I will blame it on the fact that he was not feeling well, and possibly was running a low-grade temp. I will even allow that he was in a bad mood because of these things, and count is as a separate factor. Let’s throw in the fact that he is an adolescent male and, from time to time, feels compelled to thump his chest and say “me Tarzan, you miserable fly that must be crushed.” It still wasn’t cool, and I still wasn’t going to just let it go…(no, I haven’t seen Frozen, and no, I don’t know the song…seriously…)
We made it to our psych appointment just in the nick of time, and we were swiftly called in for vitals. J was fine with being weighed (good, consistent weight loss…everyone is impressed,) and then sort of hemmed and hawed when the nurse took his blood pressure.
And then she tried to take his pulse…
If there is one thing you don’t want to see happen at the psychiatrist’s office it’s someone going totally ape-sh*t. As often can happen in a Special Ed classroom, one person being set off can cause everyone else to be set off. Like that school hallway scene in Mean Girls, it can quickly become an out-of-control free-for-all, and I confess I’d be totally crushed if it was MY kid who started such a chain reaction.
Imagine, then, my horror when out of NOWHERE, J decided that he was going to turn into a screeching, running, howling, screaming, insufferable brat. Really. I’m not kidding you. He had the same reaction as when he sees a large, bouncy, over-enthusiastic dog looming ahead in his path. He turned red, started backing out of the room quickly, and screeching in a way that, I’m quite sure, dogs in the distance could hear. (His doctor, of course, heard him through about 50 feet of walls, spaces and so forth. Not an auspicious beginning for a psychiatric appointment, right?)
I had a very brief moment of shock, and then I put my foot down. Dada had had to follow J, in reverse, to prevent him from bolting, and I could tell that he, too, was having that “I’m mortified, and I’m totally surprised by this” reaction, but he remained outwardly calm and alert. I looked at J and said NO, you come back in here NOW and let your pulse be checked!
Mind you, this is a facility where all sorts of mental health patients are treated, and the nurse is prepared for any eventuality, but I could tell that, after all this time of J being nice about being assessed, she was a little thrown. She said “I can do this later! Don’t worry!” My response? “No, he’s doing it now; if I let him get away with this, I will be relinquishing control for an indeterminate amount of time, and I’ll be damned if I do that.”
I looked at J, grabbed his hand and said “you are having your pulse checked…she wants to listen to your heart, not that it’s going to be FINE right now…it’s probably going like a rabbit in heat in the middle of a female bunny convention, but you’re having it checked. Sit down!” I wasn’t mean, but I was firm. I made him take deep breaths, and focus on my face…he was still anxious, but he let the nurse do her thing, and he said “I’m sorry, nurse.”
Once she was done, I told him that he cannot be rude; I will not allow it, and no one should allow rudeness. He knows better. He took a few more deep breaths, and he was then calm enough to leave the room without seeming like he would bolt.
The nurse thanked me for actually wanting to be in control of the situation. She said that, usually, they get parents who make an excuse for the patient, and who are defeated by circumstances. I told her that I was sorry if I came across as being unnecessarily stubborn when I answered to her suggestion, but that I didn’t want a precedent set. On the way out, we ran into her, and I asked if she was fine, and she said “oh, yes, don’t worry.” The doctor, I told her, wanted to check on her.
Yeah…the doctor heard him. Harking back to the first few times we sat with him, he recognized J’s high-pitched dolphin squeals and screeching. In light of this, he wasn’t expecting us to say that J was doing great, but he understood that, yes, J looked miserable because of his cold and that might have been affecting him. We explained about summer’s woes, and how we’ve been facing health crises with our fathers, but trying to maintain a certain balance with the stress levels. We agreed to wait until after Christmas to adjust J’s medication.
All in all, J proved us right…he did well. Why he got upset when it was time to take his pulse is a mystery. Perhaps it was a sudden memory of sitting on a similar chair to have blood drawn, or perhaps he just sensed a certain stress in the nurse that made him uncomfortable. Maybe the stress was coming from us, traffic, the rushed pace that took us to the doctor’s office. Whatever caused it, however, there was no excuse for screeching.
After the appointment, we drove to the library to return a movie, and then to the grocery store to buy more yogurt, and medicine for J’s cold. No sooner had we stepped into the store that the same screeching, screaming, about-to-bolt kid of an hour earlier was smiling from ear to ear. Maybe the screeching and screaming were the result of NOT wanting to be at the doctor’s office.
So…how do we learn to deal with the unpleasantness of life? My aunts, bless ’em, used to say “there are things we have to do before we get to do the things we want to do.” They also said “Dignity. Always dignity…” Mind you, this is the same thing that Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) says is his life motto in Singin’ In The Rain, all while showing that his approach to life has been less than dignified. J is still working on the part where he remains outwardly calm while inside he’s churning and bouncing off the walls; yesterday, obviously, was a near-failure in this department. I say “near-failure” because he, grudgingly, allowed me to reel him back in…
Today we are home again. The nasal congestion is abating; his temp has lowered to normal, and he feels better, but knows he’s not yet well. I know this because when I said “you’re not going to school tomorrow,” J simply shrugged, said NOSE, and accepted what I was telling him.
I’ll know he’s feeling better when he starts asking for his bus song…insistently, repeatedly…