Thursday afternoon was an absolute disaster. I had been looking forward to celebrating "Cinco de Mayo" with my family that evening, had planned a great Mexican feast and had even found the blender for Margaritas when I got the phone call. It’s the kind of phone call I personally dread like no other. Matthew, my nearly-nine-year-old, had apparently ingested something that showed up as contrast on an X-ray. He had not been given barium nor anything loaded with magnesium such as Pepto-Bismol or another stomach acid reducer. I could not account for him eating anything unusual, so, unfortunately, his pediatrician recommended that I take Matthew to the Emergency Room. Oh joy. Here comes the fun.
My Matthew, the joy of my life, is profoundly autistic. Matthew's symptoms are severe, including aggression and fecal smearing. Matthew is non-verbal for the most part and his behavior is unpredictable, as he frequently becomes frustrated due to difficulty with receptive language. Noise and fluorescent lighting easily overwhelm Matthew. As one might imagine, a trip to the emergency room can be a terrifying experience for a child on the autistic spectrum. Matthew keenly remembers past trips to the ER and panicked the minute we walked through the doors of the hospital.