Charlie's, and my and (I think) Jim's, schools had a snow day yesterday. I know, big surprise, it's not like there haven't been any snow, or snow days, around here recently. (I'm looking at this post from the 9th of February in a bit of awe at being able to see the pavement of a parking lot.) Yesterday brought "wintry mix" in the form of snow and a lot of slush, which sometimes fell from the sky in chunks and blobs. Consequently, the field that constitutes the final segment of our neighborhood walks was a veritable pond (wet snow + puddles + dead grass + mud + prickly pine cone-ish "carbuncles," as Jim likes to call them). Which after walking through four times, Charlie's shoes were completely soaked through.
Nonetheless, he only went through two pairs of shoes. Stuffing his wet shoes with newspapers and putting them atop the heater vent seems to do the trick.
The day passed pleasantly.
Let me repeat that.
The day, a snow day when Charlie's routine of ride-school-ride-walk-home etc. was thoroughly disrupted, passed pleasantly.
Charlie slept in (after falling asleep around 11pm). We went straight to a local branch of LabCorp: It was some months ago that his neurologist (with whom Charlie has an appointment today) wanted him to get a number of tests (some genetic). Charlie had a very successful experience getting his blood drawn at that very LabCorp several months ago but, alas, the lab wasn't able to do some of the tests or some such and the 15 vials they took went for nought. We've tried a number of times to get the testing done again but haven't been able to: The staff just didn't seem like they could handle it, the waiting room has had 25 people waiting (even at 8am).
Thursday morning there were only about a dozen people waiting. Charlie stayed with Jim in the white car and, standing by the door (no seats left), it finally occurred to me that, while it was great Charlie managed to get a blood draw done at LabCorp once, we needed to try something else. A quick call to his pediatrician and we'll be scheduling the testing at an outpatient clinic at the hospital (yes, the one where we went to the ER in December), where they'll hopefully have more people to help with the testing. And Charlie's certainly familiar with the hospital.
Solution found, we spent the day driving (Jim mostly---the streets were a sloppy mess), making visits to Charlie's usual spots (a convenience store that stocks the particular Entenmann's crumb cake that he likes), using the computer way too much, and those walks. We usually see a few dogs and dog-walking owners on these but most people seemed to be staying indoors, except for one runner (in shorts, no less) and , on the slushy pond-like field, a flock of Canadian geese (they all turned and walked the other way when we came by). Even though he had cold, wet feet and was being pelted by slush droplets, Charlie trudged on without a complaint, sometimes stopping to stomp and poke at the snow. He was again up till almost 11pm. He wasn't agitated or anything and seemed to just want to hang out in his room and then on the old blue couch until I started carrying up his blankets, a not very subtle non-verbal way of saying "past your bedtime."
Days like Thursday remind me of why I feel so troubled to read about autism as caused by toxins, and that our main focus should be to find autism's cause. I wrote more in response to a New York Times op-ed by Nicholas Kristof at Care2.com; really, mustn't our focus be about how to help our kids learn as much as they can, be the best they can be, have good lives? and for us to have good lives with them? Reading about what happened to this mother and son---a son who, like my boy, struggled with head-banging---makes me wish all the more that energies could be focused on providing supports and care for individuals with disabilities and those who take care of them.
It's a privilege to take care of Charlie, but one that can often, it's true, not be so easy.
Today, Friday, is yet another snow day. (Crazy, yes---Charlie's never had so many and neither have I at my school.) Charlie's neurologist visit isn't till 4pm and while it's an hour and a half plus away, we can certainly take our time getting there.
And, I'll wager, get in at least two walks, too.