October 25, 2013

who shows up

     His moods are so volatile, that there is a dark anticipation amongst my wife and I that we're never quite sure which son we're going to get when we visit him.  Wait.  Let me take a step back as all of you may not have visited a mental hospital.  It is not like a normal hospital where you can come and go as you please.  Visiting hours are very limited and very strict as it's a highly controlled environment.  Only two people at a time, only for an hour, and only on certain days.  So there's a tension to make the most of the limited visits knowing that the time is limited and precious.

     This particular visit, he is in a good mood.  While acceptance of an illness, especially one of the mind dictates accepting the entire mental illness, we are only human and are grateful that he is in a good mood as those are far fewer and further in between.  Is it the 100th medication alteration that is making a difference?  Or, is it just one of his cycles?  There's no way of knowing for sure.  But we are still grateful knowing full well that the next time will likely not be as pleasant.  Regardless, he is animated, engaged and even laughing.  Laughter!  What sweet music! When is the last time I've heard his laugh?  It is as a song that is deep in my memory and have not heard in an eternity.

     "I'm the craziest one here this time," he says jovially.
     "Yeah?  How's that?"
     "Med time.  When they pour my pills out of the cup for me to take, it sounds like they're pouring a box of cereal there's so many for me to take."
     And he laughs making the hand motions of pouring cereal along with sound effects for full measure.  We've never seen him laugh at his illness before.  It's the first time.  We hardly see him laugh at all. Period. But we struggle to appreciate these moments and take them for what they are, though they be far and few in between.

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