After battling for David's new health insurance to cover his antibody blood transfusions, we finally got things settled and calmed down by the end of October. We saw God work a miracle first-hand in getting the infusion supplies covered only causing David to get his next transfusion 1 day late instead of 4 days late as circumstances had determined. Another exciting praise is that David remains HEALTHY! He has been infection-free since the end of August--right before his September 7 surgery. This means his surgery was successful, and our prayers have been answered.
Our greatest struggle has been with Joshua. As I mentioned in my last blog post, we and his doctor took him off of one of his medications since it was causing his behaviors to worsen instead of improve. However, we didn't replace it with a different drug. Because he struggles with a mood disorder (which the doctors believe is bi-polar, but he's too young for the official diagnosis), he needed to remain on a mood stabilizer but be on one that didn't make his behaviors worse. After he stopped the problematic drug, he got so much better, and we saw the old Josh for the first time since I had begun my battles with the chronic migraine over a year ago. However, after a little over a week, his behaviors worsened again as he became emotionally/psychologically unstable. In November, we put him on a different mood stabilizer, but it was too late. He went into crisis mode. In addition to episodes of paranoia, his melt-downs were becoming extremely violent and very long. Tim was no longer able to control him which was very scary for the safety of our family as well as Josh's. On November 13, we made the very difficult, heart-wrenching decision to admit Josh into a psych hospital for the second time (he was hospitalized in Feb. 2012). He was hospitalized for 14 days and did really well on new meds and in the controlled environment. He came home on the 26th. He started to struggle with falling asleep in the middle of class as a result of the new medications. When I called the hospital psychiatrist about it that Thursday, he told me to give Josh's am dose with his bedtime dose. The next day, I did not give him his am dose, and he saw his outpatient psychiatrist who told me Josh looked way too sedated and that his dose needed to be decreased by half. By the afternoon, he fell over asleep while standing up and dancing during a music assembly at school. The school nurse called me because they couldn't get him to wake up, and it was hard for her to tell he was breathing. I picked him up and took him to the ER where we found out he was having drug-induced narcolepsy-like symptoms. He was also wheezing, so the doctor chose to give him a double albuteral nebulizer treatment to slam his system into overdrive and open his airways. The treatment worked, and his vitals remained stable afterward, so they discharged him. Since then, after dealing with some severe melt-downs, things have finally seemed to stabilize, and Josh has been doing much better this past week.
Josh's hospitalization was very difficult on us because we felt like failures in being able to help Josh even though we were reassured that we did everything possible to help him and that mood disorders are very difficult to treat. We missed Josh greatly. We were allowed to visit him 4 days a week. Some visits were really discouraging but others were encouraging. Poor David suffered the most without having his brother, best friend, and play mate with him. All 3 of us had heavy hearts as we went throughout our days leaning on God's strength and grace to get us through each day, for that was the only way we survived.
We are concerned about David as a result of everything he has witnessed and experienced with Josh and his issues. Since Josh's hospitalization, David has become very emotional and is having a difficult time focusing. We thought things would improve when Josh got home, but they have only worsened. David is usually the first victim of Josh's anger melt-downs. He has been kicked, punched, bitten, and leveled to the ground. He has also witnessed his mom and dad getting violently attacked and has heard some awful words coming out of Josh's mouth when he would verbally abuse us. No 6 year old child should have to experience these things. He does not like to talk about his feelings, so we are having a hard time understanding what is going on inside of him.
Needless to say, in all of this, our hearts have been extremely heavy and filled with great sorrow. Many tears have been shed. Reminding ourselves of God's promises has been the only thing to keep us from being swallowed up in the suffocating darkness of our grief. God never stopped holding us. Even in the midst of our deepest sorrow and most difficult days, He provided times of laughter and gladness to help us carry on.
We experienced the truth of Proverbs 17:22 (ESV) firsthand:
"A joyful heart is good medicine,We happened to capture two particular incidents where God gave us laughter in the midst of our sorrow on video, so we share those times with you:
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;I find great hope and comfort as I relate to the Psalmist's words in this wonderful passage (with emphasis added:
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
(Psalm 30:11-12 ESV)
I love the LORD, because he has heard
my voice and my pleas for mercy.
Because he inclined his ear to me,
therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
The snares of death encompassed me;
the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
I suffered distress and anguish.
Then I called on the name of the LORD:
“O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!”
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
our God is merciful.
The LORD preserves the simple;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.
For you have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling;
I will walk before the LORD
in the land of the living.
(Psalm 116:1-9 ESV)