This all starts Thursday night and I suppose could make up a very long entry. I don’t know what’s going to happen yet in the writing of it, but the living of it has stretched out miles in every direction.
This is Jack, our 90lb. 2 year-old dog (American Bulldog + maybe some mutt) named after Laura Ingalls Wilder’s childhood dog:
Jack loves to pose, statue straight, like in this picture. He’s a sweetheart of a dog, curious and full of life, trying to jump up for a chance to lick you. But he’s also all-muscle strong, and when I took him for a walk Thursday evening and he saw a squirrel, he launched himself forward full-speed; I held tight to his leash and was dragged up and off my feet like a fish on a line, landing with a hard smash on the side of my head, complete with skinned, bloody knees and a stunned shock that left me just lying there. Jack came running back to lick my face, and I managed to get us both inside so I could lay down to rest.
As the night went on, I just tossed around in bed, my head hurting more and more. I got up twice to throw up. By morning there was no question of trying to get to work and by 10am I couldn’t take the pain and puking anymore. M came and brought me to the ER where I was given an IV-cocktail of anti-nausea meds, morphine, and whatever they mean when they say “liquids.” The morphine was magic, whisking the pain away like a cool liquid eraser. A few hours later they released me with bandaged knees, a negative CAT scan, a prescription for Loritab, a bill for $100, and instructions telling me I had a concussion and should rest for the next couple days. I didn’t need convincing. Woozy and weak, I gladly climbed back into bed.
But I knew this would be a long and difficult weekend for Andy, what with Jonah once again aggressing so much that it’s an abnormality when he’s not hitting the window in the car, Houdini-ing himself out of whatever harness he’s in, knocking over the lamp, the fan, the end table, toys, a glass – whatever is in his path – and running at you to kick, bite, scratch, and swat.
His preferred method of getting me is by reaching out lightning-fast (usually when I am putting him in his car seat) to grab my face in one hand, his fingers splayed like a starfish, each nail digging into my skin and scratching hard unless/until I can get away. Let’s just say my reflexes are growing faster.
I felt well enough by mid-Sunday afternoon to watch Jonah some. About an hour before I’d arranged to pick him up, Andy called me. “Can you help me?” he asked, Jonah wailing and screaming in the background.
“Just go get his wagon from the park,” he told me when I asked what I could do. So I drove to the house, parked in the driveway, and walked up the street until I got to the little park behind the school. And there, on the grass next to a green fire hydrant, was the little red metal wagon my mom had gotten him for his first birthday. I stood for a moment and just stared at it, picturing Jonah flipping out, imagining how Andy managed to get him home, and wondering how many neighbors are witnessing exactly what kind of freakish folk we are.
If I’d had my camera on me I would’ve taken a picture of the empty red wagon. It felt strange to take its black handle in my hand and drag it back onto the pavement, along to the corner, and down the hill of the street to the driveway with no passenger, a racket of rattling and banging announcing further craziness abounds! – a metaphor for everything I am, and do, and feel lately.
How were the visits yesterday and today with Jonah, M, and me? I think if you read my blog much, you know. It was difficult. Our options are limited. But we did go to grandma’s twice and he did have some good times too, like here on the slip-and-slide she’d laid out on the lawn…
…but even when happy he asks to go on to the next thing – car ride? swim pool? daddy? train? swim pool? I’d give a lot to have a pool, our own pool, where we wouldn’t be yelled at if he jumped or ran, where there were no other little kids for him to hurt, where he could swim his little heart out. But there is no such magic pool. My friend H even invited us to her pool, but she has a 3-year old so that wouldn’t work. And we’ve been told that, because of his behaviors, he can’t attend the normal summer camp program; for the first time he has to stay back at school with other kids who, for one reason or another, can’t go to camp. And guess what they have up at the beautiful Altamont camp? A big huge pool. SIGH.
M and I try to devise different things to do with Jonah – an empty park to take him to, a new car ride route, a walk in the woods, the SUNY fountains maybe? We don’t know. After 3 and a half hours or so, I am gladly bringing him home to daddy.
Once again I pause to wonder at Andy’s mental and physical fortitude; his courage, determination, and patience.
He is stronger than I – always has been – and I am grateful he is the one caring for our precious, out-of-control, enigmatic puzzle of a son. Please God get us placement for him somewhere soon – even as it rips at me – I feel like we’re losing him and they can bring him back. I’m counting on it.
I’ll be not-unhappy to go back to work tomorrow, skinned knees and all.