Aaron had two doctor appointments this week. On Tuesday we went in for his yearly eye exam, and on Thursday we went to the dentist to have his teeth cleaned. He very much prefers the eye exam. For one thing, nothing hampers him from talking to his heart’s content at the optometry clinic. No one has their hands in his mouth, doing uncomfortable procedures, and so he can talk and talk…..which he definitely did. He charged right up to the check-in counter at the eye clinic and didn’t even say hello before he started telling the two receptionists all about Fallen Skies and alien skitters and the skitter-in-charge, named Cochise.
It’s just amazing how Aaron will launch right into his tall tales without one word of hello or a few words of explanation to get him started. Nope, he just barrels right in to his review of whatever is currently on his mind, oblivious to the confused looks of those to whom he is talking. Or he’ll mention his day group, Paradigm, or someone at Paradigm, as if these ladies know all about this place and those people……which they don’t, and so once again they are confused. This is why one of my job descriptions is that of interpreter. I definitely multi-task big time as I try to sign forms, go over insurance, check for information changes, and explain skitters.
Thankfully these ladies were delighted with Aaron. Their give and take with him only encouraged him to continue with his stories, and I had to urge him to finally hush and follow me to a chair. His forced silence was short lived. He was immediately called back to begin the exam, so he hardly missed a beat before he was telling a new person about Falling Skies and skitters and that he broke his glasses the week before. He made me laugh as he did one of the eye tests, putting his hands up to the machine as if he was gazing at something exciting. Maybe he thought he would see another skitter?
The eye exam went well with patient Dr. Fisher……our friend, Brandon. Of course, Aaron just had to tell him that he got in trouble for calling Stephanie a babe at Paradigm. And there I was, proud Mom, wondering if I should explain. Then it was on to get his new glasses. Trying on glasses is Aaron’s least favorite part of this process. It ranks right up there with trying on clothes. He just doesn’t want frames that make him look like Clark Kent. After that fact is established, he could care less. And going over insurance is really boring to him. Again, two understanding technicians and lots of laughs helped tremendously. Soon we were eating lunch at Chili’s and all was great in Aaron’s world.
Thursday was teeth cleaning day. The dental exam is really, really Aaron’s least favorite thing in the world to do. Most of us don’t like teeth cleanings, and Aaron is no exception. It’s uncomfortable for Aaron, plus he can’t talk and so it’s a long process of frustrating scraping and rinsing and forced silence. I used to go back with him, but now I let him go alone. I urge him to be mature…..plus it’s best for me to have an element of ignorance about what really goes on back there, on Aaron’s part. I know he gets frustrated and impatient. Once he bit the hygienist. He said it was an accident. I wasn’t totally convinced.
Another part of it is that Aaron doesn’t want us to talk about how he doesn’t do a good job with brushing his teeth. That’s why we have gone every four months for cleaning, and now have decided to go every two months. Aaron starts getting angry if I talk about his teeth at home, if I try to help him at home, or when the dentist or hygienist is talking to me about Aaron’s teeth. We try to keep it low key but with instruction for him, too, yet nothing really helps.
Later, as he took full advantage of the Pizza Hut buffet, we mentioned his teeth just a little. Most of the time we talked about whatever entered his mind as he thoroughly enjoyed the pizza and the salad. I laughed at the dressing on his nose and the look on his face, and I had to tell him many times to talk softer as he was talking in high gear once again, like he was making up for the lost moments when his mouth was silent at the dentist’s office.
We went to Sam’s for a few things. On the way home we stopped at my elderly friend’s apartment. Aaron hadn’t seen Nora’s new place. I dropped off a sweater to her that I had repaired. She was delighted to see Aaron. Once again I was the interpreter as he told her about skitters and Paradigm this and that, and she stood there clueless. She gave him a piece of candy, and he thanked her. “Are you glad I said thank you?” he asked me as we left. “Are you glad I told her hi?” I told her that I was very thankful that he had practiced his manners.
Manners were a little absent later that night, however. A lot absent, actually. Like a light switching off….or on…..Aaron’s mood changed dramatically. We haven’t seen that kind of change in a long time. He instantly went from happy to angry as he prepared to go to bed. He decided to focus on his teeth.
“Mom, you make me feel like I’m bad in my mouth! I’m not going back to them!!”
He slammed our bedroom door, and he slammed his bedroom door. Then I heard him stomping up the hall, where he barged in our room yet again. “I’m not going back to them!” he angrily said….referring to the dentist. And he called me a name, several times. This was surprising because Aaron has been so mellow lately. I wondered if this foul mood was related to his new seizure drug, which can cause anger. Or was he going to have some seizures. Often, mood changes precede seizures.
And sure enough, he had two hard seizures during the night, and another one yesterday morning as he lay on the couch. He chewed the end of his tongue again, and wet the bed. I wondered what he thought as he silently watched me yesterday morning in his bathroom, on my knees cleaning up the pee that was on the floor around the toilet. He was unsteady when he got up and he told me this had happened.
I thought about his anger the night before, and the name he had called me. It would be easy sometimes to show anger right back to him, and I certainly have done that. But that night before I had remained mostly silent, knowing that it was futile to reason with Aaron when he was so angry. Now before our issue was resolved, I was on my knees cleaning up his mess…..because I love him.
Just like God loves me, I thought. Here, once again, in my life with Aaron I have another example of God’s love for me, expressed unconditionally. God loves me when I’m happy…..He loves me when I’m angry……and he cleans up my messes and he soothes my heart over and over again. How can I do less with Aaron?
I washed all of Aaron’s bedding during the day as he slept on the couch, and was reminded again of God’s love for me as I love Aaron. I’ll be doing this again, too, and so will God with me. Faithful love is what God shows to me, and is what I need for Aaron, as well…..even with the still fresh reminder of Aaron’s anger the night before.
Last night, when Aaron could no longer keep his eyes open, I helped him get in bed. His covers were all clean and fresh. He was ready to get in bed when he remembered that he needed to fill out his notebook. He had written the time that he got up that morning, so now he wrote the time that he went to bed. It was 9:52. Then he asked me to put his snake and his skunk in the bed. I laid Mr. Snake under the covers and Aaron stood there staring at him. Then he told me to scoot him over a little, which I did. Aaron stared again. And I had to move Mr. Snake once more until he was finally in just the right place. Then the skunk went in the bed, just right, and finally Aaron got slowly under the covers.
He gave a huge smile as he felt the weight and the warmth of the covers on his tired body. We hugged and Aaron smiled again. Then he laughed, and I asked him why.
“I told Dad I’m glad you took care of me when I had a seizure,” he slowly said.
All thoughts of anger and name calling vanished at that moment. I was thankful for the privilege I have to take care of Aaron, and I told him that. He smiled again as I pulled the covers up until just his smiling face was showing. I turned off his light, and I closed his door…..and I thought of what a difference a day can make.
What a difference knowing God makes, too. I’m glad God takes care of me so that I can take care of Aaron. And I’m glad that He continues to use Aaron in my life to teach me so many things about Himself.