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Autism: One Event

24 Apr

About five days ago now, as I was struggling after the Handy Dart bus I had booked to bring me home last Thursday didn’t show, I got a phone call.

For a long time I haven’t been answering the phone when it rings. Not only do phones make me anxious from the moment they begin ringing, but our corded phone was in the dining room, and Molly – the elder of my two Chihuahuas is nearly always sleeping on my lap when I am sitting down. To get to the phone on time, I have to get up quickly (without dropping her) and run through a near obstacle course of furniture to get to the phone before the answering machine picks up.

I almost always miss – and when I don’t, it is almost always telemarketers, making me wish I had missed.

On the Thursday in question, however, I had finally broken down and purchased a cordless phone set with gift cards I have been saving up over the past couple of Christmases. The one cordless phone/answering machine combo we do have is 17 years old. We replaced the batteries on the phone at some point, but it stopped working a couple of years ago.

While I was running my daycare, I did buy another set of cordless phones, several years newer than our combo, but I could never hear people talking to me on it. For that reason, I avoided purchasing more for a long time.

I have been leaning towards trying it out again, with the help of my gift cards, for several months. The reason for this is: 1) our corded phone is in the dining room, with only a hard dining chair to sit on. I don’t talk often, but when my mom calls, we will often talk for hours (since it is years between visits, and months between calls.) and 2) my finicky cat decided that our dining room was her new bathroom, and we had no choice but to put the litter box in there – which sits beside the corded phone.

We do have three more phone jacks in the house. One is in my husband’s bedroom, where I don’t exactly want to talk on the phone. The other two are in my son’s suite.

So I got a set of cordless phones with an answering machine and call display. Since the second phone doesn’t need a jack, I plugged it in beside my chair in the living room. I can now look at who is calling, decide to answer, and pick up – all without dropping Molly off of my lap. I still get anxious, but it is better.

All that to explain what happened on the day in question.

I was anxious, depressed, and feeling quite powerless that Friday – because the bus I booked never showed up. I was crying a lot, and feeling quite sorry for myself. Suddenly the phone rang, and though I didn’t recognize the name, I saw it was some doctor’s office, so I answered.

It was to book an appointment for me to see a nerve specialist for troubles with numbness and tingling in my hands, feet, and face – which I went to my GP about early last fall. It took me completely by surprise, as this is the first I have heard back from them, and they booked the appointment for not two weeks into the future.

The difficulty is that I have to drive to a city 45 minutes away for this appointment, and already I am severely anxious and struggling to function over the missed bus. I hate driving, and I really, really don’t want to go.

As you might be able to tell from this post, my brain has been scattered since. I mean… I guess I am glad that I answered the phone that day, for phoning back would have been harder on me – so the whole story about why I bought the phone maybe isn’t that important to the post, but…

All of this to share how one thing can lead to days, or even weeks of low functioning for me. One bus that didn’t show. One phone call. One appointment two weeks away. One… and during that time, I can’t do anything but wait for it to be over.

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