One month (and a week) into having a puppy, we are making progress…with the puppy. J is still not particularly keen, but the ah-AH! has dropped in pitch and volume though not in frequency. This, of course, in spite of the puppy being a lot less rambunctious and spastic than she was in her earlier days here.
We have become a household of baby gates. This is a bad thing in a sense, but a good thing in another. A bad thing because we have a lot of baby gates and no baby, and a good thing because the dog is learning boundaries and J is understanding that we accept this is a part of his process.
We are 98% housebroken. (Part of the remaining 2% is me…I’ve reached that age when the sound of running water makes me dash to the bathroom. Have I mentioned we have a pond with a waterfall out back, and that I am often in the kitchen or laundry room? Yes, I’ve spoken to my doctor. No, it’s not a serious problem, but I’ve been reminded that I really should NOT wait until I ABSOLUTELY have to pee to go to the bathroom.)
J’s lengthy and persistent complaints about his tummy got us a referral to the gastroenterologist. Long story’s short version: he is not quite at the level of IBD, but might be at the level of IBS. There is nothing major going on (five tubes of blood pronounce him as healthy as can be except for that pesky inflammation he has been carrying around since December), and he’s taking a very expensive antibiotic to help resolve his current issue.
That doesn’t stop him from complaining. Today it’s a tooth (that is no longer there), or his shoulder. Tomorrow it’s his tummy or his forehead. The day after he will find something not-quite-right with his nose. What he wants to hear is that he’s OK, and we tell him this frequently, fervently and insistently. Whether he believes us or not is another matter entirely.
In other news, Risperdal is -again- out of the picture. He took his last dose on Saturday night (which means he will be feeling the effects of its absence any second now), and we’re just on the Prozac now. We think it’s been a positive change for him. Of course, it has brought out parts of his personality that we were mostly unfamiliar with…
I give you: The Big J-Lebowski…
It’s not that he looks or acts stoned, but J is definitely in more of a chill-out vibe lately. It isn’t unusual for him to want to stay in his room until mid-morning rather than, as he used to, run out of there in rampage mode in the wee hours. His jolly, carefree attitude resembles Scarlett in Four Weddings and a Funeral and Poppy in Happy-Go-Lucky…
The only glitch is his insistence that he might be unhealthy, and that could be just his way of commanding attention. It’s J’s way, we think, of making sure we’re listening and responding to him.
That is not to say that something is shifting in the way that J interacts with us. He has realized that he is a 23-year-old living with his parents. He has realized he is no longer a child, even if he knows that he still needs us.
Case in point:
A few nights ago we went to Target to pick up his prescription, and to buy some things we needed. J wanted to go shopping and he was very excited about the outing. I went to take care of the pharmacy errand while J and Dada walked around getting other things on our list. As we were waiting to pay at the register, J said SODA. I said no, you’ve had yours already. J insisted. I said NO. J flicked his chin with his fingers while saying SODA. I said NO, and PLEASE STOP. J flicked his chin some more and said SODA. I put my hand on his arm to guide him out of the store so he could calm down…and J, all 200-plus pounds of him, stood firm.
I could not move him.
Furthermore, I could feel that he was gently resisting my attempt to move him.
Dada managed, not without effort, to take him to the car, and I finished paying for our purchases while the cashier looked at me with a mild degree of disapproval in her eyes. I made a point of apologizing for J’s behavior, and she said “that’s ok” in that tone that indicates it’s not OK, but what else is she supposed to say. I said “he has Autism. It happens.” Her face shifted a bit. I thanked her and walked out.
As soon as I got to the car, I let Dada load up the trunk and I went to J. The first thing he said was SORRY, and I said “that’s fine, but you cannot do that at the store. I am upset. You’d already had your soda.” With that, I climbed in and we drove home.
I spent a long night tossing and turning in the dark. All this time, I thought, and J knows not to do that. Why did he do that? Why did he not just insist, but resist? Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! And we’re thinking of taking off the Risperdal for good???
It was probably three in the morning when the dog needed to go outside; I got out of bed and went downstairs. As the pup ran out and disappeared into the dark for a few minutes I had an epiphany of sorts: J wanted a soda. J is a 23-year-old man. A regular, run-of-the-mill 23-year-old wouldn’t even stop to think to ask for a soda.
I’m an idiot.
A couple of hours later, as Dada and I sat discussing the agenda for our psych appointment later that morning, I said “you know, maybe -just maybe- we need to chill out a bit. J is 23. What were WE like when we were 23? I don’t know you, but I got MARRIED at 23…and that was just because I wanted to spite my mother who wouldn’t let me BREATHE without asking her.” Dada agreed with me. Later that morning I related the incident to the psychiatrist, gave him my take on it, and he agreed that this was very likely the motivation behind J’s reaction. I told him that all I want is for J to feel as “normal” as he can within the circumstances, and that -perhaps- what needs to happen is a little more give and take.
The next morning we went out to run an errand, and I asked J if he wanted a soda. He looked at me as if I’d just offered him a date with Katy Perry. He said SODA PLEASE, and I pointed him to the fridge where they had displayed 16 oz. bottles. He grabbed one. When we got home, he went straight to his snack box, removed his 12 oz. can and put it back in the pantry, replacing it with the bottle he’d just purchased at the store.
I think that’s progress…
for both of us.