There are days, at least at my house, when Autism plays a mean game of hide and seek. Sometimes he hides for hours (even days) at a time, with not so much as a peep from him. You might even forget he is part of the fabric of your reality. Other days he taunts from behind every corner, couch or chair. Just a quick glimpse and then he's off again. He makes himself known just enough to threaten your sanity.
And then there are days when Autism streaks through the house butt-naked and on fire, and you don't know whether to chase him, stop-drop-& roll, scream your bloody head off, or just cry. Saturday was one of those days for us. It began with a 4 yr check up at the pediatrician's office. Yes, I am aware that my kids are almost 5, but we don't really do checkups with our kids. The last one was at age 2 when our previous pediatrician decided to give me grief about vaccines (even though upon interviewing that office I stated in no uncertain terms that we would NOT be vaccinating, I did not want and would not tolerate lecturing, *educating*, or the implication that I was somehow a bad mother as a result of our experience and choices regarding vaccines. After all, I am more than certain that I have a heck of a lot more personal experience with vaccines than they do. ) So when that showdown began, which incidentally didn't go great for the doc, I made up my mind that it was the last "check up" and concluded that I would be on the hunt for a new pediatrician. So flash forward, we are going to the (new--as in most recent) pediatrician to get this check up, not because I view it as particularly valuable, but rather because public school requires it. I should have had a few shots of vodka or something before we began this little trek.
Kids are totally anxious and very unhappy about being in the waiting room. They are fighting over the toys and unhappy that they can't play with the cool bead toy in the "sick" area. Something happens. I can't even remember what it was, but we told Kyan "no" or to stop doing something and he takes his Elmo doll and throws it across the room. This in itself is bad enough, but it worsens. Elmo glanced off another parent and hit the glass window around the reception area, plastic-eyes first. So it made a LOUD thump and scared the bejeezus out of the parent and the receptionist. I was mortified. I would love to tell you that this is where the drama ended. Not so.
We got called back and the first thing to get done is to get weighed and measured. Kids were crying about this. Not kidding. Then came the blood pressure cuff. Kynsie was certain her arm was going to fall off and was flipping out. Braylen was sympathy screaming in chorus with Kyan, just to show their support, I'm sure. Since you have to be still to get the BP reading, it took several tries for each child with me and Brandon holding them in an attempt to keep them still. Braylen was so strong and freaked out that the nurse finally gave up on getting his BP reading. Then came the hearing test. Even though Ky & Sis get tested at school, and Braylen will be tested at school this year, it was mandatory that this be done. After much screaming, snotting and tears, Kynsie & Braylen passed their tests. Given that they have had repeated hearing tests, this is no surprise. Kyan was so upset that in spite of the nurse's insisting, I stopped the test. She kept trying and finally I said "is *this* really worth it for a hearing test I know he will pass?". Reluctantly she stopped. We then spent several anxious minutes--30-45 waiting for what was next. The lovely finger prick was next. I don't even need to tell you how that went. The howling just went through the roof, and anxiety actually got worse, if that is possible. There was no consoling. They kind of went in rounds for the screaming and crying most of the time, but all joined in together for good measure too just to be sure we understood their great displeasure with all of it. Finally it was time for the NP to do an exam. For some reason they wanted Kynsie in a paper gown. OK. Put an already anxious autistic/sensory kid in a paper gown and make her wait 30 minutes? What about this seems like a good idea? More freaking out. Finally the NP comes in and Kynsie asks to take the gown off and she says "sure, that's fine". So all that suffering for nothing. Her exam goes fine, but not without tears. Kyan goes next, totally freaking out about his ears. He had a mean infection a few weeks ago, and the ENT had to scrape infection out of his ear. As a result of that trauma, he is even more terrified of doctors and wants NOTHING near his ears. Braylen sat in my lap sobbing as he dreaded his turn. Much to our surprise, Kyan did survive. Braylen was next, and got through it, but not without tears and small drama. Finally 3 hours later, we were done. The NP told me we could come back after their 5th birthday for another check up and insurance would cover it. Let me share with you that will only happen if a large gun is pointed at my head.
Everyone was fine. Big SHOCK. In all of the melee, I forgot to get the school paper that is required, so I have to arrange to get that taken care of. Brandon and I were positively wiped out. So again...Autism streaking naked and on fire through your living room. All I can say, is do NOT provoke the monster. On days like that, just resign yourself to surviving. If everyone makes it until bedtime breathing and with no (minimal) bloodshed, you have succeeded. Get up and tackle the monster tomorrow.