Last week when we arrived at Ace’s OT, we were saying “Hi” to the horses in the yard and Misty (the horse Ace rides when he goes solo) wasn’t there. She’s usually out with a kid, so we said “Hi” to Willy and Sage and headed in.
When I got to the door, I saw a little collage of photos of Misty, and it said, “Misty Pony Girl” on it. It was cute.
And then I noticed the dates. July 31, 1990 – September 4, 2009.
We had just been to OT the week before on September 3rd, and Misty was there and working. But when we got inside, I saw Misty’s name had been erased from the schedule,so I knew something had happened.
She had a thyroid problem and wasn’t to eat too much grass because of it. Apparently, she also had a tumor, that was believed to be slow-growing. But on Friday, after having worked Thursday, she was found unable to stand so they took her to the vet, where an X-Ray showed that the tumor had increased dramatically in size and was affecting her ability to function. Surgery was an option, but the outlook was grim and Misty’s owner opted to have her put down. I know it was not a decision made lightly, as S loves her horses dearly and if there were any hope for Misty, she’d have done whatever it took to help her.
The hard part for Ace is not that Misty has passed — he doesn’t really “get” that — but the fact that he is terrified of animals. He had gotten used to Misty and loved her and would ride her (with some persuasion required to get him on her) but he is scared to death of other horses. Even Sage, who we rode together last week, he was afraid of. Sage came up to us and Ace was trying to climb over me to hide behind me and was whimpering about having to ride. Once he’s on with me, he does OK, though, so that’s good. But now we are going to have to get him used to a new horse. Sounds like he’ll be riding Peaches when Peaches is ready and Ace goes solo again.
His therapy is going well. He’s very, very sensitive and is prone to tantrums, though. The littlest things set him off. A friend of mine once said to me that her son (who has Asperger’s Syndrome) can be set into a tantrum if the wind is blowing in the wrong direction on Jupiter, and sometimes, I feel that way about Ace. Goodness forbid I present him with the wrong color sippy cup, or offer him a fork when he wanted a spoon. And things that scare him are just as bad. For example, he and Nate were waiting excitedly on the front porch for Calista to come home from school on the bus. They had yet to see her come home on the bus, so they were on the front porch saying, “Sissy! Bus! Bus!” and looking up and down the street for the bus. When the bus passed, Ace freaked out — I guess it was bigger and louder than he expected. He ran into the house and didn’t want to come back out.
He’s also very reluctant to try new things. Animals are a good example. He is afraid of them, but if we can get him close to one, force him to look at it, touch it, and see that it’s OK, he will be all right. But getting him there is the hard part. The first time we rode a horse at therapy, he was yelling, “NO! NO! DONE!” before he got near the horse, but once we got him on (with me, as I got on first) he was perfectly fine and rode 15 minutes, increasing to a full half-hour on his second try. However, as I mentioned, getting him used to and liking one situation (riding Misty) doesn’t translate universally (all horses) which can be frustrating as well.
Even more upsetting for me at times is that he outwardly expresses much of what I feel. I am very resistant to change. I am very set in the way I like or want things done. I get frustrated, angry and upset when things are done “wrong” or not the way I intended. It’s a very deep, emotional response that does not bend to reason. But I keep it in, and it manifests as me being cold, stand offish or bitchy. Ace, on the other hand, can just react spontaneously, be it collapsing to the floor or screaming. And in a way, I wouldn’t mind to be able to react like that. To have such an immediate release would be so lightening rather than trying to hold it all in and respond “appropriately”.
However, I can’t act like Ace, and I’d like for him to not deal with the frustration and turmoil I face over things that don’t affect people without Sensory and other issues. I can only hope that therapy helps him along the way. It has helped in many ways, be it truly helping him by allowing him opportunity to gain the sensory input he seeks or by teaching me way to manage him or help him cope. I just really hope that somehow,, it “cures” him of the issues I deal with on a sensory and emotional level.
I know I’ve said it before, but one of these days, I will post more details about what I deal with myself, what I am trying to figure out for myself, and where I hope to go from here to better manage it. It just has to be the “right” time for me to write that post… and tonight isn’t it.