It’s been an interesting weekend, to say the least. Definitely not relaxing. I don’t know how I feel about it, really. The fact that it’s 5 o’clock Sunday morning and I’ve been up nearly 2 hours after waking during a dream that I was drowning probably says more about how I feel than I could put into words.
Tom picked up Tim about 2:30 in the afternoon on Friday. He said he was surprised that he was going with us for the weekend – surprised, after his case worker talked to him about it twice this week, and we talked about it on the phone every night for 6 nights. He was his usual non-stop talkative self the entire 3 hour drive from the residential care facility to our cottage in Wisconsin. He called me on the phone – I was driving up separately after work Friday – before he went to bed, anxious for me to arrive.
We love this weekend in Door County – Fall Festival has always been fun, with a Kiwanis pancake breakfast, parade, art fair, and a friend who throws a fun party for us all, complete with a bagpipe club from Milwaukee that comes up for the parade, but plays for us at the party too. Tim has always loved parades – probably all the constant and changing movement and noise – so we figured this was a good time to take him for a weekend.
Well, Saturday started out like a typical Saturday. At 8 o’clock I went upstairs to wake the kids for the pancake breakfast. Tim was a little hard to wake, but that is not unusual. He seemed excited for the day’s events, showered, and got dressed. So did the rest of us. So far, so good.
We got to the pancake breakfast – it was more crowded than I expected, but Tim did fine standing in line, waiting his turn for pancakes flipped slowly and meticulously by the Kiwanis. He sat and ate his pancakes and sausage with out fuss or muss. There was an hour between the time we finished breakfast and when the parade would start, so we decided to walk down the street past the local businesses and food booths. It was chilly, so when we went into one store that had a stocking cap that matched Tim’s jacket, Tom bought it for him. He seemed happy and content at watching all the people walk by.
Then the tide turned. We headed over to the art fair – a bunch of tents with local artists showing and selling photos to jewelry and the like. And he froze. Just stopped dead in his tracks. He was tired – he wanted a nap…then the coma face. We’d lost him. When Tom tried to talk to him, he sat on a bench, staring, mouth agape, gone. When I tried 10 minutes later, he started yelling at me, snapped up and took off down the street, through the crowd. Tom wanted to chase after him immediately. I stood frozen to my spot, cold chills running down my spine. It was just as I’d feared. We can’t control the demons in his head. We can’t make it through a day without screaming or flying objects or fleeing. He got a quarter mile ahead of us before I could get myself moving after him. He was sitting on the back of the car when we caught up, and that was it – the morning was over before 10:30 am.
We came back to the cottage and he went straight to his room and slept. Tim has always slept as a way to avoid everything – the voices, the anger, depression, schoolwork, us. He slept for nearly 3 hours, just three hours after waking from over 10 hours of overnight sleep. I sat numb, chills continuing, wondering if we shouldn’t just pack and head for home, dropping him back at the RTC on the way. Tom was convinced things would improve once he woke. He was in a better mood after waking, even apologizing for making us miss the parade. But we still had the party to get through later in the day. I was sure I’d be home keeping Tim occupied so Tom and our daughter didn’t have to miss another weekend event.
When 4 o’clock rolled around, Tim was sure he wanted to go. He likes our friend very much, and that friend had been alerted to the morning’s issues, and was very nice in helping us devise a plan in case one of us had to leave immediately with Tim, abandoning the rest of the family there. Upon seeing the sea of adults on the lawn when we arrived, Tim was immediately restless, pacing around the yard on the perimeter of the guests. He asked and was granted permission to take a walk down the road. I tensed up. A few other friends showed up with their children ages 8 and 3, and Tim, his sister, and the boys went to play in the yard, out of immediate eyesight of us. This, naturally, made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I would jump at every minute sound, every perceived return of “coma boy,” or his equally feared twin, “the rager.” We made it nearly 3 1/2 hours at the party – Tim ate a burger, chewed ice, ran around the house, talked to every adult there, and followed a rambunctious 3 year old around for an hour. I stood in the yard, tense, hypervigilant, nervous, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
It didn’t drop – but the weekend isn’t over yet. We still have to make it through Sunday without drowning.