Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Janey and the dogs
My sister had a copy of the picture I'd been looking for, showing Janey with 4 big dogs. We were at my cousin's house in Washington, during our big trip, and the whole trip, Janey was deeply in love with dogs. My aunt had a wonderful old Rhodesian Ridgeback, Gidget, and Janey loved her so much. It's part of why it's so perplexing to me that she has such a horrible phobia of dogs now.
Thinking about the dogs on that trip always makes me think about how the trip affected Janey. We drove cross country to Olympia, Washington. 6 days out and 6 days back, 9 days there. It was a wonderful trip, a dream come true for me. The boys and Tony loved it too. And mostly, at the time, Janey seemed to enjoy it. She turned 3 during the trip. Now, looking back, we date her autism starting to the trip. Before we left, I have to say she was showing a few small signs, and I was first starting to have questions. She started preschool a week or so after we got back, and within a few weeks, her talking pretty much ended. I always wonder if there could have been a connection. She spent long hours in her carseat, but she was next to Freddy, and we are talkers---there was certainly almost no time that she wasn't surrounded by conversation. But could she have gotten a blood clot from all the sitting? She wasn't sick on the trip, I don't remember any day during it she acted radically different, but in a way, the non-autistic Janey left us somewhere around the time of that trip.
I resist thinking about Janey before the autism. I try to convince myself often she really wasn't okay, even then. But then I think about how she was in Early Intervention all those 3 years, because of her severe physical delays, and no-one once suspected autism, and those were professionals trained to see it. I remember the last time the PT saw her, and Janey was totally discharged from EI. We laughed about how at least we knew she didn't have speech issues. It breaks my heart to think of that, sometimes. We have videos of Janey talking. I watched part of one, once. I suddenly screamed during it, a scream that I didn't even recognize as myself. I turned it off and told Tony I never wanted to see it again.
This is why although I don't think vaccines caused Janey's autism in any way (she had none anywhere near the time of her regression), I can understand very well how people that believe that did cause their children's autism feel. If she HAD had a vaccine at that time, it would be very hard not to associate it with the horrible regression.
I do think Janey always had the seeds of autism. She talked, she was social, but when I am really thinking about it, she was always a little bit something hard to define. She talked more to me than to anyone else, and there were friends of mine who had rarely heard her talk. I remember thinking when she was 2 or so that her words were like bubbles---beautiful and perfect, but when she wasn't talking, it was hard to picture that she could. But it was nothing like afterward, or like now.
So, like the Janey that loved dogs, that Janey isn't here any more. We have a Janey, and I thank everything there is to thank for that. I do miss my other Janey sometimes, though.