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We attained a few milestones today, albeit unintentionally.
"He's doing good," the doctor noted as she looked into Charlie's ears and applied her stethoscope. He was stretched out very contentedly on a hospital bed in the pediatric ER after very matter-of-factly letting a nurse take his blood pressure and pulse and then sitting in the ER waiting room with an elderly woman checking her cell phone messages and a family with three lookalike boys, the youngest of whom had put a Tic Tac up his nose. ("He smells fresh and minty," his mother said to me as we both shook our heads over "getting" to spend our Sunday evenings in the ER.) When an admitting nurse asked "Does he have any other medical conditions," Jim and I paused.
"Just autism," I stammered and Jim and I exchanged a bemused sigh, as if this "other medical condition" had not had the hugest of impacts on Charlie's life, and on ours.
So when the doctor came in and smiled at Charlie (who, though asking for "dinn'err" every few minutes, was lying very patiently on that hospital bed) and noted how well Charlie seems to be doing, Jim and I could not help laughing----as if it should be so easy.......
You're wondering what happened?
Charlie fell off his bike. Jim is always careful to make sure that Charlie is on the inside, nearer the sidewalk, and somehow Charlie clipped the back tire of Jim's bike---Jim turned around and saw Charlie falling----Jim thought/hoped Charlie would right himself back up----Charlie fell on his left side. His bike helmet took most of the impact (and now bears chips of honor); Charlie ended up with a scrape under his nose and is going to have some shiner under his left eye. Jim called me and off I raced to find Charlie astride his bike, Jim beside him, in a gas station. Charlie stopped crying almost as soon as he was in the the black car's back seat and soon we were zooming to the hospital.
"You were super brave," I said to our somber boy in the backseat. "What a trooper," said Jim.
Charlie really is.
Before the bike ride, Charlie had walked a swift two miles with us in his fourth autism walk. At home, we put out some old furniture and boxes and toys on the sidewalk to be picked up tomorrow: The couch we bought at Dillard's in St. Louis before Charlie was born and that had been his bed, trampoline, sensory center, and who knows what else from the look of its battered and ripped cushions. An easel, kid-sized plastic benches and a storage table, a doctor's kit, toys Charlie has never really played with. Jim pulled out a computer table (decorated with some Easter stickers), an old sled, a booster car seat.
Before too long, we saw a young couple picking up some of the toys and looking at the easel, which they put into their car, along with the little plastic table. I stood just out of sight by the window, glad that another child would be using---would smile at, with no mother or therapist offering instructions---those shiney toys that Charlie had barely touched. Off to the side beside some old lawn chairs was the blue Little Tykes table that Charlie had first learned to "come here" to during his first ABA sessions, more than seven years ago.
Charlie's knees knock on the bottom of that table now; as the ER nurse noted today, he weighs almost 80 pounds. After the accident, Charlie got right back up, crying and crying; he was briefly angry in all the pain and confusion, and simply weepy when I drove up. The doctor kept asking us, "does he seem like himself?" and we had to say yes----Charlie was quiet (except for those calls for dinner) and quite peaceful, not agitated.
That's a milestone much farther than the two miles Charlie did in the autism walk today.
After we left the ER, we got Charlie an extra-big order of French fries and a perfectly cooked burger from his favorite hamburger stand, and, when we got home, they were still hot.