I woke up this morning to find Alphonse beside me, tugging me to wakefulness. There was a desperate quality to his grunts, the kind that tells me that something is wrong, so half-blind and not quite out of a dream state, I was jerked into sudden consciousness. Alphonse had vomited on himself and all over the bed, and just as suddenly, threw up on me too. I jumped out of the bed, more out of instinct than anything else, to get away from this projectile fury, but I was a split-second too late.
It’s only seven in the morning and we are already doing laundry. Sigh. I thought we could sleep in today. Last night, he awakened me twice to accompany him to the bathroom. He kept tapping his chest and tummy, and when I asked him if they hurt, he nodded vigorously. Still, he went to bed without difficulty after each bathroom visit, so I figured that it couldn’t be that bad. Until this morning.
I know he’s sick from the way he just lies on the bed, looking forlorn and deflated, zapped of all energy. He’s been so irritable these last two days, screaming at us in holy terror for the littlest of things. The heat and sudden lack of afternoon rest due to the three-hour long rotating brownouts couldn’t have helped his disposition. I’m just glad he’s sleeping now. What a way to start a Friday, huh? (And a holiday yet!)
Speaking of Fridays, Friday one week ago was the 3rd World Autism Awareness Day; it was also Good Friday. And while this period of reflection trumped what was supposed to be a worldwide effort to promote autism awareness, it did not go by unnoticed and unappreciated in my family. On WAAD, we all wore blue.
This is Alphonse, my son with autism, flanked by his dad on the left and his brother on the right. They hold hands like this all the time, walking together.
The truth is, it’s hard to let Alphonse walk alone, unassisted and unaided, though we encourage him to try. We’re always wary that he might wander or run away from us, which, in a few instances in the past, have actually happened. So, we stay alert all the time, watching and waiting for that slight movement that tells us he’s going to bolt.
More than just issues of safety, however, we hold his hands because he likes that we hold them. It seems to give him comfort, the way his fingers twine with ours. When he’s not feeling well, like today, he even sleeps with his hands in ours.
Well, if he needs them, he has our hands to hold on to forever.
Now, back to laundry.