Sunday, March 13, 2011

Welcome Back Addie

I'm  sprinting through the emergency room doors... the hospital construction blasts.."clunk...clunk...clunk".  Addie is totally limp on my shoulder and doesn't even bother to cover her ears or scream about the loud noises.  My heart was sinking into my stomach in knots....I knew she was in trouble!! 

As we made our way through the bustling waiting rooms...and the constant "beeping" and frenzy of the ER...Addie never complains...not even a peep.  Addie laid still while they started her on an IV...examined her...poked and prodded...I stood by her side...watching in absolute HORROR as she barley whimpered.  By this point I am an emotional WRECK.  The nurses are trying to calm me down by saying..."look she's fine...she's not upset...its ok".  This only made me more hysterical. "You don't understand...she doesn't even let doctors near her...she shrieks in terror when they walk in the room...she is deathly afraid of beeping....something is REALLY WRONG here". It is one of those moments as a mother that I will never forget.  I have never wanted her to throw a trantrum so bad in my life.  Where was my beautiful screaming kicking little girl??  

I was completely terrified for the first hour or so.  Saying countless prayers.  All the sudden...The Lord answered.....her IV alarm went off beeping like CRAZY!!  Addie began faced... hands over her ears in a total panic.  A wave of relief flooded me.  Thank you God...thank you....thank you...she is coming back.  After another hour or so...she started asking..."what's that noise...what's that noise"...then the nurses start acting concerned "how is she hearing all that? is she ok?"....but I knew this was normal was a HUGE relief.  She asks me this a hundred times a day and sometimes I even get annoyed at her persistant questioning...but I realized in this moment that I wanted her to ask me a hundred million times more.  

We stayed in the ER most of the day...waiting for a room....she was so brave...through all the beeping...loud voices...booming intercoms..needles...x-rays...and frightening trips to the loud public bathroom...we were struggling through in a near constant MELTDOWN.  The ER is a horrible place for any child...but throw autism in the mix and we have a combination of total disaster.  Please Lord...give us a quiet room quickly....please.

The doctors finally came and took me in the hall saying..."we know she has autism and we can see how upset she how do you think she's going to be upstairs because we have a lot of sick kids...maybe she would be more comfortable down here until she relaxes a bit".  It took me a moment to comprehend what they were saying...they were afraid she was going to have fits and be too disruptive??  What were they thinking??  I wanted to scream.."are you CRAZY...she's not just going to relax in this crazy place".  Instead I calmly told them...Ok here's what I need for her to "relax"... I need a private room with its own bathroom in a quiet place...the nurses and doctors need to talk in quiet voices...prepare Addie for everything...give her time to process what they are saying before they touch her...and give a time limit to their poking and prodding (like lets count to 10 then we're done)...then follow with a reward.  After this flew out of my mouth I was shocked...all these countless hours of education and therapy have actually taught me to help Addie.  I didn't even know it was in me??  Addie was somewhat calmer and the doctors were truly greatful....thus began her slow recovery.  

As Addie walked around her hospital room...she nonchalantly shuffled across a very patterned tile floor.  The nurse says "wow...looks like she's doing great".  But I knew better....Addie never steps on the cracks.  I knew she was still really really out-of-it.  As time passed....The Lord answered my prayers magic....she began carefully navigating the floor avoiding each crack...stepping in the center of each tile.  I winked at my husband...we both were a little teary eyed.  Now this was our Addie.  This time the nurse looked concerned...but we just smiled and said "now THIS is normal".  

Thoughout our time at the hospital Addie slowly came back to us.  The more people that started giving me those confused...mildly offended looks...the more relieved I became.  At first one of the nurses commented "she's the best patient on our hall"...the next day the same nurse walked in and Addie screams "AHHHHH nooooo....I dont want you".  The nurse looked shocked.  I just smiled...It may sound strange to others...but I was glad.   Then the machines...."what's this machine do...what's this machine do" (talking about her IV pump, etc...).   So we talked for hours about every detail of each machine and how it works and what it was doing....explaining over and over every button and every part.  Next, Addie began looking out the window in her own little world...hours picking out all the cars in the parking lot that "matched" (amazing how accurate she was)...and wanting to know all about the machines outside (air conditioning units).  Addie was coming back...

I guess you could say she was going from everyone else's "normal" to Addie's "normal".  I have never been so grateful to see her avoid the cracks, scream at people when they came in the room, squirm and squeel when I tryed to fix her hair, push me away when I tried to hug her, and start telling everyone about all her machines. This was music to my ears.  

This has been a unforgettable week.  I learned so much watching Addie's journey back.  All the little things that others may see as quirks or "autistic like" behaviors are really just Addie.  I wouldn't want her to be any other way.  Those little things are what makes her...her.... and I love them.  I missed her so much when she was acting "normal"...because it wasn't normal.  It wasn't Addie.  And to me Addie is normal just the way she is.  

What a journey in my heart.

Welcome back Addie!!


eblacroix said...

so happy that she's getting better and acting more like herself!! what was the issue that required her hospital visit?

lovecare said...

Welcome Home God's Girls!
Love in Abundance to Caleb and Addison
Grandma P

mellomama said...

Thank you. She had the stomach flu that lasted almost 3 weeks. She would get well for a few days...then it would come back. So she got severely matter how much she just came back out. So that morning she had passed out...and we couldn't get her to wake up. It was really scary. When we got to the hospital her eyes were just half open and she was really cold and pale. She had been out-of-it for a while from being so sick...but the pediatrician said it was fine as long as she was still drinking and peeing. I will be MUCH more paranoid next time. It happened so fast!!!

eblacroix said...

that's terrifying! so glad to hear that she's doing better.

maria said...

So happy you little girl is doing great!
I read your article when Addie got sick... so sorry!

Paula Gales said...

I know this occurred two months ago and realize it was a difficult experience for all. I have gained insight from this post. Thanks for sharing mellomama!