Sunday, June 21, 2015

Class 5 Hurricane... Blew Itself Out

Life was going along all right, really. I mean, my sleep was kind of hit or miss. That's been the norm for me for awhile now. I was getting a couple of hours here and four hours there. Still, functioning fine. Until Saturday. Saturday night things changed... a realization made... But it started simple enough, as all storms start... clear skies... maybe hints of clouds... but this hurricane started fast and hit fast. A nightmare became reality.
I'm not sure just how much to get into, only because it so heavily involves someone else, but it a story worth telling in more ways than one, I feel. Not for the tragedy, but for the revelation and the joy in the end. As crazy as things got and how tragic they might have been, good came out of it, and ultimately that's the silver lining. Each difficulty, even extreme ones, can teach us something... something about ourselves, if we let it.
All right, I will start at the beginning. My nephew that I have mentioned many times, who I love as family, has PTSD like I do. He does have difficulties with anger as well, but has grown so much since he's been here. He has truly made exceptional progress, which only happens if you truly have a desire to change, which he has. But having the PTSD, when you get triggered, it is hard to get beyond the trigger. It almost takes you over. Well, this evening, I had gone in to take my night medication. Usually I'm the last one, but that night, I wasn't. Jerry was last. But on nights when Ed, the Peer Support Specialist is here, I will sit in the office and talk with him. We talk for hours! It's just how it goes. I love to talk to him! We have a lot of things in common.

Anyway, Jerry comes in to take his medication and I can already tell that he's irritated. Okay... he felt rushed off the computer. I get that way too, especially when I am doing something, and the impression he had been given was that he wouldn't be able to get back on the computer. But it was the weekend and I found out later that he would have been let back on. Wording is so important! I can't stress that enough. It can make the biggest difference between making someone understand you or want to listen to you, versus getting ticked off and possibly yelling and screaming at you because of it, leaving your original point mute. First thing...

So he is in taking his medication and the irritation is definitely coming out in his voice, but that's really all I heard. Apparently, Ed thought he heard Jerry escalating. I did not. He also said that he was talking rudely to the care coordinator there that night, which I didn't here. He also said that Jerry had slammed the med cabinet doors, which he had not done. I was sitting right there at the door to the med room. In fact, I should have been the one to hear any rude comments and so on. Maybe I am not as worried about an escalation of Jerry's voice, because I can distinguish intent, but apparently, enough staff get freaked out by ANY indication that he might erupt in rage Ed felt it necessary, and apparently, this is something that was put in place, that he had to go in there. But as soon as he got up I could see things unfolding. I KNEW it was going to trigger my nephew and make things much, much worse and it did. He got verbally upset and angry. He did well in the fact that he got up and left the room. Unfortunately, he wasn't as good at controlling his response to his anger. Don't get me wrong, he has NOT taken it out on people. But he went to his bedroom door, slammed it and punched it a few times yelling. Okay, that probably freaked out several of the residents. I can see why. But I also know that he had seriously been triggered. Ed got up to talk to him, which I also knew was a huge mistake and I had the urge to stop him and tell him I would talk to Jerry. I might have been able to calm him down. As it turned out, he would have been unable to let me go alone, and he might have gotten in trouble had I gone in to talk with Jerry. Frankly, I told him later that had I done it, he wouldn't have been able to stop me, and I wish I had.

When Ed went to talk with him, I couldn't hear what was said, but I heard Jerry yelling. When Ed came back, he was putting in an emergency call to the police. This also triggered my nephew. Finally, I get off my ass and go to talk with him only to find out he's outside. I know something is really bad. I hear him talking about killing himself. In my mind, I am trying to think how busy the street might be. Usually our street is pretty quiet and I'm worried that he's gone to the main street. So I'm outside and I see him on our usually quiet street. For some reason, this night, of course, there has to be all kinds of cars! That would be the case, right? And he is yelling and literally trying to throw himself in front of cars. I am stunned and all I can think to do is get out in the street and try to stop him. It took me and a few other people from a near by Crisis House that knew him to get him to stop, or they were waving off the cars. Several didn't even slow down!! It was obvious there was something going on in the street! Those are the kinds of people that need to be smacked upside the head several times with great intensity. Anyway, he ended up on the ground, crying. It broke my heart and I stayed right with him.

Around this time the police arrived. Between all of us, we got him on the curb, but he was still crying. I would say hysterics, but I so associate it with females, so I'm uncomfortable using it in this case. We were all worried and I sat right by him. I was rubbing his back, trying to let him know it was going to be all right. I said that to him over and over. We also had to convince him that the police were not there to arrest him. The police officer had to do the same thing. Eventually the nurse from the Crisis House came out with his PRN (medication you take when you need). At first he wasn't going to take it and I asked if he'd take it for me. He did. That's the only thing I feel that I honestly made a difference with. Within about 15 minutes he started calming down, but I could tell he was in a fog. It wasn't just the medication. I mean, when you're triggered, sometimes, especially when you get triggered the way he did, things become fuzzy. They just do. Unfortunately, they still had to handcuff him, because it's policy, even though he was going to be taken to the hospital. Eventually, we got him to his feet, though it ended up that we had to wait on an ambulance. I asked him if he wanted to sit back down. He didn't. I stayed beside him. I wouldn't leave him. I hugged him. But when we were sitting on the curb together, I had an incredible realization. I didn't just look at him as family. To me he was another son. I had not realized the depth of feelings I'd had for him. I am so used to keeping everyone at arms length that I hadn't realized, so realizing that was something I hadn't expected, but also made me realize I still have the capacity to love greatly because there is truly no greater love than a parent with a child (when that parent cares, of course). I would have gone to the hospital with him had they let me, though I would have gotten in trouble with the facility, but to hell with them, if I could have gone. However, one of the other staff who was out there and kind of felt the same way, told him she should be there as soon as her shift was over. Since this happened after 10:00pm anyway and she got off at midnight... I can't even remember when this whole ordeal ended. I was pretty traumatized myself.

When I went back inside I was probably still in a bit of shock, hurting and a bit angry. I went to my room, but on the way, I told my other nephew what had happened. As I was trying to process this Ed came and asked me if I wanted to talk because I looked pretty upset. I just shook my head. I didn't want to talk. I didn't. So instead, he finally tells me that he had specific questions and would I be willing to answer them. So I went and did and I was definitely visibly upset. I was actually trying not to cry and failing and I have always said that if I'm crying I'm in crisis. And I was in a kind of crisis. I had just seen my son try to kill himself.

That night, I didn't sleep. I couldn't sleep. I kept turning in my head what I should have done. That I should have stopped Ed from going into the medicine room. That I should have stopped him from going after Jerry and let me do it... I had all this guilt of what I should have done. So the first thing I did when it hit about 6:00am, give or take, was take a shower. Then after I got dressed, made my bed, I decided I would just start my chore early since it was kitchen follow-up and that meant wiping down the counters and stuff. Picking up stuff off the floor - since I couldn't sweep and mop because of my back. And just wiping down the microwave, taking out trash if it's needed... replacing cereal, which we were pretty much out so I didn't do that. But I literally went to town on the kitchen. I didn't stop at the counters. I started in on the upper cabinets, inside and out, the window sill... I mean, I just had to stay busy. Plus, I didn't want to stop and crash. Not that I would have because I was so upset. After at least an hour of that - which is was probably more like and hour and a half or more, I had to stop. My arm was hurting and I just didn't want to get onto the floor to do the lower cabinets. God knows, I might have taken to rearranging the stuff in the cabinets! But I did finally stop. When I went to get my medication, Jessie, my care coordinator asked me how I was and I told her that I wasn't really doing well and she asked me why and I went into the whole story. She told me that she had gotten an email about it, but it didn't say much. I told her how I felt like I hadn't done what I should have done. That I could have stopped things from happening because I could see it all unfold as soon as Ed got up to go into the med room... But she told me I was being too hard on myself. That I had been there for Jerry and had done more than most people would have. The thing is, I would have done that either way, so I didn't see things that way. I was still in tears and trying to fight it. For me, it was like, what was the point of seeing something unfold if you don't do anything about it. Though I have to say that my logical mind did step in a bit and rationalized that it was possible I might not have been able to stop Ed from going in there. That I might not have been allowed to go after Jerry when he got upset and slammed and punched his door. Still, my emotions overrode that. She did finally tell me I should call Jerry. I hadn't because I assumed that he was admitted and that they had taken his phone away from him. But she told me he did have his phone and I should give him a call, even though she probably shouldn't have told me.

I immediately went to my room and called. Unfortunately, he didn't answer and I was finally on the phone with Nicole since she had seen my posts and knew I was very, very upset. It was during that conversation when I saw a plaid shirt through the crack through the back end of my door. It looked like Jerry's shirt, but I didn't believe it. Then I heard him say "Auntie." I was like, "I gotta go!" I didn't even hang up. I immediately went to the door and screw the rules, I hugged him. The first words out of his mouth were, "I'm sorry I made you cry." I couldn't believe it. I didn't care about that! He was there! I told him that the only thing at mattered was that he was there and that he was okay. I just held him and hold him. Finally I let him go and asked him if he wanted to talk in the Serenity Garden. We went and did. We talked for a bit, but we were both pretty tired. Eventually, he had to go inside to take some medication and I waited for him. When he came back out, we were just like... I'm so tired! Even he was like, "I want to talk but I want to sleep!" I laughed and told him I would make him a deal - that if he went to sleep, that I would go to sleep! LOL! So that's what we did. I crashed hard. I slept until dinner. I took my medication and saw that I had been assigned an after dinner chore and one I wasn't interested in doing. I was so exhausted that I just decided I would rather go to bed than eat and do the chore. So that's what I did. The care coordinator there that night tried to talk me into doing my chore and said that if I'd had a job I would still have to go to work. I replied that I always did my work and I would call in for a sick day. LOL! She didn't have much to say after that except that I wasn't going to do it? I basically was like, nope! So she let me sleep until it was time for me to take my medication. I took it and went back to sleep. I kind of needed the sleep too, but I woke up with a headache. That sometimes happens when I sleep too much.

The following morning Jessie was there and as I was getting my meds, she asked me how I was. I told her I was much better then basically said that she knew Jerry was coming back. She confirmed she did, but that she couldn't tell me. :-) That was fine by me. The important thing was that he was back. I wasn't sure if he was going to make up with Ed though, but they talked and sure enough, things are back to normal. Jerry is his happy-go-lucky self again. It was so good to see him smile! And I still don't give a crap about the rules. If I think he needs a hug, I'm giving him one! That boy has not been hugged enough or loved enough in his life!

So the Hurricane from nowhere blew itself out and the skies brightened! Life became good again!

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