Thursday, May 16, 2013

"Brace yourself Melanie"

Let me just start by saying that I have heard those 3 words come out of more doctors mouths in the last year than I ever thought I'd ever hear.


Yesterday, though, I heard it again and it was attached to my son's illness for the 3rd time.

My son struggles from a pretty heavy case of paranoia. I try to keep the details of the content of it off the blog out of respect for him but it's there and rampant. We saw the doctor on Tuesday and spoke with him about the meds for my son and how they're not working and he changed them yet again. I know this is par for the course and to be expected. After explaining the content of my son's latest delusion, the doctor looked at my son and I'll never forget the look on his face. I have been in a lot of therapy over the course of my life so I speak from experience, I have never seen such concern on the face of a psych doctor in my life. He looked at my son and he asked him:

"This is real for you isn't it?"

and my son answered an unequivocal "yes" with a straight face and flat affect. The questions that followed further solidified the extent of my son's reality and his doctor and I were left speechless.

So my son got a new medication and we walked out the door. Then yesterday my son was struggling pretty bad and agreed to go into the hospital. All of that I explained in yesterday's post. What I didn't say was what the doctor told me when he called me back about the hospitalization. I explained further to the doctor my son's fears and gave names and folklore and other pertinent information so that his doctor could research it himself and then it came:

"Melanie......................(long silence) you need to brace yourself. You need to know this. It is possible, worst case scenario, that we may not be able to pull your son out of this. This may be how he will have to live the rest of his life."

Suddenly I couldn't breathe anymore. No mom, no loved one, n-o-b-o-d-y wants to hear that come out of a doctor's mouth when it's attached to this illness. Make no mistake, I know that this illness doesn't always have the best prognosis but there is always hope, right? RIGHT? It is all I've had to cling to since my son was officially diagnosed but nobody's had the courage to put my WORST FEARS right smack in the center of a brightly burning spotlight like this. It kind of sucks the air from the room (or my car in this case).

You know, I am not stupid, I know the realities of this illness but hearing this put so bluntly, when all I'm clinging to lately is a thin thread, was difficult to hear. After the conversation (which contained all sorts of not-so-good news) I got out of my car and went inside and gave my son a hug holding back tears of grief, fear, anger (at schizophrenia) and willed to my son a pure white light of love for him who suffers from this nasty illness.

This is schizophrenia. This is the life of someone loving someone living with schizophrenia. It's not pretty, it's not easy to hear about (or live with), but it's reality and sharing it with you all gives me hope that more people will become better educated and want to help someone they love or know who has the illness.

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