Sunday, June 14, 2015

New Things

This past week was the first week of my summer vacation from school, but it was a busy week filled with activity and new things. Thankfully, Alex handled the hectic schedule and transitions amazingly well, which shows the progress he’s made in being more flexible and willing to try new things.

On Monday, we had an appointment with his psychiatric nurse practitioner who prescribes his medications for OCD and anxiety. This was the second time that we had visited her new office, which is conveniently located less than ten minutes from our house. Previously, we had to travel about thirty minutes to her old office, and we’re thankful that our travel time is much less now, even though we only need to see her every six months.

For this appointment, Alex did an especially good job of answering her questions instead of relying on us to answer for him. We were also pleased to tell her about the additional services that Alex receives since she last saw him in December. She had good news to share, as well, telling us that all of Alex’s blood tests looked very good. Since his lab work indicates normal levels and he is doing so well, she decided to not make any changes in his medication. After we thanked her and left her office, we took Alex to Target to pick out the things he would need for his next adventure on Tuesday.

“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19 KJV

On Tuesday, Alex not only had computer class at his day program for adults with disabilities, but he also stayed for lunch hour there with his peers for the first time, something he’d been eagerly anticipating for weeks. With his brand new lunch bag that he chose himself, he headed off for class and lunch with friends. When Ed went to pick him up afterward, they told us that he had done very well but was a little shaky, which can happen for various reasons.

After we questioned him a bit, he told us that he was a little nervous that we might not pick him up on time after lunch. Considering that he’s used to being around us most of the time, his separation anxiety was understandable. We reassured him that we will always pick him up on time, and he seemed satisfied. During his behavioral therapy session that afternoon, his therapist also assured him that he didn’t need to worry about being picked up after lunch because he could depend on us.

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19 ESV

On Wednesday, his caretaker Jessica came to, as she says, “hang out with” Alex in the afternoon. Ed and I had planned to go out to lunch while she was there, but Alex seemed to be a little off. In fact, he told me that if we left, he was going to be bad for Jessica. Since that didn’t sound promising, I told Jessica that we’d stay home since I didn’t trust him. However, Jessica stepped up, assertively told Alex that he was going to behave while we were gone, and encouraged us to go, insisting that they would be fine. Since I still had doubts, I told her to call me on my cell phone if she needed anything, and I kept checking it throughout our lunch. However, she never called, and when we came home, she told us that Alex had been perfect and had not given her a bit of trouble. This was the first time that I had left him when I was concerned he might not behave, but Jessica’s no-nonsense attitude showed Alex that she was boss, and he complied.

“See, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not be aware of it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19 MEV

On Thursday, Alex once again had computer class and lunch at his day program, and he once again got along very well. In fact, the supervisor told Ed that after lunch, she had Alex help clean up by washing dishes, wiping off tables, and running the vacuum cleaner. Not only was he comfortable having lunch there on just his second time, but he was also practicing daily living skills by cleaning up afterward. He seemed pretty proud of himself when he told us what he had done while he was there.

That afternoon, we had another new thing: instead of having his music therapist come to our home for his session, we went to the music therapist’s new office here in town for the first time. Even though we had prepared him for this change, his music therapist and I anticipated that he might need some transition time to adjust to the new setting. However, Alex sat right down at the keyboard with a huge smile on his face, ready to start the session. Afterward, his therapist told me that he had done a terrific job and didn’t seem to mind being in a new place at all. This new flexibility on Alex’s part amazes all of us who know him well.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19 NIV

On Friday morning, we took Alex to his new doctor for a follow-up visit since he last saw her for the first time in the fall. At that visit, he was pretty edgy and didn’t seem comfortable in the new office. However, this time he was calm and pleasant, and he answered the doctor’s questions nicely. Because he has yeast overgrowth, thrush, in his mouth again, we’re going to treat him with antifungal medication, and we’re going to try vitamin B12 shots for a few months to treat his slight anemia. Even though we have done these treatments before, doing them with a new doctor feels different. However, we like her very much because she is kind to Alex and takes our concerns seriously. We pray that she will help him continue to heal.

“Be alert, be present, I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out. Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.” Isaiah 43:19 MSG

Yesterday we started Alex on a new supplement to help heal his gut and boost his immunity. After listening to an online lecture featuring a doctor who specializes in internal medicine and wellness, I found his explanation of inflammation and its connection to disease logical and fascinating. Consequently, I decided to try his recommended protocol for Alex in hopes that we can eradicate the stubborn yeast infections that have plagued him for more than three years. We pray that this new method will bring healing not just to Alex but also to others with autism. As someone who does not like change, I felt a bit unnerved as this week of new things shifted us out of our comfortable rut. Nonetheless, I have faith and hope that God is making the paths out of the autism wilderness, desert,  wasteland, and badlands, and He is taking Alex where he needs to go. Behold!

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19 NLT

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