I sit on the front porch/deck with almonds and a diet coke. It is warm enough not to need a jacket or sweater, warm enough to feel the heat through my jeans. The leaves are vibrant yellow and a breeze every few minutes unleashes a few more to float down from the tops of trees. As I picked Julia up to go to the docs this morning, she sighed deeply, asked if this was fall, and said it was too beautiful for her to understand. Yeah, I am right there with her.
Cheshire texted me this morning, “How’s it going, mama?”
I replied, “Tough as nails and amazing.”
I want to describe my awe and wonder today, and the hard as nails part, and I just know that I will not do it justice. There are not enough words -- although that doesn’t seem to stop me trying.
I talked to Julia’s doc yesterday and after suggesting some alternatives and remedies for the picking, she took it all back and asked me to come in with Julia today to check her out. There is a rare chance that her liver is malfunctioning -- and this is really rare, but more likely with Julia than with other kids because of her Hepatitis status -- and a simple blood test would check that out.
There is no such thing as a simple blood test. At least, not with a traumatized, terrified child. And I really doubt that we will find a physical reason for the picking, but I can’t pass up the option of a physical reason, and the doc could also check out the sores for infection and the possibility that they are not just bug bits gone viral.
Julia has the astounding autistic trait of getting right to the meat of the matter no matter how inappropriate. She has peed in her pants just before it was time to pick her up and the nurse caught me just as I was locking the door to leave home. I dashed inside, grabbed panties, and headed to school. I was there within 15 minutes of the call and as I walked in the nurses office, Julia said, “Mommy, I don’t know what took you so long.” Not the picture of gratefulness but I know what she meant. Those minutes of waiting are always too long -- for Cheshire to arrive at the hospital before David died, for Lisa to arrive in Madison when I wanted her there immediately, for Mary to rescue Cheshire and I just last month after Cheshire wiped out rollerblading. ASAP. Beam me up, Scottie. Waiting is hard.
Julia was very cooperative going to the doctor’s office. This is not always the case. She ate her lunch in the car since we were going to be away during lunch time and she was anxious to get back to school when we were finished.
In the doctor’s office, Julia went straight to the books -- another office with a half-price books deal that kids can take a book home. She found a dinosaur book that we don’t have and then a clinic worker started to shelve more books and found a second dinosaur book for Julia. I continue to marvel at the number of dinosaur books produced each year!
I had foreshadowed for Julia that she would be called by a nurse and that she would need to stop what she was doing and go with the nurse. I don’t do this often enough, and considering that she was able to respond so well to the nurse, I am learning. When the nurse called Julia, Julia went to her and told her about her scabs and her picking and how itchy it is and how she has bandages all over her body. Inappropriate only because the nurse ask, how are you, and she wasn’t sitting at her computer ready to take all that down. And the nurse was expecting a “fine.” Julia was clear that she didn’t want a shot and the nurse looked at me. I did not say that she would not get a shot -- I knew about the blood draw and although not a shot, there was a needle involved. I was not going to lie. Taking history took longer than usual, but Julia did some of the explaining, and I did some explaining to her as the nurse asked questions or brought up things. I knew what was coming and I did not want to begin the escalation of fear any sooner than absolutely necessary.
The upshot of the examination was that most of the sores are healing, it will take a long time to really hear (4-6 weeks) because of the inflammation, but no infection. The doc wrote a prescription for an antihistamine that might help with the itching, a cream to help with those sores that are not healing, advised a Vaseline-like cream for dry skin, and encouraged me to keep wrapping.
And I will do all that. Plus tapping/EFT. And praying on my part.
The blood draw came next, and it was bad, but no where near as bad as it was 5 years, 4 years, 3 years, 2 years (I missed last years liver checkup) ago. The technician had previusly worked in a kids’ hospital and was determined to make it work. He has an assistant and me, and eventually, he talked her through it. She was able to watch as the needle went in and the 3 tubes of blood came out. I believe that she needs to see, needs to watch what is done to her body for her to control her terror. And then it was over, and then it was time to get back to school.
Two funny things: As Julia was protesting getting the needle put in her arm, she asked to be taken back to school. NOW. How can you not love that!? And when she got back to school, I brought her to her classroom. Her teacher greeted her and Julia immediate told the class that she has blood taken from her. Her teacher said that she was very brave to have that done. Julia repeated that to the class -- that she was so brave. And kids agreed.
So, I teared up. Standing outside Julia’s classroom listening Julia address her whole class. I tear up now writing about it. I want acceptance for her. Really badly.
Oh, she also got a flu shot via nasal spray. When the nurse brought it in and showed her what she would do, Julia said, “I’m not scared of sniffing.”
A final interesting item: As we were walking back into the school, Julia spotted her third grade teacher in school’s garden with her class. Mrs. Cote had her back to us and only her head was visible from our car. Julia said, “There’s Mrs. Cote. Hi, Mrs. Cote!” Mrs. Cote responded with a hi. Julia said, “I’m back.” And Mrs. Cote said, “I’m so glad you are back.” And Julia said to me in a lowered voice, “She misses me.”
And so. And so, my enlightenment for the day. When I talked to my spiritual healer. Two weeks ago, I think. We did a healing of a small part of Julia’s spirit, the trauma of adoption, and Ellen had warned me that I might see some effects, negative looking effects, from that healing. I kept my eyes open for a few days and then forgot about it. A light went on as I was driving to pick up Julia today. She doesn’t have peeing accidents. But a peeing accident is what happened when she was brought to us in China. She has recently talked about that with Marilyn. She has peed in bed twice since the healing. Is it too fantastical to believe that these dots are connecting? That the increased picking, the inability to heal her body, and now the wetting of her clothes and her bed last night, such rare occurrences in our world, are Julia’s body working on the trauma that is leaving? Is it too simple to believe that?
Even if this is so, it doesn’t mean that I stop wrapping the wounded arms and legs or stop giving her medication or stop strong sitting or tapping. Julia probably needs it all. But is this the reason, the underlying cause for the change? Dare I pray for that one to be true?
There is a spider who has made a home behind the rear view mirror on the driver’s side of my car. She spins an elaborate web each night which inevitably is broken when I begin to drive. The wind breaks it every time. Still, she weaves. Today, after I dropped Julia off, I opened my car window and inadvertently touched a single strand of the web -- a strand that was anchoring the web to the car door. It was thin, of course, but it was strong. I imagined an E string on a violin. Thoughts of resiliency filled me. Is it possible that Julia is that resilient?
Magical thinking? Possibly. But taking in an experience, a thought, a movement, and making something new from it is not magical at all. That’s what it felt like today.
“Just suppose you are now doing and have been doing for quite a while exactly what it is you are supposed to be doing. Isn’t that enough reward?” ~ An Evening with Jon Jones by David Schanker (June 2010)
The line came to mind and I teared up. Okay, so I tear up at Hallmark print ads these days, but still . . .
I was so dissatisfied yesterday because I was not able to check off more items on my to do list. As if my to do list was the sole reason for this year! As if the to do list was any part of the reason for this year! Sure, the tasks I set for myself -- gardening, packing up the kitchen, putting up art, sorting and packing away our great chrono file, mending, exercising, meditating, writing even -- give structure to the goal of getting myself in order. I have no idea how I will end this year of lying fallow. This is not a certificate program. I fantasize that I will get a book out of it. I fantasize that I will lose 30 pounds. I’m not sure which I would like more. I am relatively sure that this year with my task list will leave me physically stronger, probably a few pounds lighter, with a clean, orderly house that has very little stored in the basement. I have said to friends who pursue the topic that if that is what I end up with, that’s not so bad. But none of those are the goals. That’s what I am understanding today.
What did I do today? I took Julia to the doctor, helped her get a blood draw, picked up milk and new drugs, was at the bus stop when Julia came home, and wrote about the day. I expect I will pack another box or so of the kitchen and do some math work with Julia. And this, doing this today, and probably yesterday too, is what I need and exactly what I should be doing.