I took Aaron to the lab on Saturday morning for his routine 6-month bloodwork in preparation for his upcoming Epilepsy appointment. Aaron and another patient were called back to the lab at the same time, so we waited for the technician to finish with the other person. I have to keep an eagle eye on Aaron because he always will find something to pick up, push, pull, open…………..and he isn’t supposed to be messing with any of it. For instance, he immediately eyed the phone on the wall right beside where he was sitting. I just told him right away to not even think about picking it up and dialing. Aaron just smiled. I know him so well.
Next his eyes moved over to the table beside him, full of vials and tubes and that wonderful plastic, stretchy tourniquet that Aaron loves to play with. Again, my warning was issued and so he resisted that urge to pick something up.
As I stood there watching him, my mind went back to those many years ago when we first started down this path of Epilepsy. He was in a German hospital for nearly a week and had all kinds of tests performed. Gary and I both marveled at Aaron’s composure and strength. He wasn’t terribly afraid of all the needles and procedures. We had a harder time fighting our emotions than he did! Spinal tap, scans, EEGs, bloodwork, etc. – he was amazingly calm.
I soon learned, as I watched Aaron go through all this, that his natural curiosity took over his fear and discomfort. He had always been, from a baby, very curious about the world around him. He loved figuring out how things worked. Sometimes he got in trouble because he would handle things or take things apart that he shouldn’t, but we knew that he was being curious, not destructive. And so he wanted to watch the techs draw his blood, for instance. The procedure fascinated him instead of scaring him.
When he was dismissed from the German hospital, we took him to our military clinic and began the long process there of going on seizure meds and adjusting the doses. This involved lots of bloodwork so that his levels could be tested. We walked in one morning, still new to this, and the technician tried to make Aaron turn his face away. He assumed that Aaron would freak out if he watched it. However, what made Aaron cry was that fact that they would NOT let him watch. I intervened and told them to let Aaron watch. They were skeptical but finally listened to me, and sure enough, Aaron was fine. That was the routine from then on – me assuring the techs that Aaron wanted to watch, them being doubtful, and then them being amazed at how well Aaron did when he was able to observe himself being stuck with a needle.
Aaron has never minded anything that he’s had to endure. The most upset I’ve ever seen him was when he had hernia surgery and wasn’t allowed to wear underwear. He kept asking to have it returned – so funny! The first thing he groggily said after he woke up from surgery was, “Can I have my underwear now?” HaHa!
He thinks MRIs are awesome – he thankfully doesn’t remember the time he had a huge seizure inside of one. I’ll never forget it! He loves EEGs – staying up for the sleep deprivation is fun because we watch movies and then all those wires hooked to his head are way cool! He loved being in the hospital for five days for his video EEG several years ago. All the attention was right down his alley!
I’m thankful that God has gifted him with this fearless attitude. It sure has helped us adjust, too. My mother heart hurts enough sometimes as I’ve watched all he has to go through. If he resisted or screamed and cried it would be so awful. I hurt for parents who do have to see that. I watched Aaron’s face when the technician came in and prepped him, then stuck the needle in his arm. His mouth flinched and that was it. My heart ached, but soon he was thumping down the hall of the clinic with me and asking if I was sure we couldn’t go to Best Buy, could he get something to eat, could he have his keyboard back, and, “Mom! I love that kleenex holder they have where the kleenex comes out the man’s nose!!”
Gotta love Aaron.