Monday morning: 10am. My cell phone rings. Call display = Max's school = oh f*ck. It's the principal, who reports that Max has fallen and has hurt his arm. I need to come pick him up and take him to the hospital. Not exactly a good start to the week. When I arrived at the school, I found Max in the arms of his EA, his left arm hanging limp. Just the action of having him stand up made him moan in agony. Apparently he had thrown himself on the floor during an episode of non-compliance (a fairly typical behaviour for him). Max's teacher and principal helped me out to the car with Max. He turned white as a sheet as I strapped him into the car and my heart broke a bit.
recent health care experience at our local drop-in clinic had me dreading the inevitable looks of judgement we would receive from people in the waiting room as well as the impatience and general ignorance of the nurses and doctors who would be treating Max. As common as Autism is, and the higher rate of injury these kids experience in comparison to their neurotypical peers, you'd think medical staff would know how to deal with children on the spectrum, at least a little. The ER was packed and as I waited to check Max in, he looked around in bewilderment and clung to my leg with his good arm. I explained to the triage nurse that Max had hurt his arm, and that he is Autistic. She asked me to come around to the other side so she could do an assessment. When we sat down, she crouched down to Max's level and introduced herself to him as "Darcy" and very gently asked him where it hurt. He whimpered "elbow" as she felt his fingers, hand, and wrist. He winced in pain and she looked very concerned. She said "I hate to see him in so much pain!". Amazing. I was blown away by her compassion and humanity. I was relieved that she saw Max as just a little guy in tremendous pain and didn't think that because he had Autism he had two heads. We went and sat in the waiting area and within 5 minutes Max's name was called.
I cannot say enough how impressed I am with the nurses and doctors at the Oakville Trafalgar ER. They treated Max with compassion and humanity and made what could have been a terrible experience into a manageable one. He was treated kindly and respectfully at all times and the fact that he has Autism was never an issue. I appreciated that accommodations were made for him, without me even having to ask. As often as I write about the Canadian health care system failing Max, I think it is important to recognize instances where individuals knock it out of the park and go above and beyond. Oakville Trafalgar Memorial ER for the win.