Monday, April 15, 2013

Little Darlin', It's Been a Long, Cold, Lonely Winter...

I think spring is finally here.

Benjy found some crocuses in our yard last week. Brave little pale-purple blossoms, poked out of the cold ground. That was one thing.

We have been waking to bird-song. That is another.

The sun is beaming today, a great big solar grin. That makes for a good day around here.

I hope the winter is behind us. That was a bad winter for this boy and his mother. A winter of hospitals and scary medical tests and scary symptoms like memory loss and loss of things he once knew. Things he learned in kindergarten.

That was a winter of other losses. Losses of friends and bodily control and dignity.

It was also a winter of gains, but not good ones. Weight gain, for example (hello, Abilify!).

But the sun is here, and so is a new medication, Lamictal, that seems to help. He has not developed a fatal rash, and he has not succumbed to despair. We've seen no mania in the past couple of weeks. Overall, he seems brighter. Like the enormous weight he has carried on his back for so many years has lightened just a bit.

He still has his obsessions. Right now it's tennis and basketball. That alone is something to celebrate: it's not video games, not guns, not paintball or bows and arrows.

The sun is coming, but it's not all better. His memory does not really work. In the space of two hours he completely forgot an encounter he had with the school nurse last week, which included a physical exam. Two hours later he simply could not recall meeting with her, in spite of the fact that they conversed about which ankle was giving him trouble and the bite marks on his lip.

He is still having urinary accidents. (We have an appointment with urology next week.)

According to his recent neuropsychological evaluation he has lost skills, lost knowledge. His functionality is not terribly good.

Right now, the primary task at hand is to determine whether the mild psychotic symptoms he's having are secondary to bipolar disorder (yes, severe depression can cause psychosis) or a primary psychiatric illness (as in, early stages of schizophrenia). We are hoping beyond hope it's the former. That would be the less shitty of the two options.

Oh, and his neurologist is still on the case. Just in case there is some rare neurological issue she's overlooked. (I guess that memory loss last week freaked her out. I know it freaked me out.) So next week she is presenting him at some sort of conference of all her neurology colleagues at MGH. I'll have to trot him out to be poked and prodded (metaphorically, at least) in front of the whole department, and then they will discuss the case (without us present, thank goodness!).

I know this will be a hard thing for him. I only agreed to it because we are desperate for answers, and this seems the best way to get some. If the doctors at Mass General can't figure this out, then who the hell can?

So there it is. I'm trying to hang onto the good stuff. He's happier than I've seen him in a long while. I think the new med is going to help, and he's getting a dose increase tomorrow.

Little Darlin', here comes the sun.

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