My son hospitalized yesterday for the first time.Advice on visiting appreciated


#1

Hi everyone.
I’m looking for some advice on visiting.My 22 yr old son cut himself on Friday after what i should have seen was a truly extra crazy week. First I should say I work long hours every day and sometimes 6 days a week and he is alone at home for that time (as a single Mom and his sole carer). However, my work place is very close and I have been able most days to get home at lunch time -check he takes his meds) or if he has been really bad, even sneak home other times too, plus we phone every day or text.

Anyway, long story short. Came home Friday to see he had emptied my 368 gram pot of Vaseline and applied it all over his head and was running half naked around the house hiding in corners backwards and mumbling nonsensical sentences and covering his eyes and saying anything blue hurt. He had cut his arm wrist by using a very sharp nail -his own thumb nail.

I called an ambulance and after endless interviews with police and social workers he was admitted to hospital for an initial one month. It may be two or more they said.

In some ways, as his carer I feel some relief. I know he is in good care and I visited today (day 2) and he is really drugged but at least I know he cannot hurt himself. He said he was very tired and wanted to sleep and I should/could go.

I came home after the 2 hour ride there and back to a message from my SIL to say that when her son was hospitalized (he had a lung disease not mental illness) she visited him 3 times a day, every single day. Hmm. This made me feel like a bad Mom. I really cannot get to visit him that often with my work…in her case she was not working…but I am still left wondering how often I should try to visit.

In some ways I know he needed a change in environment.While he is away i am going to redo his room, move the furniture around, get him a new rug- make it look different. He hated that room because it had memories of an ex girlfriend. I cant offer any other room as we live in a tiny place but I can move things and tidy up and make it nicer.

My gut is telling me that I should let the nurses and people show him that others care and that this in itself is a learning and hopeful experience plus he has a card to phone me if he needs me to come visit urgently (no cell phones allowed just a public phone there). Yet I can’t help feeling a little guilty. This is his first hospitilization. It is only rovided in this country I live when the schizophrenic person is a danger to himself or others.

Any words of advice or experiences on visits or hospitalization appreciated. This is all new for us.
Thank you for reading and any comments.


#2

It depends on your relationship I guess. When I was hospitalized for 8 months, the high point of my day was when my dad and mom came to visit. I must say, it was kind of weird because years after that hospitalization my parents swore they visited me EVERY day for 8 months. I know they visited me a lot but I don’t remember them visiting every day. One of us is remembering wrong. But irregardless of who’s right, I really liked their visits. What made it even better is that they would occasionally bring me stuff. Magazines or snacks mainly. I really appreciated those things. But it was always good to see them whether they came empty handed or brought me some raisins or a candy bar or something.


#3

I’m sorry to hear about your son but it sounds like he’s in the right place.

When I was in hospital my parents shared visiting (they’re divorced which is the main reason) my mum would visit on Tuesdays and Fridays and my dad would visit on the Thursday. We also spoke on the phone when i needed it and my parents would write letters or when I was bad send cards with funny pictures or something that was meaningful (so a picture of my favourite artists paintings). It wasn’t every day but the letters etc meant a lot and when I was struggling to feel loved or was lonely I’d read them or look at the pictures and signiature (I’m sure you’re aware it can be hard to read when psychotic).

It’s not like a physical illness my visits would mean a lot but I’d get tired very quickly some days I wouldn’t want them to leave partcularly when delsuional. But those visits were enough. I sometimes rang my mum to come see me if I was particularly bad, like you’re doing. It also encourages that form of Independence when you’re not at their beck and call. I had to return home at some point and my mum would return to work, I would be on my own. Someone with a physical ailment may not be the same. I had to learn to be okay in the times I was alone.

I think you are doing the right thing, he does need to know that others will look out for him, that they’re not all enemies. I don’t think you’re a bad mum, you’re taking into consideration the fatigue your son gets during visiting and you’ve got the right thought processes. Maybe right him some letters or funny cards and send them (if they accept post) or you could give them to the nurses and ask them to hand them individually to him on random days of the week (say take three or two in and say give these to him on Monday or Thursday or Saturday) if you felt so inclined you could get him more. My mum had a whole box where she became a card hoarder for those nine months. Of course this is merely a suggestion, maybe you just write them when you miss him etc so it becomes liek a therapy for you?

I’m not saying you have to do that, just saying what my parents did.

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to post.

Take care and just to say I think you’ve got the right mindset for what he’s going through!
Meg.


#4

Thank you :)))
Today I brought a big bag of snacks and his favorite drinks and some clothes and I will take his laundry to do and bring back fresh stuff. I will also keep him stocked with snacks and chocolate, he started on those right away which was nice to see,


#5

First word of advice is don’t let others make you feel guilty for doing the best you can. Easier said then done I know, but you are doing the best you can and mental illness isn’t the same as a physical illness. There are more hospitals nearer to everyone home for a physical illness. Good mental health facilities are not as abundant as a normal hospital.

If he was tired and asked you to leave and you did, that is a good show of respect. I remember when I was in hospital sometimes and I was getting worn out and trying to hold it together but I just wanted my family to leave so I could sleep. I was so happy when they did. I was also happy when they came back, but there are times where I didn’t know what I wanted and I was getting confused and starting to loose it. I’d rather loose it on the nurses then my family. So I was relieved when they left.

If your gut feeling is telling you that you should let the nurses and people show him that others care, then go for it. More care is a good thing. I also liked having small gifts that weren’t common in the hospital but not against the rules. My parents would bring books that the hospital library didn’t have or my favorite was nice soft and fuzzy socks.

It’s odd you mention the blue light hurting his eyes. One or our pool operators got a petroleum product in his eyes and after he had his eyes flushed by a doctor he was saying that blue lights just seem to hurt more. Something about the blue was irritating to him. The little blue indicator light on his coffee pot was hurting his eyes. Blue screen was hurting his eyes. As his eyes healed, it went away.

Re-doing his room is a nice touch and I would say, let him stabilize and don’t beat yourself up sometimes we’re just not up for company.

Go by your and his schedule. If he’s not up for company, don’t go. If your can’t make it out there safely because your tired, talk to him on the phone and make plans for a nice visit later. He’s safe and he’ll know you love him.

A mental hospital has a much different schedule then a normal hospital. There are group sessions and chores, and individual sessions some times and the staff sometimes gets irritated with family “popping by” because it blocks up what they are trying to do to.

play it by ear, and your doing your best and it will work out. Keep involved and let the staff know that your an involved parent and an advocate for your son, and ask them what happens at the hospital in a day, and get to know the routine of the place. Then you also won’t be so guilty for not showing up. You’ll sort of get a feel for the place and know when to visit when your son’s not worn out.

Hope this helps.

I’m rooting for you.


#6

THANKYOU so much.So helpful to hear from the other side. He did seem extra exhausted after my visit and actually told me to go as he wanted to sleep even though we hadn’t talked much just sat on his bed and was ‘there’ (he is still in delusional state so not making sense) but he is on a very heavy sedation so I think for the first few days he wont be able to mentally cope with longer visits. Good idea on the cards and messages <3

Yes, lots of duties in place, They have ashower chart and we spent some time with a nurse explaning he had to sign up every day for a shower slot time. This was really hard for him to process, but after some time he finally understood. Then during my visit he ket checking his watch and saying I think its my shower time" so most of the intelligble convo today revolved around that.


#7

This really helped. Thank you so much for taking the time to share.

Yes, it is different from any other place I have been.

The wards are locked. He is in a room with 5 others (curtains make it private) and
all sorts of things going on while I was there. One guy followed me like a shadow for about 5 mins when I was being shown around…so close behind me if I stopped he bumped into me - but that’s ok!
I understand. I smiled at him. Everyone has different symptoms.

I will play it by ear. When the doctors asked me if I had anything to say (before I left) I said “yes…this is my treasure, my favorite person in the world, take great care of him please” plus of course I thanked them…it isn’t an easy job giving a lot of patience to people who you do not know.

Fuzzy warm socks are a great idea. Something soft.
Thanks for rooting for us!!! <3


#8

it sounds like you work very hard,and your son is going through so much right now…i hope knowing so many others care will give you some added strength…your son is where he needs to be right now and you are giving him everything you can…just make sure you learn the scheudle of the hospital ward he is in,sending you and your son blessings…hang tough


#9

Thanks so much. Posting here and reading others are going through the same is medication to me.


#10

I’ve been in several mental hospitals myself, and now I like visiting friends there. It is not everyone’s cup of tea, I understand.

I usually go with a gallon of cold spring water in a plastic bottle and bring paper cups as well. I bring enough water and paper cups so that I can gift some glasses of water to other patients if they ask for such.

Most mental hospitals where I have been allowed one to put things on the walls of the room if one had the right kind of tape. Usually, they had that masking tape at the nurse’s station, actually. So you can personalize your son’s room with a photo of his uncle or favorite sports team, for example.

I heard after the fact that my Mom’s Mom, my Grandmother, was awful to my parents for the way my parents cared for me. Everyone’s a critic is true too often! Don’t let family and friends get you down, I advise.

I was so incredibly gone, and now I’m pretty present for these last few decades, so for some schizophrenia becomes quite manageable.

Jayster


#11

Dear Forevercarer,

My son is in the hospital right now as well. They have limited visiting hours and also it takes an hour to get there. Mental health facilities are not as abundant as other types of medical care.
Your SIL can’t compare this to her son its just not the same. Your son needs your helps every day not just the days he is hospitalized. You are carrying a large load all on your own.

Follow what your heart tells you and don’t let others try to make you feel bad. He is in the best place right now. I wish nothing but the best for you both.


#12

The world can’t and don’t revolve around your son. You still have to take care of yourself, because if you don’t, who will?
For me, I have been hospitalized about 25 times in 11 years. I personally didn’t want visitors because I just didn’t process time well. I got tired easily. I found a telephone call from the payphone did just as well because it didn’t take as much time.
If he knows you love him and are thinking of him, it will give him a reason to get out and get better, but you can’t make him the center of your world, that just isn’t good for either of you.


#13

When I was hospitalized my husband visited me almost every day in the beginning. But I was in a terrible condition, I don’t remember him being there at all. Don’t be sad if your son doesn’t remember you being there or if he is unable to communicate. It will get better and he will be happy to see you when his mind clears up.


#14

Hi Forevercare.
You have all kinds of good advice here. Sometimes I think quilt is inherent in being a mom! Go easy on yourself. My son was hospitalised several times in the same hospital–which was 1 hour away. I also work fulltime and was only able to get there on the weekends. Sometimes he didn`t want to see me-too sleepy.He was allowed to call me whenever he could get a phone.
Right now, he does need the rest. Goodies are good to take.
Good luck
**


#15

Hi my son has been in the hospital since may 5 and I recently have been going to see him when he calls me and wants to visit. I went to visit him a few times and he was very agitated and was not doing well so now I just wait till he calls me and lets me know when he wants me to visit. I ask him if he needs anything or now that he is feeling a little better he will give me a list a things he needs. It’s hard as a parent to not feel guilty but sometimes we just have to step back and wait till there ready for our visits. Just remember you are a good mom and your doing the best you can…prayers to your family


#16

When my son was admitted last time he was pretty upset with me plus due to his paranoia thought I was trying to kill him. I think you are doing the right thing by letting the hospital staff get him stable. I too felt relief when my son was admitted as he was in a safe place and I feared for his physical well being at home.

I think redo’ing his room and look towards the future is a great way to handle this.

You are keeping your son supplied with snacks I see. :smile: I too enjoyed seeing my son eat up all the snacks that I was bringing him. I also brought him vitamin waters and tried to include some healthy snacking since we never know what meals are being eaten. I also brought my son pens and writing pads as well as a blanket of his own. He had 3 different pads. One for writings notes, one for drawing pictures and one that you could do both. He loved them and his different kinds and colors of pens.

The hospital is pretty close for me so I saw him pretty much every day however there were days that I didn’t and I usually didn’t stay long. Also I don’t work. Don’t overdo it. You will need your strength when he comes back home.


#17

I can’t believe I forgot how much I loved the huge fluffy blanket my family brought me, it was dark blue stripes and Blue is my favorite color. (every shade from Sky to deep Ocean)

They got me a huge box of crayons and pencils. That really cheered me up. Plus the blank journals were a huge help. They are full now, and I still have them all.

When I was in hospital I did go through an anger phase. I was resentful. But then as I got better and I was left to stew a few times when I was out of line, I think that really made a difference.

It was in hospital/ group home that a nurse really turned my head around and I opened my eyes and worked towards honestly getting better.

It’s hard for family’s and hospital is made out to be this horrid thing that should be avoided, but now that I’m in the calm and happier head space I’m in, it seem odd to me that people try and avoid hospital.

We don’t avoid hospital with a radial break of the leg or a deep bleeding gash. Why avoid hospital during a serious mental health event?


#18

Thank you Jayster. That’s music to me. I am glad you got better, or are better able to manage your inner world now.


#19

Thank you. He is the center of my world and I need to try to focus on the bigger picture. He sure knows I love him. 25 times in 11 years wow. I think he’s like you in that he got exhausted with my visit…I had a call tonight from the hospital to say he has been put in isolation and sedated as he got hyper manic after I left.


#20

Thank you EVERYONE. I really, really appreciate your comments. Every single one of them had at least one gem of wisdom that lit me inside. It is so encouraging and helpful, you have no idea- well perhaps, you do…

I went to visit again today after work (finished early) he was shocked to see me and then his face lit up with an enormous REAL smile and he hugged me. But then he started to speak very fast and I thought I better not stay too long as he was getting very excited repeating what the voices had been saying (it’s all stuff I have heard before). He was pleased to get a fresh towel and some fluffy slippers I brought, and some vitamin waters as Barbie suggested.

He told me he had a full physical today which I guess was also really tiring. Xrays and bloodwork. They do a general physical here in the first week of hospitilization.

Then…when I got home, a call…he had gotten supermanic after I left and twirling in circles around the lounge bumping into other patients so they had to isolate and sedate him- I know it sounds like something from a horror movie but I think it was probably best. I know when he has had a sedation injection before he has been very calm and the voices subdued after. Plus, I suppose they felt he wasn’t safe to others.

I think he will be in there for some months. I just wish i could let go a bit and focus on my own life and health. I am trying but I can’t sleep well when I think of him there but I do know I must. I am beginning to wonder if I shouldn’t visit so often after all.