A Little Too Close To Home

15-year-old autistic boy nearly drowns in bathtub at Phoenix home
by Jordan Johnson - Dec. 22, 2009 09:59 AM
The Arizona Republic

A 15-year-old autistic boy was taken to a hospital Tuesday after he nearly drowned in the bathtub in a Phoenix home, officials said.

Phoenix fire crews responded to the call on Tuesday morning about the boy near Happy Valley Road and 41st Ave, according to Phoenix Fire spokesman Capt. Alex Rangel.

The boy's father told rescuers it was common practice for his son to take baths on his own, but that he was worried when he hadn't come out of the bathroom for several minutes, Rangel said.

His father found him under water and immediately pulled him out of the tub. The boy was apparently not breathing and the father started to do CPR, said Rangel.

Paramedics took over CPR when they arrived and then the boy was flown to a local hospital.

Details about the boy's condition were not immediately available.

Some of you may have noticed I haven’t blogged recently. No worries, just know I only blog when I “feel it.” This is not a slight to those who blog daily, just a reflection on me and how I operate. Today I am feeling it; however, forgive me if the soapbox gets dirty from the soles of my shoes.

For those, if there are any, who read this, you may recall reading the above article recently in the Arizona Republic about a 15-year-old Autistic young man who drowned, or nearly drowned in his bathtub. Unfortunately the news became unremarkable once they air-evac’d the boy to the hospital, and therefore his condition was not immediately available, and as far as I can tell was never discovered or reported.

Maybe it’s me, but I find it tragic the incident initially merited both print and television news coverage, but somewhere the significance, tragedy, or even the plain old’ human-interest elements fell along the wayside, or in this instance, flew away like dust in the wind to this earth-shattering headline: Tia Tequila has bun in oven for bro.

Are you kidding me! I can’t help but ask the burning question, “Where is my hand-basket? Clearly we have arrived, so where is my hand-basket?

Maybe it is just me...

Maybe I just take things a little too personal...

Maybe, just maybe, the story hit a little too close to home...


You see Ethan will be fourteen this summer. He is about to start High School. However he still plays with Power Rangers. He loves his Legos. He got a Buzz Lightyear for Christmas. He separates the adhesive backing from Duck Tape and plays with it like Play Dough. He sings along to Barney the Dinosaur. He even takes bubble baths.

The fact is, he L-O-V-E-S bubble baths. You’ve never seen a kid get so excited about taking a bubble bath. These aren’t just any baths either; these are magnum opuses to the nth degree!! First he has to decide which toys he will take with him. Will it be all fifty of his dinosaurs? Possibly Emma’s Littlest Petshop animals? Power Rangers? Sponge Bob? Matchbox cars? Once the toys are decided then it is the bubbles, and I mean lots of them. Finally the bath is prepared, his selection of toys are painstakingly aligned along the edge of the tub, and he can begin his extended stay in the tub. That means normally about an hour; just enough time to become all puckered!

Sorry Mr. Munsey, we do not spend every minute overseeing this child around water. He is as long as the bathtub itself, he can swim, and did I mention he is almost 14 if you catch my drift. But, before you panic and call CPS, know that we don’t just abandon him in the tub either. We closely monitor every sound coming from the tub, and when those sounds aren’t heard, we are checking, and quickly!

...So, as you can see the story hit too close to this home. Unfortunately the tragic events of that family didn’t, should I say it, stoop far enough to our level of what qualifies as valuable news. At least not valuable enough to get the complete story. That is a shame.

Trust me, every day with a special needs child is certainly a day like no other, and for two families it will be a day they will never forget.

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