Saturday, February 08, 2014

The Plan

Yesterday was not as great of a day with Thomas' mood because he had to work at 5. I think that he spent most of the day worrying about it. By the time he woke up yesterday, though, I had a plan in mind to help him with his anxiety and come hell or high water I was determined to make it work.

I sat him down when he woke up and outlined how the day was going to go in terms of when meds would be taken, when meals would be eaten, and when we would go out for our walks to manage any anxiety about work that was bubbling up. What I had I mind was providing complete structure so that he could count on each thing happening in the time that it should.

We began with the usual walk with the dog. Normally I make him go out and do that alone because I want him to get some exercise. Yesterday, though, I went with him. There is one thing I have been acutely aware of lately coming from me is that I am constantly asking him how he's feeling and what he's thinking. After that whole medication interaction thing my worry went into overdrive and all I have been able to focus on is making sure he's got both feet on this side of the afterlife. The problem was, though, that I was making life, our relationship as mom and son, about his illness and quite frankly I am a little sick of me and my questions and I imagine he is too. I vowed to myself as we went out for our first walk that I wouldn't mention anything about his illness and his feelings. Sadly what had happened to me was that I felt I had forgotten (or thought I had) how to engage him in talk about other things.

As we took off through the snow, I began asking him about his YouTube video making. He explained a few things which opened more doors for me to find things to ask about it and pretty soon we had a lively conversation going complete with smiles from my boy and real live enthusiasm, both of which had been rare to see in the last few weeks. The walk was good and we came home, both of us happy about the time we had spent together. I felt, finally, like I had most of my boy back. Throughout the next couple of hours I staggered his meds with and between meals. I have gone off label and started giving him his meds in a way that they won't interact with each other in such a near deadly way. All of them he tolerated without feeling tired.

I had promised earlier in the day to have dinner on the table at exactly 4 o' clock. He worked at 5 so I knew I was pushing his "time anxiety" to a pretty high level but I wanted him to see that he could eat and still have plenty of time. I gave him one of his anti-anxiety pills with dinner and he sat with me and ate an actual full meal and together we watched one of his favorite shows. At one point I saw him drift off staring into the distance and I did ask him how he was feeling and he reported pretty high anxiety but he didn't look wild-eyed about it. He got ready for work and took his last dose of pills and off we went.

In the car on the way he was squirming a little bit and I asked him to rate his anxiety on a scale of 1-10. Lo and behold he was just a 2. Just a 2!!! This was huge since for the last few weeks he had been at a 7 or 8 before work. I told him to pay attention to how good it felt to be heading in to work at such a low level and he said that it felt pretty good. I couldn't stop smiling. He got out of the car and said goodbye with some semblance of positivity and I watched as he walked into work.

After work I met him at the door and as he got in the car, I asked him how his night went. He said he did pretty good! Really? I couldn't have been happier. I asked him about the security cameras and he said they only got to him a couple times. I asked him how he did with people approaching him and he said that he had only mild paranoia about that. All of this is a huge change from even a week before.

When we got home I sat him down to take his nightly blood pressure and his BPM was 119! I have come to learn that on the machine there is a little heart that flashes and I used to think that was just the machine saying it was working but I have now come to learn that that little beating heart is his pulse rate and it is downright disturbing to watch as it flashes quickly on and off the screen. I am keeping an eye on it closely because the clozaril is the cause of that and it's actually quite a concerning one.

He got up afterwards and as I was putting the machine away he asked for a hug. I hugged him so tightly and rubbed his back and told him I loved him. He said he loved me too and I just couldn't let go of him. All of the weeks of darkness crashed back in for a moment and I pulled him tightly to me and whispered "I love you kiddo" with every ounce of my being just trying to get it through to him how very much I love him and how thankful I am to have him coming back to me. We said good night and for the first time in weeks I went to bed with some peace in my heart and faith that he would make it through the night OK.

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