My son has Asperger’s Syndrome and epilepsy so he needs to get regular blood tests to check his medication levels and liver function. Over the years, I’ve dreaded the blood tests almost as much as he has. However, the past month or so, something has changed. Here’s a brief history of how blood tests with my Aspie child have gone.
The first blood test went well – he had no clue what to expect, but this was before his epilepsy days. Until recently, that was the only one that went off without much fanfare.
Once he realized what a blood test entailed, things got dicey. He’d refuse to get into the car then he’d refuse to get out of the car. Once I’d coax him out of the car he’d refuse to walk into the lab. I’d get him into the lab then he’d refuse to get out of the chair once it was his turn. I’d have to physically carry him, literally kicking and screaming, into the room. He’d sit on my lap and I’d wrap my legs around his, wrap my arms around his arms and whisper soothingly into his ear. Once the blood test would start he’d instantly calm down and say something along the lines of “This isn’t so bad.” Repeat this scenario each time we got a blood test. Check out this write-up I did for my mommy blog along with a drawing and journal entry that my son wrote during 1st grade – A Doctor’s Appointment Through the Eyes of a Child.
So finally I got tired of getting bruised up while taking my sweet little (and I mean little, he’s scrawny) guy to get his blood tests. We enlisted the help of my dad, Papa! The staff at the lab is awesome and so they were glad to oblige my request that they not call my son’s name when it was his turn. Instead, they’d open the door and look at me signaling my son’s turn. My dad would then take my son in.
The first time my dad came was comical. My son wrapped his arms and legs around the arms of his chair and wouldn’t let go. My dad picked him up and the chair came up into the air with him. We finally got him untangled from the chair and my dad started to carry him back into the room. As the passed through the doorway, my son’s arms and legs spread out and he had a 4-point grip on the doorframe. We got his fingers and feet pried off and in they went. He was always much more calm with my dad than me.
Well about a month ago it was time to get another blood test to check his levels. I told my 9.5 year-old very matter of factly that we were getting a blood test, he was going to walk in on his own, no one was going to yell or get kicked and he’d sit on my lap and just get it over with. Well, he walked in on his own, he didn’t yell, kick or scream and climbed up into my lap. I still whispered soothingly into his ear and he was so calm during the entire procedure. He even proclaimed at the end, “I didn’t even cry!” Now I’ve never been one to tell him he can’t cry, I just didn’t want the whole spectacle preceding the blood draw.
Well last week we had to go in for another test and it was the first time that the procedure could be completed with only one phlebotomist. Usually it takes two – one to hold his arm open and one to do the procedure. This time it was just one gentleman. My son handled it like a champ!
So now we’ve crossed into the realm of relative calm during blood draws. He can continue to sit on my lap as long as needs to for comfort and of course he can cry if it hurts but it is great to see him take control of his emotions during the situation and just get through it.
Photo: Sarah Ross photography/Flickr