Dakota Swanson

First post: Sep 8, 2021 Latest post: Oct 7, 2021
On Thursday, September 2, 2021, Dakota started his first day of his senior year in high school. That evening he seemed a little weird but we kind of shrugged that off as being tired. The first week or so of school is always hard and this is the first time he's been in a school for a full day in two years.

Friday he was a little off in the morning but who isn't when they are getting used to a new schedule. After the fact I found out that the was kinda off at school too with his friends but nothing that really jumped out at anyone. He called me at lunch time that he had forgotten where he parked the car and it took him all of lunch to find it. He also was talking about his car keys getting programmed to his friends car or something. It didn't quite make sense but he's not really a car guy so I blew it off. Friday night he went to work but then couldn't get the car started after and couldn't tell us exactly what was going on. He was really not making any sense at all. Brian went and picked him up and we sat him down and tried to get him to talk to us. It came out in that conversation that he'd been using marijuana very heavily for over a year. We had no clue. I searched his room and got him to give me everything he had. We thought that would be the end of it. Far from it....

Saturday he was moping in his room all morning but then when it was time for work he didn't care that he was running late. That's absolutely not like him since he's on track to become a manager someday and he really makes a point of being on time or early. At this point I was really getting concerned.  We decided that he shouldn't drive until we got a better handle on what was going on with him. About an hour & a half after he started work he called to get picked up. He was confused and rambling, not making much sense. He stayed up all night pacing and talking.

Sunday his best friend came over to see what was going on. I had called the nurse hotline a couple times and they said that there was no point in taking him to the ER because they couldn't really do anything there but he continued to get worse and worse. By Sunday night he was incoherent and we took him to St. Vincent's ER. They ran a drug test (which we had also done at home) and it came back clean except for THC.... nothing unexpected. They did bloodwork, urine screen... nothing was explaining any of this.  His potassium was a little low but not low enough to cause these symptoms. Low potassium can be caused by chronic pot use. They gave us Ativan to help him sleep and some info from the hospital social worker on what to look for. She recommended that if things continued to get worse we should go down to St. Elizabeth's hospital in Appleton because they have an excellent juvenile psych dept and we could probably have the best luck getting him real help there. 

Sunday night I finally got him to sleep at about 2 am and he slept 12 hours. I was hoping and praying and begging that when he woke up he'd have snapped out of whatever this is. Unfortunately he was worse than ever. We decided that since it was Labor Day, we might have more luck the next day when the regular staff would be back rather than weekend/holiday staff. Laura and I took him to the park to hit some golf balls and play a little baseketball but then we couldn't get him to go home. His friends offered to come over which got him home and we all sat around our teeny tiny living room with a bunch of big teenage boys watching Dakota pace and listening to his delusions. While there were quite a few laughs, for the most part we were all very scared for him. For whatever reason he is very upset whenever Brian is around. That's pretty much the closest he came to violence so Brian pretty much had to stay away.  He got very agitated when his friends left and I wouldn't let him go with and he didn't sleep that night at all. I slept between the living room to guard the front door and Laura's bedroom because he kept waking her up and I was afraid he would hurt her by accident. By this time we had taken all the medications out of anywhere they could be and all the knives and scissors and anything else I could think of that could become a weapon and locked them in our bedroom closet. No one in our house really slept that night. 

Tuesday Brian and I took him to Appleton to St. Elizabeth's hospital. We did not trick him to get him there but he thinks we did. Within 30 seconds of meeting Dakota, the doctor was on the phone with the psychiatrist to get him admitted. He went willingly up until the point when we told him that I couldn't stay with him. Leaving that building was the hardest thing I've ever done. 

So that brings us to today.... 

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