Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tourette's Syndrome Makes me Unique- My Grandpa's Reaction to TS

Today I wanted to write a post about an encounter I had with my grandpa over the summer. This summer, my grandpa took my family (my mom, my dad, brother, and me) along with my step aunt, step uncle, and two younger cousins to France. In France, we didn't eat as a large group that often, but on the last day we all ate together at the hotel's restaurant and I sat next to my grandpa, per his request. My tics had been bad that day and near the end of the meal I started shaking my legs and knocking my knees together. Everyone at the table knew I have Tourette's including my grandpa, but I was still very self-conscious about it and at the moment I really would have loved nothing more than to be able to sit still. I tried as much as I could to stop my legs, but they just weren't going to listen. I figured that this was my family, and that they understand and know it's not my fault. I tried as much as I could to reassure myself that things were alright. A few minutes later though my grandpa did something that really surprised me, especially because he's a radiologist  and went to medical school. He put his hand on my legs and said "stop that!" He even tried to hold my legs down. I said I was sorry and tried my best to keep my legs still, but after another few seconds, my tics started up again. My grandpa looked over at me again and said "Stop twitching. Your making me dizzy!" I didn't have anything to say back to him really. I just couldn't make myself stop no matter how hard I tried. After another minute, my grandpa said something that I will never forgot. He told me that I really needed to try harder and that if I really told myself to hold still, I could. He told me that if I tried, I could stop. How could my grandfather, a doctor, actually be saying this to me? At that moment, I wanted nothing more than to be able to stop.

As much as I felt surprised at his reaction, I really shouldn't have been too shocked. This was not the first time this had happened. A similar thing happened in 3rd grade when I was riding with my grandpa in his car and doing one of my first tics, sniffing. I had no idea what a tic even was, but I remember how he pulled over on the side of the road and stopped the car. I remember how he told me that we would sit there until I stopped sniffing and that until then, he wouldn't start the car back up again. I'm not quite sure how long we sat there before he realized that no matter how many times he told me to stop I wasn't going to. 

I was reminded of that moment as I sat at the dinner table thinking that I had had enough, that I couldn't stop. Remembering that moment, I decided to stand up for myself and for that child, that past version of myself, who didn't know what she had done to make her grandpa stop the car and start yelling. So, I got up from my chair and told everyone I was going back to the room and that someone else could eat my dessert. I walked back to my room and when I got back I started to cry and tic all over. After 10 minutes of ticcing and crying, my mom came to the hotel room with my dessert and tried to comfort me. She ran her fingers through my hair and told me that my grandpa had left and that everyone else wanted me to come back up. At this point I was crying and ticcing too hard to come back up though, so I stayed down in the room until I had calmed down enough to fall asleep.  

The next day my aunt stopped in my room early in the morning to say goodbye before she left for her home New York. What she said showed me that my grandpa even though my grandpa had said those things, the rest of my family accepted me and thought I had done the right thing. She told me, "I wanted to come see you before I left. Your Grandpa being a jerk last night and you really handled yourself well" and then she hugged me. I later learned that she had really defended me after my grandpa left. That night, she told everyone that I had done the right thing by leaving the table. My aunt made something that really hurt me into something that showed me that she and the other members of my family accept me for who I am even if my grandpa doesn't understand and just wants me to be normal. News for you grandpa: I'm not normal. I'm unique, creative, compulsive, and twitchy. I'm me.

7/29/14- Today my mom and I were walking the dog and talking. In conversation, I told her about a quote I saw that I really liked that says "Stand up for what you believe in, even if it means standing alone". She told me that she really liked the quote and that it reminds her of me and the time I stood up to my grandpa in France. She told me that I'm the only one who has ever stood up to him like that about anything and that everyone else is too afraid to stand up for him. She told me that she's so proud of me for standing up to him like that and that what I did was truly "classy" and the right thing to do. I truthfully don't know if she remembers what exactly I was standing up to him about, but I hope she does. Always stand up for what you believe in, for yourself, and for others. It might mean standing alone or stepping far out of your comfort zone, but in the end others will see your courage and strength and even more importantly you will know you did the right thing. 

No comments:

Post a Comment