Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Diagnosis: Autism

I actually wrote this post several weeks ago and was too shy to show it to my husband. However, after reviewing my goal of sharing with the world my experience with autism I have decided to proceed.

The writing assignment is: Sensory Details as a Way to Begin. Find a story that you need to tell. Think of as many sensory details as possible including sights, sounds and smells.

The waiting room was bright and chaotic. Natural light completely filled the space highlighting the classic features of the building it occupied. On the wall was a colorful collection of tubes and other hardware that composed a playful and artful arrangement cascading balls up and down for kids to watch. Chairs were organized in the waiting room for those that desired to use them. Toys were scattered here and there, wherever the kiddos discarded them after use. My son chose a plastic airplane while we waited for our turn to see the doctor.
When our time arrived we met the doctor that would change the current course of our lives. He led us through a maze back to his office. There was a table and chairs at the immediate entrance, further back there were more chairs and his desk. Papers and files covered most of the desk accompanied by a computer and a few pictures. The doctor sat facing us with the desk at his back. To his left sunlight streamed in through the windows, but they could not seem to overtake the darkness of the room. The doctor spent some time asking us questions about my sons history, his current symptoms, abilities and needs.
The back of the chair was hard and uncomfortable. The sunlight coming in was hot and almost burning. In the background my son was shrieking about something not going his way. The surroundings seemed to overtake me and make more evident my discomfort regarding the situation.  I was having difficulty concentrating on the conversation which was odd for me having a medical background. The doctor’s voice seemed to drone on with his questions and explanations when suddenly one word caught my attention, autism. I have known about autism for a while. I have a few relatives with the diagnosis and I had not noticed much different about them or a significant impact on their lives. They seemed to lead a normal life- my child was leading a normal life, or so I thought.
The doctor’s voice continued to drone on with more explanations regarding the diagnosis. As a nurse I considered autism another medical diagnosis that I would approach the way I did any other illness. Mostly, I don’t know what I thought at this point. The drone was starting to dull into a blur and before I knew it our appointment was over. It did not matter, my mind was numb and I did not have any questions at the time. My back was uncomfortable from the chair and I was relieved to stand. I knew several individuals with autism but somehow quietly I had led the denial that my son was among them. Now what?