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Missing Pieces: Transition Home...

March 15th Transition

Our transition from full care to home care happened yesterday on March 15--the ides of March--slightly ironic. When you hear the word, “transition?” What image does it conjure up? For me my brain does an association memory with a broadway musical. Can you guess which one? All I hear is Tevye signing (substituting the word Tradition for), “TRANSITION! TRANSITION!”

While that song is blasting in my head my feet once again go through the metal detector, across the yellow linoleum floor, through the buzz click of door unlocking, the slide scrape of the elevator, until they walk across maybe for the last time the puke green linoleum floor.

The song keeps going to fill the empty silence that was all around as I entered the ward. Transition; It wass rough, filled with fear, exciting, and new…(wait I hear another song from the Love Boat--but I digress). Suddenly the silence was shattered by familiar, but surprising screams of “I don’t want to die! Don’t kill me! I did it! I did it! I’m so sorry, I’m so SORRY!!” My song was shattered like a cold vinyl record being thrown against concrete forcing the black shattered pieces to scatter everywhere.

Suddenly Garrett’s pain filled face clamps onto mine. More confessional screams happens come from him until I gave him a hug and helped him relax and calm down. Transition. He was told that Thursday would be his last day and like anyone the anticipation can be worse than the actual event of going home. Transition. My eyes and words were focused on Garrett to help him stay calm, but my mind was replaying in a flash the past 13 days since his breakdown started; and the past 8 days since being admitted to the hospital. Transition. My mind reflects on the light and the shadow that has set across his face. Transition.

I took a deep breath to gather myself, and in doing that, Garrett followed the prompt. He glared at his “nightmare” over my shoulder and then smiled back at me. Transition. He was still worried and concerned, but he was now listening to me and the nurse. Transition. The paperwork was signed, his items were gathered, and we walked together this time out the locked door and onto the elevator. Transition. The Nurse helped us to gather the last of the business items, and helped him to focus to put his shoes on. Transition. I gathered the key, unlock my locker for the last time (for now), and returned my key. Transition. He used my arm to balance himself and we walked towards Pearl (the minivan) to head home. Transition.

The long 38 minute drive was silent, the short errand to the pharmacy was slightly frustrating, but I smiled through it to help him remain calm. Then we arrived home. Upon entering the door, there was no one in the room then suddenly Garrett was bombarded by 2 rambunctious dogs and one very loving 3 year old. That reunion was so sweet and I just live in the moment. I am learning to live “moment to moment” with Garrett again---my transition.

I’d love to end my story with a happy ever after statement, but really, this transition home is just starting. We had 2 psychosis episodes last night, but we made it through. Garrett had a few strange things to say to everyone, but really on the whole it worked out.

***On a SIDE NOTE: I was thrilled to have him home and finally take care of some of his hygiene needs and help him restore some of his dignity: 1) I gave him a haircut, 2) had him use his dandruff shampoo, 3) gave him clean pants (he only wore the scrubs for 8 days--the same ones), 4) helped him shave his face, 5) give him his real toothbrush to use, and 6) give him his deodorant. He said that he finally felt clean. Ah….gotta love Transition.

*The last comment was not meant to shame anyone who helped him during his time at the hospital. It was just that Garrett really needs more one to one prompting when it come to hygiene and that can only be done where he feels comfortable at home.

Thank you all for your love and continued support. Garrett’s recovery is only beginning. Stay tuned for the phase two of “Finding our Missing Pieces.”

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