Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Incident Reports

Daughter earned two incident reports at the workshop today. Yesterday she told us about her plan for staying away from Flasher. She practiced it. She told us that she wasn't ready for a boyfriend and was not going to look for one. Today she went to the workshop and spent the whole day ignoring the supervisor's attempts to redirect her away from Flasher. She hit him. She stood up and cursed loudly at everyone in the workshop.
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Of course, she didn't tell me none of this. In the phone calls, she insisted she was staying away from Flasher and wasn't being treated right. Case Manager called to fill me in. CM said this was the first they had seen of this behavior at the workshop, in the past she's saved the anger and acting out for me. When she got home, I asked her about her day. I could see her mind working as she tried to figure out how much I knew. I told her it would be easier if she just told me the truth, and then she wouldn't have to worry about what I knew. Instead, she decided to tell me nothing. She retreated to her room and has been there most of the evening. When she goes to her room, she sleeps. I don't know how she can sleep this much, but she does. When she came down for supper, and I asked her if she intended to do any housework this evening. She told me to get off her back. I pointed out I wasn't on her back-- all I had done was ask her questions, and when she refused to answer them, I hadn't pushed. I'm going to have to call her down to take her insulin and night time pills soon.
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Tomorrow Flasher won't be at the workshop, so it will be interesting to see how she does. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about next week yet. Right now I'm taking it one day at a time.

How to Make Mom Crazy

Daughter truly is resourceful and talented when it comes to pushing my buttons. I think it's high time that I recognize and honor her ability here on my blog. So, in honor of her ability to make me yell, I offer you this list:
  • Holy Week is always a good time to push Mom. As she is trying to plan sermons and worship services, tell her you want to have fun with her.
  • Anytime she asks you to do a chore, fall asleep.
  • When she is on the phone, sneak away with the remote control for the satellite. Tell her you're cleaning your room while you're watching TV in the den.
  • Always wait until after all the laundry is done to find all your dirty clothes and put them in the hamper.
  • Tell Mom that Kitten is always using the litter box and that you are cleaning it everyday. When she takes an electrician into the litter box room, allow her to discover that you've been lying and that Kitten isn't using the litter box and you haven't been cleaning up after her.
  • Tell Mom you took care of the blankets she had to wash because you wet the bed and then stuff them beside the dryer on top of the vent.
  • Always use the last piece of toilet paper. Never hang a new roll.
  • Eat the marshmallows she bought and hid to make resurrection buns for the Sunday morning children's sermon so that she can spend an hour making an extra trip to town to buy more.
  • Take advantage of anytime she can't see you to sneak more food, and then assure her you haven't eaten anything and you don't understand why your blood sugar is so high.
  • Always leave the light on when you go down to the basement to get something. This works so well, never turn off a light.
  • When she is in a hurry, always take your time. She needs to slow down, so give her that opportunity every chance you get. It is especially helpful to stand outside the car with the door open asking questions when you're late for an appointment.
  • When she discovers the clothes you have hidden on the closet floor on one side of your closet, deal with those, but make sure you dump other things on the floor on the other side of your closet.
  • Insist that you don't want to help with this month's senior luncheon and that you need to be at the workshop.
  • When you know she is going to be busy with the senior luncheon call her (repeatedly) sobbing and insisting she has to come get you right now.
  • Let her know that she is making your life a living h***.

Fortunately, she has been at the workshop all day today and will be at the workshop all day tomorrow. Even better, she will be at the workshop 4 days next week. She will be at the workshop 4 days next week no matter what happens.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

RAD Puppy

I was talking to Sister today when the call was interrupted. She said it was the Dog Trainer returning her call. When she called me back she explained that the vet had referred her to DT after Puppy displayed some alarmingly aggressive behavior. They got Puppy from a rescue organization last fall.
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DT listened to Sister's description of the problem and asked her how long Puppy had been with the rescue people. He want on to explained that the behavior she is describing is common in dogs who have been separated from their mother too soon. He said that dogs learn their socialization skills from their mothers, and that 2 to 8 weeks is the critical time. He went on to explain that the cure is for Puppy to come to trust her completely. Puppy needs to know that she can be trusted to control the situation.
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I listened with growing amazement, "You have a RAD puppy!"
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She sighed, "I know."
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DT doesn't know if they will be able to get Puppy to trust so completely that the aggression can be controlled. He is coming out after Sister's vacation to evaluate Puppy. Even for dogs that early bond with mom is key for their emotional well being. Even for dogs the lack of that bond can lead to aggressive behavior later.

Getting It

The church has decided to update the electrical in this house, which was built in 1900. Today an electrician came by to check things out. It was a gift. I didn't have to explain why there was an alarm on Daughter's door, the only furniture was a mattress on her floor, and the room smelled of urine. I didn't have to apologize for the fact that the rest of her furniture was spread throughout the rest of the second floor.
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He saw the locked box on the kitchen counter and said they had one like that at one time. Then one of the kids took a screwdriver to the lock and destroyed it. He is the parent of adoptive children and at one time did therapeutic foster care (until their daughter accused them of abuse). He understood. He's living this life. We talked-- and part of our conversation was even about the electrical needs of the house.
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School was closed today because of fog, so Secretary's 4 foster sons were in the office with Daughter. It was a nice enough day that we sent them over to the park to play basketball. I shouldn't say this, but for Tuesday of Holy Week I think I'm in fairly decent shape. Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunrise bulletins are printed, and the main service Easter is ready to print. I've got a sermon outline outline for Thursday evening, and the liturgy is all done. Sunrise is pretty much set. This afternoon we have a meeting at the workshop about Daughter's return. She thinks she's ready to go back 5 days a week now. We'll see. She's been dry the last two nights.
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It's a relief to have things going more smoothly at the moment. I will enjoy it as long as it lasts.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Expectations

Tuesday Daughter and C cleaned her room (again). Currently she has a mattress and a lamp in it. Every day I've been reminding her to take care of her room. This morning I discovered that she had a huge pile of dirty clothes in the corner and she'd thrown clean clothes on the floor of her closet (again).
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I asked her, "Is it expecting too much to want you to take care of your clothes?"
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"No. You're not expecting too much."
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"So what needs to happen so you will take care of them?"
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"You need to keep reminding me and check to make sure I do it."
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Before we headed to Town, she sorted all the dirty clothes and put them in the hamper. When we got home, I reminded her about her room.
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"It's done."
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"Did you hang up the clothes on the closet floor?"
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"Yes, I did."
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"Okay, come on, I'll check it with you."
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"Okay, fine. I didn't do it."
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"Well you'd best go take care of them now."
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There are only a couple of items she needs to take care of. But since that time she's snuck food, slammed doors, yelled choice thoughts at me, pouted in her room, and is currently sitting in a living room chair with her backed turned towards me sleeping. She hasn't taken care of the clothes. I'm back to wondering if I expect too much from her.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

God Is Good. All the Time.

This morning in worship our theme was praising. The children came in waving their palm branches, and they sang a wonderful little song that was set to a familiar folk tune. It took me a few minutes, but I finally identified the song: What do you do with a drunken sailor? I found that amusing. As I talked to them during the children's time, I taught them a call and response.
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Call: God is Good
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Response: All the time.
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Call: All the time.
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Response: God is good.
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The kids really got into it. I asked them if they thought the congregation could do it. They didn't, which was rather amusing. So we tried it with the congregation, and the congregation liked it. I kept them awake for my sermon by throwing that in every so often.
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I've been pondering God's goodness this week. Daughter is more stable for now, and hopefully will continue to improve and have several months of stability before the next crisis. In the midst of the challenges with Daughter, it can be very hard to stay positive and see God's goodness. I know I was called to be Daughter's mom, and I tell myself God didn't call me to her for it to end in disaster. When she is stuck in her downward spiral, that can be hard to remember. Just because I don't remember it doesn't mean it isn't true.
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We are now officially in Holy Week. Secretary has an appointment with a surgeon on Wednesday. Already we can see God's hand at work in her health problems. She needs surgery on some torn ligaments in her knee. She had presurgical tests done, one of which was a chest x-ray. The chest x-ray showed a mass, which led to a CT scan. The CT scan showed something in the lymph nodes, which led to a PET scan. The PET scan shows that the mass on the lung is probably a calcification and is not a cause for concern. The lymph nodes, though, are a problem. If this is cancer, it was discovered before she had symptoms because of an injured knee. Like I said, God is good. All the time.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saying No

Wednesday night, when Daughter was at basketball skills practice, one of her former boyfriends wanted to start up again. This particular one is currently in trouble with the law for sexting his current girl friend's cousin, who is way under 18. She told him no, and reminded him he was with someone else. She called me yesterday at lunch time and was upset because Sexting was mad at her for reporting their conversation to his current (now former) girl friend. The story had expanded, and he had told her he was going to do anything he could to get her pregnant. I told her she had been right to tell him no and shifted her focus to her birthday celebration last night.
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This morning, as she was getting ready for her state tournament today, she told me she needed to tell me about something that had happened last night. Flasher had called her (using Nice Guy's cell phone) after she had gone to bed. He wanted to know how long he had to stay away from her and when they could get back together. She says she told him no, too. She also reported that another of her friends at the workshop is pregnant.
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I'm inclined to believe her. I'm pleased that she's been saying no. I'm concerned about the culture at the workshop and the current focus on couples, sex and pregnancy. The fact (if it is a fact) that she has turned down two overtures is an indication that she is getting stronger. She may be able to spend more time at the workshop. The pressure she is getting, though, is concerning. Will they wear her down? Even if she is setting good boundaries, it doesn't mean her friends will respect them. Many of them have issues beyond their developmental handicaps. They have a difficult time accepting and respecting boundaries. I will continue to do everything I can to strengthen Daughter, and hopefully she will continue to have the strength to say no.

Friday, March 26, 2010

In the Card Aisle

Today is Daughter's 23rd birthday. With everything that has been going on, I hadn't done any shopping for it until today. Yesterday I asked her what she wanted and we picked some place to go out for supper. This morning I had a breakfast appointments with a member who wanted to talk, and after I dropped her off, I headed to the super store.
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I stood in the card aisle searching for an appropriate birthday card. I don't want to tell her how proud I am when she is feeling ashamed of herself for wetting the bed every night. I don't want to encourage her to follow her dreams, because many of them are unrealistic due to her limitations. The cards for young adults talk about how they are still in our thoughts even when they are away. Daughter is not only in my thoughts, she's in my house. I didn't want a kid's card, but most of the cards for adults weren't appropriate. I didn't want to go with humor, because I wanted something that assured her of my love, even in the challenging times. I finally found one that I thought would work and headed to the grocery side of the store.
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I wandered the aisles fighting tears. Birthdays are a time of celebration, and I celebrate the gift of Daughter's life. I am glad that I adopted her, even though there are times when it is hard. I would do it all over again. Birthdays are also a time for reflecting on growth and progress. As I wandered the aisles of the store, my thoughts were on all the things Daughter can't do. By the time I turned 23, I had finished college and one semester of seminary. Far Away Sister was married and working as an electrical engineer on her 23rd birthday. Both of us were following our dreams.
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Daughter has dreams, too. Unfortunately, not many of them are realistic. She's not going to be able to become a nurse like Grandma. She isn't going to be an ice skater competing in the Olympics (last week's dream-- I pointed out that she hadn't even been able to handle roller skates). Marriage is probably beyond her. She wants to adopt a child, but she can't even take care of herself. I find myself grieving for all the things she will never experience, all the things she will never be able to do.
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But then my reflections go in another direction. Is it our accomplishments that define us? Our society says it is. For many years I thought it was for me. For a long time I didn't feel like I was "good enough." I'm not sure what it meant to be "good enough," that was beyond me. When I was working in the inner city, I often proclaimed that God didn't make any junk. I'm not sure I believed it, though.
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Many of the things I was taught to value are beyond Daughter. She'll never graduate from college or be capable of intellectual conversation. Most likely, she'll never be able to live independently. She's not going to be able to drive. Yet even with all her limitations, she is a much loved child of God. Even with all the things she can't do, I am grateful that she is my Daughter. She has taught me that our value lies not in what we do, but in who we are. While I grieve all the things she will never be able to do, I love her for who she is. Today I will celebrate her life, not because of what she has accomplished, but because she is my Daughter. I think that is a lesson our society would do well to learn. Our value lies in who we are, not what we do. God loves us because we are God's children, not because we do great things.
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Today, as Daughter turns 23, I will celebrate her life. Yes, there is some grief, but there is always more joy. God is good. All the time.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Light Bulb Moments

I took Daughter to see Psychiatrist this afternoon. Daughter told Psychiatrist that she needed to get back to the workshop full time because, "Mom doesn't like having me home."
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I was shocked and dismayed. "It's not that I don't like having you home. It's very difficult for me to work when you are at home."
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Psychiatrist then asked Daughter if she was needy and clingy when she was at home. Daughter acknowledged that this was the case.
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Psychiatrist told me she doesn't see this as a medication issue, but a developmental issue. She explained what she thought was going on to me while Daughter sat there shut down. When we got to the car, Daughter told me she didn't understand what Psychiatrist was talking about and it had bothered her. So I explained. I told her that Psychiatrist thought that part of Daughter wanted to move out and stand as an adult and live in a group home or supported living. There is also part of her that wants to stay with me and have me take care of her and keep her safe. Daughter immediately said, "Well she's right."
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I went on to explain that we had talked about how she needed to move into a group home, but we would wait until after we had moved and then after we'd been there about a year so she was comfortable with the area. I said, "Let's put it this way, you are going to turn 23 tomorrow. The whole time you are 23 you will be living with me. She clarified this a bit, and said, "That sounds real good." I could hear the relief in her voice.
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This morning when she came downstairs I had her breakfast and lunch ready and waiting for her so she could eat in the living room and I could supervise her while I was doing my exercises. I followed her into the kitchen to take care of her dirty dishes and put her linens in the washing machine. I was silent, but she was talking about how she was too old to be wetting the bed and it was embarrassing and she couldn't have friends over because of it.
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Do I think we're through this crisis? I am cautiously optimistic. I think at the very least she is thinking more clearly a little more connected with reality. I'm hoping she can return to the workshop full time next week.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dad's Corned Beef and Stuff

Since Linda B asked, there isn't really a recipe, but here's how I cooked it. I have a pasta pot with an insert. Occasionally I use it for pasta, but most of the time I use it for other things, such as steaming meat. I put water in the bottom of the pan, dumped the spice packet in that came with the corned beef, and then put it on to cook. I had it hot enough to simmer, but didn't want it boiling so hard that it came up over the meat. This time I didn't need to add additional water, but sometimes I do. It was a small piece of meat, and it took several hours to cook. I cooked it until it reached 160 degrees (Fahrenheit). When it was up to temperature, I pulled it out of the pan, let it sit for a couple of minutes, and then sliced it (make sure you cut corned beef across the grain).
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I don't like the cabbage, potatoes, and carrots, though Dad used to do those. He'd put them in the water to cook after he'd pulled out the corned beef. He loved cabbage soup. I've never been a big fan of it. Anyway, that's how I did it. We've finished most of it now.
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I had a wonderful surprise this evening. C stopped by with her niece, who was born prematurely and might be up to 5 lbs now. She's beautiful, and very tiny. It made my evening.
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Two churches have now called me to set up phone interviews during Holy Week. I told the woman who called tonight that I couldn't believe these committees think we're available Holy Week for interviews. Of course I agreed to the interview. The two interviews next week are with suburban churches in more upscale communities. I've been contaminated by almost 14 years in Tiny Village. I don't know if I can do suburbia anymore. Plus, the suburbia I grew up in was definitely not upscale. God will provide the right place at the right time....

Six Months of Grief

This week I cooked corned beef I had purchased for St Patrick's Day and then hadn't had time to cook. Dad was quite the cook, and he believed that boiling corned beef and beef briskets turned them into tough shoe leather. He always steamed them. So, I steamed mine. It is delicious, of course. I was thinking about how in the past I would have called him to see how long he thought it would take and ask if he had any pointers. He would have called me to find out how it turned out. I would have been required to describe the flavor and texture, and report on how anyone else who had eaten it had liked it-- especially Daughter. I had a moment's regret-- I should have asked more questions while he was alive, and written down and preserved his answers and memories.
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Last night I was puttering in the kitchen, and my thoughts turned to how I've changed since Mom's death 9 months ago and Dad's death almost 6 months ago. I feel more adult, somehow. It doesn't make sense. I am 52 years old, and so I've been an adult for a very long time. I've adopted a child, purchased (and sold) a house, bought numerous cars, invested money, completed 2 degrees, and done all the things adults do. The last few years, I was often playing the role of parent in my relationship with Mom and Dad. I helped them choose a retirement home, helped them prearrange funerals, helped Dad with computer and financial issues. So it doesn't make sense that I now feel more like an adult.
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A friend told me about a conversation she had a number of years ago with some colleagues. They told her that a man isn't truly a man until his father dies. They had shared that with her when she commented on the changes she'd seen in her brother after their father's death. Her brother had suddenly become more responsible, more mature. Yet I've been responsible for years. There had been a time when my parents would come spend a week taking care of Daughter so I could go to a conference. They hadn't been able to do that for years. I'd been standing on my own. I wasn't borrowing money from them or looking to them for financial assistance. If anything, my responsibilities have shrunk since their death.
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And yet still I feel older and more adult now than I did six months ago. It might not make sense, but it is very real to me. What has changed? Why do I feel this way? I think part of it is my relationships with my siblings have changed. I'm closer to Far Away Sister and not as connected with Brother. We no longer connect with one another on the basis of our parents' needs, but on the basis of our own individual families. We're talking about Tall Niece's college plans and Short Niece's lessons. We're discussing our own health issues, not Mom and Dad's. Brother, at 40, is headed to a cardiologist for a cath-- he flunked his stress test. He informed me that he beat me-- I was 50 when I had mine.
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Remembering the family history is now our responsibility. We are the ones who need to pass it down to our children. We're telling them stories of people they never knew. We're all facing our mortality: updating (or getting) wills, establishing trusts, dealing with health issues, some of them serious. Our parents are no longer there to rescue us. We have to be able to stand on our own. As I was reflecting on these feelings, I decided that overall, it's a good place to be. I'm comfortable with who I am. For the first time in my life I have the financial freedom to hire the help I need with Daughter and buy new gadgets for the kitchen. I can afford to be a bit more generous with my charities. Last week I received an invitation from my seminary to a donor's dinner. The donation I sent them last year had resulted in much more gratitude and recognition. Last night I received a phone call from a senior at my college, asking if I could increase my support of their annual fund this year. When I agreed to double it, she said, "Wow!" She sounded so young. It wasn't that much money, but she was certainly thrilled. It wasn't enough to get invited to their donor dinner, but it was enough that she was pleased and grateful.
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Part of this feeling is connected to the change in my personal finances, I'm sure. But much more of it is other things, things I will probably never be able to identify or completely understand. I'm grateful. I'm grateful for the time I had with my parents and the lessons they taught me. I miss them, and I am grateful for all they did to make me the person I am today. I couldn't consult with Dad this week, but I was able to cook wonderfully tender corned beef thanks to all he taught me. I am grateful for the foundation they gave me on which to build my life. They are gone, but their love and hard work are bearing fruit in the lives of their children and grandchildren.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Challenges

Well, how rubberized I've become is about to be tested. Secretary went in for presurgical testing for a knee repair she had scheduled for after Easter. They found a mass on her lung. The CT scan showed something in her lymph nodes. She goes for another test tomorrow. One of the saints is taking her-- she thought it unnecessary, but we insisted. I'd offered, but Saint is retired and has more time than I have, so it makes sense to let her do it.
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We had a productive morning in the office, but I am very aware that she may be out of commission next week. The x-ray was Friday, CT scan yesterday, and another test tomorrow. I have already figured out what I will do to cover if she's not able to work, but I hope and pray that won't be necessary. She is a therapeutic foster parent for an RTC, and currently has 4 teenage boys. This will be very scary for those boys, especially the one who's adoptive mother was killed by her husband. Keep them all in your prayers, please.

Rubberized

I was contemplating the things I've been doing to strengthen me and keep me focused while Daughter is being so challenging. This morning I received the weekly mailing from a life coach who works with pastors. He offers a free weekly email of tips. This morning he was talking about "rubberizing." It's part of being resilient, and being able to bounce back from challenges and stresses.
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I loved that idea, and the way God sent me a word to explain what I have been doing. Now most of you have never seen me. I'm obese, unathletic, totally lacking in coordination. Exercise and I have never gotten along. As of today, I've only missed 3 days using the wii fit this month, and one of those days was the day after I fell and injured my knee.
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I'm doing 10 minutes of yoga for the stretching-- but none of the exercises that require balance, like standing on one leg. I'm doing 13 minutes of rhythm boxing, and the last two days I've been at 30 minutes of free step. During the free step, I listen to a podcast-- a sermon, teaching or some other thing that connects me to God.
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I have discovered that what they say is true-- I have more energy, feel better, and am more focused when I begin the day with exercise and with God. I'm ending the day by listening to a podcast of evening prayer when I go to bed. I've yet to hear the entire podcast, because I'm quickly asleep.
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I am rubberizing myself with exercise and God, and that is what will get me through the challenges of Holy Week, Daughter, and whatever else life throws my way.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Moving

Last night we had a board meeting. Since five strangers appeared in worship two weeks ago, people have figured out that I am looking for a new call and maybe moving soon. So, it came up at the meeting and we had a discussion. The responses were interesting.
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There was dismay: "Is it something we've done?"
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There was anger: "We have a right to know if you're thinking of leaving. Why didn't you tell us?"
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There was fear: "We don't want to be without a pastor. Can't we start looking for a new one now?"
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There were threats: "I told those people you are a heavy drinker." (I think he was joking.)
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We had an interesting discussion. I explained that I felt like my work here was done, and that it was time for them to hear a fresh voice. I indicated that I knew there were people who thought I should have gone some time ago. I explained that I wanted to find someplace that would have more options for Daughter.
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They see the church as healthy, growing, and moving forward. They like my preaching. They would prefer I stay. I know there is one family where there are some members who are very frustrated with me. Two of them are currently on the board. One said that there were a couple of men with big mouths who aren't going to control the direction of the church. He basically dismissed them as blowhards. He also commented on how attached some of the women are to me. He told me that he didn't make decisions based on his kids, though he acknowledged my situation with Daughter is a bit different. The other person from that family acknowledged that they have some very lively discussions at family gatherings. I don't doubt that at all.
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I told them I may still be here in 5 years, but if I do receive a call, I will give them 6 weeks notice. I also strongly recommended that they get an interim pastor to help guide them through the time between called pastors.
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I talked about the progress we've made, especially in terms of accepting change. Part of our vision statement talks about communicating the unchanging news in new ways. We talked about how the congregation had not only come to accept the new ways, but expect it. When I went in to get readers for this Wednesday's worship service, I had ready volunteers.
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Perhaps the man who seemed most dismayed has a father and grandfather who have made my life very difficult at times.
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I also apologized for being distracted the last few weeks, and outlined the steps I have taken to assure that Daughter's ability to disrupt my work is minimized. I haven't posted about her today, not because she's not here or is greatly improved, but because I am doing a better job of avoiding getting sucked in to her drama.
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All in all, it was a good, productive meeting. Today has been a productive day, as well. My part of the newsletter is completely done. Once Secretary finishes her part tomorrow morning, it will be ready to go.

Arrogance

For months I have prayed every Sunday in worship for our leaders to set aside partisan politics and opinion polls to lead us in the way God would have us go as a country. I have not stated what I think it is that God wants, just asked that our leaders would know it and follow it. Now that's not to say I haven't had personal opinions, just that I'm not arrogant enough to think that I know the mind of God. I have suggested that instead of telling God what to do, we should be asking God what we are supposed to do. One of my favorite lines (and I don't know who originated it) is that we should approach God as a private seeking orders, not a general giving orders.
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So last night health care reform passed the House of Representatives. Immediately people on both sides of the debate began attacking the bill as at worse, evil, or at best, a setback. I find myself wondering if they think all the prayers were for nothing. What if this is what God wanted? What if all those prayers were answered? I'm not saying that is the case, I am saying that I think it is unbelievably arrogant to think that if things don't go the way we want, God ignored our prayers and evil prevailed.
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In my congregation I know that today there are a number of people who are angry and scared. I also fear that if I try to raise these questions with them, I will be seen as the enemy, and someone to be feared. I see the fear and mistrust within our country right now as unhealthy. Our security comes from God, not the government. There are many people right now who need to take a deep breath, step back, and ask themselves some hard questions. Perhaps beginning with, "Does God answer prayers? If so, why do I think God is ignoring my prayers?"
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I grieve this morning, not the decision that has been made, but the demonization of those who disagree with us.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Should Know Better

So yesterday as I was writing a post celebrating the fact Daughter hadn't wet her bed Friday night, Daughter was up in her room taking a nap and wetting her bed. I keep grasping on to any sign of improvement, but I need to remember not to celebrate too soon....
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This morning I discovered that she has been into the can of prunes, which she supposedly hates. I now know the reason for at least some of the high blood sugars. I made her eat her breakfast in her stinky room with the door alarm set while I was in the shower. She informed me the door alarm was pathetic. I readily agreed, "It really is pathetic that you won't keep yourself safe and so I have to use a door alarm so I can keep you safe." She didn't have a response to that one.
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This is going to be a very busy week. I'm very behind on my Holy Week preparations. This is also newsletter week, and the youth group is responsible for the Wednesday evening meal, which means I'll have to do much of the work. I won't be getting a day off, I just hope that Daughter doesn't create a crisis to further mess up my schedule. I need to work hard at staying in the station while she rides the roller coaster.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Youth Group

Yesterday evening the youth group gathered for an evening of planning and fun. We planned the Easter Sunrise Service. I went in with the Easter story from the Gospel of John and asked the kids to reflect on the reactions of Mary Magdalene, Simon Peter, and the Beloved Disciple (now nicknamed BD by the kids). I asked them which one they identified with, and what they thought they were feeling. I wrote down notes, planning to turn their ideas into something we could use later. But three of the kids volunteered to be Mary, Peter, and BD for the service, and they wanted to write a conversation between the three of them immediately. I was impressed.
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The four of us went upstairs to the office, and the rest of the group played games with Advisor while we all waited for the pizza to arrive. Mary, Peter, and BD created a short skit in contemporary teenage language. They were really excited about it and into it. I was impressed with their ideas and the ownership they took of the process. I was their scribe, typing things into the computer.
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Downstairs Daughter was going into pathetic mode. Advisor ignored her. She demanded attention from Advisor, telling her she didn't feel good. Advisor looked at her blood sugar and said, "Well that's good. You can have some pizza when it gets here." When the mom brought the pizza from town, we went back downstairs to join the group. Daughter tried to engage me in how sick she was, but I wouldn't engage. She could only eat part of one piece of pizza because she felt so bad. Not my problem. She ended up going upstairs and hiding in the women's restroom for the next 3 hours. One of the kids went upstairs to invite her to come back down (after asking my permission), but she refused. I checked once to make sure she hadn't come home.
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The rest of us had a good time. They got me on the drums on Rock Band, and my score wasn't very good. One of the boys told me it was okay, his first score had been worse, and he was in band!
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Daughter didn't wet the bed last night. She's done pretty well today, especially considering we put Cat down. Maybe by ignoring the behavior and refusing to offer sympathy, we're beginning to short circuit it. I certainly hope that is the case.

Cat


One January evening over 13 years ago, I heard cats carrying on outside. Our neighbor fed all the wild cats in the area, so I figured one of them was in heat again and went to bed. When I got up the next morning, I could still hear a cat complaining, so I opened the front door to investigate. There, huddled in the corner of our large porch, was a small yellow kitten. I asked, "What are you doing out there?" His reply was to come running into the house. Daughter was none too pleased about me allowing this strange kitten into the house, but she got on the bus for school, and the tiny kitten sat on my shoulder talking to me while I washed the breakfast dishes.

I made a run to town for supplies, and when Daughter got home that evening. Cat was officially a member of the family. She chose a name for him. Cat attached himself to me. He was very affectionate, and would rub his face against my face. I sometimes felt as though he was trying to climb into my nose. Like all cats, he made it his mission in life to keep me from reading. If I sat down with a book or magazine, he would get between me and the reading material.

He slept at my feet, and if I was up later than he liked, he'd sit at the foot of the stairs and meow at me. He learned quickly not to disturb me during the night, but as soon as the alarm went off, he was there, bugging me to get out of bed. He'd lead me into the bathroom, where he'd jump on the counter and wait for me to turn on the water for him.

One night at Bible study, one of the men was lecturing me on the superiority of dogs as pets. Cat came into the room and sat down in the middle. He glared at the man for a moment, then pointedly turned his back on him, checking back over his shoulder to make sure the man knew he'd been snubbed.

When Daughter received Kitten as a graduation gift 3 years ago, Cat was none too pleased. In time though, he adjusted. He was very patient when Kitten would push in front of him for the food. He'd wrestle with Kitten in the morning. The only time things got ugly between them was if Kitten tried to take his spot at my feet at night. Eventually, though, they even negotiated that, and I would wake up some mornings with the sleeping on either side of my legs.

Many times I'd end up with both of them in my lap. Today, we took Cat in to be euthanized. He'd lost half his body weigh (and he was always skinny). He was incontinent, and would spend hours standing with his feet in his water bowl. He wouldn't let Kitten near him. He spent much of his time hiding under my bed. Daughter saw that he was suffering, too, and was in agreement that it was time to do this.

Kitten has been crying since we came home without Cat. We'll all miss Cat. He was a patient, loving cat who added much joy to our lives.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Phone Calls

Daughter was at the workshop today, so I was supposed to be able to work uninterrupted. She called a little after lunch to tell me she needed to go to the hospital. Her blood sugars were off and she had a headache. I assured her she didn't need to go to the hospital and told her to focus on something else and she'd feel better.
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The nurse called to tell me about yesterday's accident report and that Daughter was complaining about not feeling well today. "It's attention seeking behavior. Help her focus on something else."
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I was visiting with some of the saints at the nursing home and Daughter called. I told her I was busy. She had some questions. After she told me for the third time she had questions but wouldn't tell me what they were and ignored me when I told her I was busy, I informed her I'd see her when she got home and hung up on her.
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Overall, it's been a productive day. In addition to pastoral care over breakfast, I've done 3 nursing home visits and worked on the Easter Sunrise service. The youth group is gathering at the church from 7 until 11 tonight. We're going to work on Easter Sunrise, eat pizza, and play games. It will be fun. I'm sure Daughter will try to make a scene.
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I'm not looking forward to her being home for the next 5 days. I haven't gotten my sermon done for Sunday, so I will be busy working on that tomorrow. She won't like that at all. Maybe I can get her to sleep all morning after she's up late tonight over at the church. Therapist told her that if she continued to phone me multiples times a day from the workshop, it would tell us she couldn't handle being there. She may not be able to handle being there, but I think she can cope with that better than I can cope with her being home with me 7 days a week.
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Cat is not doing well, and that is hanging over our head. She wants to take him over to the church tonight in case he dies. I assured her he'd be fine at home, and pointed out he was alone much of the day while I was out doing my visits. I think she thinks I sit home and eat candy and play computer games all day while she's gone. I wish.

Daughter Strengthens my Ministry

This morning I had breakfast with a mom. She has a number of normal Daughters, all young adults. Several are dealing with personal struggles right now. Because she knows something about Daughter, she knows I understand her struggles. She knows that when I tell her to set boundaries, I know how difficult it is. She knows that when I talk to her about who owns the emotions, I am speaking from experience.
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I've learned a number of lessons from being Daughter's parent that I'm able to share with other struggling moms. To share just a few:
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  • Protect your boundaries. Our children's emotions belong to them. We are not responsible for them, and we don't need to share them.
  • Stay off the roller coaster. Just because our kids are taking a wild ride doesn't mean we have to accompany them. We can love them from the station, and be waiting for them when they get back to the station.
  • Give them responsibility for their decisions and actions. We are not responsible for rescuing them.
  • Pick one message and repeat it until it sinks in. With Daughter, my message has been, "I will keep you safe while you are learning to keep yourself safe." As she's gotten older, I've emphasized more her need to keep herself safe. I think now the message has transformed into, "You have a voice and can use it to keep yourself safe."
  • Certain things can send us into Mama Bear mode-- no matter how old our children might be. We can't stay in that mode indefinitely without it having an impact our own health and well being.
  • We have to take care of ourselves (and especially our marriages) if we want to be there for our children.
  • We will always be their parents, and we will always worry. We do need to let them grow up and stand on their own two feet.

We had a good breakfast and conversation this morning. It was the beginning of a conversation. I hope it was as helpful for her as it was for me-- when I am teaching and supporting others, I am also reminding myself. I need those reminders on a regular basis.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Evening

Daughter turned depressed and tired at the workshop this afternoon. Case Manager told them, "Of course she's tired. She's been up since 4:00 a.m.!" She has asked CM to tell Flasher she doesn't want to have anything to do with him. We suspect that she is afraid she isn't strong enough to break up with him herself. She called me around 2:30 to tell me about Flasher's letter. I told her we could talk about it tonight, I was busy. She was very offended that he called me names. Apparently, she's the only one who is allowed to call me names.
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The agency that provides respite is unable to provide anyone for the 3 days I requested. So, I'm hiring C, my personal assistant/housecleaner/organizer/whatever to come stay with her 2 days next week so I can work. Daughter knows C, and C knows Daughter. While Daughter was in the hospital C hung up all the clothes on her closet floor. Daughter had dumped some more clothes on her closet floor, so I threatened her with C.
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C came tonight and we once again cleared of my desk and got some items ready to go in the mail. We also talked. As C knows, part of the reason I hired her was because I knew she was depressed and struggling. I wanted to give her something to do and sneak in some pastoral counseling. It has been beneficial for both of us. Some days there's more pastoral counseling, some days there is more work that gets done.
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Because C was here calling Daughter to task, Daughter finished the laundry she didn't fold this morning. She hung up the clothes in her closet. When I yawned she told C I was tired because she kept waking me up. It may be a blessing that the agency didn't have anyone available. C will do a wonderful job with Daughter and hold her accountable. If she can cover Tuesday and Wednesday, I should be able to get the work done I need to be ready for Holy Week.
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Secretary saw a surgeon yesterday about her knee. They wanted to schedule her surgery for Holy Week, but she told them her preacher wouldn't let her have surgery Holy Week, so they pushed it off until after Easter. I only feel a little bit guilty-- and a whole lot grateful!

10:15 a.m.

I was sitting in the church office when my cell phone rang. I recognized the workshop's number, and told my secretary, "This is not good news." One of Daughter's friends had delivered to her a letter from Flasher. Daughter had sent it on to Case Manager, who had read it and called me to fill me in. Flasher wanted to know if they were still going together, assured her of his deep love for her, and told her she had to get rid of me, because her friends thought I was a *itch.
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I told CM that Daughter would certainly agree with that assessment after our morning. At least they have something concrete now to show that not all of Daughter's stories are fantasy. CM will talk to Flasher on Monday, which will be his next day at the workshop. The letter confirms that it is not a good idea for the two of them to be together right now.
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The good news is Daughter has not called me today. Therapist told her that if she continued to call me multiple times a day, we would think she couldn't handle being at the workshop. She didn't like that idea.
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More good news: she will be back at the workshop tomorrow.
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Even better news: for the first time in weeks Cat followed me into the bathroom, jumped up on the counter, and demanded I turn on the water for him. I had to help him get his hind quarters up onto the counter, which I did gladly. I also was obedient and turned on the water for him. He was happy.

4:00 a.m.

Daughter's door alarm woke me up at 4:00 a.m. She told me she couldn't sleep and was going to get in the shower and get dressed. Fine.
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When she finished in the bathroom, she asked if she could go downstairs and check her blood sugar and get something to drink. I wasn't thrilled with the idea, but I didn't want to get out of nice cozy bed, so I told her she could. The she came in and put Cat on my bed, telling him he could sleep with me. At 5:30 she was once again hovering over me. That was when my patience ran out. "Go to your room and don't come out until I tell you to!"
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"Am I waking you up?"
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"Go!"
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My radio came on at 6:00, and at 6:20 I got up and told her she could come out. I came downstairs and took care of the things she needed in the kitchen: lunch, pills, breakfast. Her blood sugar was 38 points higher than it had been when she'd checked earlier. She was offended that I didn't believe her protests that she hadn't been into any food. It wasn't fair that I wouldn't trust her. I watched her take her pills and her insulin, and then went into the living room to begin my wii fit routine.
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I was just beginning when I heard a suspicious sound. Returning to the kitchen, I found Daughter adding another package of oatmeal to her bowl. She insisted that she had a reason for doing it. She was doing it because she was mad. I emptied her bowl into the trash and fixed one package of oatmeal for her. I made her bring her food into the living room so I could do my routine and watch her.
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In between aerobic segments I retrieved the laundry basket from the back porch and brought in to the living room and told her to start folding. She refused. She sat on the couch and pouted while I did the step routine. Now she's out waiting on the bus. It's a very good thing she's going to the workshop today. A very, very good thing....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring

It feels like Spring today. The temperature outside is 62, so I opened some windows. For the first time since I moved here over 13 years ago, I can easily open the windows since they were all replaced this winter. I can hear birds and kids. Cat sat up and looked out the window for a while. I think he has been more active today, so maybe he will improve some.
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Daughter was picked up a little while ago to go to practice for basketball skills. She did pretty well today, doing a decent job with most of her assigned tasks. I took advantage of her being home to catch up on laundry, which she hates. I love having it all caught up (at least until we get ready for bed tonight). Tomorrow she will go back to the workshop. I will be able to take care of some pastoral care needs with her safely at the workshop.
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I received an email from the church I've been talking to. I had about given up, figuring a rejection letter was in the mail to me. Several of their members are on vacation, so they are waiting for them to return to make a decision. The waiting is hard, but if I am going to move, the longer we have to stabilize Daughter before the move, the better off we are. Notice that I think she can be stabilized. I also read an article today that made me very grateful we didn't get the call to the church I interviewed with at the end of January. They have had draconian cuts to medicaid in that state, making it almost impossible to find providers willing to take any patients with medicaid. While my insurance is primary, I have still found that it is very challenging finding people willing to take her on.
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While life is going to be challenging for the next few weeks, I'm feeling more confident about getting through them. As I mentioned this morning, my devotional material last night and this morning spoke directly to the challenges. Today I wrote the service for next Wednesday evening, and found that it spoke directly to them, too. I guess God realizes I'm a little bit dense, and that one reminder or even 2 or 3 aren't enough to get through my thick skull. I got the message. I'm not in this alone. God did not call me to be Daughter's parent and then abandon me. There will be more blessings in it.

Picking a Fight

The bus picks up Daughter a little after 8:00, so on mornings she's going to the workshop, she has to be up and moving by 7:00. I have decided I'm not going to wake her up, because the longer she's asleep, the longer I have alone in the mornings. So this morning she came strolling down the stairs about 8:30. "Is it too late to call the workshop and have the bus pick me up today?"
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I pointed out the time, and when I got off the phone reminded her that she couldn't go to the workshop because she wasn't keeping herself safe from Flasher. Last night I told her she needed to come up with a plan for the day so she could begin turning things around. She did, and the work she had given herself was reasonable. This morning I added bringing in the recycling bins and putting away the clean dishes to it.
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I went up to her bedroom, and discovered she had put her urine soaked night clothes on the carpet. I called her up and reminded her that I had told her she couldn't put any wet things on the carpet. I told her she was ruining the carpet, and this wasn't even our house, it belonged to the church. She took the items downstairs and added them to the washing machine.
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After she finished breakfast she came into my study and I held out the list. She informed me to forget it. She felt too guilty to do the list, she was just going to work on her room today. I told her it was her choice, but if she didn't take care of the list, there would be consequences. She told me again she wasn't going to do it. I told her that was fine. She tried again. I informed her I wasn't going to fight with her. She stormed upstairs and announced that she wasn't even going to clean her room, she was just going to it. Her room stinks, and the mattress is still wet, so it's not going to be very comfortable up there.
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She came back down and demanded the list. She tried again to pick a fight. Again I refused to take the bait. It could be a very long day. I am determined, though, that this is her problem and will remain her problem.
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As I prepared supper and worked in the kitchen last night, I listened to a wonderful sermon podcast on facing storms. It was exactly what I needed to hear. My devotional material this morning was also right on target. I am not in this alone. As hard as it is, this will remain Daughter's problem.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Despair

So we had our meeting at the workshop today about Daughter's return and strengthening the instructions for respite providers. First challenge: Psychiatrist's Nurse said they will not fax anything-- such as a return to work order. Workshop agreed to accept a letter from Therapist, fortunately.
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Daughter was uncomfortable with the discussion, so decided to go out on the workshop floor. We were discussing how to handle Flasher and what we could do to try to keep them apart when we got a call from the workshop floor. Daughter went out and made a beeline for Flasher. She had had conversations with Psychiatrist, Therapist, and me about how she would keep herself safe and stay away with him. As we were pondering what to do, Daughter burst through the door and told me we had to leave now. I calmly informed her that she did not control me and I was not leaving without knowing a reason.
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She was furious because her supervisor had asked her to sit across the table from Flasher instead of right next to him. The bottom line: for now she is just going to attend the workshop on Thursday and Friday, when Flasher is not present. She says it will be that way until she dies. The rest of us are hoping that in a couple of weeks she can go back full time, but it probably won't be until after Easter.
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I am facing my busiest season of the year with Daughter under foot the majority of the time. We're going to see about getting some respite providers in to cover at least part of that time. Case Manager warned that there is going to be a new man starting. We know that Daughter will try to catch him. We know it will end badly. There's nothing we can do to prevent it. For some strange reason, I'm exhausted.
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Oh, and Cat is not doing well. I anticipate taking him in to be put down by the end of the week. Sigh.

Unbelievable

Yesterday Therapist did some problem solving with Daughter regarding her bed wetting. I'd already explained that depends wouldn't work because Daughter soaks through them. So Daughter and Therapist decided she'd take her pills at 7:00 and then she wouldn't have anything more to drink.
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I dutifully provided her pills a few minutes after 7:00.
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This morning I looked in the refrigerator, and realized that a gallon of milk was missing. A full gallon. One of the two gallons I bought on sale Sunday. I stood there trying to figure out what could have happened to it.
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I went upstairs and opened the door to Daughter's room, and my nose was met by the usual stink from her urine. There, on top of the trash, was an empty milk jug. She drank the entire gallon of milk last night. The entire gallon. It didn't make her sick. I'm sure her blood sugar will be sky high when she comes down in a few minutes. She's upstairs showering right now. A full gallon of milk. Unbelievable.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday

Daughter was home with me today. She wet the bed last night, and has now managed to soak so much that it takes 2 loads to get her linens washed. We picked up Cat this afternoon. Cat doesn't like the special diet. So it's going to be a challenge to keep him going. I brought some of it home, and have mixed it with his regular food. He turned his nose up at it, but Kitten liked it, of course.
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We saw Therapist this afternoon. We made plans for the meeting at the workshop tomorrow. I'm going to ask for daily reports on her work output and on her ability to separate herself from Flasher. We've been very clear that if she can't stay away from him, she won' t be able to be at the workshop on the days he is there.
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I'm waiting for a phone call from the church I've been talking to. I figure if I don't get a phone call by Wednesday, I can expect a rejection letter. God will provide the right place at the right time. Hopefully soon.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Somewhat Appropriate

On the way home from City, I laid it out for Daughter. When her mattress dries, I can seal it in a bag to get rid of the odor. The mattress won't dry if she leaves the plastic mattress protectors on during the day (or if she takes them off and wets the bed at night). It's her problem, and I've stopped caring. (Hopefully if I say that often enough, I'll convince myself). She did finally apologize, and it seemed sincere. I thanked her for the apology. We spent an hour together in the car, and very little was said.
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I'm not a country music fan, but Daughter is. I've heard this one a few times, and the chorus has been running through my head all day. Not all the lyrics fit, but far too many do.
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Happy Sunday

While Daughter was in the hospital, I washed all the linens in her room, using fabric softener with something to get rid of odors in the final rinse. We had cleaned the mattress, and I sprayed it numerous times with febreze, but it wasn't getting rid of the odor. Friday I bought a zippered mattress protector, planning to seal the odor away in that. C had hung up all the clothes Daughter had dumped on the closet floor, and reorganized her drawers. My plan was to have the room back together when she got home.
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She was discharged sooner than I had planned, and her mattress wasn't dry. Friday night she put the two waterproof mattress pads back on and made the bed. I wouldn't let her take her suitcase from the hospital and all the bags from her locker at the workshop upstairs because I didn't want her getting overwhelmed and dumping them. Yesterday C helped her put all of those things away. In the process they found the socks I have been missing and asking about for weeks-- Daughter had them stuck behind some books on the shelves on her desk.
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She stripped the bed again and put a fan to blow on it to try to speed the drying process. Yesterday evening I washed her hair and rolled it on big rollers and put her under the hair dryer to take some of the kink out of it. At bedtime it was looking good, so she put a hair wrap on to keep it looking good for today. I told her to just put the mattress pads back on and throw a sheet over them. I told her she could just sleep under a comforter for last night and we'd see about getting the sack on her mattress today.
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Of course with the time change last night was a short night. I was moving a little more slowly than I would have liked, and right before I got in the shower I opened Daughter's bedroom door. She wet the bed. She hadn't put the mattress protectors back on, so the mattress is now soaked with urine again. She had taken the wrap off her hair, which was exceedingly frizzy as a result.
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To say I was furious would be an understatement. I let her know I was furious. I made her take a shower after I finished in the bathroom. She didn't think it was necessary. I informed her she could smell as bad as she wanted for her friends at the workshop, but she would not go to church on Sunday morning stinking of urine. She was, of course, moving very slowly. Since I was already running late and can't leave her unsupervised, this did not help my mood at all.
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I shouldn't let her get to me, but this morning I certainly did. I guess I shouldn't let it bother me that her bedroom stinks, but it does bother me that she is destroying a good mattress. She can't figure out why I'm mad at her. It will be interesting to see what story of abuse she shares to get back at me for yelling at her.
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She wants me to take her to town. I don't want to be near her. She won't be back at the workshop until at least Tuesday afternoon. I'm not looking forward to the next few days. I am going to have to head to City this afternoon. One of the saints is in the hospital. I guess I'll have to spend some time with Daughter. I'm not feeling like showing her Christian love right now. I guess I'll have to work on that.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Return Home

It was the fastest discharge we've had from the psych unit. When I got there her blood sugar was over 300. The nurse had the paper work ready, so we repacked the clothes we'd unpacked the night before and came back to Town. Daughter claimed her cell phone as soon as we got in the car, and began calling friends. She's worried about Cat, and disappointed when I explained that he's not in kind of hospital where we can go visit.
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Her blood sugar was acting up. She'd been very low before lunch, so she hadn't had insulin. We dropped of prescriptions and went out to eat. I gave her insulin to cover the high blood sugar with supper and by bedtime her blood sugar was back in range. As soon as we got home, she went upstairs and plugged up the toilet. That happens every time she's in the hospital, unfortunately. She didn't wet the bed last night, so that's good news. She still hasn't unpacked. She had cleaned out her locker at the workshop Tuesday before I picked her up, so she had a number of bags she brought in from the car in addition to the suitcase. I wouldn't let her take them all upstairs, because I figured she'd get overwhelmed and not get the things put away properly. I told her she can take them upstairs a little at a time.
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Psychiatrist reduced the strength of her catapres patch. I'm a little concerned about this, because it has been a miracle drug for reducing her rage and volatility. She did it because of the ER visit, when they decided she has low blood pressure and was dehydrated. We'll see how she does with it.
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Cat is improving. He had an appetite this morning, which was very good news. Vet had said some cats won't eat the special diet.
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Right now, things are going well, and hopefully that will continue. I bought a zippered bag for Daughter's mattress, and we'll put that on today. Hopefully that will get rid of the odor in her room. It's going to be a busy day, but a good busy for the most part. I'm grateful that I don't have to go back to Big City until her appointment with Psychiatrist on the 25th.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Brain Dump

Lots going on. Lots running through my brain. So prepare for a dump.
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Cat has been off the last couple of weeks, and yesterday I picked him up and he was light enough and off enough that I called and got him into the vet this morning. He has advanced kidney disease. Neither Daughter nor I need another death to deal with right now. They are treating him with IV fluids over the weekend in the hope he will perk up. We may be able to bring him home on a special diet and keep him going for a while, but it's not good news. The special diet will be a challenge with Kitten around. I've always just had dry food and water available at all times. That will have to change.
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I talked to Case Manager several times this morning. She needed more concrete details for an investigation. We talked about how to approach Daughter on getting the truth. I shared my concern that Daughter doesn't know what's real right now. We talked about pulling Daughter out and setting up respite for the days Flasher is at the workshop. If we'll be moving soon, that will work. Maybe it can be temporary until Daughter is stable on the new drugs and can handle going back. Daughter's supervisor moved to a different program, so they have had 3 floating supervisors for her group. I told her I think Daughter needs consistency. She agreed. They're rethinking the floating system, but I asked that if they keep that, they move Daughter to a different group with a consistent supervisor. She thought that was a good idea and was going to deal with that today. We talked about the challenges involved with Daughter's struggles with reality and the long term implications of it. Not a pretty picture. CM was quite adamant that I cannot continue to live with this kind of stress.
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Sister told me this morning that I was like someone who has lived in a war zone for so long I'm no longer aware of it.
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Social Worker from the hospital called. Psychiatrist has discharged Daughter. I can pick her up this afternoon. SW mentioned again the need for an investigation. I told her about my conversation with CM about it. SW mentioned "paranoid" several times in relationship to Daughter. Apparently Psychiatrist had observed that. Now I'm paranoid, and feeling the need to look up paranoid schizophrenia and the symptoms.
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Daughter called, sounding down. She wanted to know about Cat. (I had decided it would be good to warn her last night that Cat was sick). I told her Cat is in the hospital and they are doing tests. Then she told me she got to come home, and her voice perked up. She said she'd slept well last night, and had come up with a plan and wanted to go back to the workshop 5 days a week. I asked her if she had a better idea of what was real now. She assured me she did. I asked her about the story about Flasher touching her. Without hesitation she said, "Oh, I made that up." I told her she needed to tell Psychiatrist that. She said it was too late, she'd already seen Psychiatrist.
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I called CM to tell her Daughter had acknowledged that wasn't real, so we didn't have to worry about an investigation. CM told me to make sure Psychiatrist was told about this. I will make sure Daughter tells someone at the hospital who can pass it on to Psychiatrist.
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I had been looking forward to a quiet weekend without Daughter around. So much for that dream. On the other hand, it will be wonderful to not have to keep running over to Big City to visit Daughter.
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Monday we'll know more about how Cat is responding to IV fluids and if he's able to eat. By the time I got him to the vet, he'd dropped from 9 lbs to 5.4 lbs. Monday afternoon Daughter sees Therapist. Tuesday afternoon we already had a meeting set up at the workshop to modify Daughter's service plan. I'm not going to send her back until we've had that meeting. That means I'm going to have to find things to keep her busy and structure her time over the next few days, or we'll both go crazy.
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Since Daughter is coming home, I need to lock things up again-- the medication, knives, etc. It was just this morning that I realized I could leave them unlocked for now.
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Now that I've dumped all of this, I need go go write a Wednesday evening worship service before I leave to get Daughter....

I Forgot

When I visited Daughter yesterday and she insisted that she'd broken up with Flasher, she said she'd done it because of the things he'd said about us.
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"What did he say?"
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"He called me the n word and said you were white trash."
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"Really?"
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"Yes, I told him you didn't smell like trash so you weren't white trash."
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I am grateful for reason to smile. Are you all glad to know I don't smell like trash?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Visiting Daughter

I made the journey over to visit Daughter this evening. It's always disturbing to visit-- I have to go through a metal detector and many locked doors to get to her. She was pleased to see me. Her blood sugars are now in line-- they figured things out. She's drinking lots of water now, because apparently she was a little bit dehydrated at the ER yesterday. She's always a little dehydrated, because she doesn't like to drink anything.
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She says the voices have stopped-- that they're scared. She still has only a tenuous grasp on reality. Tuesday she couldn't break up with Flasher. Tonight she told me she broke up with him on Tuesday. I pointed out the contradiction. She didn't have an answer. I said I wasn't sure she knew what was real. "That's the problem!" She seemed to think I was really slow for just figuring that out.
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Psychiatrist came in while I was there, and ordered another increase in the trileptal, which will put her up to the mid range of effectiveness. Psychiatrist sees Flasher as a predator, and wants him reported to adult protective services. She also sees Daughter as too child like to make her own decisions-- she'll always be too easily influenced, and thus people like Flasher are a real threat to her.
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Case Manager didn't take my concerns about Flasher too seriously. Therapist and I have a meeting at the workshop Tuesday on the respite situation. There will be much to address during the meeting. I'm considering pulling her out of the workshop the days Flasher is there. Interestingly, Daughter seemed to think staying home from the workshop on the days Flasher is there is a good idea. That tells me the situation there is very bad right now, because she hates missing any days for any reason. To be cut back to only 2 days a week there would usually generate big protests, but not today. I think I'd arrange respite care for the afternoons she doesn't go to the workshop. I'm generally around in the mornings working on sermons and administrative stuff. That would leave me free to do my visits in the afternoon. I'd have them work on her cleaning skills, as I see that as an area where she could eventually get community employment. This will work if we're moving soon. If not, the respite money will run out too quickly.
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God will provide the right place at the right time. Right now I need to keep reminding myself of that fact.

Good News or Bad?

Daughter hasn't called today. This could mean she's doing better and doesn't feel the need to talk to me. It could mean that she's mad at me because I didn't offer enough sympathy when she was in the ER last night. I admit that I'm a bit surprised, and have considered calling over to find out how she's doing. I'm going to see her tonight, so I guess I'll find out soon enough.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A New Audience

Daughter has found a new audience. She has one that hasn't seen her tricks. When I got home from church tonight there was a message on the machine. A rather cryptic message giving the hospitals initials and saying to call this number. Privacy and all. So I called. A rather nervous nurse seemed relieved that I had called. They had found Daughter on the floor. She said she'd been light headed. Her vitals were fine. They called the doctor. They shipped her to the ER.
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I told the nurse it was attention seeking behavior and I hoped that they were making her miserable in the ER. The ER doctor just called. She thought Daughter had had a seizure. I told her she hadn't-- it was attention seeking behavior and she had a history of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. I talked to Daughter. I didn't offer her any sympathy. I suggested it hadn't worked out very well. She wasn't ready to admit that she hadn't been seeking attention. She tried to tell me there had been a witness to the seizure. I told her I knew she could be quite convincing. I assured her I loved her and I'd see her tomorrow evening. Definitely not the response she was seeking.
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They are treating her diabetes now, and her blood sugars are coming down into range.
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We had a wonderful supper and worship service this evening. We did sound checks on the prodigal son and the older brother in preparation for Sunday. They were satisfied with the parts I had written for them. I encouraged them to make them their own and get it into their own words. I sought out one of the readers from tonight's service. Her part had hit very close to home-- it mentioned suicide and her daughter is suicidal. We talked briefly about that. I made arrangement to meet someone to take shut-in communion tomorrow to one of the saints.
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Daughter is someone else's problem right now. She can ride the roller coaster. I'm waiting in the station.

So Much for Being Proactive

So yesterday I was proactive in addressing Daughter's diabetic needs. My hope was that by doing this, we'd avoid the kind of problems we've had in the past. So last night, of course, they didn't have the orders and so didn't check her blood sugar and give her insulin before supper. This morning Daughter called me, sobbing.
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According to her (and I am aware of the fact that her reporting is not always accurate), they didn't check her blood sugar this morning or give her insulin before breakfast. When they finally checked last night, she says her blood sugar was over 300. They didn't give her anything to bring it down, just her regular bedtime basal insulin. She said she didn't sleep well and didn't feel well. High blood sugars can lead to ketoacidosis, so I'm not surprised she didn't feel well.
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I told her that it was her responsibility to keep herself safe. I told her that she needed to talk to the nurse and tell her she wasn't safe because they weren't taking care of her diabetes. I told her she needed to tell Psychiatrist what was going on when Psychiatrist came to see her. I told her it was her responsibility, and she could do it.
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Then I called Psychiatrist's nurse. I gave the standard disclaimer, "I don't know if this is true, but...." She was horrified and assured me that couldn't be the case. I told her we'd had problems in the past, and explained that I'd instructed Daughter to talk to her nurse. I explained I just wanted to make sure Psychiatrist was aware of what Daughter had reported to me, and that someone else knew in case Daughter didn't follow through. She was going to call the unit right away to find out what was going on.
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I get so tired of going through this every time she is hospitalized. I keep wondering, if highly paid RN's can't handle her diabetes, how can I expect the workers making less than $8 an hour in the supported living situations to do it?
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I called and talked to Case Manager this morning. They don't have a way to keep Flasher and Daughter separated if they don't want to be separated. I may have to pull Daughter out of the workshop. We'll see.
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The good news is that I have a rough draft done on the dialogue sermon for Sunday. I'm ready for tonight's worship, too.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Story

Nothing like exploring Scripture with two fine young men to energize me. I love my job. Anyway, since I've been re energized, I'll share the story of how Daughter got herself hospitalized this time.
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As all of my readers know, Daughter has not been doing well lately. Some of the things that issues that were raised with Psychiatrist:
  • She hasn't been sleeping well. She was up at 5:00 this morning.
  • She doesn't seem to have a good grasp of reality.
  • She has been trying to hurt herself in a variety of ways.
  • She keeps going back to Flasher, even though she admits he is dangerous. Today she said he'd been "touching" her in "private" places. It's the first I'd heard of that. Who knows if it's real.
  • It's unclear how much of this is medication related and how much of this is related to the toxic environment at the workshop. As Psychiatrist pointed out, she's claiming she's been molested, which would be a very powerful trigger for her PTSD. I said I thought Flasher was a symptom, and not the cause.
  • She said she's not able to break up with Flasher. When I pointed out she did Friday, she said the only reason she could do it then was because I was in the room with her.
  • She was presenting as very depressed, with her head down almost to her knees. It was hard for Psychiatrist to get her to say anything.
  • She has been wetting the bed.

She wet the bed again last night. The three nights she was dry began with her breakup with Flasher. She agreed to be his girlfriend again yesterday, and wet the bed last night. She is putting herself in what she knows are dangerous situations.

When she left this morning, I told her to turn the ringer on on her cell phone, and I would call her when I got to the workshop so I wouldn't have to park the car and go in. She called while I was on my way, and I told her I'd be there in three minutes, so to be waiting for me. When I got there, she wasn't waiting for me. So I called her. I called her multiple times. She wasn't answering. When she finally answered, she told me I'd have to come in, because she couldn't go to the lobby until I came because there wasn't anyone there to watch her. I was not happy as I parked the car and went in, and then had to ring the bell several times before someone showed up to call her to the front. She had been busy talking to her friends, so she hadn't bothered answering my calls or telling me why she wasn't out there waiting for me. She said, "Are you made at me?"

I put extra effort into explaining her diabetic needs when I admitted her, hoping to avoid the problems we've had with that in the past. She called me a little before 7:00 tonight in tears. She wasn't safe there. They gave her a regular, high carb meal for supper without checking her blood sugar or giving her insulin. She wasn't happy. She also said they needed me to bring her birth control pill in right away. She told them I wouldn't be back until Thursday, and the nurse asked about someone else dropping it off. I called and spoke with the nurse. There had been a delay in getting her orders, but they were now in place. I pointed out that I live a distance from the hospital, that she is only on the pill to control her periods, and that they wouldn't be able to use the pills anyway, as I'd taken them out of their original packaging and put them in the pill boxes I set up for a month at a time. I warned her didn't have a clear grasp of reality right now. Apparently she was telling Nurse that Flasher had been slapping her. I doubt that story. But that doesn't mean that he isn't a danger to her.

I'm considering pulling her out of the workshop at least on Mondays. Then she'd only be at the workshop with him on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I hope we'll be out of here soon. I hope the next place will have a healthier atmosphere in their workshop. Fortunately, God knows what we need even better than we do.

One More Time

Daughter had an appointment with Psychiatrist this afternoon. Psychiatrist admitted her. It only took 3 hours this time-- almost 5 when I include travel time. I had to cancel shut-in communion.
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Now I'm home. In a little bit I have two young men coming to work with me on a dialogue about the Prodigal Son. After they leave, I will head for bed. I am exhausted. I will share more tomorrow.
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Monday, March 8, 2010

Naming the Behavior

From the time she got home Daughter was acting the victim trying to get my attention. She was falling, complaining of vague physical complaints, and when I ignored it, she kept escalating. We sat down to supper and Sister called. Daughter got a pained look on her face and retreated to the living room. When I asked her what was wrong she ignored me. She came back into the kitchen and sat down across from me and started shaking uncontrollably.
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"Stop it! Take a deep breath and relax. You're fine."
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Sister asked what was wrong. "Daughter is trying to get herself into a seizure."
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That made Daughter mad. She immediately stopped shaking and told me to shut my trap. I got off the phone, and pointed out that ever since she got home, she'd been trying to get my attention. I pointed out it wasn't working, and it might be more effective to use her words and tell me what she wanted. She got mad. She finished her supper while I cleaned up.
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"I'm sorry."
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"What are you sorry for?"
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"For acting the fool."
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I hadn't been aware of all the times she had intentionally fallen, which is probably good. She informed me she'd been trying to break her ankle. We talked about how she'd been mad because I was busy when she got home.
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Her grasp of reality is still tenuous, at best. She is back with Flasher, who has an engagement ring for her and tickets to Hawaii. He has a friend who is going to finance an apartment, furniture and food for them. I was quite clear about the fact that none of this was true, and she didn't contradict me. She still thinks it's unfair that I don't approve her relationship with him. I listed the ways he has hurt her and lied to her, and asked if she would approve if I were in a relationship with someone like that. She was horrified-- of course she wouldn't. But she still can't figure out why I won't give him another chance. I told her once again that I can't stop her from being his girl friend, but he is not welcome in our home and I will not help her go meet him. I am so unreasonable.

Like Mom

Daughter has fallen twice since she got home. I'm working very hard at not reacting. I think she's jealous of the attention I got when I fell yesterday. She wants that kind of attention. I'm sure she's frustrated right now that I'm not offering it. It's an ongoing struggle getting her to use her words to state what she is feeling and what she needs.
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I'm sure part of her frustration is that I have been busy since she got home. I was finishing clearing off my desk when she got home, and I'm working on laundry. I'm listening to sermon podcasts while I work. She hates it when I'm using my ipod. I try not to use it when she's home, but today I was in the middle of something and was going to finish it. It will be interesting to see how long it takes her to tell me what it is she wants.

That Shows What Happens....

This morning Daughter woke up in a dry bed and was cooperative. As she ate breakfast, we had a conversation:
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"That's three nights in a row I haven't wet the bed."
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"That's great!"
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"That shows what happens when I'm not as stressed and angry."
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Sometimes she amazes me with the insights she has into her own behaviors. It would be nice if these insights would help her when she's in the midst of the acting out, but I guess that's expecting too much. She called me at lunch time today and demanded to know if I had my knee elevated. I told her I didn't at the moment (I was at lunch with a friend), but that I was fine. Yesterday she responded to my injury by being needy. I had to fix lunch and supper for her. Today she's showing more appropriate concern. When Sister called this morning, Daughter refused to give me the phone until I had my knee elevated. I'm not sure which response is more annoying: being needy, or being bossy. I am cautiously optimistic that the new medication is beginning to work. Maybe it won't be another full month before she's stable.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Dangers of Texting and Walking

Daughter thought it was totally unfair that she had to remake my bed yesterday. She'd apologized, wasn't that enough? Unfortunately, the mattress wasn't dry by bedtime, so I made her set up the guest room for me. She's upstairs making my bed right now. She didn't wet the bed last night. Do you suppose there was a message for me in her wetting my bed while taking a nap?
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The committee from Small Town was in worship today. Of course a few people figured out what was going on. Most likely all of Tiny Village will know by tonight that I am interviewing for a new church. We had a bunch of kids in worship this morning, and they were very lively during the children's sermon. I loved it, and I'm sure it impressed the committee. We really have some great kids here right now. Daughter still doesn't know. I will take her over there to see the community as soon as they offer me the call. I'm anticipating hearing something in a week to 10 days. They are hearing someone else next weekend.
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On to the title of my post. Fortunately, the committee from Small Town was gone before this happened: Following worship I was trying to set up a time to get together with the two young men who are doing a dialogue as the prodigal son and older brother next Sunday. I went back to the pulpit to get my blackberry and check my calendar. I was entering the appointment as I can down the steps (okay, it wasn't quite texting), and managed to miss the steps and land on my face. I have two cuts from my glasses and a hug bruise on my left cheek bone. My right wrist (the one I just had surgery on) is very sore and stiff. My left knee is badly bruised. While I was trying to collect my dignity, Daughter was freaking out. She ended up kneeling behind me with her head on my shoulder crying. She was terrified. I kept telling her I was fine. The crowd who gathered kept telling her I would be okay. She wouldn't stand up so I could stand up.
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They were trying to convince me to come straight home and elevate my knee and put ice on it (they'd gotten ice for my face), but I had to go to Sunday School because we're working on the Wednesday evening services during my Sunday School class. One of the men got the lens back in my glasses, but the frames are pretty badly bent. I was forced to take the lift instead of going down the stairs. Poor Daughter. I got home ahead of her. She walked in and yelled, "Don't you ever do that to me again!"
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Like I fell flat on my face intentionally? It was something I did to scare her? It was probably good for some of the people to see how it affected her. They don't always understand how deep her problems are. This was a wonderful example. One of the teens finally convinced Daughter to get up and sat beside her in the front pew comforting her. Everyone was very caring and concerned. I am going to be very sore for the next few days, but I will recover. Maybe Daughter will appreciate me a bit more for a few days. That would be nice.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Interview

The interview today went very well once I got there. There were complications getting out-- like a button that fell off my suit and had to be sewn back on. I never did find my lipstick-- Daughter loaned me hers. Daughter was in a cooperative mood this morning. She didn't wet the bed last night, so she was proud of herself.
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I liked the people and the community. There were lots of positives about the whole situation. Now we'll wait and see. I'm one of 2 still in the running. They've read through over 250 resumes and done numerous phone interviews. They had 3 people they brought in for interviews last year, and now 2 of us this year. I think it could be a good place to be.
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Daughter and Respite went shopping and out to eat while I was gone. Daughter decided against a movie, and was taking a nap when I got home. I went upstairs, and her bed was empty. She was sleeping in my bed-- and she wet it. Sigh.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Better Evening

Daughter came home and showed genuine remorse. She was truly sorry for hurting me. She hadn't meant to. Gradually the story has come out. Apparently Flasher has been sitting next to her and keeping up a constant line of chatter. Among his topics of conversation:
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Daughter's only problem is Mom, and therefore getting away from me would solve all her problems and make her happy.
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He has been telling her what he wants to do with her in a sexual context. She was quite horrified by his descriptions of what he'd do with fudge sauce.
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Now the good news in all of this is that Flasher is only at the workshop Monday-Wednesday. Even better is the fact that he doesn't have phone privileges, so she can't talk to him when he's not at the workshop.
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She wanted to work tonight. I sent her upstairs and made her use the cleaner I purchased on her mattress. She told me she had a sore on one of her butt cheeks. I told her it was probably from sleeping in urine all night-- it would cause her skin to break down. I'm making her face the consequences of her bed wetting-- and hoping they are substantial enough she will stop doing it.
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She has been extremely affectionate, and told me she needs to be back under my wing, and wants to go back to line of vision supervision.
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We're watching a show off the DVR. Flasher just called. He told Daughter that she can't move in with is Dad, but he knows where there is an apartment she can have. She told him she's not moving out, and broke up with him.
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She wants to stay with me, and hopes we will be moving soon. She also desperately wants to have a boyfriend. Life is hard for her right now. I hope we will be able to get a fresh start in a new community, and that the workshop environment there will be a little less toxic.