The Real Superman Part XX

The Real Superman Part XX

By Jeff King

It has been awhile since I have written. I was bogged down working at summer school and studying my last two college classes of the last semester. I just recently finished both. There has been a few things that have taken place since I last wrote The Real Superman. Dylan was scheduled to have the battery in his VNS changed today, which is 8/5/2015. It never happened, because, the surgeon’s secretary would call every few days to move the surgery further. It was originally scheduled for 7:00 AM, but she called us yesterday after calling us two previous time to reschedule and make it later. Now they wanted to schedule it for 2:00 PM, which is actually insane, because, Dylan wouldn’t have been able to eat anything after 12:00 AM this morning. That means he would have to go about 18 hours before he would be able to eat anything. I guess when you’re second class people these surgeons can reschedule you anytime they feel like it. Dylan being possibly two years old mentally, would be very angry if he was unable to eat for that long, and besides, it isn’t good for his health to go for that long. I am considering on launching a complaint against this surgeon, because, it is ridiculous to expect a child that is like Dylan to go that long without anything to eat.

I truly have a problem with the way people treat children with special needs. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t everyone that does it, but when you’re a parent of a child that has special needs, you notice all the stares and whispers. You notice how some people treat you differently. Just as I was explaining. If we were people that had top of the line health insurance and not Medicaid for Dylan, but perhaps, Blue Cross and Blue Shield; or if we were paying cash, I can bet money that this doctor wouldn’t have continued to put Dylan’s surgery off! It just peeves me! Goddamnit, we are not second class citizens. We matter too! These children matter! We ended up canceling it and rescheduling it for next Thursday. The Secretary told us that if we didn’t reschedule it for next week then we would have to wait until October before we could reschedule it, because the surgeon was going on vacation. Must be real nice? Anyhow, I guess we should be use to this sort of thing by now, since these are the things we have had to deal with since Dylan has been little.

I have written before about how people would say things, for example the woman at the mall who accused Dylan of pushing her kid off the Humpty Dumpty Sliding board. Then there was the woman who blocked the wheelchair access aisle so we couldn’t get Dylan out of the store in his wheelchair. The woman that said that I wasn’t even man enough to make a normal child. Then we went to the MVA to aquire a special parking permit in front of my house, so we can have parking right out in front. We have fought people over this issue. On occasion we have some assclown that decides to park there, but unbeknown to them it is a 500.00 fine to park there. I have actually had words with several neighbors because they parked there. I had one neighbor across from me had someone visiting from Florida parked there. We pull up it is pouring down raining and someone is parked in our spot. I didn’t know who it was. I layed on my horn, hoping someone would come out to investigate and perhaps know who the vehicle belonged to, but to no avail, so I called the police and the officer comes to write a ticket for the vehicle. The lady across the street from me pulls up and ask me what was the problem, I told her that someone parked in my spot. She then says to me, “Do you want me to go get him and make him move?” I replied that I had already called the police. The officer hadn’t arrived as of yet, but she then replies, “Well that is unneccesary!” I did’t know she knew this person, but she began to cuss me out like it was my fault that this ass hat parked in my spot! My daughter began to yell at her, and began to threaten her. That is when the clown that had parked in my spot finally came out of her house and walked across the street. He asked me what was the problem and I explained that I have a permit for the parking space and that it is a 500.00 fine to park there. He said he didn’t even see the two great big signs that read “PERMIT PARKING ONLY”, which also has a number that is affixed to my driver’s side windshield. I replied, “Can you read?” Which he took offense with me. That is when the police officer pulled up. I explained to the officer what transpired. I told the officer if he moves I am not worried about if he gives him a ticket. I just want my parking space so I could get Dylan out of the car and into the house. This is the kind of issues we have had to deal with. One time some Jack hole had parked there and I called the police. The officer that came actually asked me what I expected him to do about it. I informed him that they usually write a ticket for the violators. He told me that he wasn’t comfortable doing that and to park somewhere else. I promptly took his name and badge number and told him that I was calling for another officer. He was a real smart ass. He said, “Go right ahead, they will just send me back and I am not writing a ticket, I don’t have to.” Which really pissed me off. The woman who parked there came walking down the street and the officer asked if the car was hers and she said yes. He said, well you can’t park here. She said “Oh I am sorry, I didn’t know that?” She got in and drove off. Then the officer says to me, “all taken care of” Like he did something. I quickly replied, “Yes, but no thanks to you.” I will be in touch with your supervisor.” I called his supervisor the next day and was assured that I wouldn’t have another issue with an officer writing a ticket, because that is his job.

These are the things we have to deal with. I also explained the stares people give to Dylan. Like he is some kind of freak. He yells out, because he cannot speak. We expect children to stare, but then we have grown ass people rudely stare. We hear them whisper and occasionally laugh. One time, me, Dylan, Terri and my mom was in Wal-Mart and I was walking ahead of them. Terri was pushing Dylan in his chair and Dylan began to scream, it is an impulsive sensory thing that he does. Most people pay no mind to him, because most people no better, but as they’re walking along, Dylan is screaming. I was up ahead, because I was checking on something. Dylan let out an ear piercing squeal there was a lady directly in front of me she looked up and said, “Geese, shut that kid up!” I said, “Excuse me?” and she laughed, “I said, shut that kid up!” I was angry and I yelled at the woman, “What in the hell is wrong with you lady? That’s my child you’re talking about and he is Autistic!” She turned horribly red, “Oh I am so sorry, I didn’t know? I work with kids like him.” She replied. “I sure hope the hell not!” I said furiously “Because I sure feel sorry for them! You intensive asshole!” I added. By then Terri had overheard what was going on and she immediately reamed the woman out as well. Suddenly my 65 year old mother came careening down the aisle with a cart, “What did that bitch say about my grandson!” she yelled. I immediately calmed her down we got what we came to get and quickly left the store without further incident.

These are the things that saddens me. I often wonder is how Dylan will be treated when we’re no longer around and sometimes I feel hopeless; however, there remains a glimmer of hope. We were out at a mall yesterday and me and Dylan sat on a bench waiting for Terri to finish in Torrid. This little boy escaped from his mother and came running over to wear we were sitting. I was on the bench, but Dylan was in his wheelchair. The little boy bean to rub Dylan’s hand and say hi. His mom came over and said, “Did you tell the little boy hi?” they both smiled at us the young woman said hi to me and asked me how I was doing? I told her good thanks. She smiled and walked away. It is these type of things that gives me hope. We have people hating one another because of race issues. We have people hating people because of religion and politics. It seems as if the world is seriously going to hell and we are all on a one way dead end road towards doomsday, but there is yet hope. The little boy that came up to Dylan was probably about three-years old and an African American. He didn’t notice Dylan’s skin color, or his disability, he noticed that Dylan was a kid, just like him. That is truly love and that’s the kind of love that produces hope. (To be continued.)

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The Real Superman Part XVII

The Real Superman Part XVII

By Jeff King

Whenever Dylan gets sick, he usually has increase seizure activity. That is one way we know that something is wrong with him. Since he can no longer speak we’re unable to know how he is feeling. He cannot tell us if his tummy aches or his head is hurting, or he has an earache. We’re always worried if something major happens, how we are going to know what’s wrong with him. For example, my appendix burst and I had to be rushed to the hospital and have an emergency Appendectomy. I knew something was wrong because my right side was in excruciating pain, and I was running a fever, but sometimes when Dylan is sick, we don’t even know it, because he never cries. He had quite a few ear infections where he ran a slight fever, but he didn’t really show any indication that he was in pain. He started having an increase in seizures, so we decided to take him to the doctors. When his pediatrician examined him, he discovered that he had an ear infection and prescribed antibiotics to clear it up. This has happened around twenty or more times when he was a little younger. We tried to have tubes put in his ears, but the hospital that we took him to refused to do it until he was seizure free for a month. This is impossible, he hasn’t been seizure free longer than a few weeks, and that was right after he started taking Vimpat, which was probably do to a combination of the Vimpat, Keppra, and the VNS. We thought that the Vimpat was going to be the magical cure for Dylan’s seizures, but, as usual once his body was used to the medicine, the seizures returned. Anyway, Dylan slept for about 12 hours one day. We knew something was wrong and we checked him out. He had a fever and we decided to take him to a local clinic to get him checked out.

We arrived at the clinic and checked him in. We waited about half an hour until he was called back to be examined by the on call physician that day. She checked him over and afterwards informed us that Dylan had an ear infection. She prescribed Bactrim which is a sulfur type antibiotic. We took him home and began to give it to him. The next morning Dylan was on fire his temperature was 103 and he had hives all over his face and body. We took him back to the clinic to see what was going on with him. The physician on call was a different one than the previous day. He looked at Dylan and said that they were going to call an ambulance and have Dylan transferred to the emergency room to the hospital where my wife had her surgery, where the doctor butchered her. I yelled at the physician, “Hell no, I am not taking my son to the butcher shop! I wouldn’t take my enemy there, or even a dog!” He looked surprised and asked if I was refusing to have him transferred there? I told him, “Hell yeah, I am!” and grabbed Dylan off the examining table hoisted him over my shoulder and carried him out to the car. I buckled him into his seatbelt and he, Terri, and I drove up to John Hopkins Emergency children’s center. They quickly took him into an examining room and immediately a doctor came in to examine him. She took one look at Dylan and said, “He looks like he has Stephen Johnson Syndrome and he would need to be admitted right away. A nurse came in and started an IV drip which had an antibiotic in it.

Dylan was hospitalized for a week and we were told he did indeed have Stephen Johnson Syndrome which was caused by the Bactrim. The time Dylan was in the hospital he lost some weight, because he had lost his appetite. This all took place right before Christmas, and Terri had to stay with him for the week while I worked and had to be home to take care of my other two children. I contacted the clinic and told them that they nearly killed my son and that I was going to put in a complaint against them. We had told them that Dylan had some allergies to certain medicine’s and the doctor at John Hopkins told us since Dylan was allergic to Trileptal then the doctor at the clinic should have known that Dylan would have been allergic to the Bactrim, because it had a similar chemical compound.

Dylan always seems to get some kind of sickness around the Christmas holiday. I mean I know he doesn’t intentionally make himself sick, it just seems like that is the times he is most likely to get sick. The worst thing for us is the fact that he can’t come up to us and say, “Mom, Dad, I am not feeling well.” The fact is most of the time when he does get sick, we don’t know he is. This little boy can be sick, or even have a fever and the majority of the time, he will still be running around between the living room and the dining room playing with his toys. We have to have great discernment skills to find out when he’s sick. As I said before, one way we know something is wrong with him, is he often has more seizures, but what we would give to have Dylan become seizure free. There is some hope we feel available and it is called Charlotte’s Web. (To be continued.)

Ode to Superman

This is a poem I am working on. I haven’t finished yet. I would actually like some feedback on it. It’s titled Ode to Superman

Ode to Superman

I watched him grow from a small child to struggle through so many things. So unlike any other boy. To wrestle just to make it through another day. He was born under a dark cloud, but his smile would ignite the sun and though his life is filled with shadows he will not cry one single tear.

The war he fights is his alone. He battles hard without a fear. With no concern with what tomorrow holds. He stays strong and carries on.

Carry on little Superman. On wings of hope you fly on high. No kryptonite can hold you down.  Spread your wings my hero fly.

The Real Superman Part XV

The Real Superman Part XV

By Jeff King

Dylan was doing so well. He no longer was laying around like a lump. He was back! He was all over the place. We had gotten his helmet and tried several times to make him wear it, but we were unsuccessful. Every time we placed it on his head he would rip it off and toss it. We got so tired of fighting with him, we just decided not to try to force him to wear it.

We went to the mall and Dylan would run right to the elevator to watch it go up and down. We were so happy, because the light had returned to his eyes and life had returned to his body once again. This was so amazing. We went everywhere. We even decided to take his chair out of the trunk, because he didn’t have a need for it anymore. I took him to another mall where he enjoyed riding on the little carrousel that was there. He rode it several times and then I took him off of it to walk down to meet Terri and the children where they were getting their hair cut. Dylan took off. He began to run. He ran just like he used to. I was so happy to see him running once again. My man was back and he had proved once again that he was indeed Superman, and those seizures, which are his kryptonite was not going to defeat him. I gave chase, because I still was unsure about him running. I kept thinking, “God please don’t let him have a seizure”, because the floor was concrete and then suddenly he dropped to the floor head first. He lay there in a heap, flailing around uncontrollably. I ran to retrieve him off of the floor and there were several mall kiosk employees who ran to help us. One gentleman grabbed a slew of paper towels and some ice to put on Dylan’s forehead, which he had slightly busted open, but fortunately it was not bad. He did have a goose egg protruding from his forehead, but he was fine. He never cried or screamed or anything. We continued to walk to meet my family, but by now I had firmly taken his hand and made sure he walked beside me.

He begin to have several of these seizures where he would just drop to the floor, ground, etc. They were the most frightening ones, because you never knew when they were going to happen. I had recently been hired as a permanent part time teacher’s assistant at the school I worked for. I started out a one on one temporary employee. I worked with two students who had autism and behavioral issues. I was told that I did so well with them that the school wanted to hire me permanent part time and as soon as a fulltime positon became available then it was mine.  School was scheduled to begin on August 26th 2013. The day before school was to begin. I was upstairs when Terri screamed for me to come downstairs. I ran downstairs. I was greeted by a scene that looked straight out of a crime scene. Blood was everywhere and Dylan was laying on the living room floor in a pool of blood convulsing violently. He had an absence seizure and had fallen and busted his head on the corner of the entertainment center. I had just recently taken a first aid and a CPR course in the summer. I grabbed Dylan up and told my daughter Destiny to grab me something that I could pack his wound with. She grabbed a bunch of paper towels and I reluctantly used them to pack his head to try to stop the bleeding. I told her to call 911 which she did. I examined the gash in his head and it was bad. It was as deep as it was wide. We waited for the paramedics to arrive and they took over. Dylan was sitting on the floor like nothing had even happened to him. He didn’t cry or give any indication that he was ever in any pain. The ambulance took him and my wife to the ER and I followed in the car while Destiny and my son Dacota cleaned up the mess.

I arrived at the hospital several minutes after the ambulance. Once inside the immediately took Dylan into a room where a nurse attended to his wound until a doctor could see him. The doctor came in and examined Dylan and determined that he would either need several stitches or staples. We actually opted for the staples because they would leave less scarring and thank God we had recently taken him to get his hair cut so it was easier for the doctor to clean him up and staple the wound closed. It was on the top of his head, which was another blessing so whenever he grew his hair back the scar would be almost unnoticeable. The doctor put 8 staples into Dylan’s head and once again he never cried or screamed out. His threshold for pain is very high. The only time he cried was whenever we were holding him down, but other than that this little guy is amazing. This is indeed the Real Superman and he was amazing. (To be continued!)

The Real Superman Part XIII

By Jeff King

December 22nd, 2011 was finally here. We took Dylan to his surgery appointment early that morning at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. We had to be there by 6:00 AM to get him prepared for the VNS. My wife and I was quite nervous about this procedure. We had researched it and we knew that he was at the top hospital in the world. With the top neurological surgeon for children, George Jallo. Who is also the Clinical Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery and a Professor of Neurosurgery. This guy is the best in this field and he has the credentials to prove it. We were still very worried. We prayed and waited with Dylan until the anesthesiologist showed up. He had his own team that he brought with him. They assured us that Dylan was in good hands. Of course we were concerned after what Terri had went through, but this was the hospital that I had taken her to. This was where the surgeon who had put her back together once practiced at. He had moved on to another hospital, but he had designed the surgery that saved my wife’s life Dr. Charles Yeo was a miracle worker and we were sure that Dr. Jallo was cut from the same cloth. He worked at the same hospital. The hospital that people from all over the world come to when they want to get well! Dylan was in good hands indeed.

The surgery took about three hours and the Doctors assistant kept us informed throughout the surgery. This is definitely a first class hospital and they deserve every award they receive.

After about three hours the Doctor came out and told us himself that everything went well and that they were getting ready to transfer Dylan into recovery. It took about a half an hour before a nurse came out and got us and took us to Dylan. He was out like a light and we examined is tiny body. He had a scar that ran up the left side of his chest to just under his chin. It looked like someone had cut his throat. It was a little disturbing looking to us. Dylan was out for about an hour before he finally woke from his drug induced slumber. We thought he would wake up crying or screaming, but, no, he didn’t. Like some sort of Friday the 13th movie Dylan sat up like Jason Voorhees. He was ready to get up and go. We gave him some juice and he drank it down like it was nothing.

Almost immediately we noticed a difference in Dylan. The first few weeks we almost had the old Dylan back. He was more alert and for the first time in over a year he was seizure free! Our thoughts were, “finally, we have found the magic bullet. This would surely be the golden cure that we were looking for. We took him to Dr. Rubenstein over the next several weeks so that he could adjust the stimulator. He was amazed how well the surgery went and how well Dylan was doing. He witnessed Dylan trying to communicate again. He wasn’t talking yet, but he was definitely more vocal and we truly believed that soon, he would talk once again. Finally our son had returned. How I missed that boy.

Dylan was more animated than he had been in over a year. He was walking around and moving at will. He began to play with some of the toys that had been lying dormant for the past year. We were definitely witnessing our second miracle; the first one being the day he started running. What we didn’t know that this too was only a temporary fix and that the seizures would be back with a fiery vengeance in about 4 months. (To be continued.)

The Real Superman Part XI

By Jeff King

The Real Superman Part XI

By Jeff King

Between the seizures and the meds that Dylan was on, he had regressed; mentally he was possibly 6 to perhaps 9 months in his mind. He no longer talked he would just lay around. We tried to get him up and around, but his muscles would no longer allow him to move fluidly. We were going to try a new medication trileptal. It was very promising. Right away he began to have an allergic reaction to this drug and broke out in hives. We stopped giving it to him right away and called his neurologist. He called us back and told us to continue giving it to him for the next couple of days, but we didn’t. We made another appointment with the neurologist and while we were in his office he began to argue with another neurologist that he shared an office with. It was very unprofessional and the office was full of patients. After he called us in the back to see him, he asked what we were seeing him for. Everything that we told him previously he seemed to have forgotten. We had to explain things all over again to him. He asked us are we still giving Dylan the trileptal and we told him no we stopped a few days ago! He looked at us like there was something wrong with us. I became angry and told him that I wasn’t going to keep giving Dylan the medicine after he was clearly having an allergic reaction to it. We promptly walked out of the office.

When we got home I began to search for a new Neurologist. We found one who worked out of Kennedy Krieger Institute and was a neurologist at John Hopkins University also. Dr. James Rubenstein. This guy was wonderful! He was very caring. He listened to all of our concerns. This wonderful doctor had an amazing bed-side manner reminiscent of the old time country doctors. You could see the empathy he felt towards Dylan. He didn’t look at Dylan as just another patient, one more number. No this gentleman was the real deal and he was very caring. He also answered every question or concern that we had. He took extensive notes and would ask us questions too. The other neurologist was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide. I will just refer him to that name, because, I don’t want a law suit against me for deformation of character, but this other Dr. was completely terrible when it came to Dylan. We had a wonderful first meeting with Dr. Rubenstein and He said that we will continue Dylan on the Keppra and slowly wean him off the Clonazepam, because we were sure that this was making him very lethargic. We went home thinking that we have finally found the right neurologist for Dylan and we were absolutely right.

Dylan didn’t make too much progress as we slowly weaned him off the Clonazepam. He still was very lethargic, but the seizures seemed to only worsen. He was having seizures where he would go into full grand mal seizures and when he came out of them he could no longer walk, or stand. His whole right side was like he was paralyzed. These seizures really frightened us and we noted each and every one that he had. He had also had some that were so severe that we had to give him Diazepam anally to force them to stop. Then he was rushed to the hospital several times to be checked out only to have him released in a few hours. This was very emotionally draining on us.

It was around then I was researching seizures when I first heard the term intractable epilepsy, which meant epilepsy resistant to all drugs. As I was reading about this I also found an article on SUDEP, which is an acronym for Sudden Death in Epilepsy patients. This scared me half to death and I filed it away, I hadn’t wanted to share it with Terri, because, it would only make her cry. Then Unique which was the rare chromosome disorder support group started running an article on children with Idic 15 dying un-expectantly in their sleep. This brought tears to my eyes. I read about a little ten-year old boy who had went to sleep only to never awake the next morning. I didn’t want to tell Terri any of that, but little did I know, she had already read the article. Dylan would never again sleep in his own bed for fear he would have a seizure and we would not hear him. He has been sleeping in our bed ever since.

Parents shouldn’t have to fear these things, but this is the cruel hand that fate has dealt us. We could sit back and be passive victims or we could take this fight on tooth and nail being proactive and gaining as much knowledge as we could possibly gain. Dylan needed us to be the best parents that we could be and that is exactly what we were going to do! We would never give up on him! Surrender was not an option! We were only getting started on this fight and I’ll be damned if we weren’t going to do everything in our power to make sure Dylan would fight this too! (To be continued.)

The Real Superman Part X

The Real Superman Part X

By Jeff King

Over the next several month’s Dylan continued to have seizures he had Grand Mal, Absence, Myoclonic, Clonic, Tonic, atonic. You name it, he had it. The seizure activity was so frequent, my wife and I often wondered how long can Dylan survive like this. These dark, demonic beast had taken control over my son’s body and mind. Between the Clonazepam, and the seizures, this little boy was absolutely fried. I remember crying leave him the hell alone! After he would shake and violently convulse. I felt like Father Damien Karras in the Exorcists when Regan was convulsing and being distorted by the demon that had possessed her! I to screamed out “Take me! Come into me!” Leave him the hell alone!  He doesn’t deserve this! He hasn’t done one thing to deserve this! He is an innocent child! This demon was slowly consuming my baby and I felt powerless. I couldn’t do a damn thing to help him. What a dark feeling. I felt like the Devil himself had come to dwell in our household. This sinister being that held my son hostage had made me realize that this was indeed a dire situation. I started remembering the scriptures “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” Acts 19:15 I felt just like one of the Seven Sons of Sceva, because this beast didn’t know me, but it sure was very acquainted with my son and this demon wasn’t going anywhere. I remember the words that Jesus had spoken in Matthew 17:21 “However, this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting.” I had prayed, I had fasted I had done everything that I could possibly think of doing, but this one wasn’t going a damn place. It sure wasn’t going back to the hell that it came from, but it did bring hell with it and it was unleashing every dark power it could unto my son and all we could do is watch helplessly! “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” I cried those very words. It stung my heart. The feeling of helplessness and hopelessness had taken control of me and my wife. We weren’t just walking through the valley of the shadow of death we were neck deep in the mire of it!

We went back to the neurologist who now prescribed another medication that was supposed to be great for seizures. It was called Keppra and it isn’t a good drug either.  Some of the side effects are horrible and Dylan was becoming more and more non-verbal so he didn’t have a voice to tell us how he was feeling, or what this poison was doing to him. Just some of the side effects were: Hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior, suicidal thoughts, bruising, severe tingling, numbness, pain, muscle weakness; feeling very weak or tired, fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, sores in your mouth and throat, problems with walking or movement

Imagine your child taking a medication approved by the FDA that can cause hallucinations or suicidal thoughts and your child cannot tell you how he’s feeling? Over the first several weeks on this poison Dylan began to bruise more easily every time we turned around Dylan had a new bruise on another part of his body. This certainly wasn’t the worst of it though. Dylan became weak and very lethargic. He would simply lay on the couch and didn’t do anything. He didn’t even enjoy watching any of his cartoons anymore. The little boy who was once so happy and lively had become a shell of his former self. I cried often. As a man society seems to believe that if you cry then it is a sign of weakness. I didn’t give a damn about what society thought about me. My son who once was filled with such joy and love was now this empty being that was now impassive and cold. His beautiful voice was now gone and would never return. The singing had stopped, the laughter had stopped the joy ceased to exist. We were left with memories of a different Dylan. A Dylan that used to run and play and joke and sing and talk and laugh. These demons had robbed his very soul. Between the poisons we were pumping into his body and the seizures which still had control over him, my little boy was gone! Terri and I went through the 5 phases of grief all over again; only this time it seemed much worse.

This had an effect on the entire family. The kids stopped playing with Dylan, because, he wasn’t interested in playing or really doing anything. He would just lay around. At school he regressed and no longer did anything that he used to. The teachers let him sleep most of the time, because the seizure activity was so bad that he would seize sometimes up to fifty times a day and that was with the two medications that he was on. We now had gotten him a wheel chair, because he could no longer walk. Just a few short years ago, Dylan ran in the Special Olympics. This child couldn’t even crawl, let alone walk!

This was indeed one of the darkest times in our lives. The journey we were on had driven us across an arid desolate wilderness. There were no oasis in site and we were getting ready to climb the highest mountain facing the toughest terrain that we would have to encounter yet. If there were a light at the end of this tunnel we had not spotted it yet. We were left forsaken and alone, but we had to continue to trudge on.

The Real Superman Part VIII

By Jeff King

The Real Superman Part VIII

Throughout the years, Dylan continued to struggle. He could walk and run. He could talk, but as I mentioned before his language was rote and he would just use words that he had heard. I believe that he did know some of them though.

Dylan ran in the Special Olympics when he was six years old. We bought him a bike for Christmas and he would get on it out in the front of our house and using his feet he could ride it around. It had training wheels on it, and he never actually learned to ride it, but, that didn’t matter to him; he loved it and had fun just sitting on it and using his feet to move it.

Dylan used to go with my wife up to my older children’s elementary school every morning. There was this little girl, who absolutely adored Dylan and she would go out of her way every morning to seek him out, so that she could give him a kiss on the cheek. My wife said Dylan began to look forward to the little girl coming over to him to give him a kiss. Terri said that he would smile. That blew out my argument that Dylan would not have a first kiss, because, he had many.

Dylan also liked to get in the front seat of our minivan and sit up at the steering wheel. He would laugh and say, “I’m driving, I’m driving.” He would turn the steering wheel back and forth, and he also would turn on the turn signals. These are days that I miss so much. Dylan was incredibly smart. He would come up to us and say, “Want to sing?” Whenever it would rain, if we were walking to the minivan he would always inform us, “It’s raining, it’s rrraining!” One winter we had a big snow storm. It was Dylan’s first real snow and we were at my brother in laws house. I had Dylan outside playing in the snow, he cracked me up when he suddenly said, “Look at all this damn snow! It’s cool!” He did pick up some inappropriate language and at one of his IEP meetings his teacher informed us that he had dropped the F Bomb, but she added, he used it in an appropriate way. We struggled hard to get him to stop saying those words. Many of those words he had learned from his older siblings and probably neighborhood children too. This may sound pretty asinine, but, I would actually love to hear him drop the F Bomb again. At least then, I could hear his voice once more.

As I mentioned before, he could be quite a clown. He would do things to make us all laugh at him. This may actually sound inappropriate, but this was one other thing that would make us all laugh at Dylan.  As I mentioned before, Dylan loved Dora the Explorer. He loved the character the map. If you’re not familiar with the map from Dora, it was wrapped up like a scroll and it would sing, “There’s a place you need to go. I can get you there you know, cause, I’m the Map, I’m the Map, I’m the Map I’m the Map.” Well Dylan would actually pull his penis out and sing this little tune. We assume that Dylan thought that his penis was the map, and he would start singing this tune whenever he pulled it out. We struggled to get him to stop, and we’re still struggling with that problem today. He doesn’t sing the song anymore though.

He also knew how to get our sympathy. One day I had him out front and he was running up and down the sidewalk, when suddenly he tripped and fell. He injured his right arm. We took him to a clinic where they examined him and told us that he probably bruised his arm. They wrapped it and told us to put ice on it and give him Tylenol for pain. We did this for about two weeks, because he continued to favor his arm. He would scream whenever one of us tried to lift it up over his head. He whimpered and acted like a wounded animal. We felt bad for him and took him to his pediatrician who re-examined it and said he didn’t see anything wrong with it. He set us up an appointment at a specialist. It took us about two weeks for his appointment and we continued to keep his arm wrapped in the meantime, but whenever one of us tried to lift up that arm, he would continue his little act. Finally the day of his appointment. The bone specialist looked at the x-rays that we already had and took some of his own. He examined Dylan’s arm and about thirty minutes later he called us back in the examining room to go over the x-rays and what his findings were. “I don’t see any nerve damage, any broken bones, or anything at all wrong with his arm.” He explained to us. Dylan had been playing us the whole time. Right after that appointment, Dylan’s arm seemed to be miraculously healed. This little boy was quite an actor. We never had any more trouble with him or his arm afterwards.

Dylan was never potty-trained. We tried forever to get him to go on the toilet, but he just wouldn’t do it. They started to try to teach him at school also. We bought him pull-ups and would take him every half an hour, but, he just wouldn’t do it. We did this for about a year and finally we were having some success. He would come up to us and back his backside up to us and say “Let me check.” He did this because we would always say let me check when we wanted to check his diaper. He would tell the teachers at school, “Pew you stink, whenever he soiled his diaper.” They would tell him, “No, Dylan you stink,” and laugh about it.

We began to be able get him to go on the toilet once in a while. We were happy, because this was a start and we believed that we would finally be successful. Dylan was almost seven years old. He still drank out of a baby bottle and still wore diapers. It was getting expensive. We finally were able to get Medicaid to cover his diapers, but here we were on the verge of a great big breakthrough. We were convinced that he would be potty trained soon, and we wouldn’t need diapers or pull ups any longer. It had been a long journey, but, there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

Then on April 18th 2010, on my wife’s birthday. It was a Sunday. I told Terri that she could sleep in and that I would take care of Dylan. Dylan and I were watching one of his other favorite programs Diego. He was very excited because two of the characters on the program; two monkeys known as the Bo Bo brothers were on there and they were causing some havoc. Dylan was yelling, “Stop Bo Bo’s” which is what Diego and his pet jaguar was saying. The phone began to ring and I got up to answer it. Dylan was standing in front of the TV enjoying his cartoon. It was my mom. We started talking. I decided to go back in the living room to sit down. That’s when I found him. Dylan was face down on the floor moaning he was in the middle of a full blown grand mal seizure! It seemed as if all the blood drained from my body! I screamed, “OH MY GOD!!!!” I heard my mom yelling on the phone, “What’s wrong?” I threw the phone across the room and begin to yell for my wife! “TERRI WAKE UP DYLAN IS HAVING A SEIZURE!” He seized for what seemed an eternity. Terri came running down the stairs. “OH GOD CALL 911!” I ran and picked up the phone from across the floor my mom was still on there I quickly told her what was going on and she began to cry and hung up. I immediately called 911 and told them that my son was having a seizure! “PLEASE HURRY!” I shouted. The 911 operator was asking me a slew of questions that I sure as hell wasn’t worrying about answering right now. I wanted to just scoop Dylan up off the floor and hold him in my arms. The seizure had finally subsided and we awaited the paramedics……. (To be continued.)

The Real Superman Part V

By Jeff King

As I said before, Dylan loved to go to the park, he loved to swing on the swings and slide down the sliding board. He was a cheerful child with a sweet disposition. He wouldn’t harm anyone, because he really didn’t interact with other children, even though occasionly another child would come up to him and ask him if he wanted to play? He didn’t even acknowledge the other child. This happened several times. It was actually heartbreaking to us. Dylan also has a high threshold for pain. One time we were at a park and he was on the sliding board. He was at the part of the slide where there’s a base that leads to several slides and a pole that children use to slide down. Dylan just decided to walk toward the pole he didn’t grab for it, but just walked right off the edge of the base and fell about six foot to the ground. He immediately got back up like nothing happened. Terri went over to check him out; he had several cuts and bruises, but he was fine. He didn’t cry or show any signs of being in pain whatsoever.

Dylan also liked to go to the mall. The mall we go to has a glass elevator and Dylan loves to watch this elevator go up and down. He would probably sit there and watch that elevator going up and down all day if we would let him. This mall also has an inside play area that all my children liked to play in when they were very young; Dylan was no exception. He has since  outgrown it, however, he loved to go in that play area and sit on the little Humpty Dumpty slide that was in there. One day in particular I took my family to the mall. My wife and daughter wanted to shop, so I told them that I would take Dylan into the play area. Dylan ran around and was having fun. A few children tried to play with him, but when he didn’t respond to them, or even acknowledge that they existed they went on to find another child to play with. Dylan ran to the little plastic Humpty Dumpty slide and began to slide down it. It was pretty busy that day and there must have been about 30 children in that little area. The parents were sitting on the foam rubber benches that surrounded the play area watching their kids play and have fun. Some of the parents had real young children so they were accompanying them in the play area. Dylan was in his own little world, as was normal for him. He was sliding down the slide and climbing back on it. Occasionally he would sit at the top and not slide, so I would have to get up and make him slide down so he didn’t impede any other child’s turn. This slide was actually a bridge though and you could slide down either side. This didn’t seem to bother the kids and most of them just went around Dylan and slid down the other side. Dylan didn’t mind nor did he ever bother any of the other children. On this particular busy day in this play area, Dylan was sitting on one side of the slide. I had been watching him as I always did. I never took my eyes off him, because, he would quickly get up and run out of the play area if you didn’t watch him. On this day as Dylan was doing what Dylan did a hundred times before, he was sitting on this slide not bothering anyone, when this woman ran over to him and begin to scream at him. “I don’t know where your parent are, but if you touch my child again you’re going to be in trouble!” I jumped off the bench and ran over to her and begin to yell at her, “What the hell is your problem woman, don’t you ever yell at my child again!” Then she yelled at me, “Well I don’t know where you’ve been, but your son has been pushing my son off the slide!” I then proceeded to call her a liar, because I had been watching Dylan the whole time and not once did he put his hands on this lady’s child, nor even acknowledged the child, or the lady yelling at him in fact!” I was livid then I said to her. “Woman, you have mental issues, my son is Autistic and doesn’t have any idea what you were just yelling at him! He never touched your child or even acknowledged your child being there!” Every parent in that play area was watching this transpire. She went red faced and started apologizing, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t know!” she stammered. It was at that time my wife and daughter came running over. “What the hell is going on?” Terri asked and I informed her of what transpired.  I hadn’t known it at the time, but Terri  had watched everything from outside the play area. She went and yelled at the woman, and it was at this time when the rest of the parents were saying nasty things to her as well. She was sobbing and quickly opened her cellphone to call perhaps her husband or someone. She knew that she had made a mistake and she probably felt like the biggest heel in the world. This would be the start of many ignorant and sometimes very asinine people saying foolish and hurtful things to Dylan and us. (To be continued.)