Thursday, November 08, 2007

If only I had Get Smart's shoe phone....

Sometimes I wonder, I wonder if kids are just being kids, I'm just being a mom and the two together make for an interesting combination. Can I truly be objective when it comes to my child's friends? Could they ever be what Gabe needs and I envisioned them to be, caring, thoughtful, fun and accepting? I needed to know who was with him when I wasn't.

I wanted to get an "inside" the peer relationship dynamics of Gabe's classroom, so I happily volunteered to help at Gabe's Halloween party. This would give me an incredible opportunity to secretly psychoanalyze each child that comes in contact with Gabe each day at preschool. Dissect and interpret clues into their family dynamics, past history,siblings and parental involvement. I was "Double O, M..O..M".

This is what I found...
There are roughly, given what day it is, 14 boys and 6 girls.
The girls seemed pretty normal, easy going. Girls generally are.
The boys. Psych 101, years of observing people and 7 years of teaching really came in handy when watching the boys. The boys could be summed up as such
(names have been changed to protect their identity)

"O"- Very small child (Gabe literally looks down at him), shows signs of having a speech impairment, can be bossy and low on the totem pole of the "boy click" in the room.

"J"- I like to call him Mr. Cranky. Gabe first met him last year for a few hours when I wanted to observe him in a regular preschool setting with other three year olds. "J" may still be cranky about the fact the Gabe hit him with a dinosaur to see how he would react last year in class. Outcome....not good.

"T"-America's Most Wanted will be doing an expose on him soon. He has that "look" in his eye. Other teachers will know exactly what I mean. He seems older and far more wise about the workings of the underground than the homeless guy that rides his bike all day around my township. It makes me sad, but then I also want to say as I lean in close to his face, "Stay the hell away from Gabe if you know what is good for you."

"Red"- Possible "T" accomplice or the second picture displayed next to "T's on America's Most Wanted. He has devious written all over him. However, the jury is still out. Maybe he'll decide to use his powers for good and come over to our side.

"B"- Grips mom's leg like a hungry man's hand around a Ball Park hot dog at a baseball game when he is dropped off. He seems to bide time watching the clock until mom returns.

"M"- Seems like a good kid, but Gabe seems to be attracted to the ones that "run the roost" shall we say. Part of "the click", possible middle management. Dedicated with no real benefits.

"JK"- very sweet, perhaps a little too reserved for Gabe. He would get first draft choice if it were up to me.

"I"- He's a quite the sourpuss (and also Gabe's locker partner). Luckily he comes very sporadically, mostly Fridays when Gabe is not there. His mom's a nurse and works nights sometimes and her shift is always changing. "I" never knows when he is going to come. My sympathy goes out to him, but my heart is loyal to Gabe. I say," Back off "I" guy!"

"L"- is a child of someone I know (The one that ditched me high and dry at McDonalds) I thought he was going to be a good match for Gabe. Still a sweet boy, but the dark side can be very alluring and has made quite an impression on "L" if you know what I mean.

There are more boys that didn't catch my eye or just weren't at the party, because it wasn't their day to come. What's so frustrating is that this is what the general population consists of in real life. There are leaders, followers, those that go against the tide and those that go unnoticed. I am taking steps to ensure that Gabe is not pigeonholed before he gets his turn to shine. That he is learning the rules of social engagement at warp speed, but is still so innocent and unjaded, as if he was wading in a pool of sharks unknowingly. Give me strength to not go shark hunting anytime soon.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Is it safe?

It's been hard, but I waited a few extra days. Just a couple days, although it felt like eternity. I didn't want to jinx myself, my luck and Gabe.

OK...Here goes.....(deep breath)

Gabe's in preschool.
Public school preschool. Our District's public preschool. And he is doing very well! He is making friends, petting the classroom pet Guinea pig 'Buddy', eating lunch, and going out on recess. The other day he said, "I play with my friend Gavin at school."

I caught myself thinking, "What? "Full sentences? Friends? Independence?"I couldn't help but have a big smile.

Then this weekend it was, "Santa will get me the marble roller coaster."
I guess Gabe and Santa have established a close relationship out of my radar range. And Santa must shop at Target.

This gives me hope that Christmas will be even better this year. Both Boo and Gabe will be able to participate in our traditions of hanging ornaments, decorating ginger bread houses, and have the immense anticipation of Santa's arrival. That's all the gift I will need this year.

There was one incident the first day of preschool. I thought about not mentioning it, because it is pretty age appropriate, meaning that the Autism flag needn't be raised, the 'armed' forces could lay low and I could keep my anxiety in check. But, it just so happens that it was at the top of my list of concerns for Gabe when deciding to place him in a regular preschool. I can only describe it by telling you what happened. Gabe is in a class of about 14 kids along with a teacher (Ms. J), classroom aide and another teacher (Ms. K) that floats in and out, her position is a little unclear to me, must be based on number of kids in the room. Anyway, Ms. J had to run out of the room for a minute or two, so Ms. K took the class to the bathroom before going outside to play. Two boys in Gabe's class, after leaving the bathroom, decided to run down the hall. Ms. K had to coral them back in line by the wall and remind them to wait until everyone was ready. Meanwhile,as far as we can guess, Gabe must have come out of the bathroom, while Ms. K was running down the hall. He then got into a different line, going the wrong way. It was not one going to recess, but to the buses. After counting the heads on the playground, Ms. J came back and noticed one missing too. She immediately found Gabe outside the bus, crying for me on the sidewalk. Someone must have noticed he did not belong on the bus and called the office or another teacher. Thank God . (insert prayer here) So, when I picked him up the first day he was really weepy with swollen red eyes. She apologized many times. After about 5 minutes, Gabe left my side and happily joined the other kids on the play structure.

My reaction was not of anger, because I adore Ms. J. She was so fantastic with Boo that I knew it was an honest accident, not an oversight, especially since she wasn't even there when it took place. And now that it did happen, I can let out a sigh of relief that my biggest fear is in check with the teachers and I believe now that Gabe will be given an extra hand in leading him in the right direction. Which is what we all need at some time in our lives.

Boo is in first grade. (I'm feeling faint) I keep dreaming of her in high school. I keep reminding myself that she will only be turning 6 years old this month, not 16. She looks so beautiful in her uniform. I know I couldn't pull off a plaid jumper. She makes it look like the new fall fashion must have in your closet.

I have found that my thyroid is normal (Thanks for the idea to get tested Melissa) The problem I have/had was depression. So, two months later and appropriate medication (Screw you Tom Cruise) I feel better than I ever had in my life.

I also have started looking for a part time job. My SAHM status is quickly coming to a close. With needing a new roof and Gabe's preschool costs this year, our bank account reflects that we live paycheck to paycheck. It doesn't help that the state of Michigan is something like 2 billion (?) in debt and talk about shutting down the state is being discussed as an option. SD's salary as a teacher is dangling by a thread. The schools can't balance budgets or promise much of a security, because the state keeps changing what it will provide and then sometimes doesn't give financial support at all. How do you balance a budget like that?

This school marks another massive change in my life along with having a first grader, Gabe in preschool, a possible new career path, but it is also the first time in 2 1/2 years (or ever) that I drop my kids off at school and I can go HOME. When I took Gabe to school for those two+ years, I was an hour away from home. Going home was not an option. I have been trying to get things organized, clean, clean some more, do laundry, mow the lawn, do some PR for the family and kids and establish connections in my children's classrooms. It has been a lovely ride, sweet, but too short.

Some of you maybe wondering, what did happen to my crazy hair? I hate to admit this, but I ended up dying my hair four times. I'm a nut when it comes to my hair. It was a week of my daughter giving her encouragement through each change of hair color. "I think it looks nice mommy", she would smile. I had gray hair, green, grayish, greenish, brownish, reddish hair, dark brown hair (picture a witch) I was looking for carmel and got a mixture of Gothic and heroin addict.

I ended up stripping all the horrid colors out of my hair to reveal the lightest blonde ever with streaks of light orange where the red from one of the hair colors would not come out without loosing my hair. I settled on blonde for the vacation. And was I blonde. Barbie has nothing on me. I surpassed Barbie as a Blonde. She looked like a medium to dark blonde next to me. It was frightful, luckily we were where it was warm, sunny with an ocean. I almost fit right in as a surfer girl. In Michigan, I looked like a pole dancer. I currently, yes I actually dyed it again, a dark, neutral blonde with a hint of gray (color has a hard time now sticking to the lightest part of my hair. It's not perfect, but then no one's throwing change at me anymore.
I'd post the new look, but I haven't had a good photo op yet. I always look goofy when I take it myself, ya know, forehead missing, chin cut off, odd strained smile while attempting to look easy going when you can not find the button to actually take the picture. So until then, know that I have been following every one's lives and am so excited to look forward with all of you to another year of special moments with our children.

Oh! Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank Mom-Nos for the award of
Nice Matters
This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you’ve been awarded please pass it on to 7 others who you feel are deserving of this award.

I am so flattered. I am in fact speechless, which is rare. Who knew that over two years ago, when I searched the word Autism through Blogger that it would land me here? Where years earlier Mom-Nos brought hope to me that my journey with Gabe was not meant to be dark and lonely filled with isolation and dread. But a chance to embrace my fears, not let go of hope and still plan celebrations each and every day. Thank you, thank you Mom-Nos and all of you have either stood behind me pushing me forward, stood beside me letting me lean on you and those of you with strength that kept pulling me forward. Thank so much.

I nominate the following seven bloggers that have helped me along the way, many before they even new it. You deserve the NICE MATTERS Award!

Gretchen from Gretchen's Blog

Lora from My Beautiful Child Griffin & Autism

Stephanie from If It Ain't Broke


Melissa H.


Kyra from THISMOM

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Gabe Meets the Ocean

We got back about a week ago from Charleston, SC. SD's side gets together yearly in the summer, fortunate for us, it is always a really cool place. SD's side of the family is really small, grandparents and an uncle and aunt. That's it. It makes for a really relaxing vacation. This year we went to the Isle of Palms and stayed on the ocean in a house in the Wild Dunes resort. This was our third year going and I must say, my favorite. Gabe was a baby, I guess pre-toddler, the last time we came, so I was curious how he would truly take to the sand and waves.

I waited and wondered if Gabe would take to the water like Conor, Bud, Roo and many others I have "seen" splash about like a fish in the ocean. He loves water, pool water that is. Not so much the ocean. It was salty, aggressive and unpredictable. Sure the waves always come and go, recede and come tumbling forward. It's the varying degrees that the waves pushed themselves onto you , and for Gabe over, that made him very distrusting of them. So, we started off slow.

Gabe was actually really drawn (literally) to the sand. I showed him how to make a river with your shovel and then pour water into it and watch it meander down to the ocean. Here he is drawing a river with his finger.

Then, he discovered that a bucket + ocean water makes for much more fun. That's when we began to build our sand castle and dig a huge hole. Gabe's self appointed job became to fill the hole.

After a few days at the resort, Gabe found peace with the ocean. He found it's rhythm. With each wave, he jumped as the tide rolled in.

Monday, August 06, 2007


The question....What do Stay at Home Mom's really do?

What it is like to stay home?

What do you do all day long?

Do you get to sleep in?

Have leisurely lunches and afternoon teas?

Does your laundry smell like a summer breeze?

Are your husbands shirts the color of pure, untouched snow?

Are they ironed and folded meticulously?
Do you eat only organic vegetables from your acre garden?

How close are you and Martha Stewart?

Are you a really good cook too?

This is what some of the things this Stay at Home Mom did these last few days (just in case you were wondering)....

Appealing the State
I finally mailed off my appeal for an external review to the state. It took an entire year. This is "The Book" that held everything about Gabe that anyone would ever need to know. It was, as I have said before, because I can't believe it, 600+ pages long. I know I have talked about this before, (quite a bit, sorry) but, my God!, an entire year of my life! I will know in thirty days the final outcome.

Hair Color Status
As you can see my hair was getting a little "pole dancer" looking. (refer to picture above and below) When your hair matches Barbie's that's not a good sign.

I am a dark blonde, at least that's what the Loreal box tells me, but when you add the summer sun, my hair bleaches out.


I thought I would "fix" it.

I thought I would tame the "corner calling" look a little by actually adding color back to it. Tone it down a little so people at the space station can take off their sunglasses when looking at Michigan.

So, the final decision was made. I need to go cooler, my hair was obviously too bright and warm.

Cooler like an ash blonde. That should do it.

I had an inkling that I had done this before with catastrophic results. Was it ash that made my hair grey before? Hmmmmmm...

Nah. I think it was black that did that in high school.

An hour later I had silver grey hair like a fox. I had Dumbledore hair!

So, a second opinion was needed. I turned to SD. I gave him the nod that told him it was OK to be honest.

"Ya," he paused passing his fingers through my hair," it does look a little grey."

I looked like I aged 20 years.

Off to the drug store to fix it.

I can fix this, I convincingly said to myself in the rear view mirror.

I was expecting the women at the counter to say (in tribute to Gomer Pyle), "Surprise, surprise, surprise" when ringing up the box of hair color.

I went a warm medium blonde.

Warm cancels cool.

At least it does when we decide to turn off our AC to save money.

In this case, warm doesn't necessarily cancel cool,

BUT creates green.

I have died my hair twice already in two days. I leave for a trip for two weeks in two days.

Should I go green and just wave to people like the Jolly Green Giant?

Maybe tease it a little and go as a Troll?
This SAHM needs a really good hair colorist.
I'd write more about my glamorous life as a SAHM, but Martha needs to brief me on how to properly crease the corners of my sheets when making the bed.......

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The bottom line is babies

"So you don't want any more babies?" he looked up at me from his swivel chair.

For some reason the tone made his question sound more like,
"Are you sure you will be able to fit in your swim suit next week after all the ice cream you have been eating lately?"
Sitting up, trying to gain some sort of composure in my couture paper napkin top,
"I'm thirty-five," I say with conviction.
He says nothing.
"My son also has Autism," I state.
He still is looking at me saying nothing.
"My two beautiful children are all I ever wanted."
There. That must be the right answer. It felt right.
He clears his throat, shifts in his chair and begins...
"You haven't answered my question."
"I didn't?" Didn't I?
Silence. The large poster showing a fetus growing arms and chubby legs looks like it is snoozing on the opposite wall.
I swallow. Hard. It kinda hurt. Is it hot in here or is it me?
"No. No, I do not want any more children."

I really am ready for this. It's just everyone else is making such a big deal about it. Sometimes trusted people can sway my thinking pretty easily. Until, I snapped out of it and thought Doctor H won't be there for the late night feedings, take on the discomfort of having huge boobs and I know he would not be throwing some of his salary as a doctor our way.

"Yes. I would like the surgery done."

OK then, he begins, "A Tubal Ligation Procedure..."

So, I had it done. And OUCH! my belly button hurts! Yeah, that's what I said, my belly button! They untied it and went right in. Vicodin was a good friend of mine for a few days. SD was home and I napped and finished the latest Harry Potter book.

On the other hand, I am finally on the step of an external review at the state level for our appeal for ABA services for Gabe with our insurance company (It has been an entire year since I started appealing). "The book" as I call it is 600+ pages long and is due to be sent to the States Appeal Review in a week or so. Our appeal is worth $8,000. SD and I look at each other often and say "No pressure." Wish us luck. I'll give more details later.

So, I have spent my time reading your blogs, but am just too tired to write in my own. I know, come fall, that my blog will be full of it's ups and downs again. My summer has really been amazing this year. Less than a month and we'll be off and running again!

Boo and Gabe, my beautiful babies.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Little Perspective

Sometimes it takes a few old videos to put the past and present into perspective....
(Sometimes they take a few minutes to load on Blogger....)

Gabe then....
* Gabe at 13 months old
* He did not have any words yet, just sounds (very cute sounds)
*1 month later he walked
* It was only two months later that he started not responding to his name

* Soon after this he stopped playing
* He was diagnosed with Autism 5 months later
* We had no idea at the time that most of what we fed him he was allergic to

Gabe now.....
*He is on a diet free of allergens
*His asthma is coming under control the more we learn about it
* Gabe is full of expressive language and sentences!
*He has been diagnosed with Autism for 2 1/2 years now

Isn't it amazing how fast they grow?
And how quickly you learn...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Life Is A Highway...Gabe's Gonna Ride It all Night Long

video Here's the video of Gabe burning some Big Wheel rubber. I am beaming with pride.

Last summer, I put him on his bike and pushed him around the court, while he honked his horn. It was a start. I just wondered if Gabe would ever want to learn to ride a bike or anything with wheels, he is a real indoors type of person. Until this year! This year I was bound and determined to expose Gabe to all the beauty that awaits him beyond the magnificant marble run, Geo Trax Trains and comfy sleeping bag he lounges on in the playroom. This year is the year of the larger blow up pool on our deck sprinkled with floaties. There are sprinklers that hit you from all directions in our front yard (who needs a spray park?) And a slip and slide that beckons umbrellas to get wet in, but for some reason has yet to be slid on. But, the most wonderful part of it all....there are friends to play with while doing all these awesome things outside. Yes, this year I invested a lot. In return, though, I have a son that looks out the window and calls for his friends to come play.

He was pedaling pretty fast once I got the seat adjusted where it fit him just right.

This could have not gone so well, but there was a safe clearance....whew...

Another Big Wheel Buddy

Get your motors running !

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Did I tell you that Gabe is now 4 years old? I kept saying in my head a few days after his birthday, "Four? Really?" I am 35 years old and have a 5 1/2 year old and a four year old. I never imagined being here, in this spot, in this moment. I can truly say, that I understand what it feels like to be older with a lot of responsibility, but I still feel the passion of my untamed youth.

Gabe and some of his friends at his birthday party:o)

In California! We stayed in Palo Alto and took day trips to San Francisco. One day we took this train. Gabe was over the moon! After that, Gabe wanted to ride the train everyday and resented our car. (I thought of you Annette when we were in California. Even though I was in the same state, you were still far away!)

At the San Francisco Zoo riding........a train. (lol)

The zoo reminded me of Detroit's zoo, making gains in better habitats for some of the animals, but still some were living in pretty deplorable conditions. The foliage and plant life was amazing.

Boo is now an official first grader.(I am a mom to a first grader!)

Who likes to give SD (Super Daddy) a heart attack with her dollar store press on nails. (They fell of two minutes after this picture was taken)
Gabe finished his speech based preschool. He made his way to the top of his class. He was becoming a model for the other children. Amazing. He's worked so hard. I couldn't be prouder.
This fall is "Big Boy Preschool". Gabe being mainstreamed completely in our public school preschool. All our support, professional and otherwise agree. He's on his way.

Sorry about the mess, words scattered every where. I should not have messed with the HTML Gods.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Other Group of Moms

Off I went, landing into yet another social gathering with other moms. I picked out an outfit, more trendy than dressy, wearing a smile that says "My hair looks fabulous today!" I just can't seem to get away from this insanity. This mom group, however, is from Boo's school. Most of these moms I have yet to meet and have an actual conversation with. There are only two that I have spoken to more than once and in complete sentences. Today, I knew would not be one of those days, because Gabe would be with me.

The moms seem harmless, especially since they too have sent their children to a private religious school. So the caddy, tartness and overt attempts at making you feel less than are frowned upon at our church, I felt safe. And in the end, I was. Boo was so beautiful, talented and amazing as she read her reading for mass. She also did some wonderful hand gestures to 3 of the songs sang in church. She did them front and center, facing the entire school. Wow! I thought. She is so brave. I was so proud. I wanted to give a standing ovation after each song, but as is typical in our church, the room went silent and everyone bowed their head in prayer at the completion of each song.

The diamonds and expensive purses are still there, but not flaunted as much. For, in my denomination, if you can flaunt it, you can donate it. The church says put your money where your soul is, not in your Coach purse. I like that philosophy. It keeps the wealthy masses humble. I looked and felt right at home here. Kind've. Mass is a good hour or so long. The pews are covered with non removable cushions, that I think Gabe maybe sensitive too (Dust Mites?) The eye rubbing started soon after we were seated. Now, here's the dilemma, do I go sit far away, where we sit in nonupholstered chairs, but can barely
see Boo? Or, do I take intermittent breaks, where Gabe and I leave to go for walks between Boo's appearances to ease Gabe's reactions? I chose the latter. I chose to sit right up front where I could cheer Boo on. Where, for once, it was all about her. I gave a lot smiles and blew several kisses. I did offer Gabe eye drops and other medication, but he unfortunately turned them down. So, I reinforced his good behavior every 5 minutes at first, then ten later on during the entire mass. I made sure to bring my timer, and we set it together and waited until it beeped. If he was still in his seat, being quiet he could have a marshmallow or Swedish fish. This worked for most of the mass. I would like to say it was perfect and not a strand of my hair fell out of my head from stress, but in retrospect, Gabe did awesome all things considered.

As we were about to leave, I noticed all the moms hanging around chatting as if they were just about to go out and get coffee or perhaps delaying a little before spending the afternoon casually preparing for the busy weekend. I, on the other hand, gave Gabe a big kiss on the head, smiled and said "Ready to go?" We did it, not totally unscathed, but my hair still looked good, Gabe had a snack and Boo smiled knowing she too was important to me.

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Sobering Reality

I am not perfect. I don't even come close. I am so far flung from that reality, I don't think I can even see it from here. My world seems so separate from everyone else's that I feel as if I am the visitor here. An outsider than can barely speak the language. What's ironic about the whole situation is that it has nothing to do with Autism, this feeling of being alone. Because, for a brief moment in time I felt like my world could actually be the same world as other people I came in contact with when Autism was first introduced. Together, myself and these other mothers, could make a connection, that was real, had substance. Autism gave me that. It gave me an in with other mothers, who felt lost, saddened, stressed and still hopeful that amongst it all they could still be there for their child. But, the loneliness is still there for me, even after the curtains pulled to the side for the final act. Before the applause was to happen, the standing ovation for all the dedication, love, heart and soul that I have poured selfishly into my child, I stand alone. Maybe it was never Gabe, but really all me.

Somewhere along the way, his world separated like mine, drifting away from the one where every seemed to be headed. How am I to provide for my son what he needs if I can not even manage it for myself? I don't even speak the same language. It is all so foreign to me. The Kate Spade handbags, casual conversations about nothing, diamonds that sparkle as their heads turn. I am so far out from where everyone seems to be. Like I missed Adulthood 101 "This is how you act". I am having a really hard time.

I didn't know that you are to dress up when you go to McDonald's. Really? That heals are not meant only for anniversaries, the theatre, and Galas, but should be worn when picking Gabe up from school, grocery shopping and (how stupid of me) to greasy fastfood places where your kids socks turn a swamp black as they run through the germ infested play area. Who knew? That proper protocol was to only wear something that Ann Taylor, North Face, Ralph Lauren or anything else (Thank God no one was actually wearing BeBe) that could be purchased at The Somerset Collection. You don't just wear a shirt and pants, but an ensemble.

Gabe and I were invited to meet a friend and her kids at McDonald's this afternoon to play in the play place. (Can I just let out a big 'EEEEWWW!' about the condition that our play area is in). I go, because I really would like to spend some time chatting with this friend, I am trying to continue and hopefully maintain at least some friends from before Gabe's diagnosis. I live in a small town and all these moms know each other and they know me or at least "about" me. They know little about Gabe, most have no clue what our lives truly entailed the last two years.

Our worlds collided, these moms and I, it was awkward and the lack of interest was palpable. Did I tell you that the friend that I was meeting to spend time with also called most of the moms that I have, deliberately, chosen not to talk to to meet us there? Did she know? Probably not. I was just hoping that she was as interested in getting together to talk with me as I was her. I am so way off in most of my friendships, it blows my mind every time. I am constantly being slapped in the face with this reality. That perhaps the store clerk who rang my groceries may not want be my Maid of Honor at my wedding? Am I that far off? No, but it sure feels that way sometimes.

So, I would normally handle this 'rejection' by not talking to any of them again and starting over from scratch, in hopes to find more people like me. But, you can not run far enough away here. It is high school all over again. I liked that comparison. Funny enough, that was how my 'friend' described it too. I guess it will be a first in my life that I will have to stick it out. It's killing me. There is no bright light at the end, no rainbows after the storm, just me being an outsider, occasionally asked to join a few select functions. Mostly birthday parties and the rare play date. I hate saying this about myself. I know it can't all be me, but when you are the only one left waiting on the side lines and everyone else is out playing the game, scoring touchdowns for their kids, yeah, it's kind've a rude awakening, a painful one at that. Oh, and my neighbor of 5 years, that I just had over for a play date not but a week ago, leaned over and told me," Yeah, 'L' (my friend) called and invited me and "J' and 'K' too, I thought about calling you, but you know...." and her voice trailed off. Not because she was embarrassed or had an epiphany about her blatant disregard not to invite me, but because she knew, just as I did, that I don't belong. Not here, not in this group. I could feel the corners of my mouth drop as she was talking to me, by the end I pulled a smile and turned around, sinking quietly in my chair. "Why was there?" I thought.

Gabe had a really rough time at McDonald's. There was hitting, lots of sweat, pee in his pants and a lot of screams bellowing "No Thank You!". I had to carry him out to the car when we finally left. We sat there together, quietly. Gabe was protesting the car seat and I wanting to just drive away to anywhere that did not have golden arches.

I haven't felt so trapped in myself in a long time. I was trapped in a car, outside the McDonalds in sight of the play place. My 'friend' grabbed my bag for me and Gabe's coat when I said I had to go, because he was having a hard time. After unlocking the door, frantically watching as Gabe started walking away in the parking lot with just socks on, my 'friend' throws my stuff in the front seat, turns waves and says goodbye. If I didn't know better, I would think that I have just been voted off this world.

It's OK if you have that icky feeling after reading this. The sourness in your stomach that reminds you, Thank God you're not her. I have it too, but unfortunately I am her.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Group, The Diagnosis, The Million Dollar Question

I made the long drive today to Gabe's doctor. What used to be a 10 minute drive, is now an hour from our house. It was so conveniently close to our former house, going to the doctors couldn't have been any easier. We have tried switching, but doctors are really funny about letting you join their "patient club". You are snubbed appointments, until you can prove yourself worthy. I just don't have time to play that game. Our doctor has never turned us away, we have never had to wait an obscene amount of time in a waiting room or examining room, and he always greats us with a smile. So, what's a little scenic drive now and then?

There have been times that our beloved doctor is not in and we have to reluctantly see one of the other doctors in the group. I will describe them as follows....

The Head of the Practice- Doctor "I know everything and you know nothing"
He was snubbed once by parents with a child who has Autism, because they wanted to try Chelation and he obviously thought they were wrong. He takes up all his issues about Autism with me, much to my chagrin.
We see him only under the most extreme circumstances.

Doctor #1- She has a great accent ( I always envision a beautiful countryside in some far away place when she talks), but she is a terrible listener and can be a tad bit condescending.
Boo was born Frank Breech. She was the only doctor to advise getting X-rays of her hips to make sure they were OK. I can't help but have a place in my heart for her.

Doctor #2- She loves to reference books, talks really fast, but still not a bad alternative. She was the first doctor to visit me in the hospital when Boo was born.

Doctor #3- First doctor we interviewed in the practice, but she never really takes a close enough look for me. Just didn't jive with her, so we switched to our current doctor in the group.

Doctor# 4- Doctor P., our doctor now. He's funny, the kids love him, not too shabby to look at and is smart in a non condescending way. I wish he knew more about the specifics about Autism.He told me once that," being a doctor feels wonderful when you can help someone, but there are times when you can't and that's hard to take."
I felt like hugging him after that comment. We had just found out Gabe had Autism. He was the first (and only) doctor to admit that he didn't know everything.

Doctor #5- She has read all the research, keeps up on all the journals and could possibly cure a disease in her spare time. She is all business. No time for all the niceties.

The last doctor is who we saw today, Doctor #5 (Please do not attempt small talk). Doctor P. was not in today. I asked again about the rash on Gabe's face and, much to my surprise, received another possible diagnosis...Keratosis Pilaris. Huh.....not Contact Dermatitis, because it is persistent. Yet, still no affective treatment.

Our main reason for being there was due to the appearance of some bumps by Gabe's wrist and on his legs. We had spent the entire weekend outside and I had just thought it was bug bites. I saw him swatting in the air the other day as we played outside saying, "Go Away! Go away!" arms swinging wildly. Isn't it odd how the people that hate bugs the most get swarmed 9 out of 10 times? Gabe's itching lasted for days and a few more bumps joined the already present ones.

SD swells when he gets bitten by mosquito's. I thought maybe Gabe was also very sensitive to the bites. By the third day, SD told me it could be Poison Ivy. We both thought, where would he have come in contact with Poison Ivy? Our trees do not even have leaves yet. Maybe a dried up leaf from the fall? Come to find out, Gabe must have come in contact with something he was allergic to, tree pollen, maybe grass, and scratched himself, letting the allergen under his skin and "TaDa!" instant reaction. The bumps aren't infected, so no Staph infection. (Gabe is more prone to those kinds of infections due to his excema) Whew!

I kept asking him (as he was itching) "Do you want some itchy medicine?" (Hydrocortizone or chewable Benadryl-both not bad in his book)

Gabe kept saying, as he was itching wildly, "No, I'm OK."

"Doesn't it itch?" I say sympathetically.

"No." he responds.

"Gabe, then why are you itching? It must really itch. Are you sure? Let's get some medicine." Two seconds later, he is fully medicated and itch free.

How come he just can't tell me?
Where is the connection not being made?

This has become a huge mystery for me lately. So many things have clicked with him lately that I am completely blown away everyday. But, this, telling me he needs help when it comes to his body is just not coming together.
What is preventing him from making that connection?

He asks me all day to help him with his marbles, choosing a video to watch, what to eat, and so on...just not with his own body.

What am I missing?
Or better yet, what is Gabe missing?