On Friday we took J to his psych appointment, and -FINALLY!- there was a significant amount of praise for his weight loss. Needless to say the kid was pleased as punch, and his parents were not too shabby in the happiness department either. Wearing all his clothes (three shirts…it was cold!,) and shoes, J weighed in at a beautiful 232 pounds. That means that our J, stripped of all his clothes, weighs under 230 pounds. Compared to the highest recorded weight, I’ll take this and dance a little jig while I’m at it…in fact, we all danced a little jig, and J giggled with pleasure as we drove away from the doctor’s office.
On Saturday morning (as cold a morning as we’d been warned by the forecasters,) we started giving J half the dose of Risperdal he’d been taking so far. We are down, ladies and gentlemen, to a quarter of a milligram each day. Five years ago this would have seemed like a far-off goal, and yet here we are…splitting pills in half for a kid whose XXL and XL pajama pants are entirely too large. All our expectations have been blown out of the water, and we are amazed, impressed, and overjoyed with the place where we’re at right now. J, believe it or not, is very much aware of the incredible feat of SOMETHING that he’s achieved, and he is pretty proud and happy. I cannot say I blame him!
As is usually the case when we are reducing the medication’s dose, we are all rallying around J to help him cope with the effects of a different chemical equation coursing through his body. We’ve noticed the usual anxiety, hyper-focusing on things, and irritability, but J seems to have learned over time that he can help himself when these things happen. We had a brief convo Saturday morning, and we determined that (since we were all stuck indoors because of the extremely cold weather) we would have to work together to alleviate J’s anxiety in different levels: there’s the part where the weather made school close for several days last week, the level where he had a doctor’s appointment on Friday (an iffy situation always,) and the medication not being dispensed in the amount he is accustomed to. We all made sure that we checked in on J frequently, gave him attention when he wanted it, and refrained from hovering when he wanted to be alone, and generally tried to keep him in the loop of the rest of the household’s activities.
Yesterday, when his body finally started fully realizing that there was less Risperdal making its way through him, J was a little more anxious, but we took him for an outing, had a nice lunch, and he felt more relaxed. Of course, that might be because of the pin-up girls…
Well, we like libraries and bookstores, and we make no bones about it. We have so many books that we’d be embarrassed if we thought this is a bad thing. J, as you know, loves his books, too. He likes walking around the local Barnes and Noble, and he looks at the movies first, and then travels to the Children’s section and looks around for what to add to his queue of bedtime stories. Yesterday’s selection was If You Take A Mouse To The Movies; the main attraction of this title was the lovely 50% sticker, and the title mouse’s relation to the Moose to whom you give a muffin. Dada had found a 2015 calendar for his office, and I had found a book I have been interested in purchasing for a while, but hadn’t found in paperback yet. We always take a walk around the bargain book section.
Having worked at a bookstore (as a barista, a book seller, and a cashier) I know that bargain books are dirt cheap because they sometimes come from a faulty printing, or from too large a batch that didn’t sell. This has never stopped us from buying bargain books; I can deal with the misspellings as long as I know I didn’t pay thirty dollars for a hardcover. My willingness to forgive these transgressions greatly increases in the face of a massive reduction in price. Mind you, I wouldn’t purchase my favorite book, especially if it’s a literary classic, from the bargain book bin, but I would rather pay a lot less for a bestseller if I can help it.
The point is that J was happily hanging out around the bargain book table while we looked at some books on Italy, The Louvre, and such until he saw this:
And then our son (our nearly twenty year-old son) walked up to the register and boldly placed If You Take A Mouse To The Movies and The Great American Pin-Up to the cashier. Having worked at a bookstore I know booksellers and cashiers are pretty much unfazed by anything. There’s something very deep inside that is 100% in favor of Freedom of Speech when you take a job where you will be asked for titles that might be embarrassing, subversive, risqué, inappropriate…I could still see the cashier’s eyebrow twitch slightly as she smiled at J. It is, I admit, a little weird to see two such disparate books together while the customer stands there looking as happy as if he’d just found a million dollars in his pocket. I shrugged and said “today’s juxtaposition of developmental disability paired with a healthy male is brought to you by the letter J.” Our cashier then smiled broadly and said “that is too cool!”
We drove to the grocery store with chirps, giggles, peals of laughter, and a even a little joyous humming from the backseat. The exuberant welcome J got when he walked into Five Guys for his one-on-one lunch with Dada while I did the grocery shopping was just icing on the cake.
Let’s be realistic, though. J will never not be plagued by anxiety to one degree or another. J will never be a paragon of conventional normalcy, or of a well-balanced individual who doesn’t need to take a step back from time to time. J will never learn or understand like other people. J will always have to do things at is own pace, in his own style… But isn’t that true of each of us? Aren’t we all just a tiny bit “off” when compared to the on-paper version of what a normal human being is?
I like to think that we’re all just bobbing along as best we can, and that J has simply met with a little more turbulence that I would have hoped. I see that he tries every day to regulate his role and his reaction to the world around him, and that it works more often than not. This doesn’t mean that he won’t have a crappy day at school tomorrow, but it means that he might not have such a crappy day. And that’s fine…
The world will keep turning…