It’s been several months but I want to continue the story I started in Parts 1 and 2 of “The Day Everything Changed”.
If Mom and I had thought things had changed before this day- what happened today erased all thoughts of anything being the same again in our lives. Early in the morning my doctor came over to the house for my appointment since I could not leave Mom. Her and my very best friend had talked and they were so concerned about the state of things with Mom and me that she insisted that today we should take Mom to the hospital.
If you know anything about me and my past with my autism, when I am faced with something I cannot handle I run. And run I did, right out the front door in my pyjamas and bare feet on a very cold November day. I ran and ran, letting the cold air fill my lungs till they felt like they were going to burst. I did not feel the cold over the rest of me. I was so emotionally numb – a coping mechanism to help me deal with the terror of sending Mom to the hospital and all that would do for our future. I don’t know how long I ran for – perhaps 15 min or so. I ended up coming to a children’s park. There was a swing set and I sat down on the empty swing and slowly began to pump my legs. I started going higher and higher, faster and faster till I was almost horizontal with the top pole. Minutes passed but it seemed like hours and I lost all sense of time. I was suspended in time on that swing. The rhythm back and forth, back and forth formed a mantra in my head and shut out everything I did not want to face. I was in a no man’s land. No past, no future. Just back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. Soon though reality reared it’s ugly face in front of me and I thought of Mom back home. I had to get home but I had dissociated a bit and was unsure of how to get back home. I then noticed a lady walking her dog. She looked harmless enough. I went up to her and asked her if she would help me get home. I remember thinking that she was going to think I was a crazy lady. I tried to tell her I was autistic and I ran because i was going to have to put my beloved mother in the hospital today. I couldn’t face it so I ran. After asking me some questions, she stopped a mailman who then called the police. It was not long until a police car pulled up. I was so embarassed and just wanted to turn back time so that this had never happened. It seemed I was always doing things to make things worse. The woman police officer asked me if I was cold to which I replied that I was not. She was very surprised and turned on the heat full blast in the car. By then I was more lucid and could tell her where I lived and she drove me home. When I arrived home my good friend was there and was so relieved to see me. They had people out looking for me. Mom meanwhile had no idea what was going on. My doctor was gone to her next patient but she had phoned my brother in Ottawa and told him to get himself down here pronto. The police officer would not leave until she had confirmation that I would not be left alone for the next few days ( otherwise I was going to be admitted to the hospital on a form) A phone call from my doctor, my friend’s assurance and the assurance my brother was on his way finally convinced her to let me stay at home and she left. My friend got me a cup of tea and as I slowly sipped on the comforting hot liquid, I had to face the facts that the nurse was on her way to get Mom ready to go to the hospital. I went upstairs and in tears told Mom I could no longer look after her at home and that she would be going to the hospital. I was so sorry to do this to her, so utterly sorry. Mom slumped in her chair and turned pale but she seemed to understand that I had to do what I had to do. She seemed to sense this was not a time when she had a choice in the matter. Soon the ambulance came and I went into robotic mode as I tried to gather what she would need at the hospital. I don”t remember too much after that. I don’t remember if I rode in the ambulance or with my friend. I know they took Mom right into the Emerg department but I couldn’t go at first. The waiting to be with Mom seemed endless. I didn’t want mom to be alone at this time. Finally I got to be with her. And my brother arrived. I remember it all felt like a bad dream, the worst nightmare ever. I just wanted to wake up with Mom and me back home. Something told me there was no going back. Mom would not be coming home again. I shut my eyes tight trying to block out the picture of her lying on the hospital bed with doctors and nurses bustling about and I cried and cried. What had I done??