Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Waiting Room Patients - I Want You To Know A Few Things...

Dear Waiting Room Patients,

I'm a mom.  A parent.  A guardian. A person trying to keep my sanity in check...
I realize that every time I'm in the hospital waiting room with the V-Man - you're probably wondering why I am there and "what's wrong with the boy who's not listening to his mother."
I am there for my sick child that I promised to care for from the moment we found out we were expecting.
I am there for answers because as a non-medical professional myself - I need to figure out what is going in my kid's body that's making him ill and how to quickly yet efficiently fix it.
I am there and internally screaming my head off at all of you who stare, point and whisper at my kid as he is stimming  his little heart out by bouncing, gasping, grasping air with his fists and making garble with his mouth.
I am not the parent to bring their kid in for any little thing and try to tolerate as much as I can at home before I lose my f*cking marbles.  Trust me - if I could wave a wand over him and make him better at home without having to bother the waiting room, the hospital staff and so on - I so would.

But unfortunately for you - I have an autistic child.  What does this mean and why were we there today?

  1. V-Man is non-verbal autistic, he's 6 and strong like a freaking bull.  We really do think that may be his "talent"...as opposed to math, art, physics, music...
    1. It also means he doesn't listen, he doesn't necessarily have control over his movements, he cannot express to me exactly what he is feeling.  Not even a "I feel sick.  I feel dizzy or my tummy hurts here" - it is a constant guessing game to figure out what is wrong.
  2. I despise going to the hospital with him but as it turned out - he was showing some clear signs of an ear infection and guess what? Ear infections are super duper common in autistic kids and by common in at least my own child - I mean he's had them non-stop from the time he was 1.5 years old up until he was 4 - when our doctor finally suggested he got tubes.  Turned out he didn't have one but it might happen soon anyway - but everyone in the waiting room would've known this as V-Man insisted on keeping the door wide open...
    1. It was slightly easier from birth to four years old because he was quite content to be in his stroller.  He's now far too big for one.
  3.  V-Man hates the hospital, doctors, nurses and anything associated with health care.  Getting his ears checked is never easy - never mind testing CRP levels (that little prick in your finger for a quick blood smear to test for infection levels), x-rays and so on - nah.
  4. I'm embarrassed to be there.  Yes, it's for his health and nothing is more important and I would do anything for my kid - which apparently means chasing him away from the automated doors every 4 seconds.  I also realize my kid's antics drove some people nuts and I'm fortunate tonight he didn't go into anyone's bags or try to steal their bottle, bag, food or other interesting item of the day.  
    1. I also am the one walking in like a luke-warm cucumber and walking out like a hot mess because any kind of check-up for the V-Man involves a wrestling, pinning and turning my body into a yoga-ninja pretzel just to hold him in place to check his ears.  Then the other side!
    2. I also know that I need to just "Let It Go" and ignore those other people because they don't know what a hospital trip is like with the V-Man unless they were in my shoes for the past 6 years.  But still...
  5. I almost always have a glass of wine after the hospital visit once the kids are asleep.  Tonight I'm just going to go to bed early.
  6. I am the mother on the phone because I was updating concerned friends and texting my husband with as much fury as I could muster (as I do every time I  take the kids to the hospital but mostly only angry when I take V-Man because let's face it - he's the most difficult/most uncomfortable in a hospital kid):

    "Big whopping f*ck you right now.  I'm so sick of doing this - you can go here next time with him - I'm done!"
That may come off as harsh but I won't lie about this.  When I'm tired and exhausting myself even more with playing tag/"let's not hit the paramedics moving the elderly on a bed" in a hospital waiting room - I'm not going to be the nicest person in the world but at the same time I'll keep my nasty attitude to just my husband because I know he gets my frustrations and can take it until I calm down.

I am typically the parent that goes to the hospital with the kids because I speak more Finnish than my husband - in case we were to encounter a doctor or nurse that doesn't speak a lot (or any) English and I'm the carrier of info - both mentally and in my wallet.

Anyways, what I was trying to say is that I realize my kid annoyed you by rushing to the automatic doors every 4 seconds and there's a reason for it.
He's not necessarily able to control himself or listen to me and it annoyed me too.
I called out to him multiple times in the hopes he would be interested in his iPad and no.  He wasn't. I offered my phone and no - that wasn't good either.  My keys, wallet, bag and even a package of tissues weren't enticing tonight.
If kids came with little remote controls for urgent situations or preventing mega awkward ones - I'd be the first one ordering one.

I know that today was a minor incident in a a sea of many possibilities - it can always be worse.  I don't think I'm quite apologizing as I am more so explaining my frustration with both my kid not being able to tell me "Hey Mom - I feel like crap - take me to the doctor please" and the awkwardness that can occur in a very public setting - not just the hospital waiting room either!  Restaurants, at the bus stop, waiting in line to pay for groceries or an item...anywhere.

I won't speak for all other parents out there but I'd rather have someone come up to me and ask me nicely, "May I ask what your child has?"
I'd be pleased as punch and whenever someone has asked (maybe twice a stranger has asked in the whole 6.5 years of us living here) and feel better for having explained what autism is and hopefully they're happy having learned something new.
I'm regularly thankful for the Finnish custom of supreme silence but at the same time - if someone were to reach out to me and just simply ask what's up - it could help making the whole "spreading of autism awareness" a little smoother.


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