As I drove up James Street yesterday...I was reminded of the day, twenty one years ago this month, that I made a similar drive ....a drive that would end in me picking up a little new born girl....born three days earlier. I still remember that drive very well....I remember that every traffic light turned red, as I crept up the street in very thick traffic.....my body was tense...I had never been part of an apprehension before.....I was to meet the social worker in the stairwell of the maternity ward. Very cloak and daggerish....very exciting, very scary......the apprehension went well, no drama....until I realized that in my excitement of taking on this new responsibility ....I strapped the babe in her car seat, in my van, put my keys on the driver seat, locked the doors.....and....realized...with....horror.....that....I ....had....locked....the....babe...in....the....van....with....the...keys.......and a brand new worker, that I'd never met before watching me do it! Oh ...my...goodness.....to say I panicked was putting it mildly.....I raced back into the hospital to call my husband , (this was before cell phones!) who worked about a half an hour away,....he raced towards the hospital...making it in 20 minutes....thankfully the babe stayed asleep...oblivious to the whole scenario unfolding around her.....hubby unlocked the door, the social worker smiled and Maya and I were on our way home.....I don't recall how long it took me to stop shaking but we did make it home!
Twenty one years later, once again, I'm driving on James Street, with Maya in the seat beside me....but this time we're going up....not down....up to a medical building across the street from the hospital I had picked her up from....taking her to an appointment with workers, doctors and nurses that perhaps could give us some answers.....answers to what happened....what happened to this vibrant, happy ( for the most part) young woman , that on Christmas Day caused us to sign a paper agreeing to let her.....well, we really didn't have a choice, they said....it was court ordered...they were taking her anyways...taking her to the locked down mental ward of a hospital connected with the very one that she had been born at....the very one that I had picked her up at, when she was just 3 days old.....but this time it was a locked ward...not a locked van that her dad could rescue her from....we both felt so helpless and confused.
Complete stress breakdown, they said , at first. Don't worry, they said...we have an amazing doctor...she'll get to the bottom of this....she'll find out what's going on....she'll help her. They pumped her full of drugs....our beautiful Maya...sitting in a world that we couldn't reach....both physically and mentally.
For three weeks she was there....she gradually started to 'come out of it'...she begged to come home...we were with her every day, all day long....she had few visitors except for her two sisters who were faithful each day...not that the others didn't want to come, and help...but geographically it wasn't possible.
For three weeks, we fed her, toileted her, bathed her, dressed her....played games with her, coloured with her, walked with her...up and down the hall...over and over.....
Finally the doctor said she could come home....home was in a shambles....no one , but her brother and sister had really been there for three weeks...except one day, daughter Lauren came and did a cleaning blitz....no food in the house, no laundry done.....but we were home....home for a day...and then hubby would enter the hospital for much needed surgery....and he would be there for a week....my body and mind craved for it all to be over....for us all to be home....for us all to rest. Eventually, that happened....he did come home, and Maya and Don recovered.
Well, Don did...Maya...not so much.
Two and a half weeks after she was discharged, we were horrified to see her, once again, showing signs of confusion....within a day, she was completely 'zoned out'.....we were in despair....it had come back and we had no idea what to do....the hospital had been a terrifying experience for her and I was determined, if at all possible, to keep her at home. She wasn't violent towards us, or to herself so we were able to do it...but it was exhausting....the first few days she hardly slept, so either did we....you had to do for her as you would a toddler....each day we looked for signs that she was coming back to us....and about ten days later, gradually, she did....
After that, we were constantly watching, constantly on alert to it coming back....never able to plan things, go places...we didn't know if it would come back and if it did...when would it.
Come back it did.....about 45 days after the last time, ...it returned.....hubby had a business trip to California planned...just a three day one....but his first since he had been ill....the weekend before he left on the Monday, I noticed little things, little things that put me on guard, made me realize that she was slipping away again....and there wasn't anything I could do....by Sunday evening, her mind was blank and Don left on his trip four hours later. The next three days were an exhausting nightmare....she hardly slept and neither did I....when Don returned, he took a vacation day and stayed home to help.....the next day was Good Friday. Then about eleven days after it began, she came back....not remembering anything about it, talking as if the last eleven days had not taken place. (Yesterday the doctor said this was 'normal' ...apparently the brain doesn't record anything in a state of catatonia)
Maya has 'lost' about a month of her life at this point....time that she'll never get back...it's gone forever.
Yesterday, she met with all these people....people that help those who have a first psychotic event...people that are supposed to know what they're doing. Finally, I hoped, finally some answers.....not so fast, I'm afraid.....after interviewing us for 2-1/2 hours....they could only start to speculate...we have to go back....in two weeks...for more intel gathering...and then once again after that, for three months....the only thing they know, at this point is that Maya has something called Catatonia...which , when I googled...I discovered was a wide range catch all for many psychotic events. So far they can't tell me what caused or causes it, from what they said, it doesn't sound like it will go away permanently, in fact , the opposite...they terrified me, when they said it could come one time and stay!
This morning Maya got up earlier than usual, she said she didn't feel good...she said she was thinking abut what happened at Christmas...she said she was scared.
So am I.
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