I have this friend. Actually, she’s my boss, but I put her strongly in the friend category. We immediately hit it off when she was hired. We’re on the same wavelength. She gets my dry twisted humor, I get her obscure cultural and literary references (most of them anyway). We have laughed a lot in the past couple of years.
She came into my life right at the beginning of the “is it autism?” process, so she has been a first hand witness to all the subsequent very low lows and very high highs that are an inevitable part of the whole parenting a kid with autism experience. She told me later on that she never knew what to expect when I came in to work.
Me: Was I that bad?
Me: Yeah, I guess I was. Thanks for dealing with that.
Her: No problem.
I still am that bad every now and then. I don’t really let her see it any more though, if I can help it. I seem to have reached a point where talking about it with her is counterproductive. This happened in two parts.
I was sharing some of Hank’s lab test results with her. I pointed out some really impressive metal pulls on a stool analysis.
Her: Hmmm. You are spending a lot of money on these treatments, are you getting results? Is he getting any better? **she directs a look of sincere concern with a mix of pity at me**
Me: …ummm…uhh…*stammer…stutter…mumble something…get the hell out of her office as quickly as I can*
I am raging pissed. I have shared a lot with her about Hank’s treatment protocol. She is open-minded about alternative therapies and such, and I shared with her in good faith that I had found a supportive ear. Doesn’t she know that I have my own doubts? It’s not like there is an established treatment regimen for autism. There is no How to Reverse Autism for Dummies do-it-yourself manual that you can pick up at B&N. I have researched. I have chosen a path. I have put my faith in a process. As well-intentioned as her question may be, HOW DARE SHE compound my doubt?! HOW DARE SHE question MY decisions about MY child?! I don’t need a fucking intervention, and how in hell she thought it was an appropriate thing to bring up is beyond my comprehension.
I’m not sure my anger is entirely rational, but it is mine and I OWN it. I mentally strike a big, black, permanent line (with an asterisked side notation of HELL, NO!) through her name on the short list of people who I confide in about Hank’s treatment.
(The list pre-edit.)
Hank’s antics have been many and far-reaching of late. I share some of his most egregious exploits with her. Some of them are actually quite funny.
Her: My God! That would drive me insane…yada, yada…I don’t know how you do it every day…yada, yada…Your situation is so difficult…yada, yada…
Me: Well, it’s not that bad…
Her: No, it’s really hard. I admire you for being able to do it.
Me: Ok. Thanks. *Inwardly, I wonder why I am mentally cataloging the best ways to kill myself. Do I go for scandalous drama with autoerotic asphyxiation? Or do I go with the understated but always classy Vicodin overdose? Jumping off of buildings and bridges is so overdone. Where’s the originality? Maybe I should go with something more covert like slowly atrophying my brain into a vegetable state by watching marathons of Rock of Love and I Love New York…
Me: Hey! Wait a damn minute. My life does not suck! Quit acting like it does!
I don’t say that out loud though. I’m back at my desk staring blankly at my computer by the time I realize exactly why that whole conversation made me feel so icky. It turns out that there is a fine line between acknowledging the difficulty of someone’s situation and giving them directions to the nearest bridge to jump off of, and she is precariously straddling that line in every conversation I have with her about my dear, sweet son. I mentally revise the list of subjects that I should just avoid with her.
Next post…Reasons why my life does not suck…