“Do you need anything?” dad asked last night during our medication ritual.
I had noticed when dad handed me my medications that there were eleven pills. I looked closely and there was an extra 3mg Risperdal. I didn’t say anything and just took them with one gulp of Wal-Mart grape juice. I figured the extra anti-psychotic would do me good and would help me sleep well for the night.
I pointed at the eight home theater remote controls on my coffee table and said, “I really could use some batteries for all of these.”
“Come on,” dad said. “Let’s get in the car and drive to Kroger.”
Dad and I wandered around Kroger looking for batteries. If mom was along, she would have been asking complete strangers where the batteries are kept. Thankfully, dad is like me and we would rather just wander and look. Cooler, less socially anxious inducing heads prevailed.
“Blu-Ray discs,” I said wantonly as we passed near the magazine rack.
“Pick you out a movie,” dad said. “Get you something you will enjoy.”
I tend to enjoy war themed movies and picked out a recent one that got decent reviews.
“What kind of treat do you and your mother usually get Maggie?” dad then asked.
“Beef jerky,” I replied. “But it’s expensive.”
“How expensive?” dad asked.
“About ten dollars expensive!”
“Oh hell,” dad replied. “Let’s live high on the hog tonight. Let’s get the Mag dawg something good to eat!”
We finally found the batteries and I sheepishly reached for a package of twenty Duracell AA batteries.
“Too expensive?” I turned to dad and asked with a wince.
“Ah shit,” dad said throwing caution to the wind. “Get you enough batteries to last you awhile.”
I really had a good time shopping with my father last night. I had a little tinge of anxiety during the experience as Kroger was very busy for a Saturday night. Lot’s of people were shopping. The hardest part was waiting in the 20 items or less line that had grown very long. I was so relieved when we arrived back at the safety of dad’s car and I could relax as he drove.
On the drive home, dad and I talked about I learning to live a normal life.
“I need help, a mentor, to do so,” I told him. “It is normal for me for my life to be chaotic and in disarray. It always has been.”
“You’re my project,” dad said as he laughed and smiled. “We are just going to keep trying till we get things right. Don’t ever give up!”
I smiled as we turned into my driveway. I kept thinking of that often said line in AA about all us alcoholics being a work in progress. My life is a far cry better life than it was just a few years ago. There are setbacks and tumultuous times, but we seem to learn and grow from them. Long gone are the days were we all struggled against the current and now go with the flow that can be my mentally interesting days. We go to the doctor, get medications, sedate me, and we all rest. There is no screaming or hollering as in the old days – the accusations that I must be doing something wrong to cause my mental illness. I think dad is finally coming to terms that I and mom’s mental illnesses are actually a disease and not a defect in character.