What seems like a century ago (actually, technically it was) I started writing “Teddy Updates.”
I wrote these updates for our Nurse Practioner, Kate, who we saw
constantly often for well child, ear infection and Asperger’s/Medication management visits.
Kate, by the way is one of my “Life Angels.”
Life Angels are a very special collection of people who have come into my life at the exact moment they were needed to see me through a crisis.
Kate had also been concerned with Teddy’s behaviors and helped us get to Louisa, another Life Angel, who diagnosed him with Asperger’s in November 1995.
Teddy Updates were written for two reasons.
Reason Number One: Because of what happened every time we went to Kate’s office.
You know pediatrician offices.
They have the Well Child Waiting Room with a TV, lots of toys, books and playing children. Then, there is the Sick Child Waiting Room. That room has lots of chairs filled with parents holding or sitting with their sick kids. In this waiting room, the toys are replaced by boxes of Kleenex…
Since we were usually there for Asperger’s management visits we would have qualified for the Well Child Waiting Room but we didn’t experience that waiting room full of fun things.
Instead of fun stuff, we were ambushed by that deceptively innocent nurse who calls your name and escorts you to the exam room.
She would call our name while we were still at the little window signing in.
“Teddy.” She would call.
I’d get excited thinking we wouldn’t have to wait, like serving your frequent fliers by seating them first on an airplane.
No thanking this frequent patient with an on-time appointment.
Instead, hell was about to begin because we were being led away from a TV playing Barney (which is a different, although surprisingly more tolerable hell) straight into a tiny, windowless
cell exam room where we would wait. And wait.
Teddy however, LOVED this room for it contained his most favorite object…
The wheelie stool.
You know what I am talking about because every doctor’s exam room has one.
Teddy LOVED it because this is what he would do…
He would lie across the top of the stool on his stomach and then push himself across the room, crash into the door, turn around and push himself to the other end of the exam room, crash into that wall and turn around and repeat.
He did this OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
Then, when he grew tired of twenty minutes of this he would jump up on the exam table. You know those also. That vinyl, slightly padded table covered in thin, crinkly paper.
Well Teddy LOVED the exam table just about as much as he loved the wheelie stool because he would sit up there, shred the exam table paper into itty, bitty, tiny little pieces and then try to eat it.
Yes, my boy who ate FOUR foods would try to eat the exam table paper.
And did you know that monster we call anxiety is CONTAGIOUS?
Oh yes. The anxiety that started as Teddy’s became MINE too and by the time Kate finally got to us I was so infected by it I would lose my ability to think and speak. Anxiety didn’t rev up my central nervous system like Teddy, instead it shut me down.
Can you say Mother’s Little Helper…
After 45 minutes of exam room hell there was not a chance in, well, hell, that I would remember the MULTITUDE of reasons (in addition to his exam room behavior) that we voluntarily came to see her.
So I wrote the reasons down.
Reason Number Two: Out of respect to Teddy.
I always felt so badly talking about him while he was sitting there. He was four, he understood we were talking about him and that most of what we were saying was NOT pleasant. Just because he was a kid didn’t mean he couldn’t understand.
Understand he did. He would get more wound up (didn’t think that possible) as we talked. So, I started writing my thoughts, broken down into categories like Joys and Concerns, Working On, Pesky Annoyances, Meds, Questions. Kate would sit and read them, write notes back to me, and it all seemed much more civilized.
Note: The office FINALLY caught on to Teddy’s ritual and starting removing from our room both the wheelie stool and the exam table paper.
There is a God.