"Look At Me"

"Look At Me"
monotype and screenprint

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Daily Battles and Random Thoughts

I had a dream last night that I was drowning.  Some invisible force was pushing me down and I couldn't find my way to the surface of the water.  I struggled to wake up, only to find that Derek's arm was around my neck.  Well, that explains the dream--sort of. 

Derek has been sleeping in my bed for a while now.  Since he has CVS (Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome), it is easier.  A) I don't have to worry about him asphyxiating (did I spell that right???) on his own vomit.  B) I can race him to the toilet and minimize the mess.  C) I can comfort him. 

The downside, of course, is that I haven't been sleeping as well.  I often wake up with feet in my face, my blankets get stolen, and I get kicked.  Alot.

I also get to wake up to hugs and giggles--and sometimes it's the best part of my entire day. 

Friday was an OFF day for Derek.  You know the kind, right? 

Derek saw his pediatrician in Omaha on Friday.  This doctor is a developmental behavioral pediatrician who is known for being great with autistic kids.  80% of his client base has autism. 

Derek had been extra stimmy that morning.  He had no interest in the toys in the waiting room.  Instead, he chose to run back and forth, laughing loudly and hysterically for no particular reason.  I couldn't help but think, "This could be interesting." 

The nurse called us back and we waited in the room.  Derek played with some dinosaur toys they had in there, but I could tell he was nervous.  He's seen a lot of doctors lately, and his eyes kept darting around, like he was looking for an escape route. 

The doctor knocked on the door and came in.  He said, "Hi Derek.  How are you?"  Derek responded by repeatedly grunting (he sounded like Forrest Gump).  Then he threw himself on the ground and spun in circles.  (Not exactly sanitary...)

For just a split second, I felt a flash of embarrassment.  But I quickly checked myself.  Why was I embarrassed?  This doctor has surely seen it all.  True, I wished Derek was having a better day.  I wanted the doctor to hear Derek talk and witness all the progress he's made.  But with autism, you can't always get what you want.  The important thing was that the doctor heard our concerns and helped us.  He didn't judge.  He also cares about Derek and wants to help him feel better. 

I had a three hour car ride home.  I'd like to tell you that Derek fell asleep immediately and I had a chance to relax.  Instead, I had to pull over 4 separate times because Derek dropped a toy and started screaming at the top of his lungs, had to potty, and spilled juice on his shirt and needed a new one...

Yes, it was definitely one of those days. 

But those days inevitably remind me something--that autism will not defeat my son.  Derek can't help it if a wet shirt makes his skin crawl.  Exhausted and frustrated as I get, my little boy is still there, behind all the behaviors, just trying to make sense of it all.  Derek is fighting a war.  I'm just here to help him get through the daily battles. 

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