We don't make a big thing of Mother's Day in our family. Not for want of me trying, of course... but there is only so much one sulking woman can do.
This year Julie made me a nice card, I got some chocolates from Joe, and I considered myself lucky. I spent most of the day itself playing the "distract Julie from herself" game. It is a bit of a thankless task some days, especially during the doldrums of a change of medication.
On Sunday morning, she was particularly disinclined to move or eat. Woebegone is the only description that fits. It took a fair amount of gentle bullying to get her to eat breakfast, and then move around a little bit. Thank heavens for Wii Fit and its slightly surreal choice of games. Might have been a ghost of a smile when I got trashed performing a virtual ski jump (Eddie the Eagle style)? Who knows.
Then on to a little bit of art followed by a healthy (and low-calorie) lunch. After an afternoon spent gently buzzing around the local villages visiting a supermarket here, and a farmer's market there, I towed Julie home. She seemed bored and grumpy, but not visibly distressed. Hanging on in there, I would have said.
Joe volunteered to drive her back to the hospital before dinner, as planned.
Julie's present to me for Mother's Day was kept well-hidden until Joe had driven away from the hospital grounds. I got an urgent phone call from the hospital: she had discovered some stashed paracetamol at home and swallowed them just before leaving the house. No wonder she had been so anxious to leave!
It was timed, I suppose, to make sure that it was the hospital staff who had to take her to A&E, and not me. A present of sorts, I suppose.
I asked the staff three questions. My first question was "How the hell did she find any paracetamol?" I have been so careful to remove every box from every cupboard that no one in the house can actually find one when a headache strikes. For a while I found it so hard to believe that she could have found some, that I seriously doubted that she had taken any at all. I thought it must be some sort of strange hoax: her idea of a laugh on the staff. But no - apparently one of us had left some tucked down the inside of a bedside drawer, probably left there and forgotten in the small hours after waking to some ache or pain or other, possibly years ago. She must have the eyes of a hawk.
The second question was "When on earth did she manage to do it?" I remembered suddenly how anxious she had been for me to stay downstairs while she went upstairs to fetch her bag; it must have been the work of a moment, my punishment for listening to my knees complain about trailing upstairs after her yet again.
For the record, my third question was not "Why?" (There is just no point asking.) My third question was actually "How many?". Eight tablets again (about half a pack): the number she managed to metabolise just fine last time she tried this two weeks ago. Fortunately she was lucky again this time. She phoned me from the A&E department very contrite.
I tried to rant a bit - did she know what liver damage looked like? did she think we could go to Paris together if she pulled this sort of stunt? - but my heart wasn't really in it. These overdoses do not seem to have any meaning to them, at least not for me. There is no point me trying to create a meaning for them, by pretending to feel outraged or offended. I just feel a bit disappointed; they are probably the nail in the coffin for our trip to Paris together.
The fact is, I'm not sure these overdoses mean that much to Julie either - as teenagers we all did risky or silly things, and they didn't mean very much at the time. She's not herself, she's feeling really depressed because of the change of medication, she can't live with her family, she is under permanent supervision by adults: hell, I think I would probably act out a bit at her age in those circumstances.
It's just bad luck for her that she can't do anything in private these days - everything she does is scrutinised and written down.