Wednesday we were at the doctor’s office for the J-man’s 4-year check up. (He’s doing well, thanks!)
While we were waiting, we watched a drama unfold outside, and it made my heart hurt. A boy, perhaps 11 years old, was fighting with all he could muster to NOT come into the doctor’s office. He broke away from his parents several times and ran, not looking where he was going, just running in a desperate attempt to not have to come into the office. At one point he tripped (the sidewalk turned sharply and he didn’t) and went head-first into holly bushes. Holly bushes. So then he was scratched and bleeding. The parents were doing their level best to get him inside.
Tim and I looked at each other and nodded. Boy with autism. We can pick each other out now.
We learned that the parents had given him a massive dose of Ativan to try to calm him, because he HAD TO come in and get a tetanus shot. He needed that shot. The Ativan didn’t work. (As we were waiting to get flu shots while we were there, we heard a loud cheer for him, because they had gotten him inside, and he had received the shot… so they did finally get him calmed enough.) The nurse didn’t seem surprised that we knew the child had autism – she said it was pretty common for parents of children with autism to be aware of others.
There were parents there in the waiting room judging that boy’s parents. I could feel them and hear whispers (not what they were saying, just the whispering voices). And I knew they had NO IDEA what those parents’ lives were like.
And I could only watch, wondering if we were going to be those parents one day. Right now, the J-man is small enough that we can overpower him (see also: holding him down for shots, and holding him in our arms before and afterward), but there will come a day when that can’t happen.
I don’t have a nice way to tie up this post. There’s no “all’s well that ends well.”