You know how sometimes you think, "Well, at least it can't get worse"? Never, ever say something like that. It's like taunting, "Have at thee!" to the universe and then being surprised when the Sword of Attila comes hurtling out of nowhere and lops off your hand. The universe is just full of little surprises like that.
So, I really hadn't realized how dependent we have become on pharmaceuticals to manage the highs and lows (mostly lows---abysmal, black-hole lows) of Ben's autism until this weekend, when I stupidly, absent-mindedly, possibly just lazily let the prescription run out. In my defense, Ben takes his own medications now and I don't see when the bottle is getting empty, but in his defense, he did tell me when he only had one pill left. And I forgot. On a Saturday. Saturday evening. After the pharmacy was closed.
And then, because I hadn't realized that life as we know it only exists because Ben takes that particular prescription, I thought, "Well, he'll be OK for a day without them."
Have at thee, universe.
Saturday night, Ben couldn't get to sleep. Apparently these tiny little pills open a magical portal to that world where Hypnos and Morpheus--those wondrous Greek gods of sleep and dreams--await. No wonder they cost so much, right?
And I thought, well, that's frustrating. Now he's going to be tired in the morning.
He wasn't tired in the morning. Tired is what you feel when you get into bed at 2:00 am and have to get up at 7. Tired is what you feel after you mow the lawn in 100-degree heat and need to sit down for a while.
Ben was utterly debilitated. I tried to rouse him at the crack of 10 to get ready for church. He moaned from atop his loft bed (the building of which was a major miscalculation on our part not only because it has given him the ability to kick through the ceiling in moments of rage, but also because I can't reach him without the assistance of a ladder). I ignored the moans and became more insistent--"Ben, get up!" Moans became cries. Cries made me irritated. "Ben--if you don't get up I will take away your iPod and laptop for the entire week!" Cries became screams.
I told Ben I wouldn't fight with him, and I informed him that I had to take his brother over to the church and that when I got back, he'd better be up. I left. I came back. Ben was up. Well, technically he was down. Down from the loft bed, down on the floor, curled up in the fetal position, screaming, panting, crying. I was unimpressed (let's add cold-hearted to my list of qualities) and told him that this wasn't working, and he needed to put clothes on.
He did his best. In retrospect, he really did better than I could have expected considering he was exhausted and devoid of the medication that helps him stay so calm and focused. His face was covered in red blotches, he couldn't stop crying, couldn't catch his breath from the uncontrolled sobs, but he was dressed. And I thought, "It won't get worse than this."
Have at thee...
I had placed a bottle of Instant Breakfast on the counter for Ben, thoughtfully loosening the lid for him first, and instructed Ben to go drink it. I assured him that he would feel better once he had. Ben went to the counter, grabbed the bottle, and proceeded to shake it.
The lid flew off, and in one of those moments where everything suddenly moves in slow-motion, Instant Breakfast was flying everywhere, and suddenly Ben was dripping in the sticky stuff--as were the counters, cupboards, and floor. I'm not sure "scream" accurately describes the sound he emitted at that point. He was wet, he was sticky, he was exhausted, and his emotional regulator had definitely and entirely shut off at this point.
I did manage to strip off all his clothes, wipe him down with a wet towel (that went well...), replace the clothes with fresh ones, and still coax him out the door to church, but he only stayed for the first meeting and mostly with his head buried in my arms so I could cover his ears and eyes and shut out all stimuli.
At least we survived, right? Except that I didn't refill his prescription yesterday, either, because it was Sunday. The ox was in the mire--I certainly should have run to Walmart to get more meds--but as I said earlier, I'm stupid, absent-minded, and lazy. And cold-hearted. So, universe, have at thee.
Ben's home today from school. Drive by the house and get a good look at the Sword of Attila, embedded to the hilt in our roof. I'm on my way to the pharmacy.