We had a follow-up appointment with Little Man’s psychiatrist yesterday. We do med check-ins every other month. Little Man is not a huge fan of his psych. I have to prep him every single time, not only that we’re going, but that he must respond to the doctor’s questions. I can’t tell the doc how he’s feeling, if he’s getting enough out of his medications, when his focus and control wears off, when his anxiety kicks up and why. Regardless, he typically shuts down when we go into the office. The arms are crossed, knees are pulled up to his chest, and his communication is limited to shaking or nodding his head. It’s a surprise if he engages in full conversation.
Little Man was calm on the way to his appointment yesterday. As per our usual, I handed him my phone to play Plants vs Zombies while I stood in line and got him checked in. As soon as I sat down, he handed my phone back to me, unhappiness already written on his face. I asked him what was wrong. He just shook his head, refusing to answer. I reminded him if he needs help, or is upset, I can’t help him if he won’t tell me. He sat there stoically.
I’d seen the doctor as I was checking in. While I was standing there, he didn’t call any other patients in. And yet we waited. We waited, and waited. It seemed like forever, but was actually just 20 minutes. But every minute spent waiting is an eternity to my guy. His frustration mounted. I could sense a meltdown coming on. He did his typical growling, sighing, and flopping of arms. It was out of my control, the wait. I tried to distract him, but nothing worked. Finally, we were called in. Little Man was nearly in tears, and of course, refused to interact with the doctor. He flopped on the couch, and then pulled himself into his defensive little ball, an angry scowl on his face. The doctor asked what was wrong after attempting a tiny bit of small talk. I point-blank told him, “He doesn’t like to wait.” The doctor immediately apologized to me and to Little Man. He said he didn’t know that was a particular issue for him, and now that he did, he would make every effort to not make us wait again.
Waiting is a huge trigger for Little Man…..waiting in lines, waiting for others to catch up, waiting for a movie to start, waiting for the next book in his favorite series to come out, waiting for his brother or sister to get out of soccer practice or dance class. He HATES waiting. I can’t tell you how many times I have given in to just about anything while we’re waiting just to keep him from flipping out in public. Not always the best choice, I know, but some days, you just do what you have to to do to survive the moment. Some days, I just don’t have the energy to talk him through it, or make it a teaching/therapeutic moment. We have finagled as much of our schedule as we can so as not to have to take him to any practices or classes. We suffer with him through the games and recitals as those aren’t really a choice. Some days, I feel we’ve removed ourselves from part of our world just to keep calm and order, and not disrupt/distract other families. Is that fair? Yes, and no.
We know he hates to wait. We know it’s a trigger, so yes, we tend to practice avoidance. If you want to be his best friend in the world, you won’t make him wait. I’m betting the next time we go see the psychiatrist, we are not sitting in the waiting room for twenty minutes.