Imagine that you have a child with sensory issues. These issues aren’t really an elephant in the room, they’re more like the coffee table you always have to sidestep in order to cross the room. Yes it is an obstacle, but you get so used to stepping around it that you hardly notice anymore. Link is that child. I used to have to cut his fingernails while he slept because attempting it when he was awake was either a two-adults-pin-the-child-down ordeal or a multi-hour long negotiation. Haircuts were similarly traumatic to the point that he spent most of his early childhood in various stages of buzz cut to completely shaggy because then we only had to have a confrontation about it very six months or so. I was so very grateful when Link took charge of his own fingernails. The arguments vanished and I stopped thinking about sensory things as an issue at all. It stopped affecting my daily life because Link was managing for himself. That let me forget that Link still deals with this stuff every day.
Now imagine this child with sensory issues gets an infected ingrown toenail. To prevent catastrophic infection, a minor surgical procedure is necessary. Link is now 15 and outweighs me. There is no way I could hold him down anymore. Fortunately I did not have to. We sat together and talked, noticing how it is one thing to logically agree that yes this needs to be done, but a different thing completely to sit still while someone sticks a needle into your toe. Link was marvelous. He was anxious, nervous, and jumpy, but he held still when it mattered. The procedure also demonstrated that he has super powered nerves in his toes or perhaps heightened perceptions of sensory input in his brain. It took half again as many deadening shots as are usually necessary and Link could still feel some pain. I watched my son and knew what courage looks like. It looks like holding still when every instinct tells you to flee.
It is done. The healing can begin, and hopefully we’ll not have to do this again ever.
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