19 12, 2011

The Dentist–Take Two

By |December 19th, 2011|Autism, Life, Parenting|1 Comment|

Finally, the day arrived for me to take Bridger to the dentist. If you remember, his first time a couple years back was a nightmare. He pretty much cried from beginning to end. I have to warn you, this post is going to be BORING, and I couldn’t be HAPPIER!!!! It went as smooth.as.butter!!!! I never thought I’d say that…never ever…

I’ve had a little anxiety about this for over a month. Our appointment was actually 2 weeks ago but the dentist office called and rescheduled. Chris told me yesterday that he didn’t think he could get off work to come with us. He felt terrible but I kept saying “it’s no big deal”. I should be able to handle taking my own child to the dentist right? No big deal, no big deal…

This morning I called the dentist office and told them my son is autistic and asked if they had any advice to help us prepare. The guy who answered the phone basically said “there are videos playing”. Uh, ok. I was nervous so I called my sweet neighbor, Lauren, who always helps me out. She used to be one of Bridger’s ABA Instuctors and she just got home from college to do an internship this term with the Utah Autism Coalition. She said she’d come and be my backup. Yay!

Before we left for the dentist, I filled out all five pages of paperwork (which I picked up at Noah’s appointment). I figured it would be much easier if I had that done ahead of time. I armed myself with Bridger’s favorite blanket made by Grandma White. I brought along his “chewy” (a wooden toy he chews on) thinking it might help to pry his mouth open if necessary. Also, the director at his preschool suggested a lollipop to get him to open his mouth, which seems kind of inappropriate at the dentist office but hey, whatever works right? So I grabbed a candy cane hoping that might do the trick if we got desperate…

Well, we didn’t need anything from my bag of tricks! Not a thing! For two reasons: 1)The office was A-MA-ZING. The hygienist was so sweet and asked lots of questions about what Bridger would do and wouldn’t do and what I was comfortable with or wasn’t comfortable with. They didn’t make him let them brush his teeth (like last time). They didn’t make him do x-rays either. They said we would wait and see if there was any work that needed to be done and  if we had to sedate him we could take the pictures then. Dr. Markham looked in his mouth counted his teeth, poked around quickly and didn’t find any cavities or cause for concern.  His enamel in the back isn’t good but he’s just going to watch it. He said we’ll do more as Bridger comes in every six months and gets more comfortable with him! He was all about making sure Bridger(and his mommy) had a positive experience at the dentist so we could/would keep coming back! It worked! 2) Bridger was beyond A-MA-ZING! He played in the waiting room (Lauren and I double teamed him to keep him from running crazy or ripping up magazines etc.) When we went in the back he just sat in the little green chair watching Elmo videos on Lauren’s iphone. When the dentist looked in his mouth he didn’t even cry!!! He just did it. It was so incredible. I expected the worst and it went the opposite! I’m SO happy!

Actually, the worst thing that happened was that Bridger popped his balloon fishing pole before we even got to the car. He didn’t care and I am 100% okay with a popped balloon! Pretty near perfect visit to the dentist. Thank you Dr. Markham and staff! We’ll see ya in six months!!!!

“He loves to sing, La la la la, Elmo’s song. La la la la, La la la la, Elmo’s song.
He wrote the music. He wrote the words. That’s Elmo’s song.”–Elmo (PS Thanks Elmo for entertaining my Bridger when it really counts!)

16 12, 2011

Christmas on Autism Street

By |December 16th, 2011|Autism, Life, Parenting|0 Comments|

This year I decided to participate with the Utah Autism Coalition and send Christmas Cards from Autism Street. I sent our family holiday card along with this letter to the governor, senators, and representatives of our state. I hope I wasn’t too whiny or depressing. I just felt compelled to tell the truth.

Dear Gov. Herbert,

A couple years ago we had no clue what autism meant or that “Autism Street” existed. Today, we live here…Our story isn’t unique, there are so many families that live here, but ours is special to us because it’s ours. Since we live in your community, we hope it’s special to you too!

When Bridger was two I took him in for an eye check-up. I wasn’t too worried because with all the health problems he had suffered through that were typical with preemies, he had never had eye issues. I described to the eye doctor his lack of eye contact and how he stares at lights. He said “His eyes are fine. You need to have him tested for Autism.” Huh?!? This was the first time Autism had been mentioned to me. I was ticked off. I thought to myself “Just check his eyes dude.”  We had dealt with so many professionals, no one told us about Autism or that preemies were 20% more likely to have it. I was SO mad as I told our trusted pediatrician about my encounter with the eye doctor. He just nodded and said “I think we should have him tested.” What?!?

As I read about Autism, I knew. Our little Bridger had a textbook case. We had him tested at the University of Utah about 6 weeks later. He tested at the low functioning end of the spectrum when he was 2 and ½ years old.

Since that time our life has been turned upside down as we have tried to decide on the best course of treatment for our little guy. We have spent thousands and thousands of dollars already. Our health insurance hasn’t paid a dime. We keep reading and struggling to make the right decisions as we watch our savings account deplete, knowing that every day counts since we have a limited window of time to get the best results possible. Everyone swears by a different treatment and says “you know your son the best”. We do know our son, but we don’t know Autism, although we are learning. We want answers! We need resources! What can we do to give him the best chance in his life???

After 16 months of an in-home ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) Program combined with the public special needs preschool, we recently switched exclusively to an ABA Preschool. It’s expensive and it’s a half hour away from our home, but we have high hopes that our non-verbal 4 year old is going to make great strides there…

We love our sweet Bridger! He is our greatest blessing and our biggest challenge. He makes our hearts swell with his laughter and he runs us ragged with his mischief.  We want so much for him. We want to give him all that we can, everything that he needs to succeed and reach his full potential! We’re still just trying to figure out what that is.

As you make important decisions for our community this year, please think of us, our family, our sweet Bridger, not with pity or sadness but with hope and excitement and promise for the future. In the meantime, we will be here on Autism Street pushing forward each day with courage, strength and hope praying for miracles and help on our journey…

Happy Holidays to you and yours,

Becky and the rest of the Frys
“Believe in what your heart is saying, Hear the melody that’s playing.There’s no time to waste, There so much to celebrate.Believe in what you feel inside,Give your dreams the wings to fly.You have everything you need, if you just believe.”–Josh Groban

16 12, 2011

A Flower is a Flower…

By |December 16th, 2011|Blended Family, Life, Parenting|0 Comments|

It’s well past midnight and I’m up with Celeste waiting for her to finish writing her “Oratory” for her debate competition in Moab. She leaves tomorrow at 7am with her school debate team. In the last couple hours she has written, I have listened and timed her, I have made cookies for her to take and we’ve been taking turns switching and folding her laundry loads all while listening to some of our favorite songs and sometimes singing along.

I may not have given birth to this child but I can’t imagine loving her any more than I do.  She is an amazing girl. She inspires me. She makes me happy. She sees me through eyes that make me want to be better. I never want to let her down.

Celeste is not the perfect, cookie cutter girl that every mother dreams about…she is better. She is unique. She thinks for herself and questions and pushes the limits. She dreams big and loves bigger. It is not by chance that she is in my life. It is God’s plan. I am sure of it.

“A flower is a flower, It doesn’t have to try to bloom, And light is light, Just knows how to fill a room. And dark is dark, So the stars have a place to shine,The tide goes out,So it can come back another time. Goodbye makes a love so sweet, And love is love so it can teach us.We already are what we are, And what we are is beautiful…And strong enough…And good enough…And bright enough…” –Jewel

2 12, 2011

My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

By |December 2nd, 2011|Autism, Life, Parenting|1 Comment|

Okay, so I am all about trying to keep up the “Polyanna” image but my point in starting a blog was to be honest about my life and particularly my life with autism. With that in mind I wouldn’t blame you if you stopped reading here. I would. Today SUCKED!!! The sad thing is it’s not over yet. I just feel like if I purge myself now maybe I can turn things around for the rest of the day…

This is what happened. My main priority for the day was to apply for a grant for Bridger. It’s the one I already applied for a couple months ago but was too early. Today was the day we’re eligible so I spent the morning filling out the application…again. When I was done I went to print and photocopy the pages I have to send in the mail and our printer was out of ink. I didn’t have time to go to the store and get the ink and get to the post office before I had to pick up Bridger from preschool.Taking Bridger to the post office to stand in line is out of the question so I just had to get used to the idea that it wouldn’t be sent until tomorrow.

I got showered and got Noah dressed and headed out in time to grab a healthy McDonalds lunch for Noah while we drove up to get Bridger from school. We were late. Decided to push the limits and take the boys to Target to pick up the computer ink before going home. They didn’t have the ink I need, of course. Bridger was extra unhappy at the store so it was a relief to get him home.

I was stressed because the day wasn’t going as planned. I feel like Bridger’s future depends on that stupid paperwork that I couldn’t seem to get to work out. Makes me cry just thinking about it. Anyway, we were home. Phew…

I sat down and watched some tv thinking I could decompress a little so I wasn’t in such a bad mood. Noah was on the computer playing on PBS and Bridger was upstairs in the playroom. I waited too long to check on him. I went up and he had gotten through his onesie AND his belt and had peeled off his poopy diaper. Damn it! Poop everywhere. I was so ANGRY. Why do I get so mad? He doesn’t mean it. It isn’t personal. I got him in the tub. Texted some swear words to my husband and got the carpet cleaned. My cute Noah came up to see what the commotion was about and I told him I was cleaning because Bridger took his diaper off. He said “I’m sorry Momma.” More tears. It’s so hard sometimes…for all of us…

Bridger was totally happy, oblivious. Loved having a bath. I got him out. Got myself calm. Started doing some Christmas projects on the computer. Within minutes he had the jar of crushed garlic out of the fridge and open. Okay. Whatever. Cleaned him up again. Got back to the computer. I had to bring him in out of the kitchen probably 20 times. On the 21st time I waited too long. Smashed butter ALL over the fridge, floor and Bridger’s hands. Really??? Really??? As I cleaned up the butter the “mean mom” was OUT. I yelled at him to stay out of the kitchen. So he did. He went in to the living room and tipped over the toy organizer dumping all the toys on the floor. Thank you Bridger. Seriously, thank you because at that point I just started laughing. I even took a picture. This is my life. What do ya do? Luckily some days aren’t quite this bad and thank God above that my husband will be home soon. I’m counting the minutes…breathe in, breathe out…SERENITY NOW!

“I need serenity. In a place where I can hide. I need serenity. Nothing changes, days go by.”–Godsmack