help him.

    To give you some hope, my daughter is now 20. She is not perfect, she can still yell loud enough to wake the dead two states over, but she has turned into a pretty remarkable young woman. She is finally talking about going to college with some very realistic ideas and goals. She never got into drugs beyond the very basic experimental stage. She has not been promiscuous even though she isn't an innocent, either. She is a hard worker. She no longer lies nor steals. So, don't give up. Changes can and do occur.

  8. tired Cheryl

    tired Cheryl New Member

    Thanks for the hope.
  9. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't try this unless you want to take a chance that you will end up in jail. I imagine that she meant a "safe room" and that you are supposed to stay in it with him. But no locks. (by the way, we tried this with M when he was about 7. He broke the door down.) Unfortunately if a nosy neighbor or a teacher hears of it and reports it, you will have a very difficult time explaining it, especially now that the therapist has told you not to.

    I hope that you will find a place for difficult child. husband and I weren't really able to work the same hours when M was young. Daycare hated having him. I worked nights and husband worked days. It was easier when he was school age, because no one had to be with him all day long.
  10. tired Cheryl

    tired Cheryl New Member

    Hi, Witzend:

    husband and I <u>have</u> been working different shifts so that one of us is with the kids at all times since easy child was born 5 years ago. He works nights and I work days right now.

    After five years of this we would like to have a normal schedule. Also, difficult child is almost school age. I do not want to homeschool nor do his doctors think that this is right for him.
    Also, I would like for him to start learing how to behave in regular social situations like school, birthday parties, going to friends homes, etc. He is almost four and we think that it is time for him to learn this. Regardless of his disorders he has to live in this world and I want him to start learing these skills.

    Also, making some friends would be a nice long-term goal. Not happening now.

    WE are in the process of opening our own business, YIKES, so that we will be on the same schedule but still have the flexibilty for all of the doctor's appts, school expulsions, etc
    Also, kids can be with us at the business after school (I am hiring babysitter so that I can get work done while they are there)

    AS far as the safe room goes there is NO WAY I would be able to keep him contained in a room without some sort of lock. Which is why now these meltdowns go on for hours sometimes.
    I will definately get the neurologist to put in writing specifically what she means.

    Funny and sad that you mention jail. I feel like I am in jail right now. Also, we worry if that is where difficult child is heading.
  11. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    What we have done is go in their room with them.

    I agree with witzen, do not put a lock on it, unless you're prepared for legal trouble. If anyone hears of this, especially school, they will report it.

    husband just goes in their room and sits in front of the door on the inside with them. There have been times he has had to sleep there. It is exhausting and uncomfortable, but it is the only option we could come up with.
  12. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    When my daughter was locked in her room, it was at the suggestion of her therapist. He was the one who actually helped me "build" her safe room. I also had a written note from him explaining the need for this room. I also had a copy of his "prescription" on file with the police department and her social worker so there was no question of abuse in the minds of the authorities. Had there been any objections by either her social worker or the police, I would not have done it.
  13. tired Cheryl

    tired Cheryl New Member

    If I go into a room with him he will continue to bite and scratch me which I just cannot handle some days.
    husband is not home at nights and sleeps (like a log) during the days.

    Usually I lock myself in a room (with difficult child pounding on the door) so I can get away from him for just a moment's relief from the biting, scratching, hanging on me, etc.

    The yelling and screaming is bad enough but the physical stuff is intolerable on days when I have just had enough.
  14. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    difficult child's Occupational Therapist (OT) recommended a safe place also. However it was the closet (not locked). Blanket, pillow a couple of cuddly animals -- he could close the door if he needed the dark.

    Never used as punishment -- strictly his area to self calm.

    Sometimes the world is just too overstimulating for some of our kids. As their central nervous system matures, they can get better. With that said, it was Occupational Therapist (OT) for motor skills and sensory issues that helped smooth our way.

    There was a time that I didn't take difficult child out shopping or anywhere else for that matter unless absolutely necessary or husband was with me. I remember the days.... But, hey, he's doing super good now with these type issues.

    Shoot, he even went to his first dance a couple of weeks ago. :faint:
  15. BestICan

    BestICan This community rocks.

    Hi Cheryl,

    I want to offer a tiny crumb of hope. Our kids have very different behaviors but mine has partial complex seizures also. And when my son was having seizures (they appear to be controlled now) his behavior was VERY unpredictable and he was in trouble constantly. Made my life/his life miserable.

    Now that he's in 2nd grade and has been on Tegretol for almost 2 years I'm really noticing a huge improvement. He's mellowing out, he's maturing, he can handle himself in a lot of situations that were impossible before.

    Why the improvement? Great therapy, controlled seizures, overall maturity. Who knows, probably lots of other things, too. I don't know anything about your difficult child's EEGs or MRIs but I'm told that growing out of these seizures is a definite possibility for my son. Maybe it is with your difficult child, too, and maybe when the underlying condition is less of a problem, he'll have a better time coping and his behaviors will reflect that.

    I just want you to know that you're not guaranteed a life of misery. He's SO young, you're working SO hard and doing SO many things right. I believe things will not always be so hard for you.


  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Cheryl, it's not so much the severity of the meltdowns, as the sensitivity of the triggers. Kids at that age with no other way to deal with a high frustration level will, if sufficiently provoked, totally lose it. So what provokes it? In this case, I think it was a communication failure - you thought he was OK with you throwing out his chips, he either changed his mind (less likely) or failed to understand your intention. THAT is a concern for me, as it seems to indicate a language problem.

    Language is not about speech, so much as it is about communication and understanding. You did all the right things, from your point of view - you asked a clear question, you got what seemed to be a definite, considered answer. Then the unthinkable - he raged. Which tells me he did not agree, as you thought.

    So why the confusion?

    Think about it from his point of view. He's having a good day despite his surroundings being challenging. It's noisy, it's crowded. Being noisy and crowded makes it much harder to stay on task when he's being spoken to. He may have misheard or misunderstood. he may have heard, "Do you like your chips?" or he may have heard any one of a number of possibilities, for which his answer was, "Yes." And then you picked up the chips and threw them away. For him, this is a total infringement on his personal space and his rights as an individual. It is disrespect, it is total lack of consideration for him.

    I'm not saying you did this with such intent, only that from his point of view, that is what it seemed. And when he raged, you (this inconsiderate, hulking adult) tried to physically restrain him, whereon he fought, clawed, bit and did everything he could to get away from you.

    While he continues to respond, think and feel this way, he will see you as the enemy. The fact that he began by having a relatively good day shows he is also forgiving. But this level of miscommunication is currently a huge problem and I think he needs to be assessed by a speech pathologist. A good one.

    "The Explosive Child" is very helpful, I found, at helping you understand the child's point of view. Not so you can always give the child what he wants, that isn't what this is about. But it makes it easier to understand their triggers so you can avoid them, find other ways around them. For example, with the chips - once you understood t hat he was happy for the chips to be thrown away, I would have asked HIM to do it. They're HIS chips, he needs to take responsibility and begin to do things for himself. it's a "big boy" task for which he can earn praise. And if you had done this, it is at THIS point the misunderstanding would have been revealed, probably without a meltdown. He might have shouted at you, "I DON'T WANT TO THROW THEM AWAY, I'M NOT FINISHED!" At which point you quietly say, "I'm sorry, I thought you said you were finished. You don't have to throw them away if you're not finished, it's OK. And please don't shout at me, I'm not shouting at you."

    His reaction is one of anxiety at losing something he wasn't ready to let go of, and having someone else control this. Kids like this NEED to feel in control because the world is a scary, confusing, chaotic place to their minds and the more the child can control, or predict what is happening, the safer they feel. When they feel unsafe or lacking control, you get rages. What you can do is give him control, where it doesn't infringe on your authority. So if you want him to have a healthy drink like milk, and he doesn't want milk but will happily have some cheese and maybe a drink of water, then let him. You're getting what you want - fluid and nutrition into him - and he is getting to choose the manner in which he gets it. The trick is to avoid backing yourself into a corner too soon.

    He's still very young. A lot of tantrums are triggered often in kids this age. The degree of the reaction and the frequency is what is upsetting you, and I think this needs to be investigated, so you can help him reduce both the intensity of his reactions, and his need to react. Part of the investigation is your own observations of what YOU see triggering him. Keep a diary, note things down. Often by going back and reading them later, you can see a pattern or spot something you missed first time round. 20:20 hindsight can be very revealing. We often get things wrong in the heat of the moment, but with time and experience we do learn.

    Hang in there. It WILL get better as his communication improves and he learns better control of his frustration. Also, if there is a problem with communication at any level, this will drastically increase his frustration - it can make a HUGE difference.

  17. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    I just worry Cheryl, please don't think I was judging you. I do understand the need to put a boundary between you both.

    If you have a note from the therapist for it, than you should be covered. Let his teachers know ahead of time. That may keep them from making any initial calls. I don't want you getting in trouble when what you're trying to do is help him and you stay safe.

  18. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hey, we have all treid some 'non-traditional' parenting techniques. I never had to worry about a safe room, but I certainly would be doing it in your situation. You have to keep the both of you safe. If that is the only way even the professionals can think of, then do it. I agree with a written note. That was a good thought.

    I wish you some peace today. I hope you get a glimmer of love and fun from him today!
  19. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, Cheryl, you poor thing! I felt like I was right there with-you!

    Unfortunately, I know how you feel. My difficult child melted down at the Langly Air Show when he was 2 or 3, and wouldn't you know, due to the stress, I threw out my back. It took 3 MPs and a golf cart to get us off the tarmac. They were standing there with-guns and everyone was afraid to touch him. Sheesh.

    I'm wondering if, when you get "set up" with-something like the french fry issue again, you say, "Okay, here you go, you can throw them away," in a happy voice. Because I've had that same thing happen and he'll insist he said NO. Arrrgh! Of course, then you may have a meltdown because HE doesn't want to get up and throw them away.

    After that is therapy. It was almost enjoyable to watch difficult child try to control and maul intern the entire session (last week the focus of the therapy was my parenting style vs husband and mother in law) so I took a little guilty pleasure in this session

    I love it! Take any pleasure you can get, guilty or not.

  20. tired Cheryl

    tired Cheryl New Member

    Hi, Gals:

    yes, hindsight is 20/20. I would have loved to have thought of having difficult child throw the fries away himself. <u>Usually</u> my mind <u>is </u>working on these type of ideas constantly.
    He has trained me well over the past four years. But with the physical and mental strain there will sure to be lapses in my judgement and then I pay a HUGE penalty.

    Also, my own feeling is that it was not the "triggers" like specifically the throwing away the fries that is the problem. Many times I have avoided one landmind only to have one blow up in my face just minutes later. I really feel like if it hadn't been the fries it would have been <u>something</u> else very shortly thereafter (someone else pushing the elevator button before him, the way I drive the car, the parking space I chose, countless other things.) It seems like he is a volcano with lava ready to errupt regardless. He was even wearing his volcano t-shirt yesterday.

    That being said, I will continue the mental and physical gymnastics of thinking through EVERY darn thing I say and do in an attempt to avoid horrible scenes like yesterday.
    What a way to live!