The night is long but the day is longer. Weekend days are the longest. No day hospital. No counseling. No group therapy. No safety net. We picked him up from the hospital this morning. On the way home in the car I laced his shoes and put the cord back in the hoodie.
How did you do that so fast? Thanks, Mom. Someone spread their shit all over my bathroom yesterday morning. I had to call in the nurse to clean it up.
Note to self. I mustn’t forget to take in a box of chocolates with a thank you note.
He was confused. He didn’t know where he was.
I am the safety net. Today he can’t make a decision for himself. I take him out for a walk with the excuse of buying the Sunday newspaper. It’s important to keep him occupied. If he’s busy he won’t hurt himself. Maybe it will slow down the spin cycle in his mind.
I’m so down. He never uses the word depressed. I’m tired of feeling this way. You know I have two illnesses, not one. Yes, I know. One is feeding the other. I think they’re going to put me back in tomorrow. I want to have supper with my dad just in case.
At home he sits down at the computer and plays Modern Warfare. I hang the clothes to dry on the radiators and the electric indoor clothesline. It’s drizzling outside. It’s time to meet our neighbors for coffee before lunch.
I’m not going.
I get the dog’s bed and place it next to his feet with a toy. Philip loves Lincoln. I do the usual. Let me know if you need anything. Are you OK? You’ll call if you need me? If you get bored come down for a coffee. I’ll be back in 30 minutes. I take the elevator and call him on the phone as I walk down the street.
Yes! I’m fine. I’ll see you in half an hour.
After coffee I open the front door and say “hello”. There is a response. I breathe a sigh of relief.
We have a delicious lunch of pumpkin soup and tenderloin with gravy that Tomás has prepared. Tom is my second husband, who I’ve been married to for 10 years. He truly loves Philip. I’ve been fortunate in that way. Philip’s fingernails are blue. I take one of his hands in mine to try to warm it up. I ask him what he’d like to do.
I don’t know what I want to do. I can’t concentrate. What are you going to tell the doctor at the appointment tomorrow?
Meanwhile, Tom fills up the dishwasher and wipes down the counter. I ask my son if he would like to watch a movie or play a game.
I don’t know. I suggest sitting in the living room together and reading a book. I can’t think clearly or concentrate on what I’m reading.
Normally he loves reading. We have to keep putting in new bookshelves.
I suggest a nap. He gets under the covers. I pretend to tidy up the house while I wait for him to fall asleep. Then I can rest.
It’s early evening. Philip has just gone out with a close friend he hasn’t seen for six weeks. Young people his age are busy with exams and girlfriends these days. I send the friend a message to text me when Philip leaves. He can’t be left alone today. It’s too dangerous. The friend responds with two thumbs up. I delete the messages from my phone.
His father is coming for dinner. The three of us will go out together. Our relationship has strengthened through necessity.
Such a long day. But I’m lucky that there are other people to keep him busy, too.
Tomorrow we’ll ask for help again. He’ll likely be sent to a hospital in a nearby city with a specialized eating disorders ward where he has had two previous stays. There are only five beds for the entire state. Admission is based on urgency and need.
Tonight I’ll be sleeping on his floor. Call it a gut feeling. I won’t be able to sleep in another room if I can’t hear him breathing