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    A Father and Autism: When “Thanks” is Not Enough

    22nd May 2012

     


    Travis just after anesthetic

    “Exhausted”.

    That’s about the best word to describe today. But, with assistance from friends, family, and surprisingly, a host of people that we have never met, Travis had his medical/dental procedure done today. As he sleeps near me on the floor – part of the lasting effects of the medication still in him – it’s been 9 hours since we left across town for his appointment. We had to wait all this time to find an opening in the schedule that would allow us to get in first thing in the morning as Travis could not eat after midnight the day of the procedure. The worry was if it was later, he’d start whining for food and milk, and well… when you can’t reason with a child; it can be a dramatic affair. After all, all he’s wanting is something to eat. You can’t reason with him via the autism.

    The picture above shows Travis about 30 seconds after the anesthesiologist administered the shot. Travis being Travis didn’t know what was going on with the shot until it happened. “Owwww!!! BAND-AID….!” A few seconds later, he was out and he was carried away out of sight of his parents.

    As we sat in the waiting room, my thoughts on the fundraiser that we had to have for all of this to happen was on my mind. We have been incredibly fortunate to be blessed with assistance from so many, and I thought about how often the scene I was living out was playing out across the country and around the globe. Many are not as fortunate and I don’t know how some parents survive the challenges.

    So, what was the result of the examine and work thereafter? X-rays revealed that Travis had 9 cavities which needed to be filled, a nasty side-effect of a diet that redefines “picky.” He will not eat much of anything other than starches. Bread… French fries… cookies… the best we can do is get Soy milk in him with vitamins and if we’re lucky the occasional request for apples or cheese.

    Total out-of-pocket cost for the day would exceed $3,000 for approx. 2 hours of work. If not for the fundraiser that covered a fair portion of the total, we would have been in a tight spot.

    This is a tale of just one thing. These types of events will occur throughout Travis’ life as it will for other children on the autism spectrum. I never understood how the cost of raising a child on the ASD scale could reach well into the millions, but I understand now. It is the unexpected. It is the thing that seems so simple in relationship to raising “neuro-typical” kids and yet becomes a huge challenge on a level you never expected to face with autism in play.

    We can’t thank all those that donated, enough. There were so many, most of whom wished to remain anonymous. But, I do wish to extend a special thanks to the sports community of which I’m blessed to be a part of. Via Twitter, blog posts, and more, word of Travis’ situation spread, and the donations came pouring in, none more than through my Texas Rangers friends. No, I do not live in Texas, but Adam Morris and the good people at LoneStarball.com brought in so many donations that it reaffirmed my belief in humanity. That spread to PinstripeAlley.com where New York Yankee fans  added their voice. Along the way, members of the media – both big and small – joined in. The result is that you have made a difference in a family’s life. My wife and I thank you, and one day, I hope to hear Travis thank you, as well.

    Our love,
    Maury and Glenna Brown

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