Today Dante had his annual physical. The one day a year I take him to the doctor for no reason other than to irritate him. If he could talk, I'm pretty sure that is what he would tell you. With a few swears thrown in for emphasis. Because he most certainly was irritated.
Dante has low muscle tone and has difficulty standing and walking without looking like a drunk sailor. (No offense to my Sailor, if he ever has the poor judgement to get himself drunk) With his hypotonia in mind, the fist thing I do is tell Dante to tell on a scale and keep his hands to his sides. This is very difficult for him, but as his Mom I make him do it. (He's up to 52.8 pounds!)
Dante has LOTS of sensory issues, many of them around his head. So the next thing I do is tell Dante to stand against the wall while the nice nurse lowers something onto his head to see his height. (He's a whopping 48 inches tall!)
Then we go into a small room and I make him sit on a strip of crinkly paper. Mom isn't doing so well at accommodating his sensory input issues.
Then the nice nurse wants to take his temperature in his ear-- a surprising victory, but I've spent tons of time rubbing his ears to desensitize him a bit...Yay Mom!
She said she would be right back with the blood pressure cuff. And my standard response: smile and nod. I have to let her try, so she can say she did. (Dante has never successfully had his blood pressure taken while not sedated.)
By now Dante is starting to laugh, a lot, and swing his body and head. "He's so happy, how adorable!" Says the very nice nurse. What I want to reply is, "He's not happy, he's anxious and stressed and has no idea why we are here doing these things and he wants to understand but his body won't work the way he wants it to and he wants to let you touch him but his body is saying no and he just wants to be home, so he laughs because that is what his brain is using to escape." Or something like that.
But I know I have to just smile and nod. Because he is a happy boy. But this laughter was not his happy place, it was his overstimulated torn with anxiety place.
The worst part came when I have to be the one to help hold him for a vaccine, and even worse when I sit him on my lap, wrap my legs around his, hold his left arm to his chest with my right hand, use my left hand to hold his head back against me, and let the two nurses draw his blood. Because if I didn't do that he would kick the nurses, grab the needle, and slam his head back into my face.
I have to be the one to allow them to hurt my son, and he can't understand that.
Autism is hard on me, but it is Hell on my kid.
When we left he was crying, no longer yelling, but he refused his coat and stripped his shirt off in the van so he could take off the band-aid...one more nail in the sensory overload coffin.
Thankfully, the drive home made it all better. Rather, Brad Paisley made it all better while I drove home, since I put "Copycat" on repeat and turned up the volume.
That's when he was happy. With a gentle giggle and attempts to sing along with Mr. Paisley to his favorite song. My sweet, happy boy.
God is good. (Autism is not.)