the week of living anemically

Q. What do you get if you cross an ADD boy and an anemic woman?

A. Tears

Anemia is as it sounds. Back in the day, like two weeks ago, if ever saw or used the word anemic it would have been in relation to a performance, or a colour, or a politician. A degree of blandness and inertia involved.

Anemia is that way in real life.

B12 shots, iron tablets, more meat, and so far nothing doing but patience. When anemia is in town it pays to make a reservation for patience.

On Monday, I went for a ride. I’d dreamt about mountain biking, I’d taken my iron and I’d had a great breakfast, it was sunny. I lasted three kilometres. Parking at the bottom of the hill was the only smart thing I did that day. Hilda is back in the garage and I have learnt.

Karate Boy has had a week for the strong. He is half off his Ritalin, he takes one with breakfast and he’s not taking his lunchtime dose. He allows that he’ll need Ritalin for Karate.

‘Why do you need it for Karate?’

I was aiming at a backward way into a realization.

‘I need to focus.’

‘But don’t you need to focus at school?’

‘They don’t work at school.’

When Karate Boy told me taking Ritalin everyday, being forced to take drugs as he puts it, was like being a prisoner, I couldn’t help it. I cried. I held him and dropped tears onto his face.

I didn’t mean to cry. I don’t want that lovely boy feeling guilty. I want this to be his decision so I can’t have him taking his Ritalin just for me (actually, I could. I’d give him to him like you give a cat a pill, slip into his mouth and stroke his throat, down, down, if I thought that would work, but we’d only be dealing with this being forced issue again further down the road).

So I’m closer to understanding Karate Boy, but no nearer to knowing what to do. Yay! Go me! At least I have embraced the idea that things will get worse before they get better.

That should suck, shouldn’t it?

In an on-paper way it does. But there is hope.

Why can’t we be at the bottom of the worse and actually, if we lean into it, and wiggle forward, back, forward, back, be moving away from the worse and be a little bit on the up? Maybe we are; time will show us.

Off his afternoon tablet Karate Boy:

1. can’t sit still in his chair, because there is too much to do!

2. can’t pick from the options he’s presented (We are trying to make him feel he has choice in all this)

3. all of the options he’s presented with are boring.

4. school is boring because he’s seen it all before

5. he’s abrupt and that does not help his shaky friendships

6. he’s physically demonstrative in his displeasure, he looks like a cricketer appealing for an LBW, arms wide, ‘Come on!’ ADD is conspicuous.

But more than that, he’s head-sore with his indecision. And I am with mine.

Karate Boy wants to be big enough to decide for himself, and it would be better if he could, because us humans like owning our lives. But he’s not. I could be lucky in this; he’s not turn too big to turn down a cuddle. Anemia and ADD don’t mind a hug.

I want to be the parent and say, no, we are doing it my way.

But Karate Boy is miserable. I know how miserable it is to take a medication you don’t want. I have been on anti-depressants and I am damn happy to be off them. It’s funny, when you go on them people say, that’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with that. And you think, good, I am being accepted. But it’s a strange and limited style of acceptance evidenced by the emphatic good for you you receive when you tell people you are off your antidepressant.

So it’s been an entertaining week. I am scared of my phone because school keeps ringing me up. I have had to pick Karate Boy up early twice. There have been many meetings with his teacher, the health nurse, the chaplain, the vice principal.

I’m looking at my bike longingly and I’m hoping for good news.

Today Karate Boy came home from school, pushed through the front door past his brothers.

I was there, waiting.

‘How was your day honey?’

‘I had a good afternoon.’ Big smile.

‘That’s great, matey,’ I said and didn’t press.

A little later I asked him about his afternoon. Did he take his medication? I was asking and kind of not asking. I was afraid of what the answer would be but was prepared for either.

‘Yes. I went at lunchtime.’

‘That was a good choice you made.’

Could this week have been the worst? If I lean and tilt and lean, if you do too, could we be at the beginning of our upward swing? Come on, Karate Boy, we’re doing this together, one, two, three…

Up, up, up!

Up, up, up!

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