We own a new couch. We’ve had it for about a month now and I haven’t seen it since the day it got delivered. We paid extra for the protection plan, and we added a slipcover on top of that. I’ve moved it around the family room several times trying to find the best placement for it, and I’ve yet to decide where I like it best. This couch is such a huge commitment that it took us 12 years to buy it, and the cats are the only ones who sit on it on a regular basis. Until tonight…tonight we sat on it for a dry run of tomorrow’s appointment with the psychiatrist…
Q- What are you here for today?
A- Our son takes Risperdal (.5mg twice a day for a total of 1mg a day) because of behavioral issues he’s had in the past.
Q- When did he start taking the Risperdal?
A- April 20th of 2010.
Q- And the dose hasn’t changed?
Q- Do you think the medication is working?
A- Yes. It keeps his urge to self-injure at bay without altering his personality.
Q- What’s with the boxing gloves…the Slinky…the rugby helmet…is that a Rasta hat?
We have to go into the whole thing again. And we have to go into how, in our previous school district, there was a huge push to make him get rid of all these things, and how the psychiatrist (Dr. Green, he of the eco-van with solar panels and huarache sandals that creaked as he typed on his laptop) agreed that J would divest himself of these “crutches” in his own time. What if we get Dr. Sharp-dressed-man or Dr. Jimmy-Choos-and-Vera-Wang-for-Kohl’s-with-the-Aniston-bob? What if they want us to divest him rather than wait for self-divestion (is that a word?)
My husband and I sat on our hardly-ever-seen couch, looking ahead at the imaginary doctor and paused. This hospital is a teaching hospital; what if, instead of the laid-back Mother Earth, Taos-hum, dreamcatcher school of psychology we get a hard-ass who believes in tougher love?
I am tempted to carry a paper bag with me to either breathe into while I’m hyperventilating or hurl into when the anvil drops. How empowered will we be tomorrow to say “we don’t want another med instead of this one” or “do NOT increase the dose?” Regardless of how capable I am when it comes to my son’s education and health, I went to Catholic school and people with notepads and arched eyebrows intimidate me. I had a surefire list of sins I could use that would guarantee me no more and no less than 2 Our Fathers and 20 Hail Marys; coming up with an increased penance because the priest figured out that I was rotating sins so as never to get more than that was quite a lulu. I threw in “impure thoughts” and my mother overheard me; on top of 5 and 50 I got grounded and my room was searched for subversive literature of the “impure thought inducing” type.
I can’t embellish and I can’t underbellish (that’s NOT a word…never mind pointing that out,) I also cannot just tell a person who has gone to psychiatrist school that I know better than they do…not at a teaching hospital! Not when my husband works there as a non-medical person…and my oldest son sits all night watching television with patients who require constant supervision and who, from time to time, will refuse to wear a diaper.
How do I defend all the accoutrements of J’s quirkiness? I have fought this battle before, and I have made a good case for keeping all the doo-dats he carries around, but this is a different town, with a different mentality, with a different groove… What if this doctor is researching ways to help autistic kids get over their emotional dependence on certain items?
The one thing that always worries me when J gets new teachers, new aides, new counselors, coordinators, doctors is that my son will end up being the subject of a Lifetime Television Movie. What I mean by this is that I don’t want J to become the inspirational fiction that someone creates in their own mind to elevate themselves to some degree of celebrity. As soon as this new person (whatever their title may be) starts waxing poetic about how J might be the next man on the Moon or how Einstein was dyslexic and Mozart might have been autistic…I am ready to grab my purse and run.
I would just LOVE for J to learn to tie his own shoes someday. I don’t want a thesis written about how he did it, and I don’t want him to take more medication than what is strictly necessary.
Wish us luck…we just want to come home with the same kid we’re taking to the doctor and then dropping off at school. We want Mr. Imperfect with the gloves he will divest himself of whenever he’s in the mood. We want just the 1 mg A DAY of medication…nothing more, nothing less…
I will take that paper bag now, thank you…