It just occurred to me that in the six months plus that we've now been in California, we haven't once been to the ER, which we were veterans of in New Jersey, nor have we yet called 911 due to Charlie having a panic attack in the car.
I generally do not like to note such things for fear of jinxing us or, on a less superstitious note, letting down our guard and not being as mindful as we should of how quickly Charlie's grinnng face can change and a look of utter fear and confusion enter his eyes.
We had those very extreme mood changes (and insomnia and a steady history of manic behaviors) in mind when, on talking to a nurse practitioner at the neurologist's office on Tuesday -- after Charlie had had a really tough Monday at school on top of a tough first week of ESY, we discussed medication changes and also looking for a psychiatrist for Charlie.
In New Jersey, the psychiatrist we had seen had not been at all helpful. In thinking over the reasons (anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, signs of bipolar) that Charlie takes medication for, it occurred to me and Jim that, while he certainly has loads of anxiety and OCD behaviors to help (to the extent he can) keep his nerves somewhat in check, the manic issues have been more and more a concern.
I contacted a psychiatry office (close by in Berkeley) after speaking to the nurse practitioner. There's a waiting list but, instead of the "we can maybe see you in November" I was expecting, the answer was "3-4 weeks" -- I will be calling back in 2 1/2 weeks if not before.
As of Wednesday, Charlie seemed to be settling in, also perhaps thanks to his stomach feeling a little better. My parents had asked if we'd been giving him all the over-the-counter gastrointestinal-beneficial products we have in the past. I realized there was one we hadn't -- but we still have a big bottle of it in a cabinet and I promptly added it to the list of things Charlie takes every day.
Charlie swam on Thursday at school after having refused to do so the previous week. While he said 'no' to going to his workability assignment on Friday, he was all right doing jobs around his school.
And on Wednesday and Friday evening, we drove up to Napa (a 50 minutes ride; as a kid, it was super-far away in my imagination) and had two very nice evenings at the Napa Town and Country Expo. I'm pretty certain the rides (like the swing called the YoYo) are the exact same ones Charlie has ridden at previous county fairs we've visited, some with painful aftermath.
The Napa fair had a nice, family-ish atmosphere (a rodeo complete with guys in cowboy hats, and a bronco ride along with the ferris wheel). There was music but most of it played by a blues trio performing in the midst of boothes with tacos, beer, potatoes, henna tattoos, turquoise and silver jewelry, painted skulls and plastic dolphins. The ride on highway 80 (Jim: "This road is the same one that goes to the GW Bridge!") and 29 ("Same number of pushes on the swing" [Jim again]) amid golden brown hills that, as we went north, were increasingly covered with patches of green vineyards, was a landscape that seemed to appeal to Charlie. Jim observed it's a bit Teletubby-ish, though a lot browner, and certainly reminiscent of our ride to Charlie's favorite fair in Petaluma. And who knows but Charlie remembers this landscape from rides we took to see my relatives in Sacramento when he was a lot younger?