Monday, December 13, 2004

Beep Beep Beep

Our day began at 4AM with the alarm going off. After getting the family ready for the day's activities, we hit the road at about 6:30AM for Walter Reed. We expected traffic to be a pain, and we planned accordingly.

Unfortunately (fortunately?) traffic was not a pain, but a breeze, and we ended up at the hospital in plenty of time. In fact, we ended up at the hospital with so much time to spare, we could have recreated the Great Wall of China out of Legos before our appointment. We could have then gone on to invent a fantastic system of time travel, and then we might have had time to get a pretty good fix on teleportation. Before. Our. Appointment.

Instead, we donned our best cat burglar gear, scoped out the 5th floor pediatrics unit, and then we went in. (Insert Mission Impossible theme music here.) We snuck through a door marked, "Doctor's only." Then we belly-crawled through a wing meant only for pediatric in-patients and their families. We used a grappling hook to swing through a parents' lounge, and finally made it out the door into the courtyard, where we achieved our mission. We were at a playground meant for almost all of the children on the 5th floor but our own! Woohoo!

The courtyard was kind of nifty - it was surrounded on all four sides by several stories of hospital. There was large metal tubing on each floor. When the wind blew (and it blew a lot) it made the neatest sound. Not quite a whistle, but not quite just a was...unique.

Eventually, we went back downstairs for a morning snack, and then finally it was just about time to check long as we didn't mind waiting 45 minutes until our appointment time. We waited. And when we were done waiting, we waited a bit more. Too bad we didn't have enough Legos to build that replication of the the Great Wall. In fact, we had nothing at all to entertain ourselves with. Silly me - I didn't pack anything because I assumed there would be a real waiting room with books and magazines for the kids, if not actual toys. But no. We had a collection of four chairs in a hallway instead. Ack. Finally, at half an hour past our appointment time, we were called in.

We were called into a playroom (thank goodness!), where the kids were allowed to play with toys as we spoke with two doctors and an occupational therapist. Of course the kids acted like they hadn't seen toys in the last decade or so, and they were running around and acting as if they'd just joined the circus. But the important thing is... we got a provisional diagnosis. Did you hear that? WE GOT A PROVISIONAL DIAGNOSIS!! We have a starting place! We have a direction! We have SOMETHING to work with! Yayyyyy!!!

The diagnosis was unexpected, but it does explain a lot of things about Perrin. They think he is autistic. Obviously, he would fall into the very high functioning category, but autistic nonetheless. And toss in some ADHD as well.

Soooooo...we start a different behavior plan at home. We start changing our thinking about what he thinks/how he learns/what exactly he learns. We put everything into a different perspective, and we set goals. We set up a reward system. Ok, we can handle this.

We also need to talk with the psychiatrist (again - ugh) and see about getting him on some medication. Something that will allow him to focus on a choice, when given, and allow him to think a bit before making a decision. Basically lowering his impulsivity. Is that a word? If not, I'm gonna use it anyway.

There is still the possibility that he is bipolar as well - the doctors were clear that this diagnosis does not rule out the possibility of the other. But for now, we will begin treating this, as it is easier to discern at his age. Later, we may have to explore the possibility of bipolar disorder further.

*sigh* That was a long post. It's been a long day. We made it home, finally, at 3PM. Now, I'm going to make sure the oldest gets home from school, and then I'm gonna crash for a bit. I'm exhausted!