I finally find the place. I had been here before with Dermot, but I'd always relied upon my GPS. I foolishly thought I could find it by memory. It's a twenty five minute drive from the local office, but the guy we preferred to see was at the northern office today. I park, place my disability tag on the rear view mirror, get out of the car and start rifling through the "backpack" attached to Dermot's wheelchair. No bibs, no burp cloths. I've found these to be a necessity during doctor visits to collect the drool that accompanies Dermot these days. Damn, I say under my breath while I simultaneously blame my undeserving husband for the innocent omission.
I roll the wheelchair out of the van as far as it will go and let it plop to the pavement so I don't have to lift it. I find a dirty sweatshirt to take the place of the burp cloths and strap Dermot into his chair.
I notice teenagers in the car across from us playing their stereo so loud I can feel it, I look over to see them singing. I smirk a little bit.
Into the doctor's office we go, we are without an appointment but I've been assured the wait won't take too long. I approach the reception desk and begin to cry. It's not like this is a huge crisis, or a serious illness. Dermot has hives that have been getting continually worse in the last three days. It just happens to coincide with the number of days since we upped the dosage of his latest seizure medication. Crap. This one seemed to be helping, it also seems to have made my Dermot look like he'd been bitten by twenty eight mosquitoes over and over.
I apologize to the women at the desk, "It's alright" she said. "what's your child's name?" she asks. I tell her, she asks why he's here today, as if its not painfully obvious. I tell her, through my tears while grabbing a handful of tissues. She directs us to have a seat.
The waiting room isn't full, there's a Hispanic woman with her eighteen month old son and a mother sitting behind a partition talking to two boys who seem to be around twelve. I grab a magazine and pretend to read while my tears dry up. I hear one of the boys, he doesn't sound typical. I glance over and see he's physically and mentally impaired and he's quite happy and so is his mother. I'm not alone. I feel a little bit better.
After the doctor visit, in which he prescribes a simple treatment of Benedryl, I turn on MPR to hear the voice of Ian Brown talking about his struggles of raising a child with special needs. The tears come again. I'm lucky to have a long drive ahead and the program was just beginning. I listen all the way home. I listen to his philosophy on what value kids like his and mine, have to society and learn more about his life with his son and why he wrote his book. Then I'm compelled to call in, I connected to his story so much, I needed to thank them for writing his book. Within minutes, I'm on the radio, I make my comment and have a brief dialog while fighting back more tears. I feel a little better.
As I back into the garage, I watch as the neighbor boy (whose actually thirty one years old and has intellectual disabilities) walk by with his dog. I smile, he seems to walk by at the most perfectly timed moments. I feel better.
Before I get out of the car I check my email. One from a my friend offering to drive my oldest to camp today. Thank goodness, I don't want to drag the two little ones around today. Again, I feel better.
To the sceptic, these events may just seem like coincidences, but to me, they are moments of grace.
Moments that would be missed if I'm not listening closely. But as my experience grows in this land of pain and parenthood, I realize I am being divinely led, guided and cared for. It's not the way I would prefer to be watched over, it would be much easier to have someone else care for Dermot, make all the hard decisions, drive to all the appointments and worry about his future. But that's not how it works. It's my job, but at least I know some one's looking out for me up there...