I Was Creeped!

The time change certainly caught up with Aaron today.  He was sound asleep when I finally went in his room to wake him up this morning.  Pillow marks were all over one side of his face, and he was struggling to open his eyes.  I think a lot of people could relate to Aaron on this Monday morning of Daylight Savings Time.  I was surprised that he wasn’t irritated with me for telling him that it was time to get up and get ready for his day.  But when I returned to his room a couple times, and found him still sleeping, his mood began to change…….and not for the better.   He informed me in no uncertain terms that he was tired, that he did not want to get out of bed, and that he most definitely did NOT want to hurry!

I went into de-escalation mode before he fully escalated.  That means that I didn’t harp on him to rush, rush, rush…….but I did tell him that I had poured his coffee and I asked him if some cinnamon toast sounded good.  Sometimes these incentives work far, far better than to nag or to display anger.  I could hear even in Aaron’s voice that such was the case today.  He was relieved and all too happy to say yes to the coffee and the toast.  But he still refused to come anywhere near the concept of “hurry.”  I left him at the table while I took Jackson, who doesn’t need to eat the cinnamon toast that I knew Aaron would feed him, up to my room with me while I finished getting ready.  It wasn’t long before Aaron had eaten his breakfast and came to my room to talk to me………and to ask if we could stop at Dillon’s on our way to meet his group.

Now I knew that the reason Aaron wanted to stop at Dillon’s would involve food, and more specifically, I imagined it involved candy.  He has been without candy for days, and now that we know he is not Diabetic, I was fully expecting this request to come at any time.  I told him that I wasn’t sure if we had time to stop at Dillon’s, especially since he didn’t want to hurry……..when suddenly the idea of hurrying became very appealing to Aaron.  It wasn’t long at all before Aaron was almost ready to leave.  He finished putting his shoes on in my room as he confirmed once again that we were going to Dillon’s, and I confirmed to him that we were not going to go overboard on buying candy.  Of course he agreed, and soon we were in the van.

Aaron shivered on this cold yet sunny morning as he buckled his seat belt.  He commented on how cold it was and I agreed.  He continued, “Mom, when will it quit being cold?”  I told him that it would be warm later in the week.  “When?” he asked.  And I repeated that later in the week it would warm up. 

“Mom, quit saying week!” he declared.  “What DAY is it going to get warm?!”

How could I be so silly?  Of course, literal and specific Aaron wanted to know the exact day that it would get warm.  None of this nebulous “week” business would fully answer his question.  I picked a day and told him and he was satisfied.  How could I forget his simple rules for living?  Pick a day and be done with it!

Soon Aaron was in candy heaven at Dillon’s.  He and I scanned the shelves for his favorite Starburst Jelly Beans, but they were not to be found.  Then I remembered that they were probably on the Easter aisle.  Aaron was disappointed at this point, and was skeptical that his jelly beans would be on the Easter aisle instead of the regular candy aisle where they always are………but there they were!  Stacks of Starburst Jelly Beans were right there amongst all the other Easter candy.  He agreed that one bag was plenty, and soon we both left Dillon’s, happy with our find and with each other.

As we drove to meet Cody, Aaron commented that the rash under his arms was better.  I had looked at it earlier and was also very glad to see that it was healing.  The blisters have dried up and disappeared, leaving dead skin in their place.  This has not gone unnoticed by Aaron, of course.  “Mom!  My skin is coming off!  I was creeped!!”

I assured him that this was natural and normal anytime that a blister was healing.  He was happy to hear this news, but continued, “When I looked at my skin, it creeped me off!!” 

Well, don’t be creeped off, Aaron.  You’re healing and you’re going to be just fine.

But he moved quickly on from being creeped off to being quite excited as he informed me of his progress.   “Mom!  I can lift my underarm now!!”

Wow, Aaron!  You can lift your underarm now?  That’s……….amazing!

We were now at the Paradigm van and Aaron, as always, rolled down his window while Cody rolled his down.  And as always, Aaron didn’t say hello or how are you or anything else personal.  It was, “Hey, Cody!  My skin under my arm is coming off!”

Yes, yes, Aaron………the whole world wants to hear that the skin under your arm is coming off.  Cody laughed because he gets Aaron, and I laughed because I get Aaron………and I’m happy that Cody gets Aaron and so does the other staff at Paradigm.  Aaron held on tightly to his bag of candy as he got out of the van, and I wondered if he would share it or keep it all for himself.

Despite the juggling act of keeping Aaron level and happy, I’m thankful for this morning that we got to share together.  Simple, yet complex, this mind of our autistic Aaron.  As colorful as the jelly beans that he clutched so tightly. 

Aaron does color our world with his unique personality and expressions.  Life might be quieter and simpler without Aaron………..but it would also be dull and bland. 

I love all the colors of Aaron!  And I’m so happy that he can now lift his underarm!

The Scare

This has been a fairly stressful week in several ways.  You may have read my last blog about Aaron’s hilarious doctor visit.  It was hilarious because of Aaron’s actions and because of his responses to the questions that he was asked.  However, it was not hilarious in the sense that he had us worried for awhile………and our concern still isn’t completely gone.  Aaron has some symptoms that have troubled us for awhile.  Then he developed a rash under his arms.  This is why I took him to the doctor on Monday, but I also discussed his other issues with the PA and the doctor.  They decided to check him for Diabetes.  I was shocked and alarmed.  I hadn’t put two and two together, but this diagnosis did indeed seem like a real possibility.

After my early surgeon appointment on Tuesday morning, I rushed home to get Aaron and take him down to the lab at the air base.  He was to have some fasting blood work done.  Aaron had cooperated very well with not eating, which isn’t always easy for him.  He does love his food!  As we drove away from the house, Aaron had settled himself in the passenger seat, buckled his seat belt, and then asked about putting in a CD.  “Do you have that cowboy lady and that man?” he asked.  It’s amusing, or maybe alarming, that I know exactly what he’s talking about.  We put in the correct CD with the cowboy lady (now THAT should be alarming!!) and Aaron proceeded to begin his talking.  First thing was food – “Mom, when I went to Applebees on Saturday I had raspberry tea!”  I asked him if he liked it and he said, “Yes!  It tasted weird!”  Only Aaron would say that he liked something that tasted weird, and only Aaron would look at me like I was weird when I laughed.

Aaron continued his usual monologue as we drove to the air base, finally ending as we pulled into the parking lot with, “Mom, I saw a state trooper one day.  So state troopers control the whole state?”  I briefly tried to explain, but was happy to tell Aaron that we would talk about it later………because we always do………..and that it was time to go in to the lab.  Aaron was seen right away, and as he sat in the chair, he proceeded to say something to the lab tech about not hurting his arm.  He was referring to the rash under his arm, but she thought he meant something about his veins.  Seeing her confusion, Aaron decided to take his shirt off, which he loves to do in order to show off his rash.  I stepped in to tell Aaron to leave his shirt on, and by now the tech was very concerned.  I briefly explained while she decided to look at Aaron’s other arm, which made him want to show her the rash under THAT arm…………good grief!  He was going to take his shirt off AGAIN when I firmly told him to leave the shirt ON!!  I reminded Aaron that he knows the blood work routine and to leave his shirt alone and to let them draw blood………but as I left the small room, another tech stood off to Aaron’s other side……….either to intervene if something else crazy happened or to yank Aaron’s shirt down if he started to disrobe again.  Dear Aaron.  He is so oblivious to the confusion that he often leaves in his wake.  He just happily sits there and wonders why no one wants to see his rash!

Aaron’s PA had told me the day before that the results of this blood work should be ready by Tuesday afternoon.  I waited for her phone call that day, but it never came.  I waited all day Wednesday, but still no call.  On Thursday, I called and left a message with her office, asking her to please call with the results………and still no call all that day.  By then, I was fighting several emotions……….worry and anger being most pronounced.  I was angry that we weren’t being informed quickly of Aaron’s results.  And this delay only gave my worry more time to build.  I prayed often during the day and I reminded myself of the principles I know about NOT worrying……….but when it comes to Aaron’s health and the possibility of a new diagnosis, that gnawing worm of worry was trying to eat its way into my heart.  Worry and anger……….and in the midst of all this, I was having several imaginary conversations with the PA concerning their total lack of caring!  Certainly none of this was helping, so I transferred my conversations to the Lord and asked for His peace and for good test results……….and talked to friends and family about this need and our desires for their prayers as well. 

Another emotion I was dealing with was guilt.  If Aaron had Diabetes, surely I was largely to blame.  I didn’t control his eating like I should, though I tried………but not hard enough.  Why hadn’t I read the signs?  Why did I let him eat candy?  How could I have been so blind?  And then there was blame.  Why didn’t the PA last year tell me that Aaron’s blood sugars were up………although that blood test was not a fasting test.  Still, why wasn’t it mentioned?  Why did his autism doctor ignore my concerns about his weight loss and vision issues?  Yes, I felt that there was plenty of blame to go around. 

And how on earth would we control Aaron’s eating when he wasn’t at home?  Bless him, he does love his food!  I thought of the day last week when he burst in the door after his day with Paradigm and I heard him yell, “Hey!  I came home now!”  I laughed as he tromped downstairs to tell me all about his day.  “Mom!  We went to Popeyes!!”  I asked him what he had and he answered, “That number 8 meal!  You know what that is?” 

It always makes me laugh when he thinks that I should know the content of the meal numbers at all the fast food restaurants.  I assured him that I did not know what a Popeyes number 8 meal was, and he was all too happy to tell me.  “It has LOTS of those little chicken nuggets!”  Oh yes, those wonderful little chicken nuggets!  He continued, “It cost seven something…….the staff helped me.”  I asked Aaron why the staff helped him with the extra money, and he said, “Because that restaurant came up with tax!”

Oh my, that pesky tax that restaurants come up with!  He went on with telling me that Popeyes is going to start selling seafood, but that this doesn’t make sense because Popeyes is a CHICKEN restaurant and CHICKEN restaurants do NOT sell seafood and why are they going to sell seafood in a CHICKEN restaurant…………

Aaron and food……..what would we do with Diabetes thrown into the mix?  I know that many people with special needs handle this issue and that we would, too, if necessary.  And so I waited for that phone call, which finally came yesterday, on Friday morning.  The nurse told me that Aaron’s blood work was very good and that he does NOT have Diabetes.  Such a relief!  I texted everyone to tell them the good news, and I thanked God for this answer to prayer……..all the while being reminded that even if Aaron did have Diabetes, I would need to see that as an answer to prayer as well.  God’s answers do not always mean that He will agree totally with our request.  If Aaron had Diabetes, then God would have had a reason for that.  I would have had no right to say that God didn’t answer my prayers.  He always answers and His answers are always right and beneficial.  This is God’s sovereignty in full display, these “no” answers as well as the “yes” answers.

I couldn’t wait to tell Aaron this good news as I walked into his room.  “Aaron!  Guess what?  You don’t have Diabetes!” 

And his response on this movie Friday at Paradigm?  “CAN I HAVE A LARGE BUTTERED POPCORN??!!”

Oh, Aaron.  See what I mean?  No sign of relief from Aaron as you might expect.  No thankfulness or elation.  Just concern about his next food splurge. 

Sometimes I wish my life was so simple that my main concern was about whether I could have a large buttered popcorn on that day.  Yet I know that God wants me to place my concerns on Him and have that simple faith that says He always hears and He always knows best, no matter the outcome.  Buttered popcorn or not!

Depressed? Feeling Sad?

 

Yesterday I drove Aaron to McConnell Air Force Base for a doctor visit.  He loves this time together.  We listen to music and there is much for Aaron to see and to talk about with mom…….who can’t go anywhere else but in the driver’s seat right beside him as he talks and talks and talks.  He talked about road construction and house remodeling that we passed; he talked about trucks that we passed; he talked about the purpose of U-Hauls; he talked about RVs and what they are and what they’re for and what they look like inside and do they have a bathroom and can we get one to take on our next trip back east; he talked about storage buildings and what people do with them and he remembered our storage building in Arizona; he talked about the guards at the gate going on to the air base and why they have to check our ID cards; he talked about all the planes that we passed at the airfield and why are they here and what kind of fuel do they use; and he even talked about the beer bottle he saw on the ground beside us at a stop light!  My ears were very weary by the time we opened the van doors and walked into the clinic.
 
I had already told Aaron in the van, after he made his famous farting noise with his mouth, that I did not want him making ANY noises when we got  in the clinic.  “OK,” he said……..and then made his other famous “POP” noise with his mouth.  “And not that noise, either!” I added.  And as always, he questioned, “Isn’t that better than the farting noise?”………and I reminded him that I said NO noises – farting, popping, or otherwise.
Check-in went smoothly and I was thankful that our name was called quickly.  After his weigh-in, we were ushered into the exam room by the little medic who looked like she might have been all of 12 years old.  She was sizing Aaron up, I could tell.  Aaron sat on the exam table and promptly began to take his shirt off and to tell her about the rash under his arm.  Our little medic was looking a little shocked, and I was telling Aaron to just keep his shirt on………but he was having none of that.  He was ready to get down to business, much like he does when he plows into Great Clips to see if he can get his hair cut, with me walking behind him as he practically yells out, “Can I get my hair cut!!??” 
So now his shirt was off and the little medic was a little flustered, but Aaron was already well into his story of the rash under his arm……….as he held his arm up high for our little medic to observe.  And she certainly could, since she was seated conveniently on the rash side.  I finally got Aaron to hush while our little medic collected herself and began to fill out the required paperwork.  She was struggling somewhat with whether to ask me the questions, or direct them to Aaron.  Finally, she got beyond the queries about phone numbers and the meds that Aaron takes.  She looked at me and began saying, “How would you rate…..” and then she finished the question by looking at Aaron……”your pain level?”
 
Aaron was absolutely delighted to have a question aimed at himself.  He had been chomping at the bit, waiting for this very opportunity…….and before I could even part my lips, he had launched into his answer.  “Well!!” he bellowed, “it hurts when I use soap on it!!”  Our little medic grinned and was trying to decide how to put this answer on her chart……and I’m quite sure that Aaron was hoping that she would tell him that he no longer needed to put soap under his arm, as taking a shower and actually using soap is not one of Aaron’s favorite priorities in life.
 
She glanced at the next question and then turned to Aaron……..not to me……..and asked the mental health question that is always asked at these military medical visits.  “Are you depressed or do you feel sad?” she asked Aaron, as he sat there grinning and wide-eyed at this attention.  Even I wanted to hear this answer, so I sat back in my chair and relaxed as Aaron pondered this unusual question.  But of course he had an answer!  “Well,” he said, “I’m tired of all this!!”  I had to laugh, for my own mental health, and our little medic was even beginning to enjoy this.  I have no earthly idea what she wrote on his chart, but now she was ready to ask the last question.
 
She turned again to look at Aaron as she asked, “So how would you describe your overall health?”  He didn’t even skip a beat as he answered, “Well, sometimes I have to blow my nose!”  I was seriously thinking that I would have to leave the room as I was about to explode with laughter.  I do believe that our little medic was wishing that she had more questions to ask.  She was relaxed and totally enjoying Aaron’s answers, especially as he expounded on the nose blowing comment by explaining that he doesn’t really blow his nose, but he wipes it on a towel that he keeps for that purpose and Mom doesn’t want him to do that………..right, Mom?……….but that it’s a towel he uses in his room, and on and on and on.  But it was time for our little medic to leave, and soon the PA and the doctor came…….which gave Aaron more opportunity to talk and to be listened to and to answer more questions, as I watched the PA and the doctor smile (they know Aaron) and try to follow his rabbit trails.
 
And all the while, as we waited for people to come and go from the exam room, Aaron had his eyes on the automatic paper towel dispenser by the sink.  He had talked to me about it and how much he liked those and did I know how they worked……….and I told him NOT to get off that table and go over there to get a paper towel that he did NOT need.  Soon it was time to go and Aaron was putting his shirt on.  I was intent upon looking at the PA and talking to her, when I heard a sound…………brrrrrrrrrrr. 
 
Yes, of course it was the towel dispenser.  Aaron made a beeline for it and was very happily holding the brown towel when I turned toward him with my mother look, and with an apology to the PA.  But she was laughing and said it was just fine, and Aaron probably would have held up his hand to get another towel if I hadn’t stopped him with my threatening look. 
 
Soon we were back in the safety of the van, where I let out a huge sigh and Aaron launched into his next list of topics.  “Mom, you know those little interviews they show before movies start?”  he asked. 
 
Yes, Aaron…….trailers.  He totally disregarded the trailer comment as he talked about seeing an interview for Iron Man 3…….”Can I see that movie, Mom?”   And the movie, Lincoln…….”I don’t know if I want to see that one.”  And of course, “Mom, can I see the Texas Chain Saw Massacre?” 
 
No, Aaron, you cannot see the Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
 
He shifted gears in his talking and said, “Mom, the other day when Katie was driving me home she asked me something and I said, ‘OK, babe!’, and she told me not to say that.”  So we discussed why he should not call women “babe” and what it means to respect someone and why the term “babe” is not showing respect………and before I knew it, we were home. 
 
I tell you, only Aaron can make a simple doctor visit into one adventure after another just by his conversations and his observations.  When we got home, and he was finished with his talking and went up to his room, I had some time to breathe and to collect myself. 
 
How would I answer the question on this day…………the question about whether I’m depressed or sad?  I worry about Aaron at times, and I get aggravated or embarrassed at times……but my goodness, he makes me laugh!  And laughter is good medicine for body and heart and soul. 
 
I wonder if our little medic thought of Aaron later that evening after work?  I hope she’s still smiling, too, and has a new insight into all the special people that will cross her path. 
 

Aaron’s good at that!