This time I was triggered whilst talking to my son’s foster father. I only wanted to check that he’d recieved my message about my new phone number, but he decided to drop a bombshell on me.
R has been suspended from the college that he’s been attending for less than three months. He had a meltdown and attacked two staff members. To make matters worse, he is now telling his foster family that he wants to “stay home” – which, for the sake of his education in daily living skills, we simply cannot allow.
This college caters specifically to autistic young adults and R is so incredibly strong and violent (which is why I’ve been terrified of him since he was three years old) that even they can’t cope with him. He’s being reinstated next Wednesday but I’m extremely concerned that he’ll make a connection between harming somebody and getting to stay at home – it would appear that he takes this as a reward rather than a punishment, rather like he did when he got to go for a swim if he acted out in school. I’ll need to bring this issue up with his social worker.
Anyway, I stewed on that all afternoon. The more I worried about it the more worked up my autistic mind became… I was obsessing over it like a dog with a bone.
The next thing I was truly aware of was being wheeled out of the house and into a waiting ambulance, with an oxygen mask over my face. I didn’t even feel the canula going in – which tells anybody who knows what I’m like about canulas just how out of it I was. Blood tests? I scare my phlebotomist because I sit there watching and cracking jokes. Injections? Here’s my arm; have at it.
Canulas, on the other hand? Be very very grateful that I’m in too much of a state to be able to kick you all the way to Skaro. I hate canulas with a deadly passion. Even now I can still feel the evil thing in my arm, in spite of the fact that it was removed last night.
I was drifting in and out, mostly unable to speak, on the journey to the hospital, so D was having to answer their questions. I could still hear though, and I heard this:
“Is there anything else we need to know about Gemma?”
“Yes. She has asthma and she’s autistic.”
“She has asthma and she’s an alcoholic. Okay.”
“No, she’s autistic!”
D was not allowed into triage with me, in spite of informing the paramedics that he is my carer and I would possibly panic if I came out of this and didn’t find him there – and I did come round and I did panic. I can’t say that the paramedic was all that good at reassuring me.
During a more lucid moment I was able to whisper that I’m not an alcoholic.
“Yes,” she said. “Your husband told us you are.”
“No; I’m not an alcoholic. I’m autistic.”
Three times I had to repeat myself until she finally got it, apologised and corrected her notes.
I’d had a few glasses of wine, yes, but seriously? If you can assume that somebody having a seizure must be an alcoholic simply because they’d been drinking beforehand then I might suggest that you need to find a new career path. How can you even mistake “autistic” for “alcoholic” when “autistic” only contains three syllables and “alcoholic” has four?
Yes, I notice little things like that when it comes to the English language. English has always been the main thing that I excel at: probably because I’m autistic. I’ll take my English pedant hat off now.
My body may have been weak as a result of all of this neurological activity, but I inherited my grandmother’s Welsh determination and stubborness. I probably should have realised that coming home was a mistake when I couldn’t even sign the release forms that I’d demanded after tearing off those sticky electrode things that weren’t hooked up to anything anyway, but I wasn’t staying overnight to be poked and prodded and forced to be still due to being hooked up to heart and blood pressure and oxygen monitors, so I pretended that I just couldn’t see without my glasses and asked if D could sign on my behalf. As soon as that canula was removed I was out of there and D was calling a taxi.
Today I am extremely wobbly and fuzzy headed, but grateful to be in my own familiar home, surrounded by familiar things and familiar smells, with D smiling at me.
I also realise that I am lucky to be alive, and for that I thank my gods.