Friday, February 19, 2010

Happy Doctor's Visit

Jaedon  went to the doctor today!  I was (mostly) happy and comfortable for the entire visit!!  Let me give you some background so you can know how huge this is.

Jay is hypersentive to light and sound.  He has NEVER tolerated doctor's intruments being used anywhere near his body, especially the ones with lights.   This phenomenon did not mysteriously start with his autism diagnosis at 30 months.  This started at birth.  So, at 5 months old when he somehow scraped his eye ball with a finger nail, The pediatrician didn't have the privilege of actually seeing the scrape because he would not allow anyone to hold his eye lids apart to look inside his eye.  Honestly, 2 adults working together couldn't get a 5 month old baby's eye lids to co-operate.  The power of the human spirit with a strong intention!

So it continued though many doctor's visits.  I became good at explaining to the doc up front "No doctor's instruments please.  His ears and eyes are fine."  The doc got a quick look in his throat while he was yelling IF he had no instruments in hand.  As Jaedon grew, it became more dramatic.  Could there be a doctor's office with no instruments on the wall?  He would walk to the door, see the instruments and bolt back outside!  Over the years, I have created a fair amount of anxiety associated with these visits, and do them only when threatened.  I worried about the doctors, the nurses, the patients in the lobby seeing me chase him around, hearing him yelling, the children being traumatized by his yells ("Mommy, what are they doing to that boy?")  I was a wreck!

A threat from the social worker got me to the doctor today.  I did 3 really smart things for myself and I'm so excited that I did them!  First, I changed the pediatrician.  The last one didn't help my stress level at all  ("Mom, we can't not look in his eye just because he doesn't like it", meanwhile, 2 burly guys are restraining my son and he is starting to look black and blue from the fight...).  I found someone who has a child with autism, who also lives in our neighborhood.  Secondly, decided that no matter what, I would remain comfortable.  I took my instant be present = gratitude = happiness pill and voila!  I was there.  I decided that no matter what Jay did, I would act in Jay's best interest, not worrying about the people around.  I would talk to him and respond to him as if they weren't watching from the corner of their eyes and wondering about us.  Thirdly, I decided to take the other 2 children to the doctor next week.

Jaedon had his fair amount of suspicions....I ran around the office a bit after him, I spent several minutes cajoling him to actually walk into the medical room, quieting my anxiety with trust as I waited on him to decide, I fixed spilled brochures, took his temperature and pulse myself.  I had a great time!  The highlight of the visit was 2-fold:
  • Jaedon spent about 10 minutes examining the doctor's instruments!  He looked at the light, turned it every which way, flicked it rapidly from side to side, put it in his ear, I pretended to look in the ear and congratulated him for letting me.
  • The doctor let him do all this!!!  She didn't even blink when he whisked the gadget down and began his thorough examination.  I have to admit that in that moment, I was tempted with discomfort (How much do these things cost?).  Her calm helped remind me how useful it is to stay calm, though watchful, in moments like these.  I love this woman!
My learnings:
  1. Examine a situation for unnecessary stressors and change them
  2. The power of a clear intention is ... powerful
  3. Unpleasant doctor's visits today don't mean unpleasant doctor's visits tomorrow.  I can throw out the belief that all doctors visits will be horrible.  Not only am I growing and changing, but so is Jay!
Are you dreading something this week?  Change what you can, set a clear intention to be comfortable and believe in the possibilities.


Jennifer said...

Amazing! Thank you for ahraing this. Both you and Jaedon took a step foward together today. Can't wait to hear more about the steps you continue to take together!!!

mikaela.levons said...

*Finally* getting a chance to read the blog-- great post with great principles that can be applied in a variety of situations. I'll be emailing u soon!