Natasha Robinson described for us what it was like trying to get treatment for her then 8-year-old son Isaiah, who has been diagnosed with autism, anxiety, ADHD, and Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder. It’s been an incredibly harrowing experience, as Isaiah has made several attempts to harm himself and his mother since he was 6 years old.
In recent months, Natasha has struggled to get Isaiah, now 9, off a waitlist and into a state psychiatric hospital for inpatient services. Today she has an update on where life has taken them since…
It has been just over a month since Isaiah came home from inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. Around the time the article was published highlighting our struggle to get a bed, space became available at the state hospital Hawthorn Center. It takes just over two hours to drive there from Kalamazoo and we needed to be there at 9 a.m. for intake.
Isaiah refused to cooperate even getting into the car and I had no one to call at 6:30 a.m. for help with the trip. Because we couldn’t get in by 9 a.m. and there wasn’t staff available to process us later, we had to give up the spot and go back on the waitlist. Fortunately, it was only a few days before a bed opened and we spent the next couple of days planning. The Integrated Services supports coordinator drove with us and we made it to Hawthorn successfully.
Leaving him there felt like the second night we were in the hospital after he was born. I was tired but also wanted to keep my eyes on him. He was resting, sleeping like newborns do, but I stayed awake, just looking. A nurse convinced me to let him spend a couple of hours in the nursery. I cried from heartbreak and he was only a few steps away. I’ve been tired, but it’s still hard to take my eyes off of him.
I stayed at a hotel for that weekend, literally five minutes away and cried those same big tears. (Other weekends I stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Detroit.) Isaiah struggled adjusting to inpatient and had some extra medication in the first couple of days. Eventually, he found some activities and people he liked and got into the flow of his schedule. He was successfully weaned off of a handful of medications and we had a couple of family therapy sessions in addition to my regular visits over 28 days. He was discharged in mid-October and told to follow up with our community mental health resources.
No additional testing.
No additional diagnoses.
No additional insight into managing life at home with him.
Going through the system for help has been exhausting. Trying to manage all of it alone makes you next-level tired. I saw he was happy to be home but he was also worried. He was jumpy and easily agitated. A week or so later, we had a visit to the local ER because he was so wired and erratic. The focus now is:
- To maintain safety at home and in the community,
- To understand why he’s so paranoid and anxious at home and help him through it,
- To find a regular respite care provider so that I’m not on all the time,
- To assess if his current medications are enough (I don’t think so) and uncover what might truly work for him, and
- To continue therapies that work for his needs.
We are having many sleepless nights in a row. (Or only sleeping for five or fewer hours.) He is still aggressive. I’m still not earning enough to care for us the way I need to so I’ve started a GoFundMe. I’m also considering what other kind of fundraiser to do soon.
Isaiah has been back to school and enjoys it. He just turned 9 on November 14 and had a fun Lego Ninjago-themed party.
Your support is everything. I’ll continue to post updates on our GoFundMe page.