Saturday, 25 June 2011

Unsettled Times and the Chocolate Hostage!

I knew as soon as Chrissy walked through the door that there was going to be trouble. She was wild-eyed, flappy & agitated. Then she took off, running frantically from room to room again as she did last week. Her finale was to plonk herself fully clothed in our (empty) bath. Then off came the clothes & feet went in mouth to be bitten & bent back. (Chrissy is double-jointed.) At this point her younger sister, Alex, walked in to see what all the noise was about. She smiled wryly at the sight that greeted her & tried to distract Chrissy but she couldn't snap her out of it. Chrissy was volatile all evening. At one point she let me take both hands & gently squeeze them. The pressure stilled her & she allowed me to take her through deep breathing exercises. She visibly relaxed for a while. The many bruises & abrasions on her body signal how unsettled Chrissy is at the moment. No one's sure if it's the meds changes, the effects of a new extremely challenging patient on her ward or just another bad patch. We always try to attribute difficult times to something specific, such as too many changes in her routine, but often it's hard to pinpoint.

Bed-time went surprisingly smoothly & Chrissy woke up this morning much calmer. The only outburst came when we were about to take her back to the hospital because she wants to take everything except the kitchen sink with her. Taking favourite foods in a carrier bag, tied with a bow, is a self-soothing ritual she's devised to help her cope with transitions from one place to another.

On the journey back I had to refuel because Alex had borrowed my car and the petrol gauge was on red. I try to avoid stopping on car journeys with Chrissy because she tries to escape to get diet coke, which is her main obsession. Predictably, Chrissy insisted on coming into the petrol station shop to buy diet coke. She also grabbed a big pack of Maltesers. I tried to coax, bribe & trick her into giving up the Maltesers because she's overweight but she ran to the back of the shop with her treasures & started flapping & shouting. I know when I'm beaten. The nurses reported later that they'd used lots of cloak & dagger distraction techniques to hand her four Maltesers from the packet, give her the empty Malteser bag to hold & hide the rest. The diet coke was topped up with lots of water, which Chrissy accepts. Some battles just aren't worth fighting!

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