Special Needs & The Doctor Appointment

I recently took our 13 year old daughter to her doctor’s appointment.   Nothing too medically marvelous, just some X-rays to see how her skeleton looks and a talk with the doctor about how her legs and hips are getting along with each other.  Turns out all the bones are happily coexisting, which is good to know.

Lexi is 13, yes, but mentally functions at about a 2 year old level.  Down Syndrome combines with the Autism Spectrum in this one, and the combination makes for some interesting… everything.  Especially doctor appointments.  Especially X-rays.  Especially holding still for X-rays.

She and I walked in, arm in arm, and found the path to the waiting room.  I could see that it was sparsely populated, a slight relief, given how Lexi has chosen now to test the acoustics of the building using her own unique brand of echolocation.  En route to the check-in desk, Lexi sat down.  The reasons for her sudden sitting can be varied, but it’s usually because she objects to something.   No, it wasn’t the waiting room or the obviously approaching interaction with medical staff.  It was the elevators.

She’s suddenly afraid of elevators.  Come to think of it, the last time she was in an elevator was for a quick procedure at the hospital a little while back.  Seated in a wheelchair for ease of transport, she found herself suddenly wheeled into a little room that had hardly any acoustic value and — much to her chagrin — felt like it was moving.  Lexi’s the kid who never wanted to be on my shoulders and doesn’t like to be swung around or tossed in the air.  She’s all about the firm ground and keeping a low center of gravity.  That’s got to be the issue with the elevator.  It’s not like she’s going to tell me flat out.  She’s non-verbal.  And it’s not like I can explain to her that it’s totally legit, and that elevators hardly ever get stuck, and, even if it did, they’d rescue us… eventually.  Plus, if we really wanted to get free, we could just escape through that tiny hatch in the ceiling and… you know what?  I get it now.  Let’s take the stairs.

But no, she wasn’t budging.  Going nowhere near the elevators.  I found myself praying that our appointment would be on the main floor because a haunted elevator (the screams, the terror) would be fun for no one. I get to see people look and quickly look away from time to time, but freaked out Lexi is communal stare fodder.

I lifted her up (she hates that) and she walked to a seat in the waiting room as I approached the check in desk.  Lexi shouted HI! at a lady in the waiting room.  Lady said “Hi, how are you?” to which Lexi responded with the sign for The Wheels on the Bus.  It’s her favorite song (Lexi’s).  Lady did not know the sign for Wheels on the Bus.  Sometimes we translate, but not this time. I was at check in, providing all the necessary paperwork and such, Lexi came up to see what I was doing, setting her chin on the counter where my hands were resting gently. She said HI! to the staff, to which the staff cheerfully replied.  I was getting ready to say the whole wheels on the bus thing but was interrupted by Lexi’s pushing a big cup of pens off the counter and onto the desk below.  Coffee spilled, barely missing a rack of hanging files.  Everyone totally didn’t overreact.  It was, in actuality, pretty funny, at least as Lexi laughed so.  “Quiet hands,” I said as she walked back to her seat.  Oh – a maintenance guy just came in!  HI! (Um… Hi!) So… wheels on the bus?

About radamdavidson

When I'm not blogging, I'm hanging out with my family, pastoring a church, or listening to vinyl. I think and write about Jesus, music, communication, organizational leadership, family whatnot, and cultural artifacts from the 1980's -- mostly vintage boomboxes. You can read my blog at www.radamdavidson.com, watch [RadCast], a daily 3 minute video devotional, or find me on socials (@radamdavidson). I also help Pastors in their preaching and public speaking (www.CoachMyPreaching.com).
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