N has been admitted to what I suspect is the only inpatient intensive intervention program in Ontario…and he started today, Friday, October 21.
The program is in a different city about 2 hours drive from where we live. We have always called his programs “camp” and to differentiate this camp, we called it “far away sleepover camp”. Thinking that this might not sound so appealing, we changed it to “new camp”. N will stay there during the weeks to come, with visits and home visits as is possible. The duration of his stay will be several months, depending on evaluation and treatment, and we will get a comprehensive assessment and behaviour plan, and suggestions for his well being and safety.
He is in good hands. I know that. Even knowing he is in the best place he could possibly be, this is very hard for me.
Last night I could not pack his suitcase. I just could not do it. I got up early this morning and grabbed the list and filled his bag with exactly what items were on the list in the order given, trying not to think or feel. I did the robot – responding to lines of code in a program written by somebody else.
A 2 hour drive, through a misty rain which mirrored my emotions and then we were there. I kept my poker face all the way, not wanting Mr. Intuitive to pick up upon my anguish. He can tell when I am upset, afraid or sad; and he acts like an amplifier – he throws it back at me twice as loud. We arrived there around 10:00am.
The staff were wonderful – they welcomed Nicholas and the guided us through the admission process, which we appreciated greatly as we were both not no our game in any way whatsoever. Several buildings to visit, many people to meet, even more forms to sign. Then it was time to say goodbye.
We went back to the part of the campus where N would be staying. The door opened and he was there, looking at us with relief. I could see instantly that he had been stressed. He was sweating and his face was red, and he vocalized in his own way “uh-oh”.
How do we do that as parents when we cannot reason with our child. How do we make it OK and reassure him? We cannot. I unpacked his clothes with the help from one of his caregivers. I wanted him to see that I put them away. That it was me, and I knew and was OK that he was staying there. We went out to the common area and we did our hugs and kisses. Somebody helped us turn around and go out the door.
We saw his silhouette in the doorway watching us as we drove away. I don’t remember every feeling so badly. I don’t remember ever wishing life could be a bit less hard. I don’t remember ever feeling so grateful and helpless. And angry. Because we have to do this. Because his needs are not important here where he makes his home. Because the needs of the community, the school and everybody else there are more important. Because everybody has to cover their own ass. Because there has to be proof of need. Because there has to be justification, transparency, for spending (unless your needs come with a photo op). And then if there is justification, there is need for delay, in case somebody else comes forward and draws out their wallet first.
I am grateful for the people who have taken N into their care. It feels good to be witnessed. It is going to take me a few days to feel any kind of relief or enjoy myself for being able to be free of a horrible burden for a short time.