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Our Covid-19 Story

Always laugh when you can.  It is cheap medicine…Lord Byron.  Everyone has been touched by the covid-19 pandemic.  Our family was no exception.  Although we have been following CDC and state guidelines, doesn’t mean everyone else do.  Our story of covid-19 begun about three weeks ago, I was only running into the store to get essential items for our family.  As a precaution since this whole pandemic started, we have kept M away from anyone due to his health issues.  True a mask would have been handy while in the store; but due to some people hoarding finding masks,  tissue, lysol and gloves were impossible.  Moving forward, I was standing in the check outline with my buggy.  Yes, I made sure to maintain at least six feet distance with the lady in front of me.  However, a lady with no buggy came up behind me.  She started coughing.  I could feel her breath on the back on my neck.  I turned around to give her the eye (cover your cough).  She did not but instead kept coughing.  Hence, I moved to the front of my buggy to put space in between us.  Other customers were looking at her too.   Once in the car, I wiped my hands and neck with sanitizer.  After several days, I developed a really awful sore throat.  It would come and go with a vengeance.  So after four days of dealing with it, I called teladoc.  Noteworthy, on the third day on top of sore throat a new problem of headaches appeared.  They were unusual headaches, I never experienced before.  All this time I was still trying to take care of M even when feeling so drain.  The teladoc informed me that my concerns or symptoms were that of covid-19.  I was confused because there was no fever.  He noted that a person could be systematic or a-systematic and spread the virus.  He recommended self-quarantine along with M plus husband.  Thus, I requested to be tested for covid-19.   However, I learned my primary health care provider has to request it.  So at 7:45 a.m the next day, I am standing outside my doctors’ office.  The new procedure consist of waiting outside for a nurse to triage you and then you wait in the car.  I finally got a call on my cell phone.  They were hesitant about seeing me given my symptoms, by this point I had developed a cough.  I pleaded my case to be seen again by another doctor and be tested.  After waiting some more in the car, they finally agreed to see me.  I was given a mask and taken to back.  I understand that my age kicked me out of the criteria for testing, but on the news they said testing was available for everyone.  On the contrary, I sense my doctor was wrestling with do I deserve to be tested.  Apparently, the covid-19 testing was limited.  I reminded the doctor of my underlying health conditions and symptoms.  It seem like eternity I waited in the room by myself.  Finally, the doctor came back into the room with mask on.  At first, he recommended writing a referral for me to be tested at a drive thru site, that was taking place around 11 to about 12 or until they run out.  I know I am not the smartest person in the world, however, I reasoned with the doctor (why go wait another two hours to be tested and take the chance they run out before I am seen; then have to come back to doctor to be seen again; while I am already here just test me).  After the doctor left the room again, I could hear nurses and doctor talking about my situation.  Later a nurse came in with PPE on to test me for strep throat.  Of course, it came back negative.  The doctor returned and stated my throat was indeed inflamed badly.  He finally agreed to give me the convid-19 test.   The test was given by a nurse in full PPE gear.  It would be a long week of isolation before my phone call, to let me know to add another week of family isolation until I am symptom free.  The bright side so far, M seem happy and symptom free…he keep telling me ‘love you’  each time he see me.  I am so thankful to be home with my family during this pandemic.

Simply an autism mom resting at home

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The Porch

As a child in South  Carolina, I spent summers like so many children-sitting on my grandparents back porch with my siblings, spitting watermelon seeds into the garden…Jacqueline Woodson.   As I watched M play with bubbles on the porch, I thought some of my happiest moments was spent on a front or back porch.  Perhaps, our porch serve as a welcoming oasis.  I used to love sitting on my grandparents front porch, they would share some of their life wisdom.  Oh the countless times my siblings and I would help shuck corn, snap beans, sip sun tea or eat watermelon on their front porch.  Even when grown, I enjoyed every minute with my momma rocking on the front porch.  The laughter, stories and yes tears flowed freely on that porch.  As our circumstances seem to have changed in the blink of an eye (2 Timothy 3:1), finding peace and comfort is more priceless than ever.  “Bird, bird” M exclaimed.   “Yes M, that was a red bird”  I responded.  His brown eyes lighted up watching the red bird fly back and forth from the bird feeder.  Another beauty of M is that he live in the moment.  It doesn’t matter our world is upside down right now; he found peace and I am reminded of faith (Matthew 6:26).  I think our porch can be positive and an open platform to enjoy our time of togetherness.  Hopefully, we all enjoy a cup of coffee to wake up the morning or a cup of tea to say goodnight to the day on our porch.  As the sun began to settle, M took my hand to go inside.  “Go, inside” he said.  “Say, I want to go inside, please” I responded.  “I want go, please” M repeated.  Yes, it was time to say good night to the sweet smelling peppermint and lemon herb garden flourishing on our front porch.

Simply an autism mom finding hope from our front porch

Kisses

I’m going to be a strict mom.  I know that love is the most important thing-you’ve got to have lots of kisses and cuddles-but you also need to mix it with discipline or you’ll be in a heap of trouble…Jill Scott.  Perhaps every mom worry about protecting their child from the ugliness of the world, all the while embracing the beauty of the world.  One of the beautiful thing of being M’s mom is the sweet kisses and cuddles.  M is in the phase of wanting kisses on the forehead every night before bed, to & from school, and every opportunity in between.  I think kisses are beautiful and sweet messages of love.  On the other hand, I am aware teaching M what’s appropriate behavior and not is crucial.   Maybe every mom dread the time when their child no longer want kisses or cuddles.  I can remember the time my older brothers had a respectful conversation with our mom about no more nicknames or kisses especially in front of their peers.   Our mom smiled and said “OK”.  Looking back I wonder did her heart skip a beat of being proud they were growing up, yet saddened by the fact they no longer wanted kisses.   Often it’s not until we become grown, our mother’s kisses and hugs become so precious.  I do so miss our momma hugs and kisses.  As I am writing our story, M has requested several “kiss, kiss” on his forehead.  I am learning with M kisses are always new and ever the sweetest.

Simply an autism mom cherishing sweet kisses

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Walk With Me

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead.  Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow.  Just walk beside me and be my friend…Unknown.   I remember finally walking out of the hospital with M thinking ‘how are we going to take care of him, we don’t know nothing about raising a baby.’  Yes, we were amature parents taking our first walk with M.  My mom showed me how beautiful a walk can be.  She used to take my siblings and I on many walks in our neighborhood.   In those walks we learned about ourselves, each other, and the beautiful things by our Creator Jehovah.  (Deuteronomy 11:19)  Maybe, the most impressive walk we could have is with our child.  Perhaps we all want someone to walk with us in life, reflecting on yesterdays and future possibilities.  Thus in every walk we get more out of it than we expect, hopefully faith in love and kindness.  Honestly it can be difficult for someone to relate to what you’re going through, until they actually take time and walk with you.  Honestly to walk with M takes loving purposeful steps, hopeful easing his struggle to walk into a crowded space with peace.  A few weeks ago we attended an one day convention with over a thousand in attendance.  M often get stress out initially walking into a crowded area.  Hence, we generally ease M into such spaces using a special need stroller designed just for him.  We were so thankful for the attendants that helped us find a space in the back away from the crowd and close to the first aid department.  He did so well for about an hour before he become overwhelmed with everything.  He began to scream and cry while trying to get out the stroller.  It was time for a sensory break walk.  It’s so true that when feeling frustrated or overwhelm in a situation walking away can do wonders for the soul.  That was M only major meltdown at the convention.  I was so proud of M using the action word “Walk, walk” each time he felt overwhelm.  Thus, each time we extended our hand and said “Walk with me, M.”   I do understand that some walks we just need time to ourselves.  However, I don’t want M to feel isolated or alone in his walk through this world.

Simply an autism mom walking with M

Table For Three

We all want our children to be the best they can be; and one of the blessings of having a child with autism is that you notice every little achievement, and it becomes cause for celebration…Didi Conn.  Everybody has their perspective of what is considered a normal life.  Maybe that is why painting a picture of a normal life can be hard.  However, my faith led me into believing our normal life should consist of love and kindness.  Honestly maybe my normal life is forty percent like other moms just trying to do what best for our family.   On the other hand, the remaining sixty percent encompass navigating autism with my family.  We often make adjustments in our family life.  We’re not afraid of leaving the house with M, however we do try to plan or be prepared for situations that may arise with M maybe a little more than other families.  We wanted to take M out to eat this weekend.  Experiences has taught us to be understanding of M’s sensory issues to sounds, crowds and textures.  Hence, we asked for a table booth for three in the back of the eatery away from the front door.  We had chose a time of day when it would be less crowded and M did not have anything else major or over stimulating that day.  As we walked to the back of the eatery, M kept his eyes covered with one hand and other hand over one ear.  Interesting, he managed to still hold onto his two straws.  We placed M in the booth where he could not see behind us or other people eating.  Of course we made sure my phone and his leapfrog was charged.  I was so proud of M sitting there calmly.  We placed our order while he hummed and tapped his straws on the leapfrog.  We ordered chicken nuggets and fries for M.  Truefully, we never get to order off the kids menu for M normally because of his very sensitivity to food textures.  Yes, we made sure to have carry out containers and bag ready just in case M started to become overwhelm.  We have learned to be flexible in knowing when it’s time to just go home.  We were so overjoyed that M not only stayed calm but actually ate six chicken nuggets.  His little hands just twirled each time he dip his chicken nugget in honey mustard sauce.  Now he never did let go of his two straws while eating, however he did not care for these particular fries.  Oh, the smile and happy sounds M was making made our day be something extranary.  “Go go, Go go” M finally said after about thirty minutes.  We knew our time was up,  we packed up our remaining food.  As we left the eatery, M said “Love you”.  In truth we’re bless to celebrate these normal life moments with M!

Simply an autism mom sharing a table for three

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