Yesterday morning, in a moment of pure romantic optimism, Dada and I decided (over green eggs and a cup of much-needed coffee) that last evening we would start reducing J’s med. We’d hemmed and hawed about this because, chicken-shits that we are, we always worry about timing, but we figured “it’s Sunday…what the heck, right?”
So J went to bed having had .5 mg of medication for all of yesterday, and left for school with usual morning dose of .25, and I’m sitting here by the phone waiting to see if I get a call like in the movies. You know the call I mean. We’ve discussed this before: the sounds of Godzilla leveling Tokyo in the background, and a gasping yell “oh, the humanity!!!” on the earpiece of my phone before an ominous busy signal or dial tone that indicates I need to run to school to rescue people.
I HAVE to be anxious about this. I think it’s required of me. If I take it too calmly and don’t anticipate any disasters, I will do myself a disservice. You might think the opposite is true, but I’d rather not indulge in overconfidence and be pleasantly surprised (and humbled) by J’s unexpected success at transitioning. Lest we forget, we are messing -so to speak- with the chemistry of his body.
Transitions are always a time to take a deep breath and hope for the best. Today, and for the next few days, we walk on eggshells as we make sure that we’re keeping a close-enough eye on J’s behavior. This morning we suggested a switch from his winter boots to his spring shoes…he declined; we acquiesced. The purpose is not to relinquish too much territory, but allowing for any things that might J emotionally comfortable at this time.
My emotional comfort is not a concern at this time. I leapt out of bed and showered earlier than usual. I have been a dynamo all day. That the power went out for 45 minutes sent me into a spin because (egads, Brain!) the phone was out for the duration. That I didn’t find any missed calls or messages when the power came back on was a huge relief. I will survive…I’ll be a mess, but I’ll be in one (rather ragged) piece.
It has to be done. There is no question about this. J has to be slowly weaned off the medication, and this is the best way to do it. Like removing a band-aid, but not quite. I can’t just take him off the med, but I can remind myself that a little less every once in a while will, hopefully, result in no med by this time next year.
Whenever I worry about how taking the med away affects J, I remind myself that the med has always been a temporary solution to a crisis, not a way to modify J permanently. The med was brought into the picture to allow us to deal with other things that were tripping him up. We have learned a lot since then, and J has learned a lot more than we have. I think J knows, quite well, who he is, and what makes him miserable. Furthermore, I think J knows that what makes him miserable is a combination of things that are inside and outside of him. I think, and this is the most important fact, that J knows we are on his side without being so on his side that there’s no other side we see. That is: we are looking at this whole situation from many angles, and our main focus is that he will learn to handle life and himself as best as possible within the circumstances.
The same thing goes for TGG, but his crises are of a different quality, as are his successes and failures. He is tethered to us for the time being, but we very easily remind him that there’s such a thing as free-will, and that we can no longer do for him what was second nature when he was younger. To a degree, both J and TGG are starting to confront life with a little less palliative interference; J is working his way out of the med and into self-regulation, and TGG is working his way into not having us there to dust his fanny off when he falls. For both young people, we know, some days will be easier than others.
That’s where we are. We are hopeful and anxious; we are bravely cowardly; we are pessimistic optimists. This will go on until, somehow, we realize that -yes- the bottom of the pool is closer to our feet than we think. I remember that feeling from when I was very young and I didn’t really realize how much I’d grown from one summer to the next, and walking into the pool carried with it the trepidation of where it was too deep for comfort. The egg-shaped foam floating device strapped to my back eventually became unnecessary, but until that moment, I always wondered if *this* was the spot where I wouldn’t be able to touch the floor and push myself to the surface. I was a chicken-shit then, and it has stayed with me to a degree…
J’s stretch marks require attention. They are empty. J now has empty ridges of shiny skin on his abdomen, and his face is slimmer, and his waist is getting narrower. TGG takes him to the gym in the evenings, and he’s up to a mile walking the treadmill. That J now has exercise clothes, jumps into them when TGG says “let’s go exercise,” and will wear his sneakers or suede booties when out on a casual outing is amazing. That his summer wardrobe might require replacement when it’s time for shorts is a distinct possibility. I’m pretty sure that those are 44s in his storage containers…
Wish us luck. Cross your fingers for us. Channel some good energy towards J. It’s all, when we boil right down to it, about the kid, isn’t it? I have orange blossom water handy for my nerves…my aunts would say “carry the bottle with you.” I just might!