It was actually the second call I had received that day. The first one came earlier in the morning when his teacher phoned to let me know that Gray had derailed her entire lesson plan with his iPad. She went on to explain that she had been working with some students when the song “Do you wanna build a snowman” from the movie, Frozen, started ringing through the classroom. Everyone stopped dead in their tracks and looked to see where the music was coming from. Gray was watching a video on his iPad that Zoe and Lena had made the night before.
Zoe has an app that allows her to take any songs that we own on iTunes and turn them into music videos with effects. Wednesday night, the girls had talked me into participating in their music video because, as they explained, Anna (the little sister in the movie) is 3 different ages throughout the song. Lena was playing the youngest version, then Zoe played the older one and they needed me to play the oldest version of Anna. I reluctantly obliged and followed all of their directions to “really show emotion” and “act out all of Anna’s words” for the camera. Best of all, they started my part off during the instrumental interlude, so the video has a long section where all that is shown is my backside as I stand in front of a door and wait for my cue. The girls thought it was great fun and I was just trying to be a fun-loving mom, but I didn’t consider who else might see the video. I certainly didn’t realize that it was on Gray’s iPad or that he knew where to find it. But, he did. And his whole class had a ball watching with him. Very embarassing.
So, when the second call came in at 2:15, I thought I was just going to take some more teasing over Gray’s non-stop viewing of the video. Imagine my surprise when the call was from Gray’s aide informing me that he had just dislocated his shoulder. He had been sitting in his chair with his feet crossed and leaned too far forward to get up. He lost his balance and caught his arm on a desk as he went to the ground. This caused his right shoulder to hyperextend and pop out of the socket. Sounds horrible, right? Well, his aide saw the whole thing and rushed over to get Gray. He said that he could tell the shoulder was dislocated as soon as he got to him. He tried to immobilize Gray’s arm while the classroom aide ran for the school nurse. Gray, seemingly unfazed by the whole thing didn’t even cry. He just let out a soft whimper and whipped his trunk around while his aide held his arm. This motion caused the shoulder to pop back into the socket and the whole situation was remedied by the time the nurse arrived. Gray has such a high pain tolerance, I suspect he only saw the event as an inconvenient moment when he couldn’t use his arm. I honestly think the only horrible part was for the aide who had to feel and hear all of the joint contortions happening in Gray’s body. By the time I got to the school, Gray was happy and moving his arm normally. The only evidence that any injury had happened was a red spot on top of his shoulder.
Of course, as a matter of safety, I took him to an orthopedic doctor to make sure that everything looked to be in its proper place. Ironically, Gray was the most calm and peaceful kid in my group. I nearly killed Zoe and Lena for goofing around and fighting throughout the entire appointment. Even while the doctor was talking to me and assuring me that everything looked fine, the girls were fighting over my phone and Gray’s iPad and who could climb on the exam table. I was furious and rattled by the time we left, but not because of Gray’s injury. It was because of the girls’ behavior and the fact that we were leaving the doctor’s office at 6pm and I had nothing prepared for dinner and everyone was starving. Funny, right? No one was was terribly upset or worried over Gray’s shoulder…not even Gray.
That’s how we roll in the Golden family. I wonder if it is that way for other families impacted by autism? Gray’s muscle tone is so low and his joints are so lax that I’m actually surprised he hasn’t dislocated more joints. Additionally, it seems that there is always some kind of medical emergency popping up for Gray. He has had stitches, glue and staples to mend cuts and gashes. Most days, he is sporting a bruise from some unknown source – either a fall or a self-inflicted punch or just running into things. Even when he had a full-blown seizure while we were on vacation in the Caribbean two years ago, we all just took it in stride. Of course Caribbean hospitals are much less beautiful than the resorts, but we were back on track 24-hours later. I remember a girlfriend asking me if I freaked out when Gray started with the convulsions. I replied, “No, not really. I knew what was happening. If one of the girls had a seizure, I would freak out. But, with Gray, there is always some new emergency cropping up.”
I don’t mean to sound callous towards my precious son, but the truth is, it is getting hard for him to shock me at this point. Even the girls could resume their normal bickering while we waited for Gray’s x-rays to come back. I credit him with a lot of my cool-headed handling of situations. It seems that many parents I know are way too overprotective of their kids. They worry about their kids playing outside with no shoes, eating too many sugary snacks, and signing up for plenty of extracurricular activities to keep them well-rounded. Not me. My low standards keep my sanity intact. I figure that a day without any visits to the emergency room is a good one.