Bungee Cords & Chains

Sam's run, Gracie loving  on all our stuff

Sam’s run, Gracie loving
on all our stuff

At this very moment Gracie is stimming away on the cord of her chewie… I wonder if people with autism suffer from repetitive motion injuries.  Maybe not, as she just switched from one hand to the other. Oh, now she’s back to stimming with the other hand.  I never notice these things until I decide to pay close attention to such details.  Kristine is in Miami (a funeral, unfortunately), and Gabby and my parents are in Ohio.  Which pretty much means I’m stuck at home, alone with Gracie, with nothing much better to do.  Not complaining, mind you.  It’s just that it’s dicey going anywhere with her, so it’s easier to stay home.

So I promised Kristine a new kitchen countertop if she stuck with being a public school teacher, and landed another contract.  She fulfilled her end of the bargain, and I was going to hold up my end.  Got quotes and all.  Then it dawned on me yesterday that for an equivalent amount of money (what it will cost to replace our countertops), we can get stem cell therapy for Gracie.  I couldn’t, in good conscience, ignore my misgivings then about dropping a chunk of change on our house.  I had to say something to Kristine.  So, we scrapped the idea of upgrading our kitchen, and I’m meeting with Dr. Jasen Kobobel (yes, that’s Jasen with an ‘e’) on July 17 to discuss stem cell therapy for Gracie.  Dr. Kobobel makes no promises, but I’m willing to give it a shot, even if the treatment only offers a chance of meaningful improvement in Gracie’s condition.

Finally, getting to the title of this post… Bungee Cords & Chains.  Earlier this year I visited with some buddies of mine in Ohio.  We’re sitting in a bar having some drinks, and one of my friends asks me how Gracie is doing.  I decide to tell them one of my recent stories involving the trials and tribulations in Gracieland, about the frustration that ensues at almost every meal.  Given my engineer mindset, I explain I like to break problems into smaller pieces, and then address these smaller pieces one at a time.  Meal time as a whole is a challenge, but if I could just figure out a way to keep Gracie from getting up from the table, life would be better, albeit in just a small, incremental fashion.  So I came up with the idea of bolting some hardware to the underside of our dining table, to hook Gracie’s chair to the table via bungee cords.  The problem is, Gracie manages to push herself away from the table, only to have the bungee cords slowly drag her back to the table.  She pushes herself out, and is pulled back in.  Out, then back in.  Well, you get the picture.  As I’m explaining all this to my friends, I’m struck by the hilarity of what I’m saying, and I begin laughing uncontrollably.  I couldn’t breathe, I was laughing so hard.

I catch my plane back to Melbourne the next day, and throw the bungee cords away when I get home. Chains work much better.  Now, if I could just figure out how to keep Gracie from throwing her cups and plates… I’ve some ideas, but I just haven’t reached the point of pain yet where I’m compelled to do something.

About graciesautism

Father of Gracie, who is autistic, and her sister Gabrielle (who is a typical). Sharing our stories in Gracieland.
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