Half a Cup of Blues

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Against the wall . . .

I was hit by a train wreck of tears at work today. One of my kids just lost it. He's bipolar and diabetic and I'm afraid that his meds may not be coordinated correctly.

Anyway, he just lost it; there was no trigger or no external anticedent. Just BAM! He was hitting, kicking, tossing and shoving adults like they were straw people. We'd had to lock gates to keep him from getting to the other kids. He's a B I G boy for a 15 year old. His eyes were glazed over and nothing we said made it through to the place in his brain that might have still known who we were. It got worse. Physical containment is what it's called but it's really just outmuscling someone, holding them down until someone feels safe enough to let go.

Do you know when they let him go? About 30 minutes after the 3 sheriff's deputies rolled in. As soon as I saw the cars I stepped around the corner and leaned my head against the wall and just cried (it makes me cry to even tell here now). People that walked by tried to hug me but I felt so helpless that it just made me feel worse despite their wonderful intentions. Finally, after a few long moments, I pulled myself together and went back around the corner to see what was happening.

They were talking and asking the young man questions. They had to be sure he was going to be rational and in control before they gave the word to let him get up off of the ground and sit on a bench. Another hour of discussing options. He sat there and his shoulders were slumped, he looked so defeated. I got some paper towels and bandages for his cuts and scrapes while they were talking (the deputies, the principal, the therapist, and the clinical supervisor). I sat on the bench and talked quietly to my student until we heard what they decided. His therapist who also really adores him spent some talking to him, too.

The deputies did not want to take him to mental health (because our county no longer HAS one) but he couldn't stay on the campus so they compromised and called his aunt to come get him. She was advised to take him to the local ER where they could do blood work and check his med levels, then keep him home until we can all meet next week.

He looked as exhausted as I felt. The only thing I could do, while everyone was standing around watching, was go around to his side of the car and tell him that I was still going to be here waiting for him to come back.

Yes, he needs help. But some things are just out of our control. I can't "fix" chemical or biological issues but I can and will make sure that he knows he's still the most important thing and that I care enough about him being better to not give up on him. I don't know what else to do. If it makes me feel this bad and helpless, then how on earth must it be making him feel? *sigh*

There are those times, when we fail, that I think I just can't do this forever.

Today's Plan: survive.


  • As long as that kid has people like you caring about his well being, he has a chance.

    Letting him know you care, that you will be there for him, makes it even better.

    By Blogger Allan, at 5/19/2005 8:57 PM  

  • I HATE feeling helpless. Sorry about your day. But in the long run the joy you get from these kids far outweighs the pain. You are so wise and handled the situation with as much grace as anyone could have. You have my admiration and respect.

    By Blogger edieraye, at 5/19/2005 10:05 PM  

  • You didn't fail - either him or yourself: you dealt with the situation as best you could, with the resources available to you. And inside, he knows you care.

    Hang in there, my friend.

    By Anonymous Dave, at 5/20/2005 3:42 AM  

  • My 'employees' make me feel this way!I don't like it when you cry.It hurts me the same as my wife crying.You are such a beautiful,caring person.I wish you all the best in helping these kids.
    ***Big Giant Mushy Hugs***and a *wink*

    By Blogger Jay, at 5/20/2005 11:19 AM  

  • I can truly sympathize with your day. I work with SED teens in a level 14 group home in Sacramento. If you need an e-hug to cheer you on, consider it done....I'm dealing with a sad situation too. Be supportive, but be good to you too. Kids trust honest emotion, you have it. Hugs to you!!!!

    By Anonymous Julie (Jason's beautiful but stressed wife), at 5/20/2005 10:11 PM  

  • I can't imagine how you deal with these scenarios day after day. I'm sure that part never gets easier. Please don't consider this a failure on your part. You are there to teach. You can't be to blame when the meds are not at the right levels or just aren't the right meds.

    -- Jennnn

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/21/2005 2:43 PM  

  • You amaze me. How strong you are to continue to love these kids when most of us would have given up. That's the stuff of heroes. Thanks for doing the work you do.

    By Blogger bhd, at 5/23/2005 5:38 PM  

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