I'm officially on vacation for the week.
Unfortunately, it didn't start off so well.
You see, I spent a good chunk of time in the ER with Joan on Friday night. I had just settled into my PJ's and had gotten Boo to bed a few minutes before when my phone rang. I didn't get it in time since it was halfway across the house, and since I never programmed Joan's new (2 years now) number into my phone, I didn't recognize it. Within about a minute the house phone rang and Gak made it there in time. It was Joan. She was distraught. And then she dropped the bomb shell of the century on me.
"I'm on my way to the ER, Mel tried to slit her wrists."
I honestly don't remember what I said. I remember babbling something about needing to get pants on and actually remembering to ask which hospital. (There are many in the area and she does live about 30 minutes from me.) I change back into my jeans, call Kat to make sure she knew what was up and I was out the door.
The good news is that her friend who lives around the corner has a dad who's a fire fighter/EMT type. The even better news is that it wasn't all that bad physically.
The hard part is that Mel has to be admitted for 72 hours, and the only one allowed to visit is her mom. Nope, even though I'm on the list of allowed visitors, I can't go see her, the only ones allowed are her parents, and that means Joan.
In some ways we should have seen this coming. In many ways, we never would have. She was happy and joking around with her brother and a friend 10 minutes before.
Mel has had to deal with so much in her short life time. Her parents had a very messy split back in 2004, when she was 7. Her dad was the center of her world. Then, back in 2007 early in the year her dad passed away from brain cancer. I'm pretty sure I mentioned it back then. He had remarried and she liked her "step mom", but still, he was her dad. Most girls have a special relationship with their dads.... Then for the past handful of years she's been having to deal with her grandmother's health issues. Joan's mom has been living with them since around the time Joan and George split. Her health has been plumiting steadily the whole time. What's worse is she would be doing so much better if she'd listen to the doctors. There's also a lot of drama involved with anything having to do with Joan's mom. Now, finally, Joan's mom is in an assisted living place, but it's only a handful of blocks away, so the drama continues. Oh, and I'm not sure exactly how much is true and how much is exaggerated, but apparently her school life has been one level of living hell or another.
Mel hates hospitals and doctors with a passion. But she needs them. She needs help to sort out, deal with and process all this drama and angst and betrayal she's been dealt. This is more than just your average teenage issues. It really is heart and soul deep. I knew she was having a tough time, but to talk with her you'd never know exactly how deep the hurt was. Unless it was around when her father passed. Or if you mentioned her grandmother she'd get this pained and exasperated look on her face. (The woman is on oxygen, but continues to smoke... much to Mel's dismay. She's damned if she does and damned if she doesn't. She'll get yelled at by her grandmother if she won't like a smoke for her (don't get me started on that!) and yelled at by her mom if she does. She knows she shouldn't, and often wouldn't, but still... it's her grandmother.) If you mentioned school she'd mention a few friends maybe (and she does have a few close ones who are very upset and blaming themselves for some of this... but they shouldn't!) and says she's doing well, and her grades are very good overall (except math, she's struggling there...).
She's upset because she's missed too much school already. She's angry because she can't have her books. She's angry because she hates hospitals and wants to be anywhere else. She's chafing at the rules that have been and will be imposed. Part of her knows it's for her own safety and good, but she hates it none the less.
The only thing I can do is tell her I love her. I can tell her I'm here if she needs me, but I have to be careful not to say that too often or I'll sound like a nag and that I'm prying into her business. If there's one thing a pre-teen/teenager loves it is their privacy. Unfortunately, she won't get much for a while. The best thing I can do really is what I did Friday, and what I tried to do yesterday, be there for Joan. I know we've had our rough spots in the past and there are things we'll never, ever agree on. But that's not the issue. The issue is she's been my friend since I was only a few years older than Mel. And if you know me, you'll know that I will do anything at all for my friends, especially those who are in trouble or are hurting. I'd willingly go to the ends of the earth and back if it could make Mel stop hurting and heal the break in Joan's heart. I know I can't do that, but that doesn't mean I can't do something. Even if it's to just keep leaving little notes to them (and also Ant, who can't be left out of all this as he's lived through the same things and counted on the strength of his sister more than once. They're one of the few sibling pairs who have as close and strong a relationship as my brother and I do, or at least did.... unfortunately we don't talk as often any more.)
I have no idea if this post has made any sense or is well written. It's the junk that's been floating around in my head for the last few days and needs out. I'm angry, I'm hurt, I'm scared, I'm sad, I'm ready to fight, and I'm proud of my closest friends. I say that because of how many dropped what we were doing and came to the hospital, even if it was just to give Joan a hug, or spend a few minutes with Mel when we were allowed to. (She was asking for Scott especially, since they'd just been talking online about an hour or so previous. I think she knew that he was feeling a lot of guilt and anguish over it and wanted to reassure him it wasn't him.) We are Joan's family after all. I mean, her two sisters by blood didn't even bother to show up. Of course, her younger sister I'd never expect to in about a million years, but I had a hair of hope her older sister might. I guess I was right about her after all, I've never had a high opinion of either of them. Joan's the normal one in that family.
Anyhow, I think that's about all I have to say on that. Once I have more information that I can share, I will. Just please, if you're the praying type, please keep Joan, Mel and Ant in your prayers. They need all the help they can get and wouldn't turn it down.
After the shock and the sleep deprivation of Friday passed, I had a fairly good weekend. Well, as good as I could have with the thoughts and worries that were buzzing around in the back ground.
Yesterday I actually managed to get an hour or so worth of nap while Boo slept. I'll tell you, it did me good. The boy actually slept almost 3 hours! (And yes, he did manage to go to bed at an almost normal time too! I love my sleeping boy.) After Gak got off work, he absconded with our son and did some shopping. They went to Best Buy and I got replacement styli for my Nintendo DS (as Gak lost the last one on his trip to Vegas). They also got me the movie Up and the new TSO double CD. I haven't listened to the second one, but I love it. I love the story, which I have to finish reading, and the music is awesome as always. It's not Christmas music, but it seems to be a wonderful tale. Of course, I've got to finish reading it. That's part of the problem with TSO, they write musicals for lack of a better word, not just songs. Of course, this means it takes a few years between projects, but that's OK. I'll gladly wait for this kind of quality. I haven't watched the movie yet. I may try tomorrow, since it'll probably be a little too late to watch the whole thing when I get done here.
Today we were going to have people over, but with everything going on and Kat and Scott both not feeling so hot, we moved it to next Saturday. So, instead we went on a bit of an adventure. I would have preferred going to the park or something outside, but we still got out of the house. I had done the grocery shopping and some of the preliminary Thanksgiving Day shopping (I actually spent less than $100 at the new BJ's that just opened in town!). After everything was called off for people coming over, we piled into the Durrango and did the most American of past times. We went shopping. Mostly we went window shopping trying to figure out what we'd like to get Boo for Christmas. We picked up 2 PJ's for him at Carter's (the one part of his wardrobe that's the weakest is winter PJ's... he doesn't need the blanket sleepers, but something warmer than the summer weight shorts and short-sleeved shirts are needed. (He's in either 18-24 or 2T, when in doubt, get the 2T) We also had a nice "snack" at Panara because we hadn't had lunch. Or at least Gak and I hadn't, Boo did after his nap.
Tomorrow we're going to the Aquarium for my birthday. I have no idea when we're heading down there, but it'll be after 9 and before noon, I know that much. Other than that, we have no real plans. I'm just glad I have the entire week off. It'll be very nice. Oh, we are supposed to get new front tires for the truck on Friday and I'm supposed to bring Boo by work on Wednesday if I can.
That's it for now. As you can see, it's been a bit of a bizarre weekend, with part of it being so horrible and part of it being very nice. I will tell you I felt guilty for enjoying myself today, but I know that's stupid because there's not much more I could have done/been doing for Joan right this instant.
Peace to all and may your loved ones be safe and sound.