Monday, December 22, 2008

The Diagnosis

Last night I was thinking about October 2000, Daniel's 4 year visit to the new pediatrician I don't know why. Sometimes it just comes back to me. I got out of bed and wrote this. I've been holding it in my drafts not sure if I should put it out there. It didn't seem a very Christmasy thing to write. It was almost Daniel's fourth birthday when he was diagnosed with autism. It was together one of the worst and best days of my life. Worst for the obvious. Best because it gave me answers and strategies and the people to help us figure out this thing called autism.

The day before. An argument. Who has and hasn't done what. The anxiety of not knowing what's going on with our child. Anxious to see the new Dr. the next day. Words were exchanged. Not knowing who else to blame.

In bed that night I said a prayer.
It was simple, "God, please don't let it be autism".

People think I don't know. They think denial is weighing me down. They think they see it and I don't. I've spent 3 years, 24 hours a day with Daniel. I knew there was something. I thought I didn't know what. Do they really think I don't know?

God, please don't let it be autism

I'd found avenues to break through with him. I know it can be done. Why can nobody else see it? See him?

God, please don't let it be autism

The Dr's office. Daniel is scared. It's a new place. He is screaming. Confused. It's a bad day. Laying on the floor of the office screaming. Red with anger and overload. Screaming, kicking, screaming. We just let him be.

God, please don't let it be autism

The nurse, asking questions, does he do this? No. Can he do that? No. Concern on her face. Her face is etched in my mind forever. The face of a person who may finally say it.

God, please don't let it be autism

The Dr. has the look of someone about to share something huge. He is struggling. He is upset. He finally says it. I think Daniel has autism. The words hang in the air.

Is Daniel still screaming? I can't hear him if he is. The room becomes an empty barrier. I sit there. Silent. I can hear my husband softly crying. I've hardly heard that before. I can see the pain on the Dr's face. The nurse is still there. She is watching me. I'm not moving. Not talking. Not crying. She takes my silence as bravery. It is not.

God, why is it autism?


Jodi said...

Michelle - I don't know how I missed this posting, since I follow your blog religiously. It must have been when we were in Cincinnati. Anyway - again I say WOW. In case you didn't know, I cry easily. I wear my heart on my sleeve and usually what you see is what you get with me. If you could see me now, you'd see my red eyes and tears running down my face. Because I have never really asked, I didn't know how and/or when D was diagnosed. I can't even imagine that day for you and Todd. Even though I have only known you for a couple of years - I know that YOU HAVE COME SO FAR since that day. What an incredible journey. I'm sure its not something you ever wished for, or would pay money to do again, but I would guess you are stronger and better because of it. The few times I have been faced with incredible adversity, I find that I am a stronger, smarter and better person because of the experience. My guess is that you do too. Thanks for sharing - I admire you, and enjoy sharing in your journeys.

Michele said...

Michelle... Wow, this posting really is powerful. I admire you so much for being able to take this diagnosis and move mountains. You have done wonderful things for Daniel, he has come so far in such a short while. Have you ever read/ heard Mel Levine? I recently read "One Mind At A Time" ... a truly wonderful book about appreciating each child's unique abilities, in a society that values "sameness" in children.... let me know if you want to borrow it. And thanks for sharing this... you should make a book out of these!

Michelle S. said...

Jodi, I know how you missed it. I wrote it as a draft and it took me 2 weeks to post it. (but it keeps the date you drafted it on it, so it placed in several posts back) I cried the whole time I wrote it, but for some reason I had to get it down, I just didn't know if I should put it out there. I am MUCH stronger because of this journey. I do not take crap from anyone, and say what I think, with me it is also what you see is what you get. I kind of liked that the post was hidden.

Michele, I havent' read that, but would love to if you want to send it my way. Thanks for your support ladies!! I'm so happy you are both my friends.