I began this post back in April. Then I crashed and ended up in hospital for 2 months – all for another blog post. But here is the second part to the Longest Day, for the first part click here
Once at the van he grew agitated again as I tried to coax him to get in. He began talking about climbing trees again. I wanted nothing more than to plop down on the soggy ground and cry my eyes out. But I put on a brave face and offered up an incentive.
“Hey bud, how about just for today you can ride in front with me”. It was taking a risk. He might get so agitated that he once again would try to jump out of the van or he might touch the steering wheel. But I couldn’t think of any other way to get him in the vehicle so I opened the front passenger door and ushered him in. He was calm enough to put on his seatbelt as I went around to get in.
Before I began driving I got out my cell phone again. “Bud, I’m just going to try to call Renee and see if we can go visit her” he just looked at me with wide eyes and nodded his head. I dialled her and got her voicemail. So I left her a message asking her to call my cell as soon as possible. Then I started driving randomly knowing that car rides tended to calm Corb down. All I could think of was how exhausted I was and how I wanted all of this to be over. I turned on the radio and said to Corb “you can push the buttons and find something to listen to”. He was happy and content pushing away on the buttons. We were about 10 minutes into the ride when my cell rang. I didn’t want to risk pulling over and stopping the van so I talked while I drove.
It was Renee. She listened while I gave her a short synopsis of what had happened that day while being mindful that Corbin was sitting right beside me. She asked where I was and I told her. “We’ll why don’t you come by, I have some time”. So I turned in her direction and told Corbin the new plan.
“Will she help me?” He asked.
“You know what bud, she might just talk to us today. That might make you feel better. Let’s just give it a try”
He didn’t look convinced and I probably didn’t sound convincing. I tried to slap a smile on my face and worked hard internally to bring my anxiety down. He seemed to be calming down with the ride and the task of finding music.
We arrived at Regional Children’ s Centre, the mental health treatment centre for children and youth. Corbin had never done well coming here. Something about the building set him off every time and this time would be no different. We entered the front door and he immediately took off into the waiting room. Knowing he was safe in that room I took a moment to give the secretary his name and who we were there to see. I entered the waiting room to see my son standing on top of a 3/4 wall yelling “survivor man!” At the top of his lungs.
“Corb Get down,” I said in my sternest voice. Big mistake. He launched himself off the wall and landed on all fours like a cat. As I reached out for him he dodged me and rolled into a small toy house. He pulled the door shut behind him and yelled “go away!” I tried in vain to coax him out and after a dozen attempts Renee appeared beside me. Her calmness had an immediate effect on me and I could feel the tension in my shoulders ease just ever so slightly. I told Renee “It would seem that Corbin is not going to come out”. With that there was a flurry of activity inside the toy house and Corbin stuck his head out the window and shouted “I am survivor man!”
“Oh right, sorry. Survivor man isn’t coming out” I said wearily
“Hmmmm. Well. . . “Said Renee “what if I said I had treasure in my office?”
She couldn’t have said a more perfect thing. Immediately he began to force his limbs outside the small house and I smiled for a moment thinking he looked very much like a turtle. I was brought crashing back to reality when Corbin, despite Renee’s pleas, ran from the room and down the hall to her office
We arrived shortly after him, in time to stop him from doing anything more than a cursory glance – I assume trying to find the treasure.
“Corbin” she called “can you tell which book isn’t a book?” He walked over to her bookshelf and knelt down in front of it, scanning the shelves for the mystery book.
“Here it is” he shouted triumphantly, holding up a small box made to look like a book. He quickly opened it and you could see the disappointment on his face when there was no prize inside “it’s empty” he protested.
“But what if I said you could keep the box?”
“Really?” His eyes shone with excitement “thank you!” He exclaimed as he suddenly wrapped himself around her for a hug.
Renee then got Corbin settled on the computer while she and I had a chance to talk. In hushed voices I told her about our day so far with her asking questions as we went along. She wanted to know if I knew what was setting him off. I told her I had no clue. That he was so erratic he was a danger to himself and possibly others.
We had our heads together talking quietly when suddenly Corbin jumped up and ran out of the room. We both ran after him, hopelessly far behind as he darted up the stairs. Renee put her arm out to stop me “luckily he went up. There is no where to go. Let’s not give him an audience in case it is attention seeking”. Against my better judgement I decided to go along with her. She walked over to the front desk and said something to the receptionist. She came back and told me “I called for some staff to come help us in case we need to put our hands on him they are trained”. I could hear him stomping away followed by a loud exclamation “ow”. Both Renee and I went upstairs and found a woman rubbing her shin. “He kicked me” she said.
Just then the Child and Youth Workers arrived. They were placed at each door that leads down to the main floor with directions not to touch him unless he tried to get downstairs before he had calmed down. Corbin continued to run laps in the upper floor, at times running off the side of the walls and launching himself forward. Door after door was closed as he made the circuit. Finally he began to slow down and we began to softly talk to him about how he seemed upset and it was time for us to leave to go home. His face was the blotchy red it always got when he was like this and his breathing was laboured. He sat down on the floor and I wracked my brain trying to come up with what could lure him to the car. I held the fake book in my hand.
“Hey Corb. Let’s go home and hide this book on your bookshelf to trick Dad”
He surprised me by getting up and walking with me to the door. We walked down holding hands. Renee and the workers trailing behind us. Just as we got to the bottom he bolted again. I tired to keep hold of him but he managed to break free. I was about to run after him when Renee put her hands on my shoulders.
“Let them handle it” and the two workers ran after him as he bolted outside.
We stood outside watching as they first tracked him down and then tried to reason with him. I sighed deeply and rubbed my temples. Renee looked at me and said “I’m worried about you”.
I laughed and said “so am I. But what can I do? No one seems to know how to help us. And I can’t keep him safe”
“I’ll call the on call social worker that you met with today” she offered “I’ll fill him in on how difficult things are”
“Thank you” I said weakly as I noticed the workers had each taken a side and were “helping” him to come back to me. I asked them to take him to our van and I went ahead to make sure the child locks were on. As he entered the van he looked defeated and did not put up a struggle. I hastily said goodbye to Renee and headed home.