After reading several things and discussing the idea with our family doctor, Ryan was referred to a pediatric neurologist simply because we wanted to make sure he wasn't having seizures. I know this might sound a little late, but when we were initially discovering that there was something up with his development, neurology was more than out of our price range. Consider that the poor kid had been through multiple exams under anesthesia following the two surgeries for glaucoma, and you can begin to see where we were. I started to rattle on and on about the reasons we didn't... but I'll just tell you that we've felt guilty for years for not following that one piece of advice from his MD from back then.
Five years later, we finally have the means to do this. God has been good to us! So miraculously enough, we got an appointment in Waco, not Fort Worth, and the week after we called, not six months after! I'm pretty impressed already.
Honestly, I didn't mention this because I didn't want to think about it. I was scared that there might actually be something up, and I kinda felt like we were headed straight for an EEG. If you know Ryan, you now how laughable that idea is! Well, that or horrifying. You pick. The kid who won't let me cut his hair or put a band-aid on him is really gonna sit still for thirty minutes, staring straight forward, with leads all over his head. It was all I could do to not laugh in the man's face as he described what an EEG would entail.
Eric kept Richie at the band hall with him, since it's flex week and no big deal. I figured I could handle Ryan and Maelynn, and Richie would love the big boy day with Daddy, right? At the last minute, the same awesome friend we spent the morning with offered to let sister stay and play with her son (who is an uber cute kid, people... smart, too!) and Mae seemed to think that was a great idea.
Got my boy from day camp, and we made our way to the office. I had no idea what I was walking into. The only neurology experience I had was helping take my Grandad to the neurologist to discuss dementia-related stuff, not anything close to my child. Once I'd prayed again, talked to Ryan again about going to see the doctor, and pulled Ryan out of the van, we headed inside. First door on the left, they'd said, would be the office.
They did not mention, however, that the danged office was right slap-dab between the front door and two elevators.
So the whole time I was trying to check him in, Ryan was running back to the skinny window beside the door to the office to stim on the elevators. How tweaky was he, you ask? Ever throw a high bounce ball in a concrete hallway? I could barely answer questions. I have no idea how many times I ran back after him before the lady at the window gave me the clipboard with the usual papers to fill out. Ryan pinged all over the place and I attempted to fill out paperwork. The reception lady actually told me that they'd likely call me before I finished, and that would be okay. Whoa. Really?
She was right. They called for "Eric" which is Ryan's first name (always confusing) and as soon as he heard his name, Ryan went eight more kinds of ballistic. Getting him to walk down the hall wasn't happening. He actually ran away from the poor nurse and threw himself in a chair. So I calmly walked over and picked up all sixty pounds of Ryan and began to walk down the hall with him saying "No eyes!" and fussing, clearly thinking he was at an eye appointment.
Ouch. No, son. That's this coming Thursday.
Once I managed to scrape him off me and into the room, I realized that the doctor wasn't ready for us. The nurse knew Ryan was upset, and wanted to get him in asap. Immediately, the doc started to make attempts to interact with Ryan, thus scoring immediate points with me. I had to sit on my hands, though. I really wanted to coach him to respond. I did stop him from doing a couple of things, but overall, the doctor let him go, asking me questions and listening, observing Ryan in an impressive juggling act of sorts.
By the time Ryan calmed and sat next to me, I was discussing my child and his development with this specialist. If you've been to a doctor who thought he or she was God's gift to medicine, you know how utterly wonderful this is. He listened. He offered information when needed. And the best part?
The best part was that he was clearly more concerned with Ryan's relations to medical staff than he was just gathering information. He explained the EEG process (and I tried not to laugh) and listened when I said that it'd likely be rough, but we'd do whatever is needed for Ryan's health. I was relieved and impressed when he said that whatever information an EEG yielded, at this point, would not outweigh the damage the EEG experience would do to Ryan's relations with medical personnel. We could do it if I want, he said, but that it really wouldn't do him much good.
I could go on and on about this guy... how I felt respected, heard, and that my opinion mattered when I talked to him, talked to me like I would understand what he was saying, and that I felt all the same things for the way he treated Ryan. But the very best things?
He offered the admission that I likely know more about autism than he does.
He encouraged us both, telling me that we're on top of things more than once.
With my child pinging around the room, stimming on everything, he actually said he liked Ryan... and I believe him!
He told me that Ryan is doing so well because Eric and I do our very best to get him what he needs.
He called my son a triumph (!!!) and said that I should be very proud of him.
He got a real, arms around the neck hug from Ryan at the end of the visit.
LOVE this doctor.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THAT BOY!!!
As we left, my little triumph and I, the nurses had to kinda block him in for the little time I needed to finish my paperwork, then they made sure they gave him a RED sucker, and we were on our way. We rode the elevator to the top of the building and down as a reward, and if you know me and elevators and Ryan, that's a big treat. Then we ran, giggly-wiggling (yes, both of us) to the van, picked up sister, and went to the car wash at HEB... another big treat, because I promised.
Because Ryan is a triumph, and so much more.
Thanks be to God for Ryan... and for his providence that makes the eye appointment this Thursday look doable.