Two years ago was a very dark time for my family. Princess was the most unstable she'd ever been in her life. Like many families whose children are on MediCal (our state funded insurance), we did not want to put Princess on this insurance. Unfortunately we had to. Shortly after Princess was approved for MediCal, we had to take her to the emergency room at a local hospital due to her aggressive behavior. Even though the staff psychiatrist agreed that she needed hospitalization, MediCal had their own standards that had to be met. We waited for hours until a crisis team member from county mental health could arrive to assess my child. During that time Princess had calmed down considerably. The evaluator told us that she did not "meet the criteria" for hospitalization. We were told that instead the county would provide in home support services for our family.
At first this sounded wonderful. We were already seeing a private counselor weekly for parenting solutions. Additionally, Princess was seeing this same therapist for weekly sessions. She also was seeing a psychiatrist on a monthly basis who I could get a hold of at a moment's notice. All of this was not enough. So the welcome addition of free services seemed like a good idea.
We were assigned what appeared to be two very knowledgeable and competent crisis counselors. One worked primarily with Princess and the other worked mostly with my husband and I. Mr. Ed, Princess's counselor, came to her summer school to work with her. He asked her what she liked to do. She told him that she liked to play the game called Sorry. She also told him about her interests. He went out and bought the game so they could play it during their sessions. He also brought her some toys to bring home. He was like Santa Claus to her. The lady counselor, Miss Joy, brought me a list of resources that I could try. Many of which were really of no help to me. I needed someone to come into the home and help me with my daughter.
We did talk and strategize how best to meet Princess's needs. On one particular day Miss Joy came up with a brilliant plan to antagonize Princess to see if she would become aggressive with her. Sure enough that is what happened. Her hope was that if she saw first hand what a trigger was for Princess, that might get her the help she needed. This tactic backfired on Miss Joy. Her supervisor informed her that she was no longer allowed at our residence since my child had "attacked" her. Nice!
Mr. Ed paid us a visit during this time. He also asked if he could contact our private therapist so that the two of them could strategize together. My husband and I were later told that he told our therapist that "Their home is in chaos. Princess rules the roost there." In other words Princess's behaviors were a direct result of our poor parenting skills. I was in shock when I learned of this. The very person who was supposed to help us actually turned on us.
About a week later, we were told that the county was closing out Princess's file since their services were only for short term interventions. They were not in it for the long haul. I was appalled to learn that they only work in these situations for three to six weeks. I hate to tell them but real life isn't that way. Behavioral health problems are ongoing.
While all of this nonsense was playing out, Princess made two more trips to the ER. On the first of these two trips, she was sent back to us. For the second one, we were finally told that Princess "met the criteria" for hospitalization.
The timeline from the first time we visited the ER to the time when she was finally able to be admitted to a behavioral health hospital was just over a month. A month that she could have been getting the services that she needed.
Princess was hospitalized a total of four times the summer of 2013. I'm thankful that she's been stable for almost two years now.
I happy for the mundane days now. Happy that I am able to share about music likes and vegetables. I am also happy that Princess no longer needs the free services of the crisis team. May she never require them again.
I'm so glad that many of our days are now filled with rainbows and unicorns.