Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Element of Surprise

This past week, the plan was to take things up a notch. Colin is starting to fall into a predictable pattern when it comes to my visits and to therapy. There are only weeks left until his time to come home and we need to make more progress. When I came out on Sunday, I was intentionally unexpected.

When I got to the house, my sister told me Colin was up in his room. I quietly went upstairs and cautiously entered his bedroom. I could see that he was in his bathroom washing up. I maintained my distance standing in the center of the room. Colin was dressed in a short-sleeve polo, shorts and socks. We exchanged glances as I said "Hello, Colin" and he gave me a surprised, deer-in-the-headlights look before he took off like a "bat-out-of-hell".

Colin ran down the hall, down the front stairs and out the back door of his uncle's study, leaving the door wide open. The dog followed him outside. I knew that a shoeless boy was not going very far so I settled in for a visit. I hung out while my sister "Skyped" with her son who is studying abroad and I "visited" for a few minutes with my nephew.

After the Skype session was over, I suggested that we take the dog for a walk. We suspected my son was in the conversion van that was parked in the driveway. I asked my sister to tell Colin that I was not going to chase him and hoped he would go back into the house while we were gone.



Aunt "P" opened the back door to the van and peeled back a blanket. There was Colin, hiding and clutching a hammer. She snatched the hammer away, told him that he "scared the shit" out of her and reprimanded him. We then left for a walk around the neighborhood.

Upon our return, we went back into the house and I poured myself a soda. I had my sister check to see if Colin was still in the van. He had moved to the middle of the van, with his blanket that he wore like a "cloak of invisibility". His aunt told him he was being ridiculous and left. I sat on the stoop that was around 20 feet away, soaking in the sun and sipping my drink. Aunt "P" and I had a conversation about world affairs while she seeded some bare spots on her lawn.While I had not exactly met my goal of being in the same room as my son for at least 5 minutes, this was as good as it gets. I maintained a general proximity for around 30 minutes. When my sister and I discuss politics, we are not exactly quiet so I am pretty sure my son could hear my voice.

Go Time

Right before I was ready to leave, I opened the front door of the vehicle and announced to my son that I would be leaving soon. I told him I was not going to chase him and that he should go back into the house. Colin got up, screamed at me to go away and took off toward the back of the house.

I went around the front to get to the other side of the home to say goodbye to my brother-in-law who was working in his garden. As I approached, I saw my son sneaking around, apparently in an attempt to go in the front door of the study, as the back door had been locked. He saw me and tore back down the side.

After a brief chat with my brother-in-law, I popped in the house to say goodbye to my sister. She told me that Colin was hiding in the game room. I replied that I was done and did not need to see him before I left.

My work was done.

About Last Night

My sister called last night to report on yesterday's therapy session where the heat was turned up a scoach. Things started out as usual. Colin was settled into the room before his therapist and his aunt entered. He was hunkered down and tuned out the first part of the session where he was to have a chat with his therapist. Then came the part where the psychology intern turned on the "trigger" sound. She played the same recording of windshield wipers where Colin ran out of the room the past two weeks. This time had a twist.

My sister was blocking his exit when Colin went to escape. If he wanted the sounds to stop, all he had to do was ask. When my son realized he was trapped and was forced to use his words, he chose to sit and endure his "torture" rather than speak up.

While I am concerned about the potential harm that Exposure Therapy may cause, I am fine with the way this is being handled. Colin needs to learn to communicate his discomfort. If he were to do so, the sounds would cease. My son also seemed to be fine after the session and did not rage. As long as we do not have a breakdown, I am content.

I have a conference call tomorrow with our psychologist to plan for this weekend's visit.

Until then.....

We are a Work-In-Progress!

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