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Autism: A Blizzard in my Head

03 Oct

Sitting in the passenger seat, driving down the highway, with my trembling dog on my lap. There was no thought to what I would do with the day – only that one moment in time. Take her in, hand her to the vet, walk away. It would be untrue to say that my thoughts were racing, as not one could take hold long enough for me to acknowledge it – such was the extent of my anxiety. I tried to remind myself that it would be okay, that so many dogs have this surgery and are fine, that it was best for her, but none of these thoughts would register. Take her in, hand her to the vet, walk away.

They handed me a questionnaire. Just a bit of information on my dog, and her recent health. The parts which I knew I could fill in, but the ones requiring a choice? No way! “Do you want to pay $40 more for an iv during surgery?” I don’t know! Why didn’t you ask me this before I brought her in? How am I supposed to answer this?

“What do I say?” I asked her. “No. She doesn’t need it.” Okay. Am I signing my dog’s life away? Why can’t I think? Why don’t I know what to do?

So I gave her the form, and handed her my dog (As if she isn’t one of the most important things in my life right now. As if I didn’t care at all.) and walked out.

“Where would you like to go?” my husband asked me. Not a thought. Not a thought but six hours! Six hours until I can pick her up. Until that day, I hadn’t been separated from her so long since she was given to me. Six hours – it seemed like forever… and would she be okay? “I don’t know,” I replied, “I can’t think today.”

That was an understatement. My mind, often so loud with thought that I can barely hear anything else, now feels like a blizzard. All I can hear is the wind. All I can see is the snow. There is nothing else. “You make the decisions, I will just come along,” I told him. There was nothing else I could do. So he started driving around, and one more word registered. Nauseous. “Please find somewhere to go. When we drive around I get nauseous.” Please make a decision. I can’t.

Somehow he carried me through the day, and I was so thankful to have him there. What would I have done in that big, confusing city without him? Unable to think beyond the moment, how would I have gotten around? So thankful to have him, though I could not tell him so.

We walked through two (No Dog’s Allowed!) parks that I had taken Gryffindor to last year (I didn’t know.) Sadness mixed with the already strong anxiety, and didn’t help me to think. We went to one membership required store, where I remembered how stressed out I feel in large spaces (high roof, huge isles, people going in all directions…) We visited at one of his cousin’s homes.

Six hours. Six hours that threatened to never end. Six hours – the length of time Jesus hung on the cross. The amount of time I spent in labour with my son. The length of a regular school day. Six hours. And then it was done, and she was back in my arms again.

My beautiful, beautiful girl. I hope to never be apart from her for six hours again. Unreasonable, I know, but I can’t live life in that blizzard – and that is where I am without her. “Heal, my girl,” I think now as I watch her sleeping beside me. “You have no idea what you mean to me.”

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