Those of you who don’t have special kids, may not relate to this at all, but I’ll try my best to explain. A week ago, one of my children, who shall remain nameless 🙂 , was having trouble. Part of the trouble is that she has a very hard time explaining what is exactly wrong. She was screaming in a very high-pitched tone off and on for a few days. By Friday, the screaming was non-stop. Day and night, stopping only with a quavering breath now and again to catch her air.
Our questions: What’s wrong honey? What do you need? Do you want a freeze pop? Do you want some tea? Do you want your blankies? Do you want to sit on my lap? Can I hold you? On and on, we asked and she said, “No.” Finally after a long while, we figured out her teeth hurt. Now this child has had multiple surgeries, been very tolerant of painful procedures, and her teeth were driving her crazy.
She had herself so worked up that she couldn’t be comforted. Nothing worked, nothing at all. We were exhausted. The whole family was dragging. I kept explaining to the other children, she couldn’t help it. Please don’t be mad at her. Let’s see what we can do to help. Now since she had a problem Friday night, we would have to wait till Monday to get to the dentist. Friday, Saturday, but when Sunday arrived, she was better. The screaming stopped and changed to crying, then occasional sobs, then she was back. Praise God!!!
At least we could try to help the situation with pain killers, anbesol and ice.
But this same child had a melt-down on Wednesday. See, her schedule in her mind was ruined for the week. Monday, we had a snow storm and the bus was late. They came home 3 hours early because of the road conditions. Tuesday school was cancelled. By Wednesday, the bus was late again. When she came home from school, she had a complete meltdown.
The screaming was the same as the tooth pain. She could not be consoled. She bit a sibling, Screamed in my face when I asked her if she wanted supper, clawed anyone coming near her like a wild animal. I put on her pressure vest and warned her if she did not calm down, I would have to further restrain her. She promptly went into the kitchen and purposely dumped a whole plate. After trying to hold her still beside me with deep pressure, her head thrown back and screaming ,”no, no, no.” It was time to remove her from everything. To her bedroom she was taken, and the vest was used too…we listened, and waited. After an hour of more screaming, the tone changed, sobs started. I took her a glass of milk and two cookies. The first thing she said was, “I’m finished. All done.” This brain storm was over for today. She apologized to her siblings and we moved on.
The physical pain from the tooth and the psychological stress created the same response, screaming in pain. How can you be mad at that? Something inside her head gives way and psychological pain is the result. If I can deal with the momentary feeling of my brain being plastered to my skull from all the screaming and try my best to help her through the storm, maybe we can both learn something about each other. I am not a psychologist or any mental health professional, but pain is pain. And this poor child deserves for me not to respond in a way that magnifies her pain. Sometimes I can, but when I can’t I pray long and hard to the God who hears and sees. Only depending on Him can I get through some days, when I am weak, then I am strong through Him.