He was no longer quiet or still

June 02 [Fri], 2017, 15:46
And then Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, who'd been ice-cold at the plate, hit a tie-breaking homerun in the sixth inning to put Boston ahead for good. Well, the Boston Red Sox are vaunted, of course. But how can they just flip a switch like that? Well, a combination of a few things. You don't give up, which, of course, is the oldest sports cliche, but it really does matter. Not surprisingly, the guy who started the turnaround was the diminutive second baseman Dustin Pedroia who - more sports cliches here - is scrappy and tenacious. And his single Thursday night that drove in the Red Sox's first run in that remarkable comeback, that was like the first domino. And then, as the dominos started to fall, the Red Sox also had history to draw on. Now, you may remember that in 2004 they were down three to nothing to the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series. Then they won four straight. Last season, they were down three to one to Cleveland in the American League Championship Series. They won three straight. And so their collective muscle memory allows them to play good, focused baseball when they absolutely have to.
Sigh. True? Or just the default answer? "Nat: does the chair hurt?" "Yes." Talking is truly the most difficult thing you can ask of Nat. Not once did I get an answer that was anything like a confirmation of abuse. Finally I asked him about if anyone touched his private parts. "No." No. Two letters. So definite. So rare with Nat. But with Nat, unlike his "yes," "no" means no. A cool wave of relief swept over me. My thoughts cleared for the first time that day: Nat was sick. I gave him Tylenol. He went to sit in the big yellow armchair, in the sunny bay window. I checked on him, while sending around an email update to his whole team, [explaining] that I believed he was actually sick, and not sad. Not hurt. And then I thought I saw the flash of teeth. Then, his voice bubbled up: a small curve of laughter. Laughter. Oh, God, how beautiful. But the fever still bothered me. And the dark, silent mood he'd been in that had led Richard to such a dire conclusion. I realized that he was indeed gesturing at his abdomen. The right side. Wait, where is the appendix? Another call to the doctor, and there we were, in the emergency room. We told the doctors there about everything, even the allegation of abuse. They examined Nat thoroughly. At one point Nat giggled at the doctor's palpation. He was no longer quiet or still. Whatever it was, it had passed. By now, my husband and I were feeling a bit like overly anxious, newbie parents. But of course we had to check things out ― Nat was practically nonverbal. I will always be that over-anxious mother. An ultrasound and many blood tests later, Nat was deemed fine but gassy. Exhausted, we took Nat home. Our best guess? Some kind of benign virus. But will we ever know for sure? Until medical schools and hospitals learn the specifics of caring for linsheng(with so many having communication, sensory and behavioral challenges), probably not. And Nat ― and the 1 in 45 people like him ― will have to live with the consequences of that uncertainty. This piece originally appeared in WBUR's blog . It is an excerpt taken with permission from Susan Senator's book, "" Skyhorse Publishing, 2016.