Best visit ever, bad news, good news

Best visit ever!!

We saw Alex this weekend, and it was by far our best visit ever. He’s happier than he’s been in a very long time. He only had one really serious meltdown, and it lasted only about ten minutes or so. And to be fair, it was my fault for trying to take him on a carousel ride “one more time” when I should have known better. Alex had been signing “more” for the carousel ride after two relatively fun rides, and so I took him on a third time, even though I knew he sometimes gets overstimulated. Even though he wants something, he may not really enjoy it if he gets too much. So not only did I ignore my usual cautionary response, but I even chose to be a little risky — instead of sitting him on my lap in the wagon, I hoisted him up on the horse, where he hadn’t had as much fun the prior day.

He completely freaked out, and they almost stopped the ride for him, but for my “no, no, he’ll be happy again soon’ comments. I was stupid, no doubt about it. He just had such a good visit that I was sure it was a temporary thing.

After hitting himself pretty badly for a while, and even biting me once, we got him to the car and the ride calmed him down very fast. So it was a bit rough, but definitely could have been a lot worse.

So a few key points here:

  • We haven’t been able to get him in a car since we dropped him off at the foster care facility a few months ago, and that time we gave him his last little bit of hash to get him through the ride. This weekend’s car ride was not only safe, but incredibly happy. He loved it!
  • We spent probably four or five hours with Alex over both days this weekend, and only ten minutes of that time was bad.
  • Alex got to see his grandmother and brother for the first time since he left.
  • Alex’s brother had a truly amazing time:
    • After Alex left us in February, his brother told us he was afraid of Alex, hated Alex, never wanted to see Alex again, hoped Alex was never happy again, and was glad we had “banished” Alex from the house.
    • During this visit, they played with each other a bit, and even hugged at one point. Alex’s brother said he had a lot of fun. He asked us at one point why he was feeling better about seeing Alex. In the mind of a five-year-old, Alex’s rage must have been terrifying. But today and yesterday, our two boys were able to be happy around each other again. To our younger son, it was so different that he didn’t understand it — but still enjoyed it!

All in all, an incredible trip. This one, like the last, ended in tears — but this time it was because we wished we could keep Alex happy like that all the time. If we could, he could come home.

The bad news

My wife talked with some people who represent kids and adults in situations like Alex’s. They told us it’s very unlikely they’ll get involved in our situation, as the federal laws are all but impossible to work around. Even though the state says marijuana is legal for somebody in an extreme situation like Alex’s, the federal government refuses to even admit that it has any legitimate medical use, period.

Additionally, Alex is now on some of the medicine we wanted to take him off of, including Risperdal and Ativan. I don’t like the side-effects of either medication, and I can’t find anything about their long-term effects on a developing brain. Marijuana is “too risky” because it’s got unknown risks. I’m betting that his current medications have equally unknown risks, but they’re not risky? I call BS on this particular marijuana myth.

The light at the end of the tunnel

In two weeks, I’ll be within an hour of Alex. It’s not the best situation, but I’ll be close enough to visit him more than once or twice a month. In fact, I’ll be able to squeeze in a minimum of one visit a week, and hopefully more like three. I may not be able to get him the best medicine for him (I still believe marijuana is the way to go compared to the stuff he is currently on), but seeing his dad more often will definitely help him immensely.

Within a few months, the rest of the family will move up. We’ll all be able to see Alex almost whenever we want. It’s not the same as having him in our home, but it’s a whole lot closer than today, where we have to drive 200 miles.

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3 Responses to Best visit ever, bad news, good news

  1. Teresa says:

    So glad you guys had a great visit with Alex. It must have been so nice to spend “quality” time with him. Sometimes quality is more important than quantity but it sounds like you will all have a little bit more of both soon. It was so nice to read about how your little guy’s outlook has changed towards his brother. I went through similar things between my 2 boys and they really seemed to appreciate and actually enjoy being with each other when it wasn’t always full of stress. He has probably had time to decompress a bit. Your family is in my families thoughts.

  2. Jocelyn Dugan says:

    This post is moving me to tears. I am so glad Ben had a good time and that Alex is so happy! That’s wonderful. Even more wonderful though is that soon you will get to enjoy him more.

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