At lunch today, I leaned back behind Conor and mouthed a question at his Clinical Assistant. “Does Conor know he’s coming home for a visit tomorrow?” I asked very quietly. I didn’t want him to hear it from me if it hasn’t been stamped with the final approval of his behaviorist.
“Yes, I think Polly told him this morning, sure,” she replied.
“Hey Conor,” I said jauntily, “you get to come home tomorrow morning!”
His head whipped around to look at me, his big blue eyes growing wider.
“Conor is going home tomorrow to….?” he asked, full of expectation.
“Uh, um, to visit,” I stammered, caught quite off guard. “You get to show Miss Polly and Miss Sharon where you live and your bedroom and your classroom and all the fun things you have at home!”
That hopeful look in his eyes, though, really shook me. See, he may be ready to come home for good, but I’m not quite ready, emotionally and mentally, for Conor to come back home. Don’t get me wrong, I love my son with all my heart and I hate the idea of him having to be at this unit. And admitting him to the NBU was gut wrenching.
But, and I feel horrible for saying it, life is so… easy now, so functional. Now, the only one yelling, screaming and kicking in our house is my husband, and that’s only when the Red Sox lose.
I don’t walk around with a painful knot in the pit of my stomach all day, waiting for the school to call or the screaming to start. (It’s kind of funny, you know—I always thought the saying “My heart sank” was just a simple cliché. But now I know it physically feels like your heart has landed in your stomach.)
So I’ve asked Polly and Sharon to bring Conor home so that I can make sure that we’re implementing the treatment protocol correctly. After our little tantrum experience a couple weeks ago, I want to make doubly sure that everything’s being done exactly as it should.
Selfishly, I am hoping that these visits will help me prepare for Conor’s rapidly approaching discharge date. I want to start being happy that he’s coming home, instead of just being nervous. (Well, if I'm being honest here, kind of scared.)
If I follow the protocol to the letter, if I do everything perfectly right, all of it exactly so, without deviation, Conor will (he will, I say, do you hear me?), HE WILL get better and be able to stay at home with us. And life will go back to our version of normal, when Conor didn’t have all these behavioral problems.
I think. At least, I hope so. I've got my fingers crossed.