Utter Autism

August 25, 2011

Not Enough

Yesterday we went for our second swim with our new community center membership.  I’d gone out of my way to figure out the logistics ahead of time.  I scoped out the place while Adrian was back in school, asking lots of questions about the family changing room, disable accessible restrooms, the pool itself, floaties for my non-swimmer, etc.  

I went to purchase the membership by myself so I could focus on refining all those details a bit further.  So far, so good.  Everything looked perfect.

Our first swim went…, well…, swimmingly!  I checked in with the lifeguard about rules, learned where to find the floaties, figured out where the open swim section was.  It worked out great for everyone.  The 3 other kids swam in the shallow section while I took Adrian for laps.  We all had fun and it was great exercise.

Then we went back for our second swim.

And they gave me different rules.  They wanted me to be within arms length of the youngest at all times.  But he wasn’t allowed to go to the deep end where I’d been doing laps with Adrian.

I explained the situation and tried to offer other solutions…. Zee could wear a life vest instead of a floaty?  Could the two 13 year old girls watch him instead of me?  Nope.  Nothing.  The nice pool manager lady was kind enough to take it all the way to the top management but, citing insurance reasons, the answer still came back a big fat “NO.”

I thanked her for trying and said I understood – and I do – but I still walked away tearful.  It’s just the icing on the cake for a summer where Adrian’s autism has left us severely limited in what we can do. 

First there was the family wedding in Virginia.  My husband took the 3 kids and I stayed home with Adrian.  They had a wonderful week-long adventure and while I’m happy for that, I was left behind.  There was no other way.  We couldn’t have made the trip with Adrian.

The whole summer I ended up driving Adrian both to and from school.  The bus situation the school offered for summer school was more than he could have handled.  That’s 2 whole hours out of each day I spent doing nothing but driving back and forth. 

To make matters worse, the only way they’d allow Adrian to earn extra swim time was if I came to the school and drove him to camp myself.  Why?  Because he’d jumped out of a running car on a teacher just last year and can’t be trusted.   Add an extra hour to my daily drive time.  Three hours in the car!

That didn’t leave much time for anything else.  The other kids and I couldn’t go anywhere because it was always time to drive Adrian somewhere.

Then summer school ended and one would think we’d gain more freedom… um, yeah.  Adrian literally goes nuts every day till we go out somewhere.  But there’s no where to take him!  He’s upset and pinchy in the stores, I can’t take him to a park or that because of the new running problem and he gets upset in the car if you drive too long or if he doesn’t understand where you’re going.

My husband had a business trip and due to weather problems his flight was cancelled.  He decided to make a road trip of it.  I wanted to go with him so badly… but there was no way to take Adrian.  You can’t take Adrian to a hotel because he’s too loud and there’s the potential for him to destroy the place the way he’s destroyed our house.  Even if there were accommodations, what would we do with him all day?  It’s just impossible.

So my husband took his mother.  And once again, I got left behind.

I’ve racked my brain trying to figure out where we can go, what we can do with Adrian.  This swimming thing was it.  It was our only hope of getting to do something fun, something beneficial for everyone.  

And once again, there’s just not enough of me to make it work.  It’s not fair to the other kids, it’s not fair to Adrian.  I’m totally frustrated with the whole thing.  I can’t give everyone what they need and deserve.  There’s just not enough of me.

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