Sometimes I feel like the world is going to stop next Wednesday when we drop Teach off for her mission for our church, but I know it won't. In fact, I was trying to get my head around my schedule for next week. To avoid curling up in a fetal position and checking myself out for a couple of weeks, I packed next Thursday full of stuff. I scheduled my annual physical in the morning, parent/teacher conferences and dental appointments in the afternoon for the little ones. And that reminded me of a story.
When the Dog Walker was little, he hated doctors' offices, but his worst fears were at the dentist. We had to drag him kicking and screaming (literally) through the door. We had a wonderfully patient pediatric dentist who was willing to deal with the autistic antics. The answer became that we had to completely sedate our little Dog Walker for every procedure. That meant a huge shot in his leg and he would be out cold.
When his work was finished, he would awaken in the office and I would carry him to the car where he would vomit on the way home even though we only lived about a mile from the dentist's office. His stomach would be upset for most of the day and he would lie on the couch in misery.
As he got older, he hated that shot more and more. He also got heavier and heavier until I could barely lift to get him to the car and walking was out of the question. He was about 8 years old when he decided that he wanted to take an oral sedative that wouldn't completely put him out and make him so sick. Unfortunately he also hated taking medicine and I was expecting that ultimately he would still need to have the shot. He was mostly still unable to hold a conversation at that point and much of his speech was picked up by mimicking those around him. If I asked him a question, rather than answer he would simply ask the same question back. It took a lot of time and effort to understand what he wanted and most people just didn't have the patience to deal with it. I was hoping that our good doctor would be willing.
We showed up bright and early for the first appointment of the day since the Dog Walker had to be fasting to be sedated and he still didn't follow instructions very well so they immediately bumped him to the front of the line. Dr. Roth was waiting with a small potent cup of muscle relaxants. The Dog Walker was terrified but determined. He tried to compose himself as Dr. Roth inched closer.
The Dog Walker trembled beside me and then uttered the words our dentist would remember for a decade, "I'm scared beyond reason!" The doctor did his best to hold in that belly laugh I could see forming in his gut. I'm not sure he realized that was a line from a Disney movie, but it was actually pretty appropriate.
The Dog Walker did manage to drink the medicine and he was never again sujected to that painful shot in his thigh. I should have realized then what an amazingly stubborn person he would become, but I never would have envisioned him as a Boy Scout earning all the Merit Badges, or a Merit Scholar at Salt Lake Community College, or even that 6th grader determined to get out of the cluster and mainstream into middle school.
I only saw a little boy, clutching his mom's arm because he was "scared beyond reason" and I have to confess that I mostly felt the same way.