Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Longest Hour

We arrived at the doctors office an hour early.  It was partly my fault, hoping that we could sneak in a few minutes before our appointment; and partly my fault for not realizing our doctor didn't even begin seeing patients until our scheduled time.  Since I had assumed (and hoped) that we would "get in and get out", I did not properly plan.  I did not bring snacks, I did not bring an I-Pod, and I did not bring anything for Katie to do.  Nothing for her to do FOR AN HOUR.  I am shuddering just thinking about the enormity of that mistake.  That is like going to the desert without a bottle of water.  Like packing two pair of shorts for a week long trip to Alaska.  It is not only unwise, but it is uncomfortable.  I have had Katie in my life for 13 years now, I should know better.  I should always know to bring too much stuff, too much food, always, always, always.  I have been burned by this before, you would think I would know better.

The foolishness of the situtation sunk in pretty quickly.  Although the waiting room was spacious, that also helped to magnify Katie's voice.  Katie has 2 volumes to her voice.  Not talking, and LOUD.  No matter how many times you ask her to lower her voice, use her inside voice or whisper, she always talks loudly.  Now, if Katie has nothing to do, she is going to want to talk.  And when she talks, there is no guarantee what she is going to say.  In a loud ringing voice.  She does not always have a filter for inappropriate conversation.  And if I don't talk to her, she is going to start talking to her pretend friends.  This day, however, she chose to talk to me.  And ask me questions.  Random questions.  Question after question after question.  It was a very long hour.

The next thing Katie decided to do was poke my face.  First she started by staring at me.  And telling me I had wrinkles.  And a gray hair.  And a bump on my forehead.  Then she pulled on my ears to see if they were clean.  Then she practically climbed on my lap to look in my eyes. "You have blue eyes, mom."  That set off a whole  'nother round of questions and comments about my eye color, her eye color, her sisters' eye color, and her dad's eye color.  After pulling my hair in a make-shift ponytail, she had to ask more questions about my hair.  Was I going to let it grow long again, why was it a different color brown than hers, why did her sister have red hair, etc.  I looked up at the clock, and about 5 minutes had past.

I bet there is a mom out there with a toddler that is reading this and thinking, "that sounds familiar".  My problem is that Katie is not a toddler.  She is as tall as I am, and almost weighs as much.  So when she is jumping on my lap and pulling my face around to hers, it is a little different.  It is also different because people in society expect that from a toddler, not from a grown teenager.  Don't get me wrong, I don't care very much about what strangers in public think about Katie, but it does add to the tension and stress and anxiety level when they are shooting us looks. 

I will be the first to admit, I am a freak about time.  I hate to be late for anything, which usually means I am way too early.  I am fine with this, I know this about myself.  My whole point of going a little early to the doctors was because we had a jammed packed day, and I wasn't sure how I was going to squeeze everything in.  It was not my fault that my schedule was so crazy, plans kept getting changed by others that I had no control over.  To alleviate some of the stress, I thought we could get in a little early to see the doctor, but as time went on as we were waiting in the lobby, my anxiety grew and grew.  My inner crazy was climbing the walls.  But on top of all my own "time management crazy" stress, Katie acting like a toddler was only making it worse.  When I am stressed out, the littlest things just grate on my nerves.   Normally if Katie is poking and prodding at me, I will just laugh and play with her.  But when I am stressing, it is like nails on a chalkboard.  The only thing that kept me in that waiting room was the fact that if Katie didn't get seen by the doctor that day, she would't get her medicine prescription.  And no one wants to see that!

I think that I have a lor of patience with Katie.  I probably have more patience with her than anyone else does.  I know how to handle her mood swings, how to calm her hysterics, how to talk her out of her tizzies.  But there always comes a situation, from time to time, that just tries me.  Makes me feel like a pressure cooker that has been steaming all day long, just ready to bust.  My problem with the doctors office situation was that I had no out.  No options, no relief that I had control over.  I HAD to stay there.  I HAD to wait for the doctor to arrive at the time that they chose to arrive.  I HAD to remain calm and cool and not yell or get upset or frustrated, because that would only make matters worse.  I HAD to entertain Katie because I didn't bring her anything else to do.  This whole stituation could have been prevented.  I could have arrived closer to my appointment time.  I could have taken the time to pack a bag with snacks, and things to do, especially her I-Pod.  I guess this is just one of those Adventures in Autism that I will never forget, for the lessons it taught me.  Lessons that I should have already known and planned for.  Life is never a sure thing.  A plan is only a plan, never a done deal.  Always over-pack, over-think, over-expect things to go wrong and know how you are going to handle them when they do.  This was all my fault, and I feel bad for getting frustrated with Katie when she only acted exactly how I should have expected her to act when faced with this scenerio.  That was just about the longest hour of my life.

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