Mommy Meltdown

It has taken me a few days to be able to write about what happened on Monday.  I had a Mommy Meltdown.  I haven’t had one in awhile.  Four days later (and a child who finally went to school after a week of being home sick) has given me time to get back to normal, whatever that is.

The Roc has had a cough for a couple weeks and that morphed into breathing issues last week.  I started administering breathing treatments of Albuterol through his nebulizer and ended up laying awake in his bed on Thursday night wondering whether I should pack him up and head out to the ER, or to wait for medical aid to open in a few hours.  I opted not to expose him to the piggy sickies at the ER and we were the first patients at medical aid. (He coughed so hard on the way over he barfed all over himself.  Thank goodness I put him in a zip up hoodie and track pants as it was easy to clean him off before entering the building, the car seat was another story.  Ick.)  They gave him Prednisolone, another breathing treatment, and prescribed an antibiotic to try to help with junk that has been plugging him up.

Over the weekend he rested and took all these medications along with more breathing treatments to keep his breathing under control.  I don’t know if it was the Prednisolone, the antibiotic, the Albuterol, or all of these combined on top of being sick and not being able to breath, but his behavior spiraled out of control.  Even after his breathing got much better, he just went down hill behavior wise.  I chalked it up to all of the above and really tried to be understanding while he threw tantrum after tantrum, screamed at the littlest injustice, (water on his sock, oh no!) and fought me over everything.  Everything.

On Monday I was looking forward to sending him off to school and was dismayed to see his red, crusty eyes when he woke up.  Pink Eye.  I had to keep him home again and make another trip to the doctor.  I made an appointment with the regular family practice and tried to entertain the wild beast of my son until we could leave.  I was really starting to loose my footing in sanity land and chatted online with GC that he had to relieve me when he got home, I was going bonkers.  I was packing my bags to Crazy town, and unless he wanted me to move there permanently, he needed to take over when he got home.  The Roc was uber defiant in a way he hasn’t been in a long while.  He was hyper.  He did everything I told him not to.  He wouldn’t leave the door handles alone, and was repeatedly jiggling them and opening and slamming them closed.  He was screaming at our poor cats and scaring them into the basement.  He was following me around, poking me in the back and slobbering all over my hands.  He kept grabbing the phone, pushing lots of buttons and running away from me.  And more and more and more.  I could go on and on but am feeling a little sick at reliving what I have written so far.  The worst part of all of this was that he did all these things with a huge, devilish smirk on his face.  He was delighting in torturing me.  I eventually broke down crying and he laughed at me.  He.Laughed.At.Me.

He hadn’t done that in a long time.  I’ll never forget that one time after learning that the Roc had autism I completely lost it, slid down the wall, slumped over on my kitchen floor, and sobbed my heart out.  All the while the Roc danced around me laughing.  My being beside myself and crying did not affect him like it should.  He laughed and I cried harder in understanding for the first time the wide gulf that separated him from other children his age.  He should have been crying to see me cry so hard.  It should have affected him and it didn’t.  Over the last two years the Roc learned a lot about emotions and has come to a point where he doesn’t like to see me upset.  Not long ago he told me to “put your happy face on mommy” while we were stuck in a traffic jam and I was sighing loudly in the driver’s seat.  To have him laugh at my crying cut me just as deeply as it did the first time it happened.  It felt like he was regressing before my eyes.  I lost it.

I went into my bedroom, closed and locked the door, and screamed (causing cats to fly off my bed and cower in fear) my lungs out.  I laid on the floor, pounded my fists and kicked my legs like a 2-year old.  I cried like I hadn’t cried in a long time.  I was worn out from the weekend of worrying about him being able to breath and fear of him dying to literally wanting to run away and never come back.  I didn’t want to leave my room but the Roc was out of control on the other side of the door screaming his brains out and throwing whatever he could grab.  I wiped my face, tried to gather some semblance of clarity, and grabbed my purse.  We had to leave soon for the doctor’s office.  I calmly got the Roc’s shoes and coat on, helped him pick out a few books to read in the waiting room and we headed out the door.

This is when my Monday got even worse.  The Roc was a L.U.N.A.T.I.C at the doctors office.  Lunatic.  He tugged on me, on my purse and my hand while tried to sign him in.  He screamed at a women sitting where he wanted to sit.  He bounced around in his seat and wouldn’t concentrate on the book I tried to read to him.  Luckily we were called back very quickly and from there he picked up speed on his downhill slide.  He jumped up and down on the scale so she couldn’t get an accurate weight on him and then he took off running down the hall, barely missing an elderly woman with a cane.  When we got in the exam room he wouldn’t let the nurse near him and he wouldn’t stop barking at her.  My eyes had been pricking with tears in the waiting room and once the barking started I started crying and couldn’t stop.  I spluttered “I’m so sorry, he has autism” to the nurse and she said “It’s okay” without any emotion and immediately left the room.  I was gulping down sobs and trying to pull myself together when the doctor came in.  Again I apologized “I’m so sorry, I was crying LAST time I brought him to see you and here I am crying again.”  (Last time I brought him to this doctor was Dec 08 and he was a loon during that visit as well.  And I cried then too.  Sigh.  I don’t know if she actually remembered that visit, but I do!)  I bear hugged the wiggling Roc while she examined him and then prescribed some eye drops for the pink eye.  I did the ugly cry (You know, when your face contorts, your lips do that weird stretchy thing, you turn all blotchy red, your nose runs, and you can hardly talk? The ugly cry.  Definitely not pretty.) while telling her it was like watching him regress right before my very eyes and how terribly horrifying it was.  Really.Horrifying.  She was very sweet and asked me if I had a good support system, if I had anyone to take over for me and give me a break, and reassured me that what I was dealing with was HARD.  She also said that the steroid Prednisolone was a very powerful and much of his behavior was probably stemming from the medications and after they left his system he would right himself.  I tearfully thanked her and I dragged the Roc to the car.

Once in the car I called GC on my cell phone, laid across the steering wheel and sobbed out the whole experience to him.  (How fun for him right?)  His first question was “You’re not driving right now are you?”  God no.  By the time I got off the phone and picked my head up the cars parked on either side of me had driven away.  Makes me wonder what they thought seeing a woman sobbing over her steering wheel and a silent kid strapped into the back.  It did make me thankful for the amount of hair I have that I was able to hide behind.  I did pull myself together after that and the Roc and I muddled through the rest of the day.  He tantrumed and screamed and I counted the minutes until GC walked through the door.

I took a hot bath when he got home and used the Roc’s bubble bath titled “Overtired and Cranky” as I thought that was fitting.  I didn’t flinch once at the Roc’s screams as it was no longer my problem and it was then that I decided I was no longer going to feel guilty about being home all day while the Roc is in school.  I have EARNED this time.  I have definitely earned some time to breath.

What I did feel guilty about was the tantrum I threw in the Roc’s presence and how I had really fallen apart that day.  I wasn’t a good mom that day and I really felt bad about that.  It wasn’t until 2 days later, while talking to my mother-in-law, when she reminded me of an important fact that made me feel a bit better.  I was relaying this terrible day to her and how I felt about completely losing my cool and packing my bags to Crazy Town when she said “Kim, you are only human.”

Oh yeah.

She’s right.

No one’s perfect.

Breath in.  Breath out.  Repeat.


15 thoughts on “Mommy Meltdown

  1. Oh, honey, I wish we lived near each other. We could’ve held on tight to each other as we both sobbed our hearts out this week. I haven’t found the strength to write about it yet, either.

    We’ve been doing the nebs all week too and that makes Nik boingy. Don’t even want to think about what prednisone would do. UGH.

    Sending you a great big hug. Sorry, no tissues; I’ve use them all up. :-\

  2. Seriously, when I saw the title of your post I started reading thinking you had probably really laid into him screaming or said horrible things to him or something. But what you did is FAR better – you cried and threw a fit, recovered, and moved on. It’s okay for him to see you do that, in my opinion, because people DO that. People break down. Not that he probably realizes you did it appropriately (as opposed to him being a lunatic in the doc’s office), but still. It’s OKAY.

    What makes me feel worse is how hard all of this was on YOU. I was all teary-eyed reading your post. That is one hell of a week you guys had, and I’m frankly impressed you didn’t move to Hawaii by yourself for a few years after that.

    Those drugs do the same thing to my kid, and it’s hard to see them like that. When his “normal” comes back, and it WILL, what happened in these last days will be your cosmic reminder to revel in the good days.

    But what is it about us Mommies crying in the doc’s office? I do that too, which prompts an almost immediate “do you need some anti-depressants” question from my son’s male, clueless doc who probably can’t deal with women crying in his office. We must need drugs if we do that! Nevermind that by the time we actually GET to the doc’s office that we have a very sick kid and have been waiting for an hour in the waiting room trying to entertain very sick kid who also has autism, a combination that can be particularly challenging to say the least.

    Give yourself a break, friend. Anyone would’ve lost it in your shoes, probably long before you did. We all fall apart sometimes, and what’s important is that our kids see us pick up the pieces and move on, right?

  3. Your MIL summed it best: You’re only human.

    Has the prednisone left his system? Are things calming down? I’m glad your doctor told you it was probably the prednisone, because that’s what I was thinking as I read this. Wondering if it was one of the meds.

    Charlotte had this kind of reaction after a couple of doses of Nasonex once. I’ll never giver her that again.

    And I also just want to agree with you – absolutely do not feel guilty staying home. You have earned it! Enjoy it!

  4. Kim, reminded me of my oldest who as asthma. He is totally neuro-typical (NT), but on asthma meds, especially when he was young, he was totally out of control.

    Brings back memories. I too had many nights wondering if I should load him in the car and head to the E.R. He wasn’t as out-of-control as The Roc, but, again, he was out-of-control for him.

    I wish I could encourage you and say this too shall pass. But I don’t know, my experience with autism and meds is that these kids don’t react like “NT.”

    But I can say that I’m there with you and I feel your pain.

  5. You are only human, but you are the strongest woman I know. To do what you do everyday is not easy. You are allowed to have a day where you breakdown. It’s nothing to feel bad about. You are the best mom in the world 99 out of 100 days. I love you 🙂

  6. Oh Kim, I so wish I lived closer and could help you when you need it. I know this must have been so hard on you. Hang in there and call me if you need me… love you

  7. ohhh……you are strong….and remember this: it is at this time you are given this, because it is NOW that you are ready to deal with it……YOU are in my thoughts…..

  8. Kim, I have done exact same thing – gone in my room and cried and screamed and beat my fists on the floor while my kids heard me from the other side of the locked door. And then I felt so guilty about it later, still do, even though it was 4-5 years ago. I have cried in front of doctors and therapists and coworkers. Sometimes it is just so. very. hard. Just know that you are not alone in this – we understand!

  9. Thank you so much for your honesty. It helps all of us to know that these “losing it” moments are just part of the deal, and we don’t have to feel ashamed for those times when the emotions just have to come out.

  10. Kim, I just read this. I SO wish you were closer, so mom and I could help you out during these times. I’m sure next week will be better!

    Love you!

  11. Kim, let me be another witness – those neb treatments and prednisone make our kids crazy and HIGH!!! Absolutely bonkers!
    Hope you and the Roc are feeling better. Lots of hugs!

  12. Lots of hugs! I have started packing my bags to Crazytown many a day and have totally broken down in front of our doctor more than once. I hope that you both are feeling better soon.

  13. I spluttered “I’m so sorry, he has autism” to the nurse and she said “It’s okay” without any emotion and immediately left the room.

    A little empathy please! Hard to be in a vulnerable place and receive an emotionless response; I’m sorry you had that.

    And so sorry for the rough bout you’ve had. We all need to let it out sometimes; it’s better than stuffing it in. Find your tools and go with them – the bubble bath, tapping your husband when you’re done, writing, it’s all good.

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