Friday, 24 August 2012
Another Outing & Feeling Torn...
Out for Sunday dinner with sister & cousins
Third proper outing in the past month or so. At first we ummed and ahed about whether to take Chrissy with us as she woke up on Sunday in such an unsettled mood. Feeling torn is part of being Chrissy's mum. It's hard to know what to do for the best because she is so unpredictable.
The day got off to a difficult start. Chrissy was shouty & repetitive as I was getting her dressed, she then blundered into Alex's room and woke her up. Result one very stroppy Alex, who'd been up until 4am lesson planning for her new teaching job. 'If you take Chrissy I'm not going,' she announced.
'No, we'll drop her back.' I was hedging my bets. I planned to make up my mind once we got nearer the restaurant. Chrissy's ATU was very close by so we could do a detour if necessary.
On the journey there, Chrissy obsessed non-stop about food. We tried all the tricks, getting her to repeat our answers back: 'What did we say Chrissy?' Signing zip it up & 'yes' instead of giving verbal feedback & so on. Nothing worked but optimism prevailed. We owe it to Chrissy to keep taking chances on her and I banish memories of previous disasters. Onwards and upwards!
Our table was perfectly positioned in its own room. It wasn't completely private - people could walk through it to the garden - but it was a handy escape route for us too! I prayed that sausages, Chrissy's favourite, would be on the menu & that somehow we could get her to wait without kicking off. Ian was a star - he drew sausages, wrote s-a-u-s-a-g-e-s & got her to copy it, & asked Chrissy what she would be eating with her sausages. 'Is it tomato sauce?' 'Is it mashed potatoes and gravy?' A diet coke with two straws and no ice was duly served to Chrissy. She eyed it warily because it wasn't in her usual bottle or cup, and we breathed a sigh of relief when she accepted it, topped up with water, just as she always likes it.
During the wait for food, Chrissy grew increasingly curious about what was going on around her. She introduced herself to her reflection in a mirror on the wall above the table, then, clapping, flapping and talking at the top of her voice, she made her way, like a galleon in full sail, towards the main dining area. There was no stopping her so I grabbed her hand and managed to steer her past the bar and other dinners to the loo, then back again to her seat. People politely pretended not to stare and I politely pretended not to notice.
Ian then managed to divert Chrissy outside and I left him to it. Sometimes Chrissy can be overwhelmed by two people talking to her and directing her. After 10 minutes I went to check everything was ok and found Ian patiently pushing her on a very sturdy swing in the garden. The expression on her face was beatific. She was the most relaxed I'd seen her all day. Another item on the 'shopping list' for Chrissy's new home.
After dinner Chrissy nagged obsessively about pudding. After pudding it was 'I want sandwiches' but we got through it all without mishap and, although Chrissy's mood wasn't as good as it can be, she enjoyed her meal out. As Alex says 'it's like she was about to kick off but somehow she never did.'
Then came the part that tugged at my heartstrings. We took her back to the ATU and her face crumpled. 'I want to come home,' she sobbed. Tasha, a carer she really likes sat with her for a while & managed to distract her with a picture book. Then Chrissy called out 'bye!' to us quite happily.
I was told that she had been crying to come home in the week too. This is another effect of Chrissy waking up after medication changes. She knows all too well what she wants and she's telling us loud and clear. I can't put into words how torn & guilty I feel over this & I wouldn't mind betting that many other mums in my situation feel the same. I rationalise it by telling myself that she's an adult and most people her age live independently anyway but she's like a toddler - so terribly vulnerable; Ian reminds me that one day we'll no longer be around, so she needs to get used to living away from home; I remember how hard it was to let go when I first had to accept that we could no longer cope. It gets easier but the ache never goes away. You just have to find a way to live with it.
I am a SWAN UK (Syndromes without a Name) blogger