Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Yes, I'm still here, part II

I think those of us on the spectrum are always living close to our outer margins. We use so much of our available resources coping with the sensory barrage and the emotional confusion of the typical outside world, that there is not all that much left.

Add illness, stress, or time pressure to that mix, and things fall apart.

Last spring, I ran, full-tilt, into the metaphorical wall.

My younger son was falling apart and the school was playing its typical delay game. (Fiddling while Rome burns, anyone?) My father went into acute kidney failure and almost died. He is now only alive because of dialysis 3 days a week. My mother needed urgent spinal surgery and has not fully recovered, either mentally or physically in the past 4 months. Add to that, the fact that they live a 3 hour plane ride from me and I am their health care proxy.

By late summer, I was a wreck.

I made the difficult decision to stop working for a while, an extended sabbatical. I have been working in my profession for 22 years, in this practice for over 10. It is a job I have always loved and one that is emotionally fulfilling, as well as emotionally draining. But I realized that I had hit a point where I was taking care of other people in every facet of my life. And not taking care of myself.

Two months later, I am starting to feel better. I still have to fly down to where my parents live and help them make difficult decisions about their safety and their living situation. But my younger son is *finally* on an appropriate IEP, getting the appropriate help in school and for the first time since last year, I am seeing his face light up in smiles.

I know how blessed I am. If it were not for my incredible, patient, supportive, loving husband, I wouldn't be here.