A healthy dose of good, and a little bit of bad…

J improves a little more every day, but he does have his natural temper still in play.  This part we don’t mind one bit except when it gets on our nerves, but that’s normal.  I’m sure (more than sure…absolutely certain) that we get on J’s nerves, too.  These traits are in play when things like the pizza we ordered is late, or he can’t get Netflix to load after half an hour of trying.  (Explaining service disruptions to this kid can be a very creative process.)

There is still some lingering anxiety, and when it’s on deck we have to work very hard at helping J work his way through it.  We respect his process until he hits himself…well, we still respect the process, but we are vigilant of how far he will take it.  I am pleased to say he has gone back to deep breaths and soft taps on his head.  The band-aids are out in full force, but not getting changed as often as at the peak of his most recent critical period so that’s good.

His labs, however, are starting to take a turn for the “oh, we need to address this.”  I am not a doctor of anything, but I can tell when his levels are pointing to higher blood sugar and slower thyroid activity.  We are, with two days to go to his pre-admission check up with his primary care physician, on alert and loaded with questions.  That he seems to be having digestive issues, and hemorrhoids isn’t helping matters for anyone.  He has made peace with the treatment for those, but it’s not something anyone here approaches with minimal trepidation.

Of course, this is to be expected with a return to the med.  Winter and the return of cold, wet weather isn’t helpful either.    Our workout is limited to what we can do in the garage, and even with the heater on in that space it rarely goes above 60 degrees.  Our body heat helps it get there…the heater takes too long to get it to where we can run and be comfortable for a prolonged period of time.

Running with the Wii is something that J has learned to enjoy.  Some days he wants to run a longer time and distance than others, and it’s mainly because of the cold, and because watching the Mii go all over whatever the Island is called can be a bit boring.  Even I have to admit that I can run while taking stock of the part of the pantry we keep in the garage.  I have actually rearranged shelves because it’s more interesting than watching the TV screen and the same things going by in pretty much the same order.   We’ve given name to some of the random Mii that pop up; there’s suspicious guy with the beanie, prissy lady with the bowl haircut, home-brewer with a secret penchant for origami, candidate to city council who drinks while watching episodes of Sex In the City, maternal type that wishes she had enough kids to fill a van…  Because this started to be sort of creepy (ok…very creepy) I ordered two DVDs with “runs” through beaches, towns, hills…  They arrived on Saturday so we will be using them for today’s run.  Between that and the music with play with J’s old iPod we should be entertained and motivated.  I think Hungry Like the Wolf by Duran Duran would be a good choice for the beachside jungle run, don’t you agree?  I don’t think I’ll go with Vangelis’ music to Chariots of Fire…I’m always tempted to slo-mo my way through that one…

If I seem to be making light of the glitches in J’s labs, please, don’t think it’s because I don’t consider them important.  Quite the contrary.  I have been working on how to work on those.  The whole process can be frustrating because J eats a very healthy diet (well…I’ll be honest: a lot healthier than the average 21 year-old,) and there seem to be side effects that hinder him regardless of what adjustments we make here.  I always say that if he drank beer, smoked, partied, ate pizza 24/7 and played video games while downing Red Bulls he’d probably weigh 70 pounds less than he does.  As it is, my yogurt-eating, vegetable-loving, one-soda-a-day, only-ten-jellybeans-a-day, controlled-portion son is far from slender.  He works out.  He sleeps well.  He doesn’t overeat, he has a vegetable or fruit represented in each meal, limited amounts of cheese and bread and butter…and he is gaining weight.

I know the Risperdal plays a role in all this.  I understand.  I am smart enough to know that, and to accept that, no, Risperdal doesn’t make him accumulate fat, but it does fuck up his metabolism in ways that only a person with a doctorate in Chemistry might be able to explain.  I am at peace with that, but I still proactively think of what I can do to help J.  His health is important to us.  We love him.  We respect him.  We want him to live as full a life as possible.

So there you are…things are mostly good, but naggingly bad in a minuscule way.  We work on it.  We always do.  We hope it will have positive results, but we are realistic.

Tomorrow J turns 22.  We will have for him a small cake (yeah, I KNOW…should he be eating cake????  Yes, he should…it’s his birthday, and he’s not planting  his face in it and making a pig of himself, thank you,) and he’s going to get his hot dog at Five Guys. That’s his birthday treat.  Birthday presents can be difficult, but we are thinking he’s ready for a refresh of his bedroom decor.  You have no idea how much he enjoys seeing his curtains, bedding, furniture refreshed, renewed, changed around.  He likes bold patterns, and light, and color.  He is very comfortable with the fact that he likes masculine stuff with touches of botanical prints, and butterflies covering his fairy lights, and semi-naked women decorating his walls.  He loves his stuffed toys, and he takes pride in making his room a sanctuary that appeals to his taste and idea of comfort.

J is going to be 22; he is closer to knowing, for the most part, what I didn’t know at that age: who he is, what he likes, whether he cares or not about what others think of him.  We think that’s important, and we are pretty proud of how far he’s come in terms of self-knowledge…even if it is riddled with anxiety from time to time, and he still needs us a lot. That’s what we’re here for, isn’t it?  For him?  Yeah…I think so, too.

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