First of all, let me thank you all again so much for your continued good wishes and good will - for all of us, but especially for Naomi (who is just a fabulous and incredible person, BTW
OK - let me see if I can get the timeline straight here. A week ago Wed we got the test results - she's healthy. Well - as healthy as a heroine addict can be. Caught up on some sleep, had dinner with friends - dropped her off in the City. She wanted a few days - which stretched (of course) into a few more. I'm sure it can be hard to hook up with other junkies to get them DVDs that belong to them, to pick up a book that belongs to you, etc. We spoke to her at agreed upon intervals - and as on time as she could be, she was never more than an hour or two off (spent with us sweating and worrying - not that we weren't just about every minute otherwise....). I'm skipping a lot, because we actually spent hours a day on the phone with her, talking through a lot of this stuff, a lot of her fears, etc.
Saturday night she said she agreed to let us pick her up Sunday. Sunday she said she had one last thing to take care of, and she wanted to get her mail on Monday, so could we call her at 12:00 on Monday, and she'd be ready to come out to NJ that afternoon - and not go back to the City.
We didn't get a hold of her at noon, but as we're going back to work at our old firm, Gary figured he'd head into the city, not leave till he talked to her, and swing by the office. So in he headed.
He finally spoke to her at 4:00. She was at one of her places - this one in Brooklyn. She was terrified, and said "Dad, will you come get me?" Of course, that's exactly what he did. The psych has said she would test us over and over again, farther and farther, and we have not failed her yet.
He picked her and her stuff up, and Naomi came home. Still a heroine addict, but home. We're working with our Doctor, who, amazingly enough, used to run the Detox program for a local hospital out here. She's on supervised medications that keep her high and fight the symptoms - this we're doing until she's ready to go into Detox, which I think will be tomorrow or Friday. We're driving down this afternoon for a tour of the facility.
We have spent a really intense few days together, and it's been an incredible experience for all of us. What Gary and I realized is that Naomi has had to be very, very strong to be who she is and live the life she has. What she needs now is to trust that she can be as needy as it gets. That no matter how awful she feels, no matter how angry she feels, no matter how ugly and disgusting she feels (going through detox) that we will be there for her. This is what she has never had in her life, and it is terrifying to her to be that vulnerable. So we have been working on building that trust, and I think we're getting there.
Finally, I have to tell you what happened when she came inside her/our home for the first time. Spooky has been stressed out - the new home, Ming Loy, Tuxedo's aggressiveness - and had some problems peeing outside the box which then turned into some obsessive licking. During many hours of phone calls with Naomi and lots of waiting, I spent a lot of time with Spooky, just being with her - whatever her mood - playing, petting, etc. I explained to her that her big sister was coming home, and she was going to be just as needy as Spook, and maybe they could help each other.
Naomi and Gary came in the front door, not the garage door. Shel and Flowerbelle bolted (though Shel usually comes back out pretty quickly). Spooky and Lazlo always hide. My parents and Gary's mom were visiting - each for about two weeks - and they only saw Lazlo or Spook poke their head around into the living room from the stairs and then bolt back upstairs.
We took Naomi around downstairs - the kitchen, the living room - and Ming Loy was all over her (outgoing little rabbit-like kitty she is), and Tux has become our official greeter, LOL!
We then went to go upstairs - I headed up first, Naomi followed, and then Gary. Spooky came out of the bedroom when she heard me coming up, and she sat at the top of the stairs. We all stopped - and I said, "Hey Spook! This is Naomi, the one I've been telling you about." Spook looked up at me, and then looked at Naomi, and continued to sit there. Gary said, just keep going up the stairs, but move slowly. (We'd already prepped Naomi on how to initially interact with the cats). Naomi walked up very slowly, back of her hand outstretched. She stopped near the top of the stairs, and Spooky leaned out to sniff her hand. I continued up, and walked over to what was the "cat room" and what is becoming Naomi's room. Naomi, Gary and Spooky followed. The three of us were standing in there talking, and Spooky walked in, walked straight up to Naomi, turned her but to her and started rubbing all over her legs, arching her back. Gary and I were flabbergasted. I mean - without words.
We then finished upstairs, and headed down to the kitchen to get something to eat. Lazlo was laying on the couch downstairs, and we said "Hey Laz, here's your big sis!" He looked up at us lazily, and again, Naomi walked over cautiously, back of hand outstreched. Laz looked totally unconcerned. He reached out his head to sniff her hand - and rubbed his cheek on the side of her hand!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gary was in tears, and even I got all choked up.
So we head into the kitchen - Ming Loy bouncing around. We made some dinner, and Flowerbelle comes in. Not slinking in, not cautiously peering around the corner - walked in, tail up - like "what's up?" Naomi didn't notice her, and Flowerbelle walked straight up to her. I didn't say anything - Naomi was totally engrossed in conversation with Gary. Flowerbelle stood up on her hind legs, "gophered" at her, and barked! Naomi looked down, reached out her hand - Flowerbelle rubbed her cheeck on Naomi's hand, licked her (Flowerbelle prefers to pet others as opposed to being petted), and flopped over on her side, rolling around on her back, stretching and posing - "aren't I cute?" Naomi was laughing, Flowerbelle was being so funny. Gary put some food down on the table, and Flowerbelle ran under the table, leapt up on the chair next to Naomi, and tried to get into her lap.
Sheldon then decided to join the fray. He came prancing into the kitchen, big proud boy that he is - strutted right up to Naomi and started MEOWING for attention. He does that sometimes, but not often. He was making such a racket! He wouldn't leave her alone. Was rubbing on her legs, arching his back, turning his butt to her, standing up on his hind legs with his front legs on her legs - and she was just giggling.
Gary and I tried not to make too much of a big deal about it, but I cannot tell you how all of that alone was more than enough confirmation for me that we made the right decision and are doing the right thing. That may sound crazy, but I don't care.
It is bad luck in Jewish tradition to prepare a baby's room before the baby is born and comes home. So we did not order a bed or having anything ready for her. (Besides, we figured it'd be nicer if she got to decorate her room with us instead of having it done for her). So Naomi and I slept in the bed, and Gary pulled in an armchair.
Monday night, Sheldon slept on her legs, Spooky curled up inbetween Naomi and I (which she usually does for pets with Gary and I, but she doesn't stay to sleep), Flowerbelle slept curled up to my knees (which happens pretty frequently) - but with a twist. She had her butt to me and her neck stretched out and her head next to Naomi's knees - and she was purring up a storm, just lying there (but she is the ulimate purr baby when she's happy). Tuxedo - who loves to sleep on the bed when we're not in it, and comes by once a night to hop up on the edge of the bed (not on the blanket), say a quick "hi," checks to see that everything's in order as he expects and then bounces back out of the room - popped up onto the bed, walked around Naomi sniffing her completely, walked across her back, down her body, and then leapt off the bed. Gary was starting to get really jealous at that point, LOL!
Ming Loy, as always, slept on the Sheepskin next to the bed. And even Lazlo, who occassionally sleeps at the foot of the bed, stopped by for a visit, and then decided to sleep on the cat tree to keep an eye on Naomi.
Naomi was getting sick, with the flu, actually, which is part of why we didn't go to Carrier Clinic the next day - but it was also in the cards, I think, that things play out the way they are. There was a huge snowstorm up here yesterday, and she had wanted to visit the place first. That just couldn't happen under the circumstances. But we did get her to our Doc, and then back in bed. She got to spend the day being sick, literally (not from withdrawal), and I really think that these few days of her having the flu on top of everything was just what we all need to reinforce that we'll be her for her, and that she can be needy as she wants to be with us.
Ming Loy has become her favorite kitty - but that's because Ming Loy is the most visibly tragic of the bunch. She's being so good with Spooky - I explained what's been up with Spook, and that she needs a lot of love and attention, and Naomi's helping provide it. Spook stretches out on her lap, lays her head down and just purrs while Naomi strokes and pets her.
....and I think seeing how we care for our cats, interact with them - and that they have more furniture than we do is all very comforting to Naomi, quite frankly! If we'll do all this for cats, what would we do for her, LOL!
So..... Naomi's up, I need to roll. Hopefully we're heading down to Carrier, but it's raining and icy, and she's still got a temperature, though it's better. We'll see. We're not pushing. But she's happy and comfortable here, and we are spending hours talking about what needs to be done.
Last year Gary and I officially filed corporation papers for the Feline Assistance Network, with which she really wants to get involved, and we've all been brainstorming (she wants to be a writer), and we're discussing starting the Homeless Assistance Network. She wants to write up her experiences as a help book for homeless girls - so they can avoid what happened to her. Distribution, obviously, to the people who need something like that is the issue, which would be part of the Homeless Assistance Network's mission.
Anyway, that's the short version, and I have GOT to run!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
LOVE YOU ALL AND THANK YOU SO, SO, SO, SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!