Roller Coaster Ride - Part One
Taking the Princess to the ER was not an easy decision. She became frantic when she heard where we were going, asking, "Why?" and "What's going to happen?" over and over again. Once we arrived and she was placed in a treatment room, the seriousness of the situation began to hit me. We were at the hospital because we were afraid our daughter would hurt herself if we left her alone. This was not like when she was two and used to get scared there were monsters in her closet; this time the monsters were insider her head. And unlike when she was two and I was able to get rid of the monsters by spraying the "Go Away Monsters" spray (which looked remarkably like Fabreeze), I was completely at a loss here.
We spent hours in that ER. The Princess had to repeat her story so many times, to the nurse, the doctor, the other doctor, the social worker - once with us in the room and again with us out of the room. Each time the fear and guilt would well up inside of her, looking for a way out. She was wiped. We were wiped. And the night wasn't over yet.
The doctors ruled out any medical issue that would cause this situation, so the social worker decided that we needed to transfer her to a nearby facility to be evaluated and possibly admitted. If admitted the Princess' worst fear would come true: we would have to leave her there. Parents were not allowed to spend the night with their children. Once again panicked ruled her every thought. Our mantra became "One step at a time." DH and I kept repeating it to her and each other when we began thinking about the possibility of having her admitted. I went with her in the ambulance-like transport vehicle but had to sit in front while she lay strapped to a stretcher in back. I listened to her quietly crying behind me and could not even reach my hand out to comfort her, could not even twist myself in a position so she could see me.
We arrived at The Center (not its real name) and were escorted into the building. We were taken back to an evaluation room. By now it was the middle of the night and we were exhausted. DH and I shifted in the hard back cheap plastic chairs, trying to find comfortable positions, while the Princess did everything she could to practically climb inside of us. We listened as the Princess once again told her story. The final decision was that if we were able to promise not to let her out of our site until Monday, she would not have to be admitted but instead would begin The Center's partial hospitalization program from 8:30 to 2:30 Monday through Friday. We agreed and took her home. It was 4 in the morning.
This is hard to write.
I have had to pause many times while typing this to take a break. I find myself beginning to breathe faster, tensing my muscles and clenching my jaw, as I relive these experiences. Especially knowing that the partial hospitalization I am writing about will not be the last.