I haven’t posted much, either on the blog or on social media about Dayna since we announced she would be going to an inpatient program at a developmental center here in North Carolina. We brought Dayna there on December 5th, she is still there and will stay there until January 19th. She is going through the full six week program. The good news, she is now sleeping through the night. They have monitored and adjusted her medications, eliminating some while increasing and introducing others. The new mix seems to be working well, she sleeps 8-11 hours a night sometimes, something she has rarely ever done. She is also attending school while she is there and does not put up a fight. It’s a shorter school day, and we hoping we will be able to replicate that schedule once she is home. The bad news, the whole situation is a very tough thing to go through for Dayna and for us. It feels weird not having her around, even the freedom we have feels weird. Her bedroom is on the first floor of our house, so it’s a constant reminder she is not here. I’m not ashamed to admit it….I broke down when they walked her away from us the day we dropped her off. Partially because she just looked so confused, and partially because after so many years of taking care of her it felt to me like somehow I had failed. Visits are not much better to be honest. We go every few days to see her, but its not a very fun visit. We only get to see her in a conference room, and it typically ends with her crying or sometimes even screaming as they take her away. The people there are all very nice and tell us how well she is doing. I know that they are helping her immensely, and overall it is the right thing to do. I also know we have a lot of work to do when she gets home. But I’m looking forward to it being over. Dayna is 16, but in some ways she is a toddler. She doesn’t understand and it’s hard to have a conversation with her about what is happening. People often ask us about the possibility of Dayna living in a group home. I think this whole process has shown us she is not ready for that yet. Maybe in the future, but right now she is just a little girl that wants to be home with her family. And in about two and a half weeks, she will be back home. It won’t be easy, but it’s what we have been doing for many years and they will provide us with training around what they have been doing to get her back on track.
And how about 2016? The past year has been a wild ride. The year has had some extremely great things happen, and some extremely bad things at the same time. I don’t really know how to feel about it. A couple of bad decisions in the beginning of the year led to sales positions that did not work out, and eventually to being without a job overall. We were still trying to rebuild from the effects of my heart attack 18 months earlier, and we knew we were in trouble. But that led to the decision to pack up and move south. It forced us to do what we always wanted to do, and to move where we knew we could get more help for Dayna. As hard as it has been, we never would have had the opportunity to send Dayna to a facility like she is in now if we were still in Maryland. The move has also opened up doors to bigger opportunities for Kiley and Sean, both in school and at home. A side product of Dayna being away is that it has allowed us to spent more time to focus on both of them. We love our house and neighborhood and feel lucky to have ended up where we are. But it was a hard road, and we are still hammering through the effects. I found a position with a great company not far from home which makes for a nice commute, and I work with a great group of people every day. But I also gave up a lot of the freedom of technology sales that allowed me to help with Dayna, and took back on the stress and time commitment of technology operations. With everything that has happened, I find myself struggling with constantly thinking about everything going on at home, and constantly being behind at work and worried about not doing well at my job. I know at times it has left me being someone not so pleasant to be around at home. The past few weekends, even with the holidays, have included visits to see Dayna that leave me feeling horrible and then end with me being a stress-case at the end of the weekend as I worry about the next work week. It’s all part of the roller coaster that was 2016. But as 2016 came to a close, it left me really thinking about the future for Dayna, for the rest of the family and for me. We have some things still to get through from last year, and a lot of rebuilding to do as well. But we also have opportunities that we have never had before. A chance to change how we do things, what we do and where we end up. I’m looking forward to the future.
I don’t suspect I will write anything between now and when Dayna returns on the 19th. I do want to thank everyone who has written to us, called and helped us with everything going on the past few months. I know personally I have not been able to get back to everyone, and I apologize. We appreciate all the kinds thoughts and prayers. I has all meant a lot to us, thank you again!
So that’s it…my last post of 2016, or first post of 2017, and a bit more businesslike than I usually write. Hopefully this year I can get back to writing more often. Here’s to a whole new beginning!