The Dao

In Which We Have a Good Time At the Neurologist's and In Traffic

In the waiting room of the neurologist's new office

Despite the fact that it was early Tuesday morning with Thanksgiving on the horizon, I taught both my Latin and ancient Greek students a host of pronouns (after getting silence to the question 'what is a pronoun'), translated some of Euclid's theorems with the three students who had come to Greek class and had a senior math major 'translate' them into math language, then went great guns to discuss radical democracy in 5th century Athens in another class so we can dive right into the Peloponnesian War next Tuesday.

Then I drove home; met Jim; we picked up Charlie at the BAC and drove through the town where Jim's parents lived for thirty-plus years and we lived for three years (some very aggravating) and tallied the trees that had been uprooted by the hurricane; proceeded to one of the many extremely congested parts of New Jersey to the new, north Jersey office, of Charlie's based-in-south-Jersey neurologist.

We didn't actually see the neurologist as I think he was doing intake with some new, young, patients. Charlie was eager to get out and get a burrito at the place down the state road (we had discovered it thanks to the hurricane) but sat good-naturedly in the waiting room while being stared at by a woman in a sari with a stack of child development books and by the black slip-on shoe-wearing father of a girl who was about 3 or 4, in diapers, drinking from a bottle, not saying any (to us) comprehensible words, climbing all over the furniture and not responding to the two adults' requests.

Charlie also sat and responded in his usual echolalic way (remember, in our household, echolalia is progress) to the nurse practitioner's and the (new) neurologist's questions.

The new regimen of over-the-counter stomach remedies (antiacids, psyllium fiber, probiotics, a few other things and lot of water) appears to be helping Charlie's thymic distress. I will allow that the recent incident of the Swedish fish only confirmed, there is a correlation for our boy between SIBs, biting, grabbing, throwing items, etc. and 'the c word' (echoed a bit in 'stipulation'). I noted that Charlie's diet contains what, when explained, appears to be an abhorrent amount of rice (unless you're Asian) but that:

1) I'm no longer giving him sushi which is made of glutinous rice, which makes it Swedish-fish-like in a sticky sense. I have been thinking, giving Charlie sushi could be compared to giving him gluey hockey pucks.

2) The rice he has been eating a lot of is the sort I was none too happy about in my childhood. It's plain ol' long-grain rice cooked in a lot of water. I've been serving it up with a bit of chicken or fish in Charlie's lunch and I think he may be eating the protein too.

It is true, the results of having Charlie, he of the intensely engrained habits, on the gluten-free casein-free when he was toddler and till he was about 10-ish, have been that he has never eaten a sandwich, he's not used to spreading butter on anything, he eats no candy (a lot of the commerical stuff containing milk product sort of ingredients).

(Mention of this latter Charlie-ness had brought, earlier in the day, more silence from my students. I had set a big bag of all the Halloween candy we had left (a lot, as we got nary a trick or treater) this year on the table at the start of Latin class and most of it was summarily taken.)

These details of Charlie's diet and some others regarding less than fun-to-deal-with-behaviors were all discussed by me, the doctor and the nurse while Jim and Charlie waited (very peacefully) in the white car. Charlie does still have scabs and bumps on his forehead -- some of the bump is permanent, along with the scars over his nose -- from the Sandy/Swedish fish-related incidents. When mention was made in front of him that he still had some 'self-destructive' behaviors, Jim and I were quick to change the subject to topics more 'posautive.' Who wants to hear their difficult stuff talked about in front of them?

Lest the neurology's offices staff seem insensitive, I am going to underscore they were totally in-tune and attentive. Mmost medical personnel, behaviorists and certainly most people we've encountered need cheery reminders about Jim's and my policy of not bringing up the negative (including complaints about NJ's governor, the GOP in general, 'religion,' etc.) in front of our very sensitive, hyper-auditory, boy.

Actually, the neurologist said she likes Mexican food too and certainly Charlie was glad to get his before we had a long-in-traffic (such is the norm when you're on the Garden State Parkway going through Newark and its environs) ride home.  He was peaceable easy feeling on that, too, and through the evening.

And he did keep grinning through what Jim and I later agreed were the understandable stares in the waiting room. We did wonder their thoughts: Worry that the little girl would 'only' be able to talk in Charlie's very limited, repetitive, echoing fashion? Edginess on seeing more of her -- perhaps she was not yet diagnosed? -- in Charlie than they might wish? Puzzlement that we were all cheery, singing and call-and-responding to Charlie's few phrases?

When you've sat in as many doctor's offices' waiting rooms as us 3 (and as many long car rides), you just have to enjoy that you're still together and (a bonus) peaceably. 



How could college students not know what a pronoun is?

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