Daunt drank ta wad-her!

I drew the short straw.  I’ve had a string of luck over the last few weeks that has let me off the hook taking Tommy to OT on Monday nights.  I opt to take him to MIT for his running club (Step Ahead Running) where he is coached by college varsity athletes.   I haven’t had to bring him to any doctors appointments in the last few weeks, either; that is, until yesterday.  I drew the short straw.

Tommy’s been having difficulty with ocular movements (tracking with his eyes).  His OT has noticed it in her evaluations as well as the neurologist who conducted his neuropsych evaluation at the Lurie Center last spring.  Both professionals suggested we make an appointment with a developmental ophthalmologist.  I did.  The wait to get into Mass Eye and Ear/Boston Children’s Hospital is lengthy.  We waited.

I have learned over the years to wait to tell Tom when he has an appointment to go anywhere.  He perseverates.  Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad.  It depends on whether or not he wants to go.  I’m tired of telling him when Halloween is; although I can’t wait to finish this year’s costume.  Stay tuned.

I had to have Tommy dropped off to me at work so that I could take him for his 12:30 appointment in Boston.  The minute he got out of Grandma Jean’s car, he cried.  For a solid hour all I heard on loop was “But I don’t want to go to the eye doctor.”  His crocodile tears make me sad.  I knew why he really didn’t want to go; he absolutely adores Grandma Jean and didn’t want to leave her.  I didn’t blame him.  She makes everything better.

When we got to the hospital, Tommy was sidetracked by everything it seemed.  In the lobby of Children’s Hospital, which we usually do not go to (we go to Mass General Hospital), there is a giant ball contraption that I swear used to be at the Boston Museum of Science circa 1984.  I distinctly recall the noises the balls make when they hit certain metal pieces, almost like a bell.  He could not peel his eyes away from it.  Off he went, stimming and flapping.  I finally got him to walk with me to the ophthalmology department.  We checked-in, about an hour early, and low and behold…there it was…as if a giant beam of light shone down from the heavens…. In the waiting room was a Nintendo Wii.  Oh, no!  Are these folks asking for trouble?

When Tommy plays Wii, clear the room.  He stims to the point of profuse sweating.  I mean, it looks as though he stepped straight out of the shower.  His hair and clothes get soaked.  That’s how stinkin’ excited he gets.  He also makes the most unusual noises and they’re LOUD.  Fortunately, the console did not work.  I thought he was going to have a meltdown, but he didn’t.  Tommy actually took it in stride–that almost never happens.

The next family to arrive went through the same glee and utter disappointment we just did.  The mother of those two other children tried as best she could to get that game working, but to no avail.  I noticed immediately that she spoke with an Irish brogue.  After she lost her patience, she yelled “daunt mind it, it’s probably an auld wan.”  That was all Tommy need to hear, an accent of any sort.  I knew what was to come out of his mouth as he turned to me before his lips even moved.  “Mummy!”  Damn you, Peppa Pig.  Tom loves to speak in tongues.  I don’t think he does it with any purpose (i.e. to be funny), he just does it.  Before long he was chatting with this woman, asking about dinosaurs and repeating back to her almost everything she said to him.  I tried to act like I didn’t know him, but I was the only other adult in the waiting room.

When it was our turn (thankfully we were called in early), Tommy started telling the doctor he didn’t want to go to the eye doctor.  As soon as she responded, I got that hot flash I get when I want to hide.  She is from India.  She has an accent.  Tommy did, too, for the rest of the appointment.  I liked this doctor.  She was very pleasant but stern.  In my experience, trying to do an eye exam on an autistic child can sometimes be like trying to tack Jell-O to a wall.  Good luck.  We muddled through until it was time for the eye drops to dilate his eyes.  She told him it was water and nothing to get so upset over.  WRONG THING TO TELL HIM!

We were ushered back to the waiting room while Tommy’s eyes dilated.  The more his vision blurred, the more he cried.  He was pretty upset that he couldn’t see his hands, my phone, the books on the table, or even the broken Wii with any clarity.  When the doctor came out to get us, she knelt down to pick something off the floor.  Tom immediately ran to her and grabbed her around the neck.  Hot flash for me, again.  He was hugging her as tightly as I’ve ever seen him hug anyone and I’ve only seen him hug a few people.  He buried his little face into her shoulder and cried that she can’t give people water anymore “yaul brack deer eyes.”  Right back to the brogue.  At least he wasn’t mimicking her accent any longer.  She melted.  I’ve never seen Tommy crack someone like he did this woman yesterday.  I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time.  Admittedly, I was jealous of the hug he gave this stranger.  He doesn’t hug often; when he does, it’s usually because he’s prompted to do so.

When we were through, Tommy and I headed to the check-out receptionist to get our temporary sunglasses.  The woman gave him a disposable pair to wear out in the sunlight “just like astronauts do!”  WRONG THING TO TELL HIM!  He knows better.  There was no helmet these were attached to, no hinge, no logo…he wouldn’t wear them and he had a lengthy list why.  Luckily, I had James’ stunners in my purse and we squeezed them over Tom’s face.  From the ophthalmology office to the parking garage, Tommy told every person we passed not to drink water or shower, “wad-her makes yar eyes blur.”  So we’re clear, told means yelled.

On our ride home, the weee lad was content to watch more Monsters, Inc. and tell me he didn’t want to go to the eye doctor. mz1fc96qlage4aomdhe7w.jpgWhatever you do, don’t drink the water.



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