Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Separating Church From State or The Man From The Drug

This morning, Art and I yelled at each other for, I think, the first time ever. We did it in front of the kids. Ezra dropped from his chair and crumbled to the floor crying. Langston sat at the table, his chest pressing against its edge, hands in lap with his eyes looking at the blank place in front of him. Pallas’ knife hand was suspended between butter and toast as she stared wide-eyed at both of us.

Art has gotten mean. Not mean mean, but short tempered, low fuse, misunderstanding mean. This morning, I felt like I needed to protect the kids emotionally from him. It is not a feeling I am acquainted with. There are two drugs, Methotrextate and Ara C, that get injected into his spine and thus go straight to his brain. Listed side effects for Ara C are confusion, agitation or hallucinations. (At least he’s not hallucinating!) Add to this Art's general irritation at not being able to be “him,” and it’s making for some interesting family dynamics. One whimper from Ezra sets Art off. He forgets that Langston is nine and that we have to "refocus" him at least three times to insure his dirty clothes end up in the hamper. The kids feel the change and are shifting their energy to me even when Art is “well.” I feel the pressure to protect them. And it’s all changing how we relate to him. I know it’s the drugs and the disease, but try telling that to a 4 ½ year old, or to a 9 ½ year old. Try telling that to yourself after you’ve been yelled at by someone who has rarely yells. It’s pretty fuckin’ hard to separate the man from the drug. Pretty fuckin’ hard.

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