Finding Ourselves on the Autism Spectrum

Posts tagged ‘accident’

Coming back into focus

I get overwhelmed a lot.  By events, personalities, sensory input, illness and injury, too many responsibilities, too little time  – even sometimes by a single thought that goes round and round in my head.  Mostly it’s the thinking that gets me.  When my head is in a good place, I cope with the other stuff. 

I’ve  tried to start several different posts since my husband’s truck accident.  I can’t seem to get my thoughts organized around any one topic.   We’re both functioning fine and grateful for how things turned out, but we’re also still processing some things, and for me that takes the form of having trouble concentrating.   That’s not a new experience for me, but trying to write and stay in touch with people when I’m feeling that way is new.  Isolating myself has always been much more my style.

Here’s a picture we took at the junkyard the day after the accident, btw :

The force of the impact was all on that driver’s side door.  Amazingly enough, my husband made it out of this with just a sore foot and one scratch on his head, neither of which is bothering him now.   And the other driver was fine and didn’t require a trip to the hospital, which is also a great blessing.

It could have been so much worse.  We got through the crisis of the day, and now we continue to manage any difficulties that arise as a result.  We continue to add little bits to the pile of stressors that’s been built up over the past few years, and we keep moving forward.  There’s a lot of stuff in that pile.  Deaths in the family, business difficulties, financial worries, his experience with cancer a couple years back (he’s all clear now), and all the stuff that falls under the heading of spectrum-related issues.  Some things are mostly difficult for a while, and some are always with us.  And every time it feels like it’s a bit too much to manage, something new gets piled on top.

I spent so much time early on in our marriage weathering problems big and small and waiting for things to get better.  I kept thinking we would get to some point where there would be a big light at the end of the tunnel, and we could breathe a sigh of relief.  I really thought we were there for a while when Simon was in kindergarten, verbal and bright and functioning reasonably well in the safe little world that existed there.  He had overcome so much.  Then came the next tunnel – first grade – which was much longer and darker than anything we had experienced before.  We’ve come through that, too.  And on to the next, and the one after that …

I had to switch metaphors somewhere along the line.  Now to me it’s more like riding waves.  When things are good, I enjoy the ride thoroughly and for as long as I can, because I know it’s only temporary.  The bad stuff is only temporary, too, which makes it easier to tolerate.   I think what maybe constitues my own version of a mid-life crisis is that somewhere in these past couple years I let go of that idea that someday everything will get better, and I think I’m still grieving a bit over that.  I’m not devastated, but it makes me sad.  Some things will get better.  Some will get worse.  It will all keep changing, and the only thing we can do is choose how we respond to each thing as it comes.   My parents are in their seventies and have a good life, but it isn’t anything you’d call better – it’s just different.  The problems are different, and the enjoyments are, too.  For better or for worse, I think I finally feel like a grown up. 

OK, that was kind of a depressing thought.  But now that it’s out there (instead of rattling around in my head), I don’t really feel terribly depressed.  I’ve been to this place in my mental processes before.  This is the point I have to reach just before I finally decide to take charge of my thinking.  Once I can see what’s going on, I get to choose where I go next, and that’s empowering. 

There’s some kind of story my mom got from her Alanon experience that I’m probably not going to get exactly right here, but I think it’s still worth sharing.  (I realize this is yet another metaphor, but that’s how my brain works, so please bare with me.)  It’ something along the lines of a person walking down a path and falling into a pit.  Eventually somebody comes by and helps them out.  I’ve heard different variations of the story.  Sometimes the person who falls in repeats the experience enough times that eventually they learn how to find their way back out on their own.  Sometimes the one who comes to help jumps down into the pit, too, which turns out to be OK, because that person has been there before and knows how to get back out.  Sometimes the person walking down the path has fallen down enough times that they remember and learn to avoid the pit altogether. 

(If I was being at all unclear here, the pit is supposed to be a metaphor for a negative behavior or way of thinking. 🙂 )

I’m not so good at avoiding the pit, although it happens every once in a while.   Mostly I’m better than I used to be at climbing back out on my own once I realize where I am, but that can sometimes take a long while, and the effort can be exhausting.   It just seems to work a whole lot better when there are people around to remind me that I don’t have to stay where I am if that’s not working for me.  It’s hard to reconcile that knowledge with my lifelong instinct to run and hide within myself whenever I feel stress, so I’m trying  a different approach. 

I’ve been catching up on reading some other blogs over the past couple days, and I’ve started Rudy Simone’s Aspergirls book, too.  Reading other’s thoughts and experiences helps me to remember that I’m not alone in mine.  And whether this post makes any sense to anyone else or not, writing this and other things I’ve shared with family and other friends over the past couple days is helping to bring things into focus for me.  Thanks for listening.  

 Aspie boy just finished his midterm exams and came home early, so he and I are enjoying some peace and quiet while we have the opportunity.   The kids are all off school tomorrow for a “records day”.  I finally feel clearer and ready to move forward instead of staying stuck.  That’s not a bad way to start into a long weekend .  🙂

Close call

So my husband tried to die today.  Just a few minutes after we had talked on the phone about me not going out because the weather was bad, I got a call from him saying he’d been in an accident.  He knew it was slippery and was doing his best to be careful merging onto the freeway, and he remembers losing control and sliding but not the impact or losing consciousness.  He’s OK, but it’s been a very intense day, and his truck that he’s had since before I met him is a goner. 
I spent a long while talking on the phone with a truly wonderful woman who had stopped after she saw the accident, and she stayed on with me letting me knowing absolutely everything that was going on while my husband was being helped by the paramedics, etc.  She said she’d been in a serious accident before herself.  The first paramedic to get to my husband was a dad he knows from Boy Scouts.  When my hubby was trying to be cheerful upon seeing him and couldn’t come up with the guy’s name, he (the paramedic) decided a trip to the hospital was in order. 
I had woken up at 5:00AM and had spent the morning starting at about 6:15 watching my friend’s kids so she could be with her husband while he had surgery for his badly broken wrist. I was already feeling the strain from dealing with one child getting a nerf dart power shot to the eye approximately two minutes after their arrival, another having a scrape and a wet sock from playing chase in my kitchen, Alvin leaving a paper at home and needing it to be brought to the middle school, a child needing to go back to her house to retrieve forgotten snow pants, and the spectrum kindergartener who stayed with me for three more hours after the others had left nearly locking me in my own basement.  It was about fifteen minutes after I had started to breathe that I got the call from my husband and had to start scrambling to come up with a plan not only for my children, but for my friend’s children, as well.
Fortunately she called shortly afterward to say she and her husband were on their way home, and he had received a nerve block and would be OK for a while.  I turned the tables and asked if she could pick up our two little ones that I was supposed to retrieve, then I got to call each school and explain to each child – or in one case, the teacher consultant – what was going on and what the plan was.  I left a key in a place we’ve used before for the older boys and gave them a cell phone to call me.  I looked up the hospital, which isn’t one we normally go to, on Google maps and came up with a way to get there without taking the freeway.  By then my friend was back, so I returned her key and headed off.  I was quite proud of myself for finding the place without a problem, and they had a greeter sort of person right at the emergency room entrance to help me find my way without any hassle.  Hubby had been checked out pretty well by the time I got everything else handled and made it to the hospital, so we didn’t have to stick around too long.  He’ll be sore, but he’s basically OK, which was nice to see after they did the whole neck brace and backboard and ambulance thing with him to be on the safe side.
Before we made it out of the hospital parking lot, I got a call from Simon informing me that a police officer had stopped by with a citation.  Nice they could get to that before my husband even left the hospital.  At least Simon handled it fine, although it freaked him out a bit.  He had just opened the door and started to wander away thinking it was just Alvin arriving home from school.
I’ll probably have more to say about this after I’ve had time to process it all a bit more.  For now we’re just tremendously grateful, and some other issues that have been bothering us have been placed into perspective.

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