I’m told that someone once asked the Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh to explain Buddhism in one phrase, and he paused and answered: “everything changes.”
Several things are changing now, actually. Got very good news about my position changing at work (in a way that I am very appreciative of and happy about) and also have an appointment this morning to visit St. Colman’s residential educational placement school, which is only about 10 minutes from my home, as opposed to the 4 or 5 other residential schools we’re applying to, which are all at least an hour away. It would be so much nicer to be able to see Jonah pretty much whenever I wanted, and I hope the tour goes well and they have a place for him.
When I was in the hospital, the nurse who handed out meds had seen my file and knew my story. She told me that she doesn’t usually share personal information with patients, but that she had placed her son (who also had autism) at St. Colman’s when he was 7. Now he is 21 and about to age-out into an adult home; she had nothing but wonderful things to say about the place, how far he had come, how wonderful the staff was, how much she appreciated everything they had done for her son. I swear everything happens for a reason. It is no mistake that I met this woman.
On Wednesday Jonah had 9 aggressions at school, and Andy picked him up early to take him to the doctor for something the nurse said was patiki eye…tiny dots on his left (bad) eye…the redness was traveling down his face and the nurse was concerned. But they never made it to the doc; Jonah attacked in the car halfway up the Northway and Andy called me from his cell phone and told me to cancel the appointment; I could hear a struggle in the background and sighed. When I went to the house after work, Andy wasn’t up to reliving the details – Jonah had fallen asleep by then and his face did look a little red but he didn’t seem to be in any pain, so Andy said he’d try to take him again tomorrow if he needed to.
Yesterday there was no call from the school nurse, but Andy’s car broke down on Colvin Avenue, which is about 3 miles from our house. He called AAA (thanks, dad, who always gives us each a membership for Christmas) and then had the car towed to a nearby repair shop. He called me to tell me what had happened. I asked if he wanted me to come pick him up but he said he was going to go for a walk anyway that day, so he walked home. Just one more thing to deal with. The big property tax bill came too, and now a car repair. Good thing neither Andy or I really mind not having much money.
Then Jonah’s log book said he’d had 10 aggressions that day- 9 at staff and one toward a peer. This frequency is as bad as it was before we started him on medication, and I’ve become almost numb to this kind of news. It only serves to make me feel sorry for Andy, for the people at Wildwood, and to underscore the necessity of placement. It gives me an all over, bone-deep, constant anxiety that feels like a new kind of normalcy now. I’m on anti-anxiety meds but I find myself wanting to mainline them straight into my veins – to sleep, perchance to wake with life as it was 8 years ago or so – a small but comfortable house, a sweet beautiful baby in my arms, a happy husband to come home to me each night after work.
But everything changes. The wheel turns, and those squashed at the bottom will rise again. I just wish the wheel would turn a little faster…
“The wheel is turning and you can’t slow down,
You can’t let go and you can’t hold on,
You can’t go back and you can’t stand still,
If the thunder don’t get you then the lightning will.
Small wheel turn by the fire and rod,
Big wheel turn by the grace of God,
Every time that wheel turn ’round,
Bound to cover just a little more ground.”
~ The Grateful Dead
For my peeps at the hospital, wherever you are — for everyone reading this, leaving comments, praying for us, thinking of us, calling me, sharing your own stories, expressing your compassion, wanting to help — I thank you. It means more to me than you will ever know.