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Nine Days (Chapter 7)

For nine days Sunshine remained inpatient at a children's psych ward.

For nine days my husband and I took turns visiting her every morning, driving 45 minutes each way.

For nine days my husband and I woke up early and spent our mornings preparing meals for Sunshine, to bring when we visited.  

For nine days we spoke with psych ward nurses, psychiatrists, and therapists about how she was doing.  

They would call us whenever there was a behavioral issue, whenever there was a med change, or whenever there was a question.

For nine days we coordinated with outside agencies to get services set up for when Sunshine would come home.  This meant phone calls, appointments, and more driving.

Nine Days in a Children's Psych Ward


For nine days our lives were literally turned upside down.

I dreaded waking up in the morning, yet couldn't sleep if I tried.  

I had been told to enjoy the respite, but this was NOT respite.  

Our lives were crazier now than they had ever been when Sunshine was home.

Exhaustion didn't begin to describe our physical, mental, and emotional states.

Did we have to visit on a daily basis?  


But Sunshine is only six years old.

We had worked for years on attachment.  We didn't want that ruined.  Not to mention this was the first time she had ever been away from us for more than a few hours.

Then there were the meals.  I did not have time to make several days worth of meals at a time because I was so busy with other stuff relating to Sunshine.  The hospital could not accommodate her allergies.  We had a agreed to this.

No matter how hard we tried to function outside of the fact that Sunshine was in a psychiatric hospital, we just couldn't.  There was not a single day where we could just relax and breathe.

Everything was about Sunshine.

I would continue to keep the rest of the kids on a schedule the best I could. 

My husband kept working.

For nine days we were on auto pilot.  We did what needed to be done and that was it.

The Psych Ward

Visits were not always great.  We ended up asking a staff member to be in the room with us in case there were issues, which many times there were.

Med changes happened frequently and fast.  

Sunshine couldn't eat enough while she was there.  I believe part of this was medication changes, but the other part was that food was comfort to her.  It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that she probably gained five pounds while inpatient.

Because she was so young she couldn't participate in many of the group activities at the psychiatric hospital.

Sunshine had a one-to-one with her at all times and was not interacting with other children.

And then just like that they wanted to send her home.

All the Reasons Why

No services were set up at home yet.  All of that takes time.

Her last medication increase had been that very morning.  There was no way to tell if it was working or not.

My other children hadn't even begun to process what had happened before she left, nor were we at all comfortable with her coming home yet.

The therapist we spoke to before discharge literally tried to tell my kids that it was okay for Sunshine to hurt them.  Boy did the therapist receive quite the reprimand from me.

Sunshine had been waking up in the night for the past three nights, which is a sure sign something is not okay. 

We had not received prescriptions for new and increased doses of medication.  Some were controlled substances and it was a Sunday.

My husband had to go to work the very next day and so I would be home alone with all four children.

But none of that mattered.

Sunshine hadn't had an aggressive episode in three days (mostly because she was having med increases so quickly, and because she wasn't sleeping at night).

Insurance would no longer cover her stay.

The hospital needed the bed.


And just like that after nine days, Sunshine was sent home from a children's psych ward with not a single promise of anything being better.

My husband and I fought with the psychiatrist and therapist so much that day of discharge, begging and pleading for them to keep her.

Nothing worked.

We were on our own.  Again.

If you enjoyed this post, and want to follow this story, be sure to read the posts below.
Call the Police! What You Don't Want to Have Happen When Your Child is in the ER for Mental Health Reasons What Should Happen When Your Child is in the ER for Mental Health Reasons Check-in-at an inpatient children's psychiatric hospital My Daughter is inpatient at a Children's Psych Ward Our First Family Session in a Psych Ward Nine Days This Was Not Okay Miracles What Family Life Looks Like After a Mental Health Crisis is Over To Be a Mother of a Young Child with Reactive Attachment Disorder Special Needs Support and Resources

Nine Days in a Children's Pysch Ward

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