Rough night of hockey


January 30, 2011


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I was very excited tonight, as I finally had an early (6:45pm) hockey game, which meant my boys could finally come out and watch their daddy skate around like Gretzky (at least in their eyes – thankfully they’re too young to know just how off that comparison is.) They were very excited to get to come, but my spidey sense tingled when the first thing Ben asked – and really, the only thing he asked – was if he could go to the bathroom.

See, Ben used to have a real fixation with bathrooms – more specifically, with flushing toilets. Something about the rushing water used to fixate him to the point where going anywhere in public was a (futile) exercise in patience and typically ended up with dragging a screaming kid out of a store (much to the disapproving looks of passer-bys, who didn’t know just what they were witnessing.) Over the course of the past year or so, and thanks to Ben’s (many) therapies and (admittedly) the positive effects of the medication he was/is taking (Risperidone), he’d been able to get that fixation in check, to the point where he may still want to flush the toilet at new places, but he’d be good with a single (okay, double) flush and then we could carry on with our business.

Tonight was a painful reminder of the severity of Ben’s recent setbacks, as the poor kid just couldn’t help himself. Before I’d even gone to get suited up for the game, he’d insisted on going to the bathroom several times (to which I acquiesced, doing whatever I could to try and deliver a fun and positive night for the boys.) Plus, my fiance was with the boys solo at the game (with no one there to help or to at least be able to focus on Ben’s little brother so she could attend to Ben) and I really didn’t want to leave her to have to handle Ben’s fixation by herself.

From the bench during the game, I kept looking at the stands, and more often than not, the 3 of them weren’t anywhere to be found… and sadly, I knew what that meant. Turns out Ben sat very still (with his headphones on and music playing to help drown out the loud sounds of the game and the buzzer which overwhelmed his senses), but once the first period was over, he (logically) assumed the game was over and it was bathroom time again. Which then continued through the next 2 periods.

He was happy – he wasn’t throwing a fit, he wasn’t making a scene – but it was clear that the poor kid just couldn’t help himself. He was fixated on that damn bathroom and just couldn’t shake it’s pull on him. Add to that the pointed stares from others in the stands (who apparently couldn’t fathom why my fiance wouldn’t let the poor kid go to the bathroom) and the commentary from (hopefully) well-intentioned strangers in the bathroom who insisted that he wasn’t done and still had to go when she was trying to call him out of the men’s room… Suffice it to say it was a difficult night.

It was a quiet ride back to drop the boys off at their mom’s house, and more than once I broke down in tears after I got home, as tonight just further demonstrated how much Ben has regressed (how I loathe admitting that) and the challenges he’s facing.

The positive is that it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been – or has been in the past – and other than his uncontrollable fixation, it was (I suppose) an overall positive public outing. But my poor Bennie – how I wish I could reach inside your head and just flip off the switch that controls your obsession with toilets so you could look up and around at the amazing world you live in and not lose yourself to your fixation.

We’ll work on this, together, my beautiful boy. Daddy’s here, always.

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