"Look At Me"

"Look At Me"
monotype and screenprint

Friday, July 27, 2012

Love is a Battlefield

I've seen The Exorcist.  It scared the living daylights out of me.  I never expected today to remind me of that movie. 

I'm trying to write this while it is still fresh in my mind, but I'm having a hard time putting it into words.  Today was easily one of the hardest days of my life, and I've had some doozies. 

We arrived at the hospital at 6:30 a.m.  Derek was terrified.  (I tried to prepare him by talking to him about it yesterday, but he had absolutely no comprehension of what I was saying--he looked up at me once, smiled, and then continued singing "I'm a little teapot."  He was not even remotely phased.) 

Arrival at the hospital

Since he had trouble with the medical ID on his wrist last time, I convinced the nurse to put it on his ankle this time.  (GENIUS move on my part--there was some whimpering, some tugging at it, and a few "off" requests, but no screaming, no scratching and, best of all, no BLOOD.)

Ankle ID bracelet

Despite my requests, the hospital staff did not allow me to go back with Derek when he was put under.  It was "against regulation."  They would not allow me to be there when he woke up, either.  The whole procedure took about 2 hours, once they got started.  I was told they had trouble intubating him.  They fixed his cavities, (he got 3 fillings and 2 silver caps put on), they cleaned his teeth, they did fluoride treatments...the whole nine yards.  He has such a hard time at the dentist office, I guess they figured they should do EVERYTHING while he was under.   

When Derek woke up from the anesthesia, a nurse brought him to me and placed him in my arms. She told me Derek might cry a little while he figured out where he was.  Then she left the room.


Derek did more than cry.  He thrashed.  He kicked.  He screamed.  He arched his back and flipped out of my arms.  I had to move to the floor because I was unable to control him.  He continued to flop around.  He convulsed.  He tried to run but could not focus on anything.  I looked at his eyes and they were BLACK--his pupils were completely dialated.  He yanked his IV out and suddenly there was blood dripping and a needle hanging from his hand.  Courtney (one of Derek's ABA therapists who came with me to help) dashed over and pulled the emergency cord for help while I kicked chairs out of the way.  A nurse came rushing in and helped get the IV out of Derek's hand.  She also tried to help me control Derek, who by this time was banging his head against the floor in his thrashing.  We put pillows under him.  I have never felt so helpless in my entire life.  Derek was there, but he wasn't THERE.  (Does that make any sense?)  This was not my child.  He was a child possessed.  I could not reach him.  My voice, my touch, my PRESENCE even did nothing to calm him.  I don't think he could hear me.  I don't think he even knew who I WAS.  It was downright horrifying to witness.  I cried.  No--I'll be honest.  I SOBBED.  Finally, after 15 minutes of convulsing like this, Derek just passed out on the floor.  He slept for another 2 hours or so.  When he woke up and we were finally able to go home (6 hours after arriving) Derek was a zombie. 

Poor little man is HURTING.

Those of you with a non-verbal child will understand my relief when I was finally able to get Derek to speak again.  I'm always terrified when my son has to go under that something will make my child regress.  I asked him if he wanted juice and was met with a firm, "No."  I hadn't gotten eye contact yet, but it was a start.  He could still talk.  :) 

His face is puffy, his lips are swollen, and for some reason his left eye is only half open.  I'm not sure what is going on.  He's also acting, well...drugged.  But I guess that's to expected. 

Our day has been spent recovering.  Lots of laying around, lots of cuddling, lots of movies, lots of sleeping.  And just a few minutes ago, he gave me a weird smile and pointed at his mouth, as if to show me something was different.  Sure enough, I could see his silver teeth. 

Life is full of challenges and tests.  Derek and I have been through a lot together.  Autism and everything that comes with it.  An MRI.  An EEG.  An ABR test.  Hearing tests.  3 autism evaluations.  And now 2 of these lovely dental surgeries.   We survived.  That is pretty much the only positive thing I can say about today.  It was traumatic, but we walked away from it, non-the-less.  Each time I go through something like this, I ask myself WHY?  Why is this happening?  Why does my beautiful, wonderful, happy child have to go through such horrible things so often? Is it to make him a stronger person?  Or maybe ME a stronger person?  If so, it's working.  I can handle anything that is thrown at me.  I would fight WARS for this child.  Love is a battlefield, and I'm not about to go down without a fight.    

Hiding from the camera
New silver teeth

1 comment: