Showdown at the hospital corral

Well, I had my wallow. It was deep and wide and dark and there’s a certain comfort in just opting out for a while. It’s not sustainable, though, because eventually I have to pack lunches and help with homework and say something to my husband other than “I just fucking hate this all SO MUCH.” (“Your husband sounds like an angel,” my therapist commented last week, as I sat on her couch, sniffling and leaking tears, and that was enough to make me smile. “He really IS,” I said. “I don’t know how I got so lucky.” And that helped, because he is and I am and not EVERYTHING is terrible, after all.)

I located my mythical bootstraps (mine are made of sweet potatoes!) and became the squeakiest wheel that ever did squeak. Which is how I ended up spending an hour on the phone with the hospital CEO yesterday.

Granted, everyone who works with my kid probably now refers to me as “that annoying bitch,” but whatever. I have never had a problem advocating for what my kids need. I’ve never had a problem standing up and possibly making myself unpopular. What I realized, though, was that in this situation, I had been handling each mini-crisis individually, always willing to say “this particular thing is not okay, let’s fix it,” but for some reason I had been holding back on saying, “This is ALL BROKEN. I want answers.” And I’m not sure why that is.

I have some ideas, of course. Really confronting the magnitude of some of these problems leaves me worried that we made a mistake placing Chickadee there in the first place, and that’s a horrible possibility to confront. I mean, yes, at the end of the day we can only do the best we can do with the information we have, and sometimes you have to pick the least awful of several really crappy options. Intellectually, I know this to be true. Intellectually, I know we made the best decision we could at the time, and even if this hospital has problems, we very likely saved Chickie’s life by placing her there. Emotionally… oh, God, that could be a novel on its own. Emotionally, all I want is my daughter protected and healed. Emotionally, every failing at this facility is a whisper in the back of my head, born of my own fears and uncertainty, suggesting that we did the wrong thing.

So I handled each issue as it came up, as best I could. When my daughter was beaten up, when her belongings were stolen, each time I was told of yet another meal where she was served a pile of boiled or deep-fried side items and told to “make do” (or—better yet—actually served the meat entree she will never eat), I made my calls, I rattled cages, I squeaked and squeaked until the matter at hand was supposedly resolved. Until the next time.

The email I finally sent went all the way back to the day we admitted her. I painstakingly catalogued every failing of this facility, and how each instance was handled. I was able to list every time we were told “we’ll take care of it” and whatever “it” was happened again. I detailed the “treatment meeting” in which treatment was not discussed, options were not presented, and we left feeling we’d been told, “Yeah, good luck with that” instead of helped.

The bottom line is that hospitals like this exist to HELP people, and my daughter isn’t getting the help she needs. So I laid it all out as calmly as I could and then I closed my email by saying that I seriously doubted this was this facility’s vision, and I hoped we could fix this.

To the hospital’s credit, the CEO gave me an hour to go through everything point-by-point, and this was AFTER they had an internal meeting for data collection on the issues I’d presented (like I said, I’m sure everyone there just LOVES me right now). Mistakes were acknowledged, and apologies—sincere, I think—were issued. Solutions were proposed.

Was there spin? Yeah, a little. When discussing the repeated drama over OH GOOD LORD HOW FREAKING HARD IS IT TO FEED A VEGETARIAN A VARIED DIET, I was told that Chickadee’s report of having been fed lasagna for 13 dinners in a row was “unlikely.” I bit my tongue and managed to suggest that be “further investigated.” A food log is being put in place, moving forward, and the future menu would be emailed to me right after our call. Funny, a few hours after the call, I did get an email, but it didn’t have the menu, because “upon review, I feel this menu doesn’t have enough variety and requires revision. A staffer has taken Chickadee to Trader Joe’s to do some food shopping, and I will get you the revised menu tomorrow.” I didn’t say “I told you so” but YES, my kid WAS fed lasagna 13 days in a row. And even though TJ’s prepared foods are still, you know, prepared foods, at least instead of nothing but lasagna she’ll have spanakopita and veggie pizza and tofu and bean burritos and fake vegetarian chicken nuggets, now.

Instead of being told “she is resistant to treatment” (um, please show me the teenager who is NOT resistant to treatment…?) her team will present quantifiable goals. Communication loopholes will be closed. The psychiatrist has been duly chastised for swearing at my child (OH YES HE DID), and that will not be happening ever again. It’s absolutely FINE with me if everyone there thinks I’m a stark raving bitch. I’m the stark raving bitch who will make them treat my child the way she should be treated.

At our last family therapy session—shortly before I allowed myself to check out and wallow for a couple of days—the therapist leading the session asked an already-angry Chickadee if she feels that I’m supportive enough of her. “What do you mean?” she asked, all suspicion. The therapist repeated it, changing the wording a bit: Do you feel that your mother is emotionally supportive of you, most of the time? “No,” Chickadee said, “she isn’t.” I was struck silent (and you know that doesn’t happen often).

Not five minutes later, Chickie was complaining that the “only” reason she’s not been able to get her crap together is because I’m always meddling and solving things for her before she even has a chance to prove she can handle it herself. This time, I laughed, which was the wrong move because it made her furious. I pulled back the laughter but pointed out that the times she’s gotten angriest with me are when I have told her she can handle it and I back off. “But let me get this straight. Everything is all my fault because I am not there for you enough, but at the same time, I do everything for you even when you don’t want me to. Okay.”

The therapist quietly pointed out that this is the conundrum of being a teen—magnified, of course, in this case, by Chickadee’s illness. “So basically, there’s no winning?” I asked. “Everything I do is wrong?” There was some rueful chuckling.

So… I get it. This road we’re on is a long one, and a terrible one, and it’s not fixed with Boca Burgers or a reminder to my kid’s doctor that he’s not John Wayne. On the other hand, I did what I needed to do to be able to sleep at night (well, maybe sleep a little more at night, anyway).

Last night on the phone, Chickie was bubbling over with excitement about her food shopping trip. “You did something,” she finally said. “You talked to someone. You’re trying to fix it for me.”

“Oh no, not me, I would NEVER do that,” I said. “I don’t wanna be ALL UP IN YOUR BUSINESS. You can take care of yourself, I think I heard that somewhere.” She giggled, and then I did, too. “You sound good, honey. Better. What’s going on?”

“I dunno,” she said, at first. A pause. “Well, I’ve decided I don’t want to live here. I want to come home. And that means I have to do some stuff, and that kind of sucks, but then I get to come home, which does NOT suck.”

“Good plan,” I said, hoping my voice sounded neutral and hid the internal victory dance I was doing, just to hear her saying that.

“But at least I have some decent food until then,” she continued. Then, quieter: “Thanks, Mom.”

“You’re welcome. Now excuse me, I have to get back to being my regular unsupportive self.” I’m pretty sure I could hear her rolling her eyes. I was chided for ruining what could have been a nice moment, to which I of course responded that THAT’S MY JOB, and then before we’d stopped laughing, it was time for her to get off the phone.

If all goes as planned, Chickie will get to come home for a night this weekend. I will shovel as much home-cooked food into her as she’ll let me, and continue to muddle through this business of holding her up while letting her go. We’re nervous, all of us. We’re all figuring it out.

All I can do is keep squeaking as best I know how, and hope she gets the grease she needs. (You know, the magic one, ethically harvested from moonbeams and rainbows, and animal-cruelty-free.)

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103 Responses to “Showdown at the hospital corral”

  1. 1
    jodifur September 7, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    Someone once told me, (and I think I wrote a post it, maybe?) that we can never go wrong advocating for our child. That advocating for our child is ALWAYS RIGHT, and they need to know that we are their strongest, fiercest advocate.

    It’s not the same thing, I know it is not the same thing, but years and years ago, I put Michael in a preschool where he totally decompensated. They were horrible to him and horrible to me and it took me too long to get him the hell out of there. You know what, it wasn’t my fault. I beat myself up over it for a long time, and then I stopped. Because I did the best I could with the information I had at the time.

    You are in an IMPOSSIBLE SITUATION. You are doing the best you can. Stop beating yourself up. Keep fighting. Keep advocating. And while you have her back, we have your back.

  2. 2
    RuthWells September 7, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    I’m so glad that you allowed yourself to wallow for a bit, and am in awe of how you handled the CEO. Fantastic Mama-bear-ing. And it’s so reassuring to hear about Chickie’s renewed motivation.

    BUT. Her psychiatrist swore at her?! HUGE red flag. Forgive me for being alarmist, but that psychiatrist is not going to suddenly become a terrific psychiatrist just because he/she was chastized. That psychiatrist is either burnt out or should never have become a psychiatrist in the first place. Can Chickie switch to another doctor — preferably one who is interested in helping her?!

    (I hesitate to submit this comment, because, Christ on a Triscuit, the last thing you need is people telling you to Do More Stuff. But. Swearing at a young patient?! No, no, no, no.)

  3. 3
    Carrie September 7, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    You are an amazing mom and Chickie is so lucky to have you!

  4. 4
    zchamu September 7, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    Mir, I don’t say this enough, but you are unbelievably filled with awesome. If I ever have to face a situation like this, I am honestly going to say to myself, “What would Mir do?” and the answer in my head will be, “kick ass and take names. Kindly, of course.”

    Counting the days for you til she’s home. xo

  5. 5
    Issa September 7, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    What’s that saying, one step forward, two steps back? Seems like maybe you both actually took two steps forward and none back this week. I’ll cross fingers for you that it continues.

  6. 6
    Redneck Mommy September 7, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    I needed to read this. For so many reasons. Wishing you all well and raising you up with hope and love and inspiration. Just as you do for so many others.

  7. 7
    liz September 7, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    I am so proud of you, and of Chickie. It’s going to be a long, hard road, but you are going to make it to the other end of it.

    Good for you for advocating for her. For hearing her voice, and raising it to those who need to hear it too.

    Good for her for telling you what she wants and needs and good for you for sifting through the angst to find the things you can give her or make the hospital give her.

    Good for you for holding the hospital accountable.

  8. 8
    Karen R September 7, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    Mother from Hell — not raving bitch. Actual organization of parents of children with disabilities. I was a card-carrying member when my daughter was in school. Check it out.

    And great news that Chickadee has realized she needs to do some work to change her life and get where she wants to. Even if there is some backsliding, hopefully there will be more steps forward.

  9. 9
    Anna Marie September 7, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    I am so FREAKING proud of you, Mir. You are being the best damn advocate Chickie could ask for, even if she doesn’t want you to, except for when she does…

    Kids, man. What are you gonna do.

    Good job, Mama.

  10. 10
    StephLove September 7, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    Good work. I’m glad to hear there are some glimmers of hope. Fingers crossed for a good visit.

  11. 11
    magpie September 7, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    you’re such a great mama. here’s hoping for more progress.

  12. 12
    Kate September 7, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    HOLY SCHIZNICKEL!! You were MAH-VELOUS! Good for you and GREAT for Chickie! Keep it up!! xoxo

  13. 13
    kimmie September 7, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    I’ve been reading about the slow scary process you and chickie are going through. It makes me sad and makes my heart hurt. Sometimes, Mama Bear has to just let loose with a can of whoop-ass.

    I wonder, sadly, if part of the problem with the hospital is that they aren’t used to parents knowing how to be their child’s advocate or even caring about their treatment.

    (((HUGE HUGS)))

  14. 14
    Sheryl September 7, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    I’m wondering if you were afraid that being the squeaky wheel might cause the staff to treat Chickie even more poorly. I ask not because I think you did the wrong thing, I know you did the right thing. I ask because *I* have a problem being assertive and advocating, for fear that there will be backlash. I’m wondering what your thoughts are on that aspect of things. Do you think people are more likely to meet your needs if you placate or protest?

  15. 15
    Sharon M September 7, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    I don’t even know you…except on the internet…and yet I am just so proud of you! You are fighting hard for your daughter and that is all any of us can do.

    I really wish there was something we could do for you. Some way we could help. Please ask for it if you need it. There are a lot of us here!

  16. 16
    Deirdre September 7, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    You are my inspiration as a Mama Bear Ravin Bitch. It sounds like your detailed presentation of the facts was just what they needed to hear. I’m so sorry Chickadee had to go through all of that, but I’m hoping that it will be better for the next family. I hope you have a fantastic weekend with yummy food for her, and that Chickadee starts to work on her stuff and be done!

  17. 17
    Erika Jurney September 7, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    The good you do helps the other kids in that hospital as well. You can be strong when other parents maybe cannot. Thank you.

  18. 18
    MomCat September 7, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    “Raving Bitch Advocate Mom” is a compliment! We can shorten it to “R-BAM”, sort of like J-Lo or Brangalina.

    We could tack on “who arranged all those wonderful toiletries.” They didn’t forget about that, did they? Should sweeten the dish just a *bit.*

    I’m glad for Chickie’s epiphany! I hope she will be back home with you very soon.

  19. 19
    Michelle September 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    You rock. I strive to be “that annoying bitch” one day. Hope you have a fabulous weekend.

  20. 20
    mamaspeak September 7, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    Part of this post depressed the hell out of me. I think what Kimmie wrote is why,

    “I wonder, sadly, if part of the problem with the hospital is that they aren’t used to parents knowing how to be their child’s advocate or even caring about their treatment.”

    I remember you mentioning that a majority of girls there don’t have parents visiting them, much less advocating for them. I’m so glad to hear, you were able to affect some change there. Change that Chickie can see and feel. Teenagers are ungrateful at best. I’m pretty sure Chickie is not at her best right now. A more positive spin would be that the staff knows that there’s a family who is paying attention. Someone actually cares how good of a job you do, and expects you to perform each and every day. I suspect you may have advocated for several girls, not just the one who matters most to us. Kudos to you & big ass HUGS!!!

  21. 21
    Sassy Apple September 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

    YES!!!!! (raving bitch momma advocacy dance being done right now)

  22. 22
    el-e-e September 7, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    Oh, gosh, that sounds like a breakthrough! Enjoy your time with her this weekend – I will be praying that all goes well and that she’ll get to come _live_ at home again, like she wants to, praise the heavens!, real soon. :) Bless you, Mir!

  23. 23
    Amy-Go September 7, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    “I’ve decided I don’t want to live here.”

    HALLE-FREAKING-LUJAH!!!

    Go Chickie go!

  24. 24
    Kyre September 7, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    Everything everyone above said. Yes that. All that. And more.

    But also, someday…when Chickadee is feeling much better and living an amazing life as a beautiful intelligent woman, I know she is going to thank you. For all of this. Repeatedly.

    I wish someone had done it for me. I ended up doing it for myself, but I’d lived many years as an adult before that happened. I missed a huge part of life, MY LIFE. Chickadee is lucky to have a woman like you on her side. And the fact that you are her mother…well, mind-blowingly awesomely lucky.

    Much love to all of you.

  25. 25
    Beth B. September 7, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    That’s terrific news. Thank you for sharing. You go girl! Have a great weekend and we will be thinking of you.

  26. 26
    elz September 7, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    You are more than a great mama bear, you are mama bear advocate and you are influencing change. It’s more than veggies. I’m hopeful it will happen-for all of you. Also, as a facility accepting federal healthcare dollars, they have certain standards to comply with-and that, that is something I know about. Send an email or give me a call if/when you want to take other action. Until then, I’m thinking of you all often and always sending you my best.

  27. 27
    Mary September 7, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    “holding her up while letting her go”

    That’s a gem right there. And perhaps a definition of parenting? Holding them up while letting them go…

    Yep. That one’s going to be with me for a while. :)

  28. 28
    Alison C September 7, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    Well done you!

    Glad to hear that things got better this week. I hope you have a great weekend and that this is another step forward.

  29. 29
    Em September 7, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    Can’t even tell you how much I look up to you for this. I am terrible at advocating for my kids (and trust me, I am so ashamed to say this). Even if it is as simple as a kid cutting in front of them in line, I can’t (don’t) do it. My son has the same teacher this year that my daughter needed advocating to (at? from?) two years ago. Not only did I not do it when she needed it (someone else did and I stood with that person) but now I am so afraid of that teacher and what she “thinks of me” that I can’t even look at her. I like to think if it were something very big, like what you are dealing with, I would but I am so afraid I wouldn’t. It is the thing of nightmares – literally. That is why I am extra proud of you and possibly hero worshiping just a little.

  30. 30
    MamaChristy September 7, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Go Mir! Go Chickadee! And go Monkey and Otto for being troopers. XOXO

  31. 31
    Headless Mom September 7, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    Great news. It might not be perfect news, but it sounds like progress to me.

    Lots of love for a good weekend!

  32. 32
    Katie K. September 7, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    I hope you have an amazing time with her this weekend! Fingers all crossed that she has turned a corner and will stay at least mostly pointed in the right direction. I also hope the improvements you have made for your daughter also benefit the other patients there. Take care.

  33. 33
    karen September 7, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    One small step for the food process at the hospital… one GIANT step for Chickadee, I’d say. Have a wonderful uneventful weekend!

  34. 34
    Charlie September 7, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    Go Mir! Well done.

  35. 35
    not supergirl September 7, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    You’re a superstar of advocacy. And you might be taking steps to change the culture in this area at this institution, whether that’s your goal or not. Everything you’ve done for your amazing daughter will benefit someone else, too. I believe that very strongly. I’m sorry she’s in a place you’re not happy with. I can only imagine the frustration and self-doubt that goes along with that. I am just so impressed with how you chose to deal with it. It is sickening that they should need to be reminded of how to do the basics (safety and food for real?), but it seems like they do. I’m so glad you’re there to do the reminding. And I love that she knew you made it happen. :)

  36. 36
    Genevieve September 7, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    Mir, oh, Mir, you did such an amazingly good job of advocating. Who can get the CEO to spend an hour on the phone with them, paying attention to each of the issues raised? That seems nearly unheard of. Good for you for documenting everything and writing a compelling letter setting it all out.

    This may be the best thing I have ever heard:
    “You did something. You talked to someone. You’re trying to fix it for me.”
    “I’ve decided I don’t want to live here. I want to come home. And that means I have to do some stuff, and that kind of sucks, but then I get to come home, which does NOT suck.”
    “But at least I have some decent food until then. Thanks, Mom.”

  37. 37
    Kate September 7, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    Delurking to say thank you. I have been reading for a few years and it is an inspiration how you stand up for your kids. I know I would stand up for mind in a heartbeat when it came to something/someone that would hurt them. But when it came to something like making sure he had the tools needed for his education I was hesitant because I didn’t want to be that parent. Yesterday I said screw that – I will become “that” parent. I’m not looking for a friend so I really don’t care if the teacher or prinicpal sees me as a bitch.

    Your kids are so very lucky to have you on their side. I think they will see it one day and they will understand what you did.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing your life with us.

  38. 38
    Susan in SF September 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    Sounds like huge progress – amazing work! Fingers crossed Chickie can stay focused on wanting to get out of there!

  39. 39
    Megan September 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    Oh well done, well done! I hope the victory does your heart good – and it seems to me that the wallow was necessary to build up the strength to win the victory.

    I hope those boca burgers and veggie nuggets taste like love to Chickie, ’cause that’s what they are.

  40. 40
    cheyenna September 7, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    Your kiddos are lucky to have such a great mama bear. I’m praying for you all.

  41. 41
    JoAnne September 7, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    I’m so glad to hear that Chickadee might finally be getting it! I hope the visit this weekend goes well! As a mother of a 3 year old, I’ve already had to be the Mother from Hell and I’m pretty sure I will always be the mother that teachers, principals, etc. all hate and I’ve realized that I’m okay with that as long as it is what is best for my children. You just made me feel a little bit better about it, so thank you!

  42. 42
    Korinthia September 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    If only every kid could have a mom like you. Keep squeaking, and when you need to, roar.

  43. 43
    Nancy September 7, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    I worked in a residential treatment center for teenage girls for 2 years and let me tell you, not one parent called to talk about their child during that time. And there were only 7 at a time, so I would know.

    It is a good thing that they know you care and are concerned. You advocate for all the girls there when you advocate for your own. That the CEO would spend that kind of time with you shows how little feedback they ever get. Keep in touch with them – and thank them when they make changes. A good relationship will help you in the long run.

  44. 44
    Brandi September 7, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    Embrace the inner bitch, Mir!

    When I was younger my parent’s didn’t advocate for my younger brother – so I did. Eventually they took over and now, hey, my mom does a better job. I know she’s called the bitch behind her back – but screw it. That’s a mother’s job!

  45. 45
    Fairly Odd Mother September 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    Crying here. Chickadee sounds so much like my oldest daughter, I can barely breathe as I read your words. Oh, Mir, I hope she is really and truly ready to come home soon. She may not be able to say it for years, but she is so, so, so lucky to have a mama like you on her side and please don’t ever forget that.

  46. 46
    Melissa September 7, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    Just keep swimming… Just keep swimming……

    Never posted before, but as one of those “bitch-moms” I had to tell you that you’re doing a wonderful job advocating for Chickie. If we moms don’t stand up for our kids, who will?
    You keep on keeping on, and we’ll be there to help hold you up.

  47. 47
    Tracey September 7, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    The advocacy of a parent for their child is crucial. All that you do makes a difference, not just in Chickadee’s current situation, but for other as well.
    I admire you so very much.

  48. 48
    Joan Allison September 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    Sometimes wallowing is really wallowing; it’s gathering yourself. And, wow, what an awesome, job of gathering and fighting you did. Good for you!

    Don’t waste you’re energy worrying about what you could have done better in the past. You’ll need it for continuing the fight, since the hospital will probably slack off again on all fronts before Chickadee’s out of there.

  49. 49
    JennyA September 7, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    Warning: very bad words follow…

    So, I am really looking forward to reading the post wherein you describe the day when you go to pick up Chickie for good, and you both raise your arms, each extend both your middle fingers, and run circles through the halls of the hospital, yelling “FUUUUUCCCCKKK YYOOOOOUUUUU!!!!!!” before dashing outside and peeling out of the parking lot in a flurry of squealing tires.

    I feel that it is coming.

    I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

  50. 50
    Amy September 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    You and your daughter are beautiful, and your squeaks sound like a symphony of love, to me.

  51. 51
    Another Dawn September 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    MIR SMASH!!!

    You are my hero. Knowing Chickie has a momma WHO IS WATCHING THEIR EVERY MOVE AND WILL NOT STAND FOR THEIR SHIT is the best weapon she could have in her fight against mediocre care.

  52. 52
    deva September 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    Mir, as terrible as all of this has been. Is. I am so so glad you are able to advocate for Chickie. That they listened. That she got a Trader Joe’s trip.

    I squealed at her epiphany and I hope that soon, you will be pulling away from the curb of the facility with Chickie and all of her stuff and a Licorice who is losing. her. shit. beause Chickie is coming home.

  53. 53
    Pats September 7, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    Good for you, Mir! You did what you needed to do, both for Chickie, and for YOU. YOU needed that too.

    I know it’s been said, Mir, but you will never regret standing up for your kid. If nothing else, your child will know that you have their back.

    And if they think you’re a bitch on wheels? Well, too bad for them. Then maybe they’ll be afraid to screw around with Chickadee. Too bad it had to come to this. Unfortunately, sometimes being “nice” doesn’t get you what you need for your child.

    WE think you’re the bomb.

  54. 54
    Arina September 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    I only hope that I can be as brave as you are, and Chickie, too. Hugs…

  55. 55
    KarenP September 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    Happy that Chickie has come to realize that she doesn’t want to live there and that there is work to be done. That has to be the first step of many to come on the road to better health.
    Kudos to you for all you have done to advocate for her. She will one day appreciate everything you have done even if she can’t voice that opinion now.
    Hoping you have a peaceful time at home together.

  56. 56
    Meg September 7, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    You rock Mir! And glad that Chickie appreciates your efforts. Hope the weekend visit goes great.

  57. 57
    My Kids Mom September 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    Well, you could be known as That Annoying Bitch, but I’d bet they still think of you as The Tampon Lady.

    I think Kimmie (comment #13) is probably right. Most of the girls there don’t have anyone to advocate for them. That’s why they don’t have their own toiletries in the first place. So if any of the workers there, who feel that you are making their jobs harder, could take the time to think about it, I’ll bet they’d wish that all the kids had parents like you. They would probably wish they’d grown up with a parent like you themselves. I’m willing to bet that the statistically probable outcome for any given girl directly correlates to the involvement by her parent/s in her treatment.

    Plus, “holding her up while letting her go” – there is one for the quote book

  58. 58
    Sheila September 7, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    *fist bump*

  59. 59
    Allison September 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    When I was a young girl, I had a completely different set of issues from Chickie, but my mother was a fierce advocate for me, too. I remember wishing she would just leave me (and especially my teachers and administrators) alone–doesn’t she know I can take care of myself and handle my own situations?! Why doesn’t she trust me? It’s so embarrassing when your “Moooommmmy” is all up in your business. People aren’t going to take me seriously!

    Now, I am so thankful for what she did because I am well and happy, and I know without a doubt that my mother loves me immensely and always has done the very best she could (which was usually exactly right). She is my best friend. My prayer is that one day Chickie will see the same thing in you, and she may already feel like that (somewhere small and hard-to-reach, which could never be spoken presently).

    If there was someone out there giving out Mommy Awards, you would win 1st place, hands down, in a number of categories. You and Chickie (and it sounds like Otto and Monkey as well) are remarkable people, and I am rooting and praying for all of you!

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    brigitte September 7, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    Like a couple other commenters observed, the hospital is probably more used to basically functioning as a juvie detention center. It’s probably a refreshing change to have someone up in their faces, forcing them to actually TREAT a patient!

    Good luck with the visit this weekend. :-)

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    Rebecca September 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    So dang proud of you both – you for being a fierce advocate for Chickie (and really, every other girl in that place) and her for finally realizing that she needs to work to get better.

    that said, why does it so often seem that “bitchy parent” so often translates as “someone determined to make us do our jobs properly” in the special needs world? There’s really no excuse for feeding a child poorly just because they don’t eat meat, let alone swearing at a child patient. I’m glad they’re trying to fix things somewhat, but my heart breaks a little for all the kids there who don’t have a Mama Bear on their side.

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    J September 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    NEW PSYCHIATRIST!!!! That may take you back a few steps but ultimately will get you ahead if Chicadee has a caring one.

    When I was in the “looney-bin,” I had a shrink who I called an oompa-loompa; he was downright mean and creepily perverted. NO psychiatrist should ever spew an expletive AT a patient, especially a child.

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    Chris September 7, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    A mom can never advocate too much – I do my best to be nice, polite and understanding but if someone deliberate screws with my kids – all bets are off.

    I know the road is not over but am very happy you came out ot this bump with veggie food for Chickie and a “Thanks Mom” at the end (I really want to bottle those for all the times that cr*p come out of the teenage mouths)

    Have a great weekend (and remember she it still a teenager so I am sure it won’t be 100% smooth….

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    Mary K. in Rockport September 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    R-BAM! Lots of wonderful comments today, and I have nothing to add……..except, did you read “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” series? Well don’t.

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    Susan September 7, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    First of all, you are a wonderful and caring mother. You have nothing to regret in that department. You really amaze me.
    Secondly, a lot of what you are saying reeks of fraud. As a health care worker, I am aware of the trend of billing for services that aren’t rendered and other ways health care institutions get money. I am really suspicious of this institution. You might want to make a complaint at the state level. Some one might want to know.

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    Karen September 7, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    Sweet potato lemonade anyone?

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    CuriousCat September 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    Mir, I am going to be very invasive and nosy and just plain get all up in your business to ask: what is your relationship with your own mother? You almost never mention her in your posts (unlike your dad and step-mom) and I’ve been reading you for quite a while. Just wondering if the relationship and issues (yes, i am assuming a lot here) you have with YOUR mother may not have some play in your relationship with Chickadee? Because sometimes it seems she has a disportionate amount of anger toward you (you who is CLEARLY her biggest advocate and admirer in the world) from the conversations and situations your post here. I’m sure all this is talked about in your therapy but I’m just wondering if you are 40 some years old and have anger/detachment issues with your mother at your age……………maybe there’s a connection? Could some of it be learned behavior?

    Please don’t take these questions to be judgmental against you. It is obvious how much you love your children and how fierce an advocate you are for them. It’s also clear how much guilt you take on for everything that’s not right in their life and I certainly don’t want to add to that. You are a wonderful, loving mother that would take on the world for your kids.

    I’m just saying if you don’t have a good relationship with your mother (for whatever reason), these are things that might be addressed now before Chickadee comes home for good. Because for her treatment to be successful, EVERYTHING must be treated, right?

    Ok, I brought it up and now I will go away.

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    Jen September 7, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    Not squeaking. Mama Bear Roaring. And you, Mama Bear, are perfecting that roar.

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    karishma September 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    Yes yes yes!! So many steps in the right direction. Good food can make such a difference, hop don’t underestimate its power! :)

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    Kathryn September 7, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    You are my hero. I wish every single child in that situation had someone to stand up for them like that. Just remember we are all cheering for you.

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    Chuck September 7, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    Go Mir go! Hope you have an enjoyable weekend with Chickadee coming up and that the hospital continues to fix their issues.

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    Jessica September 7, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

    You. Rock.

    That is all. :~)

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    dad September 7, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    Hooray!
    What can I say? Progress is good.
    You have turned the proverbial corner and better times are ahead ( I may have opined that before). I may have even previously mentioned that I too am sorta freakin proud of you.

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    Christine September 7, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    I KNEW Trader Joe’s could fix just about anything…

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    suburbancorrespondent September 7, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    That is a trademark of Borderline Disorder, you know – the damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation those closest to the afflicted always find themselves in. The therapist knows that, right?

    Boy, it is exhausting, doing what you just did. I recommend a nap.

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    Stimey September 7, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    This whole post makes me so very, very happy. Good for you! Good for Chickie!

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    Daisy September 7, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    One of the hardest and at the same time easiest decisions I ever made was to advocate for my child, despite the danger of taking a strong stand against the school district that was (and still is) my employer.

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    Liza September 7, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    You. Effing. Rock.

    And Chickadee is lucky you are her mom. She even knows it, at least in part of her brain. I hope she can stick with the plan.

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    NTE September 7, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

    Such an awesome move, by such an Awesome Mama.

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    ste September 7, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

    You are an inspiration to us ‘young moms’ out here. Thank you. I’m sorry it has to come from such a challenging place in your time as a mom.

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    Theresa September 7, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

    Good job! So proud of you! Who cares what they think about you as long as they DO think twice before letting things slide as they have in the past. They know you are not one to let this continue and I bet going forward, they will be more careful. That should help a lot.

    Smart girl, you are!

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    Shannon September 8, 2012 at 12:34 am #

    I’m hoping so much for you that this is a turning point!

    I spent a year as a student at a mental hospital, I was in the lab so not really among the patients except for orientation. But at orientation, we sat in on a group meeting where one of the men stated that he had been there 3 times to deal with his depression, and he felt like he wasn’t getting the help he needed. That all he wanted was to get better and go home to his wife and kids. And the staff member basically patted him on the head and said yes I understand how you are feeling. I got the sense that was how the (publicly funded) hospital operated in general. Ugh.

    Good for you for kicking ass and taking names!

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    StephMA September 8, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    Good Job Mama Tiger! You are one amazing advocate for your child. Sometimes I’m sure it’s difficult to put one foot in front of the other, but you are doing a fantastic job. (((hugs))) to you.

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    Amy September 8, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    I love every last bit of this post! You go Mir!!

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    Paige September 8, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    Hey, the hospital staff may be annoyed that you caused them to do some internal reviews (that should already have been in place!) but on the other hand…TAMPONS!! So…they know you can do good things for their program, too.

    What you are doing now is impossible and scary and so, so hard. But you are doing it. You really are. Kinda like labor, right? You get to a point when you’re just DONE and you want to be knocked out and woken up when the kid is nineteen. And then you go ahead and get through it because, really, what choice do you have? (My experience: YMMV)

    You will do this because you ARE doing it.

    Still holding the image of your happy, healthy family in my head. It will be reality one day.

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    LizD September 8, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    Wow, bravery, courage, love all wrapped up together! I so admire you.

    (Gotta love dad, too.)

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    Aimee September 8, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    you are supermom. I love that about you, And yeah, sometimes the squeaky bitch gets oiled, so to speak, so keep on squeaking.

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    Irishgirl September 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    Apologies if this isn’t helpful, I don’t mean to be intrusive. Has chickadee been tested for b12 deficiency? Apparently it’s hard to get enough b12 on a vegetarian diet and the symptoms of deficiency include psychiatric problems. Apologies if this has already been checked or if it doesn’t apply to her. I’ll always remember an elderly aunt that had suffered from
    Depression all her life and was dismissed as being neurotic. She found out in her old age that she didnt digest b12 properly and that it was probably the main reason behind her lifelong depression. She always said it was such a pity she hadn’t known that wen she was young enough to enjoy life. Sad story.
    Good on you for advocating for her, I hope she comes home safe soon. Wishing you strength for the fight.

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    Jenny September 8, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    Very much digging R-BAM. Congrats on what sounds like a major victory!

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    Cele September 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    You are being the best thing you can be – Mom. Plus you are a progressive Mom, a loving Mom, a concerned Mom, and best of all you know how to insert just enough reality into your situations with Chickie with just the correct touch of humor. It works, you make it work, and you and Otto will get Chickie through this (while Otto will get you through this.)

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    Mary September 8, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    Awesome!..you should write a book about how very important it is to BE AN ADVOCATE FOR YOUR CHILDREN!! As parents, we can never really fix it 100%, but wow, does it feel great to think someone is really working for you. I understand that you have always been a very supportive advocate, but you also know when you to hit overdrive or reverse, as needed. It is a gift to have that sensibility.

    Mir, have you ever been in contact with Patrick Kennedy? He was our congressman here in RI for a while (He is the son of Ted Kennedy). Patrick suffers from mental illness.He has been at his best when working as an advocate for families dealing with the same issues. I am a huge believer in using both local and global resources to shed light on issues that so many families face, but try to treat privately. It could be mental illness, substance abuse, interpersonal violence or education…we, as parents can let the whole world know that we will always work to improve the quality of life for our families. There is amazing power and inspiration in that.

    “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us” ~ Joseph Campbell

    I hope I don’t sound like I am pontificating. There is just so much struggle everywhere and the load is lightened when we share all across the board. You and Otto, Monkey and Chickadee rock. :)

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    Rachael September 9, 2012 at 12:50 am #

    Good for you for standing up for your daughter & what she deserves!

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    Paula September 9, 2012 at 4:22 am #

    Sons and daughters cannot bloom when their parents are too sophisticated. It’s better to keep it simple, say yes or no, only give explanations why when asked and try to keep their mouths shut as often as possible. Parents should simply try to be kind of background singers to rely on (although they are the conductors in reality). Otherwise the kids will not listen any more, are going to fight their parents, try to hurt them, provocate, be destructive to proove that they will be stronger and better anyway.

    I realized this very late. Today my son hardly listens to my comments at all and won’t take any piece of advice any more. But, I show him where the border line is, so he cannot suck the rest of energy out of me. That’s kind of surprising for him.

    Beyond all, I love him and am supportive, there’s no need to say it. He will feel it or not.

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    Christine in Los Angeles September 9, 2012 at 7:07 am #

    “… a stark raving bitch …” well, that’s why God invented Mothers, because if we’re not there for them, who will be? (Well, sometimes Fathers, and Grandmothers)..
    Keep on advocating, Mir. She’s too important to let go by the wayside. She knows you love her (even when you’re in her face/ignoring her needs).
    Crossing my fingers (and toes, and teeth, and eyes, and anything else that dangles) for you and Chickie, and of course for Monkey and Otto.
    God bless, Christine

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    Kana September 9, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

    The strength and compassion of mothers is ever-awe-inspiring. And it never stops; it always brings tears to my eyes.

    The pain I put my mother through as a teen, both needing and resenting her help, the joint therapy sessions – it’s familiar, and yet not so. Your family has a disproportional amount of hurdles on its track, that my family never saw, but thankfully both have Olympian-class motherly love in play. My mother wept, laid down, got back up, and tried again, over and over again, just like you’re doing. And I “made it”, grew up, became well and whole. This is what I wish for you; for that grown-up daughter, independent and healthy, thinking back on your mutual struggle and the fierce bond that creates.

    I cannot comprehend that level of selfless championing, but remain in awe and gratitude of it. Mothers are amazing. You are amazing.

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    addy September 9, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    Always be the advocate – always.
    Good thoughts as things move forward!

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    Andrea September 10, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    LAWD, Mir, but you are awesome!! I put a little bit of your strength in my pocket this morning, and I’m going to use it with the staff at my boy’s school. I’ve always been worried that if I bitched too much, their dislike for me would trickle down to my boy, and I SO do not want to make it worse! But it can be done, it has to be done, and thank you for doing the hard, hard work to show us all the right way. Hope your weekend night works out and is fun/healing/progress-ful for everyone.

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    Jan in Norman, OK September 10, 2012 at 10:32 am #

    Lady, your blog should be required reading in every medical school, doctor’s office, and hospital in the world.

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    Kim September 10, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    You know, you may be sitting there wondering why you didn’t do all of this sooner, even as you acknowledge you were trying. I am sitting here in awe, because you had everything documented, you were able to go back and list problmems from her entry date. You had a wealth of material that caused them to go and look at what has been happening. That’s huge, Mir. Huge.

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    Christine September 10, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    You are awesome and it sounds like Chikadee has made an important turn in her treatment. I am also likely referred to as ‘that bitch’ by IEP folk at my son’s school, they asked for Mama Bear and they got Mama Bear. Good for you for advocating for your child. You didn’t swoop in and resue and try to fix, you saw an injustice and did your part to have system wrongs made right. That is being a parent and good modeling for Chickadee.

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    Katie in MA September 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    Oh, that post filled me with such hope! Squeak on, Mama bear.

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    J from Ireland September 12, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    Go mama Mir!! Fair play to you. Hopefully things are on the up for you all. Best wishes.

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    pendulumheart September 13, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

    I just stumbled upon your blog and I am disgusted to my core. Your entire situation hits very close to my own experience–or rather, your daughter’s does. And I must say: if my parents had liveblogged my own teenage stay in a mental hospital I would have disowned them. IF I had lived through it. Does your daughter know you are airing her life to the entire world?! Has she consented to this!??! She is a little younger than I was so she might not realize what an invasion it is. I’m sure it’s too late for you to reconsider–the damage is probably done–but I beg you to do so. You are hurting your daughter, whether or not she realizes it yet. Owning my illness and my story and finding the voice and courage to speak it for myself was key to my survival. You have effectively stripped her of this option. Mother of the year.

    [Mir here: You're entitled to your opinion and I thank you for sharing it, albeit in a rather hostile manner. When people ask me genuine questions in a respectful way I'm happy to answer them. Your tone tells me there's nothing I could say that would dissuade you from your conviction that you are oh so very right and I'm a monster, so I won't waste either of our time other than to say a lot of care and consideration goes into what and how I share here. So I guess we'll agree to disagree.]

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