Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Broken arm, autism style

When I wrote my last post on the travails of day light savings time I created a new “tag” or category for my posts – “things that just stink”. Little did I know that I would have my next post would fit into this category so perfectly.

Last Thursday, Sayer broke his arm. As breaks go it was the “good” kind – just above the wrist, no bones out of place and so on.  Through it all, Sayer has been quite the trooper. He cooperated when we took him to Kaiser; was able to follow directions and sit still. We were treated well throughout; thank you Cascade Park Minor Injury Clinic.

In the “Isn’t it ironic?" department, Sayer was invited to a pool party set for the next day. I told him he couldn’t swim because he couldn’t get his arm wet. He wasn’t thrilled but accepted it by saying “No swimming, eat cake instead.” So, he sat nicely and watched his friends swim, had cake, got his party bag and we left. Such a change from birthday parties of lore when he WASN’T injured but was too sensory overloaded to deal with the party routine.

At the party, the wonderful hosts of the birthday boy told Sayer that when he got his cast off he and their son would make a date to swim together at the same pool. Naturally, as soon as we got home Sayer was anxious to know what day he could swim again. Since I thought the doctor said he would be in a cast for six weeks, I counted six weeks on the calendar and gave him the number of days until he could swim.

Unfortunately, I later found out from Dan that the doctor said Sayer would be in a cast for six to eight weeks – I guess I blanked out after the words “six weeks.” So, now Sayer is counting down the "days until swimming" but that day may come and go and he may still be in a cast. Uh, oh, I forgot the autism counting rule – always add more hours, days, weeks as a cushion, since these kids can be pretty rigid. I’m guessing that if Sayer isn’t ready to swim on the day circled on our calendar we will be doing some serious compensation involving ice cream and OMSI.

So, yes, when a child with autism breaks his arm it pretty much just stinks but I can think of at least three positives:

1) Sayer is mastering left and right, i.e. “I broke my left arm”
2) Sayer has learned to count backwards, i.e. “39 more days and I go swimming.”
3) Sayer has learned that taking a shower with a produce bag rubber banded around your arm isn’t THAT bad.


Friends On The Spectrum said...

Hey Carol
I am glad Sayer is doing well with his cast on. Skyler broke his right arm two years ago when he lost control of his bike. He did a great job in the emergency room, and looked forward to his visits at Rebound. He had his cast changed about 4 times in the 9-10 weeks he had it on. By the way, there is a cast which can get wet... you can fully submerge it in water. It helps with bathtime.

Carol Solow Freedman said...

Thanks for the tip about the cast that can get wet; I found some information about it on-line. We'll see what Kaiser says about that..


Sylvie said...

I'd also check with Kaiser as to when Sayer can resume all physical activities *after* his cast is off. When Evan broke arm one (lucky he doesn't have three or we'd be waiting for a third shoe to drop), he was specifically warned off swimming for the first couple of weeks *after* the cast came off (it was a greenstick fracture, for the record). But when he had a buckle fracture of the other arm, he was back playing baseball within six weeks. I don't know why they don't tell you all this when you go in for the cast -- they tend to act like you should know it already. So do double check about this.