Before hubby and I realized I was on the spectrum, we both thought I was just full of quirks.
My quirks start from the second I wake up every morning. No light and no sound please. My mornings need to be calm, dark, quiet, and uneventful. Unless if it were a life-threatening emergency, do not disturb me. Any disruption during this period can easily put me in a bad mood for the rest of my day. I need my time alone, so I can get myself mentally ready to face the world.
It's not like I go through any special ritual in the mornings. It takes me anywhere from 1.5 to 2 hours to fully wake up and be mentally alert. I usually spend 30-60 minutes checking emails(but I don't respond to them, I just read them), doing a little bit of "moderator duties" on dog forums, and surfing the internet. Then shower and get ready for work (or whatever else that is ahead for the day). Hubby is very thoughtful of my need for "lone time." He walks our dogs, get himself ready, and leaves for work without saying a word to me. If he needs to tell me something, he will usually leave me a sticky note.
Hubby and I work together. He is my office manager. My office does not start seeing patients until 10 am. That's as early as I can make myself mentally wake up, be alert, and be pleasant. My sensitivity to light and sound gets better as a day goes on. I do, however, like to keep my examination rooms relatively dim. Lucky for me, as an optometrist, I have equipment that shine bright lights into people's eyes, so I can afford to minimize fluorescent lighting in my examination rooms.
I function quite well at work, even when it is very busy. There are, however, a couple of things that my staff and I try to avoid at work, they trigger my AS. With few exceptions, I will not see more than two family members at a time. Especially if they want to be examined in the same room. One on one interaction, I have gotten accustomed to, no problem. Throw in another person that I have to interact with while I am examining a patient, I can do without my AS traits showing. Throw in two people plus a patient whom I am examining, sensory overload! I can still do without my AS traits showing, but only for so long. It really drains me, especially if they were talkative, even if the conversations were enjoyable, it takes a lot of concentration and energy for me to focus on an examination, interact with others, and looking "normal."
I don't want anything in my examination room moved, period. My staff can clean the rooms, but do not move anything. Not my handheld equipment, nor my diagnostic lenses, nor the alcohol wipes, nor the hand sanitizer, nor the Kleenex box, leave everything alone! It took a bit for my husband and my two assistants to fully understand what I meant. It really bothers me when I enter one of my examination rooms (we have two) and things are not in their usual spots. Working in healthcare, it is simply not possible to stick with the same routines everyday. Patients have different needs, some are more urgent than others, I have to handle them as they happen. I try to keep what I have control over as routine and boring as possible, it makes unexpected occurrences at work a lot less stressful.
Fay Fay at 2.5 months....