Doctors Really Do Change Lives
By: Jordan Mack
“Jesse Lee Mack, I pronounce you to be diagnosed with Autism by, I, Dr. Saloman.” The words of knowing for a fact that Jesse has something wrong filled the claustrophobic room. The room was already hot, making us drizzle sweat off of our pink, shaded forehead, but now it is as if we were in a desert. The doctor gave us pretzels to settle our stomach, yet I couldn’t taste anything but the salt that was poured all over, it made my mouth water. I never knew what fear tasted like until that day. It tastes horrifying, like everything that has meaning to me was dead. Oxygen was dead, food was dead, things were dead, and people were dead. It didn’t help that I was a confused petite girl with no understanding of what Autism was.
The doctor gave us a very difficult understanding of the definition. “Autism is a mental condition, present from the early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts,” In the words of an eight-year-old, it basically means that your brother will probably never have friends, never have a real conversation with me, and never be a big brother who protects his little sister.
All the thoughts in my head rushed by like a thousand pictures flashing before my eyes. It scared me that my brother would never be normal. According to most of the world, there is no such thing as normal, but there is such think as not normal. It doesn’t make any type of sense, but Jesse is now not normal, and I am not sure how I feel about that. Even though all of our family and friends tell me that I am so lucky to have Jesse, I just can’t pull “lucky” out of this cluttered pile. I can hardly even pronounce half the words they use to describe my brother like neurological disorder, so how am I expected to explain to all of my friends that my brother isn’t a bad person, he is just Autistic.
In the mix of it all, I felt like I was expected to drop everything that an eight-year-old would normally do and step up to be a big sister. Technically, Jesse is sixteen months older than me, but because of Autism, it makes him three to four years younger than what he is. I said good-bye to playing on the playground with my friends. Stepping my feet into dazzling red high heels six inches too big for my feet to dress like a thirty-year-old woman. I now to sit at the top of the colorful play set, yet discolored to me, and watch my brother to be sure no one was to pummel him on a daily occasion.
The unknown building to me was now looking like a life sentence to Hell. Others look at it as the place of diagnoses and nourishment. The look on my moms’ face as we walked out was invaluable. Instead of being the worry-wart over my mom, our concerns now revolved all around Jesse. Everything now revolved around Jesse.
The doctor said he probably will never understand emotions of others around him, including the closest people to him. He doesn’t even know how to express his own feelings without spinning in a circle and flapping his arms up and down. It was completely exasperating.
Now it is the year 2014, and Jesse is a senior in high school. He is going to be graduating in less than nine months. We are proud to say as a family that we have proved doctors wrong. Jesse is still Autistic still and he still has minor social and behavioral problems. Although these are difficult obstacles in other peoples’ lives, it is not an obstacle in my family’s life. Jesse now has more friends than I have ever had and doing great in school. Jesse still has moments where it is hard for him to control his anger when others in the classroom are bullying him too purposely make him upset, but he will always be my brother.