Needless to say, when we woke Sammy up this morning, he knew something was up. He was very resistant to getting dressed, getting out of the car, and he was refusing to sit in his bed at the hospital. Before they began to get him prepped, Sammy insisted on sitting in the wheelchair to watch some TV. Never had this kid sat and watched TV (let alone the news) for a prolonged period of time -- but today he did. Since he refuses to let IVs stay in his arm, he was given medicine orally to try and calm him down. He refused to have his blood pressure taken or heart beat listened to. When it did come time to insist on something being done, it took 3 of us to hold him down -- none of the nurses were willing to. None of the nurses understood Autism. They were giving him commands like "look over here" or "open your mouth." Even when we told them he didn't understand, they would continue and say "well maybe if we try this way." Really? Cause we don't know what he can and can't/will not do.
The surgery lasted until around 1pm. We got up at 4am and he was checked in by 5:30am. It was a LONG day. The doctor told us there had been a little more scar tissue than he an anticipated but was able to do the surgery successfully regardless. When he was out of surgery, my mom was called up to see him and he was very agitated coming out of anesthesia. My mom had to hold him down the entire ride to his new room. For the next 4 hours, 5 nurses and the three of us held Sammy down so they could get all of his IVs in and restrained him. As soon as one would be stabilized, he would rip the other out. Sammy never cries because he has such a high pain tolerance, but he was crying this entire time.
The boy was stubborn throughout the whole day, insisting on keeping his eyes open even though you could tell he just wanted to drift off to sleep. However, he did manage to get someone to be giving him a foot rub every second of every moment. It was so sad to see how uncomfortable and sad he was. I wish I could take his pain away.
I am so thankful for each and every one of you who thought of him and kept my brother in your prayers. It is because of you Sammy had such a successful surgery. We are so glad to have him back with us and hope that the recovery process will go just as well. It'll be tough but we know that we have all of your support and we are so thankful.
*If you wish to get more frequent, text updates regarding Sammy... please text "@mstalh" to the number: 717-516-6917. Also, if you wish to send Sammy or our family a message, please visit the Contact page which can be accessed at the top of my blog site. Thanks! :)
Autism from a sibling's point of view...
My name is Paige and I am 24 years old. I graduated from Towson University with a Psychology Bachelors Degree. I am now working towards my Master's in Education of Autism and other Pervasive Disorders at Johns Hopkins. I am also a Behavior Data Specialist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute Neurobehavioral Inpatient Unit. My younger brother, Sammy, is 19 and has Autism. He is completely non-verbal, unaware of safety, is not toilet trained, cannot get himself dressed, and has difficulty with everyday activities that we all take advantage of. He works harder every single day of his life than anyone I know and he always does it with a smile on his face. He is my true hero and inspiration and because of him, I have dedicated my life to advocating and creating opportunities for individuals with Autism. I hope that I can make him proud and this blog is just a small part of the awareness I hope I can create about Autism and support other siblings impacted by Autism. I love you Sammy - thank you for everything.