I was damn determined this morning. A Monday morning after a holiday break from school is stacked with the possibility for many, many things to go wrong, pear-shaped, haywire… even FUBAR. It’s happened before. It wasn’t going to happen today.
Young A woke me at some point during the night. I asked what he needed. “Ummm… never mind!” he said cheerfully. Not so fast, little guy. I steered him to the bathroom and then back to bed. I did myself a favor and didn’t check the clock. I’d like to think that helped me fall back asleep more quickly. At school, Young A has been seeing a counselor who told me that he said he is now sleeping closer to our bedroom, since I’ve been sick. That isn’t actually true – his bed is the same distance it’s always been from our room – but I wonder if his nightly visits are some sort of vigil he’s been keeping. I hope they soon come to an end, now that he sees my condition improving. WE’RE JUST SO EXHAUSTED.
So even with that hiccup in my night of sleep, I was up when I heard the kids get up. Sure, it took a good half hour after that for us to get ourselves up, but we managed, and we got the kids to eat. Young J had gone to bed last night saying he wished to eat a “hearty breakfast” this morning, no doubt influenced by our reading of Farmer Boy, and the legendary breakfast enjoyed by Almanzo in the chapter we read. We didn’t quite have a table laden with jams, jellies AND preserves, there was no fresh apple pie, nor do we eat sausage cakes with brown gravy in our home, and the schoolmaster wasn’t boarding with us, AND we were out of the cereal he favors, but he still managed to eat well. Even better, he got through the morning without his usual tantrum. Win-win-win. Young A tried to stir up trouble but didn’t find a willing partner in crime, for once.
I think the real reason the morning went more smoothly was me. I cut my steroid dose in half this morning – literally half a tablet. I may even cut that in half by Wednesday. My tightened-chest anxiety is all but gone. I’m no longer permanently clenched in knots. Something to do with eating, with gaining back nearly all the weight I’d shed (and despite my caveperson diatribe – yes, I will cop to being slightly disappointed about that, but ultimately, it’s better not to keep that kind of weight loss), with being hungry and actually being able to eat what I want to, instead of finding workarounds. Yesterday we took the kids to a show in the city, and went for Thai food beforehand. I couldn’t stop sampling everything on the table – even what we had ordered for the kids – because the flavors were all so new and exciting. Later we stopped for coffee and fancy donuts. I still haven’t been willing to go back to caffeine, so I had a decaf latte that tasted delicious all the same.
I made the kids’ lunches, even spoiling Young A by giving him things that Young J doesn’t like in his lunch (edamame and applesauce). At no point did my brain freeze, or scream that it couldn’t handle the minutiae of preparing lunches. I was totally calm. This wouldn’t have been remarkable to me a month ago, but the steroids and the illness lay me pretty low. My functioning was so decreased I couldn’t be counted on for much of anything. It feels so good to feel competent again, to feel light-hearted again, to be able to joke with the kids, who still peer at my face when I’m laughing to make sure I’m okay, and that I’m not also crying. I think J is also relieved.
And now it is December – birthday season for me and Young J, Chanukah, and the general dopiness at the end of the calendar. I’m so ready for it all.
My only (minor) worry is that I’ll lose my edge here. That my writing will become dopey in inverse relation to my steroid intake. Almost like I’ve been on a special kind of ride and it’s ending and I’m not sure how to feel (well, other than completely fucking great and grateful that I survived it). Maybe some readers will get bored and move on to the next medical drama blog. If that’s what you are after, Godspeed! It feels like this place will, going forward, be dedicated to other, more abstract explorations of the nature of illness, the minutiae of daily life, and how those can intersect in less traumatic ways than I’ve experienced in the past month. I am all done with medical drama. I hope it is done with me.