Saturday, August 25, 2012

When Elf's On Your Side, Anything is Possible

On Caden’s birthday Dan had to leave town unexpectedly for a family emergency.  As you can imagine this had the potential to launch a major autism disaster as did his absence for the next 9 days; honestly it did launch an autism blow up but I think Elf and I managed to minimize the disaster to semi-tolerable levels.  There were some notable highlights and lowlights.....

First we managed to finish out the birthday without too much drama. Caden genuinely enjoyed opening his presents and even requested the birthday song. Now this is huge because as you may recall we’ve had a ban on such songs for several years now. Granted he stopped us part way through the song but it was a sparkling indication that 6 is going to be a spectacular year for Caden. 

Thursday was a dramatic day although probably more so for me than the kids.  I have a huge dental phobia-you know the kind of phobia that doesn’t allow you to walk through the door to a building that houses a dental office or even watch dental commercials. But the appointments couldn’t be rescheduled until well after the start of school (and yes I did confirm that information just in case I had an escape hatch to use)so we headed out.  Caden was an absolute rock star even though he had to have dental xrays for the first time and the assistant wouldn’t allow Elf or I to go back with him.  He handled the exam and cleaning better than I did and the only work Elf had to do seemingly was with me.  We even made it home from the dental office although we may have taken a scenic route home. 

Fast forward through a few major meltdowns and we were ready for Ryley’s birthday party Thursday evening.  Although we were risking life and limb by going to a roller skating arena for the party, I refused to risk Elf’s tail so he stayed home.  Hosting a pre-teen party and keeping an eye on an energetic 6 year old was interesting but thankfully the older kids were all very kind and took turns playing with Caden on the playscape. One of the mothers even took pity on the look of fear on my face and stayed to help me. 

Friday we started a new medication for Caden.  After a long consultation with his pediatrician, we decided that Caden just couldn’t tolerate another surgical procedure unless we were dealing with an emergency.  She shared that trialing him on a new medication would give us almost the same information as one of the tests  because we’d either see improvement or we wouldn’t.  Side effects potential seemed minimal so I was totally and completely sold on the noninvasive plan. The kids and I headed out to pick up the prescription, try to get a few more school supplies at Walgreens, and then try to find the specialty pharmacy that was compounding a few new meds for our cat who apparently has kitty IBS.   Seriously we now have a dog with an ulcer and a cat with ibs—are we just the human and mammal GI disaster household??? This was all pretty uneventful until a stranger climbed into the front seat of the van with us and then proceeded to chat after realizing she was in the wrong car. Note to self: must research how to behave in a carjacking asap as I realized I had no clue although future carjackers should note that I am directionally illiterate so please allow extra time to program my gps.

Saturday marked the passing of another 28 days so the kids were slated for infusions at the hospital. We were able to get the new product in time for this infusion and thankfully both kids’ needles went in on the first try this month. Since I’m already boring you with a lot of details I won’t get into too much on this one other than to say that Caden had a rough time with the new medication and that gray isn’t the best color on him.

A lot of meltdowns, very little sleep, another doctor’s appointment, and a lot of school supply shopping later we headed to Mayo on Wednesday.  The biggest thing I learned on this trip is that I don’t drive our new van enough.  Case in point: Ryley and I had to read the instruction manual in the gas station parking lot in order to get the gas thingy off and we rode home with our windshield wipers on because I either thought it was a good idea or couldn’t get them turned off while driving [I am neither confirming nor denying which answer it is]. I also had to continue to be very thankful that my phone has an amazing gps because our creative route out of Rochester would have put us in the wrong state eventually if gps wouldn’t have kindly ordered us otherwise.  

I don’t know if I lost or won more battles in the last week but I do know that the kids were fed, they got some sleep, the house was semi-organized and clean, and at the end of almost every day Elf and I were still standing. I can honestly say that I needed Elf almost as much as Caden did because he was my backup and some hours the only living being in our household that I could guarantee liked me at that moment.  There’s something reassuring and consistent about a service dog and I’ve got to say he seems to be showing a lot less ptsd than I am at the moment.  Maybe it’s his acceptance of the moment rather than anxiety over past experiences or worry over what’s coming up next.  As long as there’s a little treat every once in a while, he’s ready for the next challenge; although I don’t quite know how yet, there’s a lesson for me to learn in Elf’s demeanor. I’m just hoping that we can substitute out Coke Cola or Starbucks for those stinky little nonvegetarian doggy bites that he so loves!