Thursday, June 23, 2011

What are you getting at the store?

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Warning: This post is not suitable for those under the age of 18 or the easily offended. This post contains mature topics and is adult themed. If you are not comfortable with the Family Planning aisle of your local drug store or not comfortable discussing reproductive issues, please hit the back button on your browser. 

***Read at your own risk***

For some reason, I seem to be visiting retail establishments on a daily basis these days. Between visitors and pharmacy visits, it seems my household needs a lot of things lately. It doesn't help that with a convalescing husband, guests, an autistic son, and an early heatwave I find myself very forgetful these days. I used to be able to avoid shopping like the plague with careful planning and a healthy "oh well, we can live without [insert item here] for another week". I miss those days.

I've noticed something odd lately: When I announce I'll be right back because I'm going to Walgreen's for emergency Twizzlers at 9pm (or that thing I forgot that my husband can't survive without), someone else always seems to ask "What are you getting at the store?".

I answer the question with a question because I assume someone else desires an item not found in my home: "Do you need/want anything?" Surprisingly, the answer always seems to be "no". When I'm trying to make quick work of shopping (so I can finally sit down and enjoy a hot cup of coffee or warm dinner, or just want to go to bed), I'm not feeling up to discussing my shopping list. I also feel like I am not obligated to do so either.

The interest in my mundane shopping list never wanes, so I have decided instead of being annoyed with in the delaying discussion, I am going to have fun with it. Here are some answers that I have in my newly developed repertoire:
  • I need some Alka Seltzer and Depends for my explosive diarrhea.
  • I need some super sized tampons because I'm bleeding everywhere. 
  • We are out of extra large, ribbed condoms.
  • I forgot to pick up some vaginal ointment.
  • I'm out of Preparation H.
  • My husband is out of ExtenZe.
  • The bottle of Astroglide is empty.
  • The new issue of Jugs just hit the news stands.
  • I need batteries for my vibrator.
  • I have a killer hemorrhoid-- so maybe you can help me hit it with the Tucks medicated pads when I get back?
  • My toe fungus is back.
  • The herpes is back.
Perhaps these answers will make it easier for me to leave the house in a hurry? I can't help but feel like I don't need to discuss every purchase I make at a round table. If you want something when I am going out, ask the appropriate question. "Would you please get me some [insert item here]?" Otherwise, unless I'm spending your money, my shopping list isn't your business.

If you have any fun things to add to my list, please feel free to leave a comment. I'd love to hear what answers you'd provide to make the askers regret their asking!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Not a Zipperhead

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I am completely amazed at the hubby's scar from his Chiari correction surgery:

I may be reposting this, so forgive  me, but we've been busy with family and doctor's appointments. At said doctor's appointments, my husband's scar is always admired. I thought I'd share with you the non-traditional zipperhead scar.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Baby Cows

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We are in the midst of an impromptu family reunion of sorts. We decided to take Grandma to the local dairy that serves up their own ice cream. Here's a video of the fun:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Jesus takes a car ride

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Picking up my mom from the Greyhound "station" (quotes used because the station isn't really, but rather a taxi depot where a bus drops people off), I figured it wouldn't hurt to take Jesus with us. After all, driving through a less desirable part of the city demands taking extra precautions, including divine intervention.

Turns out GPS would have been a bit more helpful. I mean, Jesus is a master director, but even he doesn't he doesn't argue with Google Map Fails (Yes, for the first time, Google Maps gave me the WRONG directions, which I will never admit being operator error). That's why God invented postal workers-- even Jesus needs a little help sometimes.

We did get my mother and now we (Jesus, too) know exactly where the sad excuse for a Greyhound station is located. (I shouldn't complain because at least we didn't have to make a two or three hour drive to the train station or airport).

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Oh, The Places You Should Go

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It's that time again, dear readers (and my new followers--yay!), when I share with you the interesting links I've collected during the week. It has been quite a week for me--very busy-- so there may not be a big selection here. I desperately need a vacation!!

I'm going to do a little different formatting here, since I haven't exactly been thrilled with the outcome of the last two posts with the same (er, similar) names. 

Here's an interesting article about an a guy who put up an billboard about his ex-girlfriend. I personally think he's made himself the most un-datable guy in America currently. One gals miscarriage is another guy's abortion. The question remains is it free speech or right to privacy?

Now for a little shameless self promotion:

I was flattered to have my submission chosen by The Thinking Persons Guide to Autism. I submitted the essay on a lark, so it was amazing to get the "It's live and getting great feedback" email. This blog is my bible when it comes to my son's Asperger's Syndrome, so I am humbled, yet proud of my accomplishment. And I told my whole freaking family (which was interesting).

On the autism note, there was an interesting article on CNN's website about the chemicals we come into to contact in our daily lives and it's contribution to the rise in autism.  It's no surprise to me as I'm a big believer in the less chemicals, the better. That's why I avoid package foods like the plague and don't buy plastic water bottles anymore (water-- that I used to drink from my hose-- I refuse to pay for outside of my water bill). I'm no hippie and I use plastic and junk, but minimally and sparingly (I am only human). I did notice a great improvement in my son when we stopped eating so much chemically processed foods (and less allergy symptoms, too!). Now processed foods and sugars turn him into the Devil's Spawn. Really.

There's this great new site that is helping to raise money for Autism Interventions. All you do is click a button and sponsors give the money. It's so simple, so stop by and CLICK!! Also, on that site, I found something amazing: An amazing dancer on Britain's Got Talent. Reminds me of my kid who is such a great actor that I'm often asking if he's okay because he pretends to die or get injured so well. I've been trying to sign him up for theater camp for a couple of years, but apparently that's not cool.

Dr. Earl Bradley went on trial Tuesday. That trial also ended the same day. It's really all disgusting in two ways: The biggest serial pedophile case of all time has been but a brief in national news and his defense attorney is just waiting to stand in front of the appellate court so he can get video tape evidence thrown out.(Did I mention the video evidence basically shows Bradley doing reprehensible things to his young, even infant, patients? There's no doubt he's guilty, its just a matter of legality of prosecution and evidence gathering. Phooey.

Is truth in advertising dead? This story from the Natural News would leave me to believe yes. Aspartame is re-branding itself as a natural sweeter, despite being made in a lab. It's even been given a new name. Well, isn't that special. *rolling eyes* A natural sweetener should come from a plant... in you know, nature. 

In another WTF article, it seems a Texas state representative wants women and doctors to fill out an abortion registry questionnaire so that the state can publish it on an abortion registry website. In case we didn't have enough people in our vaginas and uterus-es (or is that uteri?)  as women, we've got to make what's been going up there public information. The bill was vetoed, but its not the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last. HIPPA better watch out because personal medical information is so passe these days.

On that note, I'm out. Got something interesting to share? Leave me a comment!!


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Adventures of Pre-pubescent Kid

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Blogger has been having issues... must it's time of the month...

Speaking of cycles, the other day I was being all mom-like with my kid (go figure) and he interrupted me to ask if it was "my time of the month". It stopped me in my mom-tracks. Hold on cowboy...WTH? To be clear, I asked him what he meant.

"Oh, don't worry, Mom. Sam told me all about that stuff girls go through every month", he said.


Wonderful. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for the conversation about menstruation those boys had.

Both my kid and his BFF, Sam, are on the cusp on puberty. Both are extremely innocent compared to their peers (which is a whole other story!). Sam is neuro-typical, but we joke that the two boys are nerd-mates separated at birth. Yet, Sam has an older sister and has been through sex-ed at school, I imagine. So, he shared with my kid I assume.

We've put of that talk with our kid. The hubby just didn't think the boy was ready. I didn't want him to find out from kids around him or the internet. I wanted to make sure my boy has the correct information, not from the oodles misinformation and propaganda in cyber space. And certainly not from peers who have heard stories and anecdotes from other peers. I want him to learn the biology of the body correctly. I want him to learn sexuality in the healthiest manner possible. 

I'm not ready for this! The other day I noticed my boy had some acne. It can't be!! He's only ten... what's next? Children should come with that pop up done-ness thingy they put in turkeys. In that pop up thing should be a set of instructions.

Or maybe the pop up timer is really acne? Could be that is the signal that its time to learn the next phase of biology. After all, we've named all the parts, discussed how your body works to sustain your life: Brain, lungs, muscles, blood, nerves, skin, bones, farts... we've done all that. Now its time to focus on the other stuff-- the coming of age stuff.

I started with They have an age appropriate section on puberty for kids. So I emailed him several sections from the website that explained puberty. I also mixed it in with stuff about funny bodily functions, like farts. I am hoping that breaks the ice on the topic of sex and his changing body.

I don't know if he's read any of it and he hasn't said yay or nay. My guess is that he either isn't going to want to talk about this stuff with me or he's going to be so open with it that I won't know what to do. Like when he brings up inappropriate topics at the dinner table... at his grandparents dinner table in front of the whole family? I can only imagine him sharing his new found knowledge with his grandparents.  And he's so inquisitive lately that the follow up questions would cause people to spit out their drinks.

"Grandmommy, when did Daddy get pubic hair?"

Boy, is this ever going to be fun! But isn't autism all about fun?  You never, ever know what is next. Puberty is going to be an adventure.  A long, long adventure that is just beginning. Just when I got a grip on small people autism, I find myself in pre-pubescent autism. It's completely foreign territory. I know one thing: I'm going to hear his new catch phrase all the time-- "Mom, you're embarrassing me". 


Monday, June 6, 2011

The Breasticles Affair: A response

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You’re kidding, right? My post entitled “Girls, Get Your Beasticles” wound up in the Men’s Rights section of Reddit. I linked to it on Feministe’s Sunday Shameless Self-Promotion with no clue how it would be received or even if it would get any hits. It did get hits and it made a couple readers uppity (but not here, on Reddit itself, boo!).

It’s too bad those that riled up didn’t seem to have the testicular fortitude (or breasticles, you never know) to leave me any comments on my post. I welcome different points of view. I like a spirited discussion. I am interested in not only how women view relationships, but also how men view them. I ask my husband for his perspective all the time because he has male insight that I simply don’t have… cause, you know, I’m a girl.

Here are the comments I’m talking about:

All I could think is “huh”? Methinks they missed the point of the article. Power struggle in the home? No. I actually have no idea where that came from. There’s no power struggle in my home. I’d never even considered power in our relationship. If you look at relationships in terms at power, I just can’t relate to what you are saying because that’s simply not how my marriage works. I'm not advocating for power struggles either, just healthy relationships for women (which by default includes the opposite sex).

Is it because I didn’t dwell on what I do for my husband or what a women should do for a man in a relationship? Did I not say "Give men x, y, and z?" Did I have to? If you want specific perspective on what my husband gets out of our relationship, well, it’s not my place to speak for him.  I can only define how he treats me, how his actions make me feel and how I see our relationship. If you want, I can ask him.  He's probably not feeling up to it though because he's still recovering from brain surgery. Am I missing something otherwise?

Helping yourself? Of course. If you can't help yourself, who else can you help? Unless the implication is that I don't do anything in my relationship but take, take, take. You'd have to talk to my husband about that one. Am I saying relationships should be one-sided? Absolutely not. Again, I'm a women writing about women for the benefit of women. Making a woman's issue a men's issue isn't going to help women and men have better, healthier relationships, starting with a woman who can define her self-worth in an appropriate manner.

Me, me, me? Absolutely, especially since I’m writing from my perspective, based on my experiences, my interpretation of the world, women and relationships. I’m not in a relationship because I’m selfless. I’m in a relationship because *I* want something out of it. It’s the same reason everyone is in a relationship: We get stuff out of relationships. 

Revolutionary? No. That’s my whole point. Happy relationships have really simple formulas. It starts with friendship and mutual respect. If you, man or woman, are going to stay with man through dozen of affairs and/or any kind of abuse, I’m going to call you a moron. Your friends would probably say the same thing. Men have self-worth issues, too, but it manifests differently in relationships. I can't relate to that, don't have experience living it as a man. I'll leave that to the men to talk about. Not revolutionary, but common sense never is.

But okay, if you want a relationship with someone who it is selfless, who doesn’t want anything from you, who doesn’t ever think about themselves or what you can do to improve their existence, by all means have at it. If you want to be sole factor upon which your partner defines her(or his) self-worth, more power to you. I'd be interested to know how that works out for you. Let's talk.

I’ve kind of noticed that men don’t stick around long if they aren’t getting their needs met in a relationship, which I think is really smart.  They define themselves on different sorts of feedback, like career, hobbies, money, family… but not by how self-sacrificing they are to their partners, how they'll stay no matter what.  They don’t normally trap a woman into obligation through pregnancy. And they don’t put up with unfaithful women, especially if those affairs reach double digits. If a woman can't meet a man's expectations, men don't beat around the bush. They'll tell you what they need and if you can't provide it for them, they'll find someone who can. I admit, I could be dead wrong on this one. My observations could be skewed somehow. Correct me if needed, please.

Here’s the thing: I’m a girl. I write about girl stuff at times. I write about relationships because they fascinate me. I write from a female perspective because it’s what I know. I also write from experience. I’m confused as to how or why that is wrong. Perhaps someone can clarify this for me because here is what I’m hearing:

Thinking of myself, what I get out of my healthy relationship, what I see as flawed logic used by women in unhealthy relationships (and just in terms of thinking about relationships in general) is somehow wrong. My saying in the post that women shouldn’t define their self-worth by what men think of them and that they perpetuate things like maltreatment and domestic violence by doing so, by subscribing to that idea, and/or living it through their actions is incorrect? 

The second comment just wireds me out. Hoping off of bad boy cock? I didn’t hop off bad boy cock. I ran the hell away from it as fast I could… all the way to the police station. Why? Because that “bad boy” started beating my stomach when “his genes” were gestating inside of it. Plus, I was tired of all MY hard earned money paying for HIS expensive crack habit. And basically I didn’t want to raise a child with a crackhead.

Pardon me, but I think that it would have been irresponsible and selfish of me to stay with an abusive drug addict. Did I mention I would have also been homeless? The money I gave said "biodad" to pay rent apparently went to drugs. It's fair for a child to have to deal with this kinda behavior? I didn't realize that!

Oh yeah, let me give him his son back. We all know the best place for a kid is with someone not equipped to care for them or themselves, can't provide a home, can't provide food, likes to beat people, go on drug binges and is constantly institutionalized. I should have just stayed and let my gestating son die while I had the chance so that no one else could raise him, my bad.  

Lord forbid I re-married—a crime against father’s right to make a mother suffer through her choices. After all, it’s all my fault another man has stepped into the role of father to my son. Let me run down to the courthouse now so I can file for divorce. Or maybe I should be stoned to death? How could I ever right this wrong? 

I've got an idea: Contact me for his name and phone number. You can ask him about how I took his child away from him, ask him what you can do to help stop me from with-holding his genes from him. How you can help get me away from my husband, too. I'd be happy to give out his info and I'm sure he'd be happy for the commiseration, but don't be surprised if I laugh my tail off doing so... Oh dear, if you only knew...  

I picked a provider, which I didn’t know was an option off the table. I missed that in the dating manual. Even though I was working at the time, supporting myself and my son (with no child support, mind you) I obviously picked a mate based on his ability to pay my way. I've also done some supporting of my husband, but how could that be? Oh, and even though I was making the one of the biggest decisions of our lives (both mine and my son’s), I shouldn’t have even considered my future partner’s ability to parent. Cause that’s just wrong. I just need to sit there with my vagina and get picked like a blossoming flower.

I don’t even begin to understand what the point of that comment was… or what sort of logic it uses, except children don’t have rights. Or maybe women shouldn’t leave the fathers of their children because a biological father knows best how to raise a child that shares their DNA.Or maybe its that you need to stand by your partner no matter what they do, even if it causes harm. Children do not need healthy parents, they need DNA closeness.

I am offended by anyone who thinks my child does not have the right to loving parents in a stable environment, free from abuse of every kind. I think every child deserves that, not just mine. I'll say it again: Unhealthy relationships damage children. It is a fact.

That damage is well documented and you can go ahead an interview adults who grew up with it to even the smallest degree of abuse in their home. Ask them how it affects them today and how it affected them in their childhood. You can go ahead and do the same for children whose parents just didn’t get along, had affairs, did drugs, committed crimes, and who had parents that were generally just not nice or severely unhappy. Let me know if you come up with something different than the accepted facts.

Now, I’m the type of person who isn’t going to stand by anyone who repeatedly behaves badly, especially when it’s directed towards me or my child. Maybe I am fundamentally flawed, but no matter the relationship or the gender, if you fool me once shame on you, twice shame on me so to speak. I'm going to exercise my freedom-- freedom from maltreatment, freedom to choose who I have in my personal life, and my right to life a safe life in the pursuit of happiness.

I’m left wondering from these comments what I’m missing. Why exactly do we pick partners? Or is it that women should not pick, but be picked? What am I missing here? Are you telling me that women should stand by their man no matter what? What insight do I lack? Are my breasticles bigger than your testicles? Or should women just take whatever bones men throw? Does any of this matter? You tell me. Seriously, educate me on your perspective, thoughts, ideas... educate me on the male point of view. Again, I'm a woman, so I cannot pretend to speak for men.

And would you, dear readers,—especially the men—stay with a partner regardless of their actions, regardless of disrespect, chronic infidelity, abuse and other actions that dishonor a partnership or you as a partner? Would you stand by your man or woman until the day you die no matter how bad they hurt you and your family?

Editing this to add:

I've put on comment moderation. Not that I get a lot of comments, but there are some people who want attention and I refuse to give it. This is my space where I write about my life. MY LIFE. The past is what is it is. You don't get to the here and now because of no good reason. Things are what they are because of the histories we create for ourselves. If you are making your life better, you work the steps, do what's required and stop complaining about and blaming other people. You own your behaviors and understand why those you hurt, threatened and basically made life hell for aren't going to trust what you say until there is a long history of compliance and good behavior. And having your wife/girlfriend/fiance or whatever post here is the same game we've been through for 10 years. It's always the girls contacting saying poor him... so to me, that' proof the behavior has not changed. 

And yeah, I'm deleting the comments made by the latest gal in my ex's life.  Cause *I* can control my own space. Yay! 

Dr. Earl Bradley slated to go on trial tomorrow

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The Delaware pediatrician who heinously abused his young patients and violated the trust of hundreds of families is being prosecuted starting tomorrow, Tuesday June 7th. I could have chosen this man as my son's primary doctor, but because instead, I picked a doctor that practiced family medicine. After a while, I switched his doctor the pediatrician located closer to our home that we could walk to. Dr. Bradley was the second closet pediatrician and still practicing at the time I decided to switch.  It's too bad that so many parents and children trusted him.

My neighbor told me her friends recommended Dr. Bradley to her when she was pregnant with her first child. Then one of those friends recanted the rec saying Dr. Bradley refused to send their sick child to a specialist. I believe that child suffered from a chronic disease, for which said parent advocated for treatment by getting a second opinion. Turns out, in hindsight, Dr. Bradley didn't like to send patients to specialists or second opinions for the fear of being caught.

That same neighbor's husband is on the prosecution team. He's home for some of today. Spending time with his wife and kids whom he won't get to focus on because of the trial. I know he has worked incredibly hard on this case and his family making a huge sacrifice because of the monster that is Earl Bradley. He will most likely miss his daughter's first day of kindergarten, summer trips to the beach, dates with his wife, family outings and downtime...

During this process, which has been underway for years now, I have encouraged my neighbors to put aside their hectic lives to spend time as a family and couple. 

She's worried that her girls will miss too much of their father, that she will miss too much of her husband. He's all consumed with this trial, understandably on many levels. I told her to remind him he needs to make the time, that his girls will learn how a mate should treat them by how he treats them. He's teaching balance. They are teaching love. While his job is important for the greater good, he's dad first and foremost, then he's husband. I told her how me and my hubby make the time to spend together, even if it isn't traditional. You can play with the kids before school and work or take them for before bed stargazing. You can have a three in the morning date. Work will always be there, family and special moments will not.

So, while we march onto into the trial of the most heinous serial pedophile of our time, let us remember to thank those who give of themselves to make sure he's put away for good. Let us thank the parents of the victims who came forward, cooperated with authorities, who speak out against a crime of violation and shame. Let us remember the victims who couldn't speak for themselves-- babies, toddlers and small children-- and the ones whose voices weren't understood, whose cues that they were being abused were missed. Our community will carry these scars for years to come.

The horror of this man's crimes is unfathomable. I've been privy to just a little surface material, but things not suitable for the news. I can't bear much more than that (and no, I'm not sharing). I imagine how terrible it must be as state attorney or paralegal to have to document line by line videos of sex abuse against children. It makes me wonder how one can sleep at night after that? 

My heart goes out to the prosecution and their support team, along with their families who are giving up their precious time, working well beyond a forty-hour work week at the expense of themselves, their personal lives and their loved ones. Justice doesn't happen in a bubble. It's real people giving of themselves... just like our citizens in military service, the public sector of men and women serve us to. They don't get paid enough for all that they do and normally aren't in it for the money. Have you thanked them yet?


Earl Bradley found guilty and convicted on all 24 child sex abuse counts (I'll spare the technical terms and you should read the article linked). We are still awaiting the sentencing, as far as I know. Again, I'd like to thank the police and prosecutors for their tireless efforts in this case. I know first-hand that they've worked their rear-ends off to put Bradley away.

Let's hope that Bradley's attorneys' appeal strategy fails miserably. If not, prosecutors still have a way to get this horrible man. Unfortunately, it means victims and parents testifying, which would be terrible for those hurt by the monster that is Bradley.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Places you should go

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It's Sunday again, so I will share with you the places I've visited in the past week. You might want to check them out for yourself:


This is a great blog from an ER doctor working hard for his patients. If you haven't added this to your blogroll, you are missing out. His writing is exceptional and stories are engaging. The post I'm sharing with you is the most recent and happens to have struck a chord with me. It's about taking responisibilty for your own healthcare. Doctors are powerless to that which we inflict on ourselves.

Confession's of an Asperger's Mom

Oh, how I love this blog and its author!! A mom with two teen Aspie boys, both very different, shares some Aspie funnies in this particular post. It's real and honest, full of tons of insight and information. It's not just for the parents with kids on the spectrum. It's a relevant family read, too.

I'd Like Cheese on My Entire Family

Since its hot-hot-hot it's time to think about summer vacations. This post centers around a memory of family vacations and the CIA. It's hilarious-- I highly recommend you check this out for a laugh.

Our Best Bites

If you know me, you know I love to cook (most of the time). I'm always on the lookout for a new recipe. I adore greek flavors. I was so excited to see this post on a Greek style condiment that I wanted to rush out to buy the ingredients. I haven't had the time, but I plan to next week.


For some reason, I think this is hilarious. If you haven't heard of it shame on you. How often to we get to talk about wieners in congress figuratively and literally on so many levels? In his defense, Jon Stewart who hung out with Rep. Wiener in Bethany Beach summers during college says its not that big. This article from the Gothamist will bring you up to speed if you've missed the scandal.

Playstation Network Welcome Back Program

If you have a PS3, you'll notice the launch of the Welcome Back Program (aka Sorry Hackers Took Your Credit Card Info and Crashed Our Servers Promotion). The program crashed the PSN store servers. We only managed to get one game downloaded and because the store crashed at the second game download, its now lost in cyberspace somewhere. Read the comments for helpful advice and a laugh (or cry). But hey, we get what we pay for, right?

The War on Women

Being a totally liberal kinda gal, I happen to agree with Anne Rice's assessment that there is currently a war on women going on this country. (Check out her facebook page- really a lot of fun. Lively, mature discussions that are thought provoking.) This article will demonstrate what I mean. It's caused many lively discussions in my house. Poor hubby didn't realize he married an old-school, mouthy feminist.

Enjoy your Sunday everyone!!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Struggling to explain Asperger's Syndrome

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I am having a hard time with this one. When someone looks at my boy in the middle of a meltdown or during certain behaviors they start with the "he needs more discipline" or "he's very spoiled" or "you need to do X so your child doesn't Z". It's very frustrating, especially when the comments fly mid-meltdown or during those typical autism behaviors.

My boy's meltdowns have decreased significantly over the past year. They went from lasting all day to under an hour. Each time, its less severe. That severity always depends on the trigger, but even still its better than it was even two months ago. He makes improvements with each one. He gets disappointed in himself when it happens because he ruins his Days Without a Meltdown Record (because they used to happen everyday, now its twice a week at worst).

I have to remind him that some of his reactions are appropriate for the circumstance. It's okay to be disappointed, cry and whine. That's not a meltdown and it is okay to express those feelings. If he was a normal kid, I wouldn't have to explain what the appropriate methods of reaction to negative things were and I wouldn't have to do it weekly.

He is spoiled, I admit, but he is an only child. He has no competition from siblings, he has more resources available to him. That's okay. I don't know how you would stop him being an only child... besides the obvious, which isn't happening any time soon.

I've done a lot of explaining, but I fear it comes off as excusing. That makes it frustrating for everyone. When my kid says "please leave me alone" or "don't touch me, please" (and we've really worked hard on expressing those needs appropriately and politely) and an adult does not respect his wishes, the boy gets to a point where he feels forced to be more aggressive. Yet so many adults do not respect his need for personal space. They push him and he ends up pushing back. That makes my boy look like a bad kid because he's over-reacting (or so it seems to other adults) to their stimulation.

He's not over-reacting. That's him. At times, touches, conversation or another humans mere presence overload his sensory system. He short circuits. It's cause and effect. And adults aren't very good at listening to and respecting children when it comes to their personal space and boundaries.

They aren't very good at listening to the people who know the child best either. This is hard when that other adult is inescapable or a family member. The resistance to accepting an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis is maddening at times. Why do people feel its necessary to argue a diagnosis given by an expert? It's not like the evaluation is a 5 minute process given by someone with Bachelor's Degree (unless its an education diagnosis *rolling eyes*).

The other day I said during a meltdown that "this is nothing". There was only crying and door slamming. He was able to be talked down. HUGE improvement. HUGE. Yet I still had to say again that my boy has made stellar progress, that discipline isn't going to fix him. That taking away his slumber party wasn't a good punishment because he needs that social interaction, especially since he's homeschooled now. (Homeschooling is another thing I'm a so tired of explaining)

Discipline isn't going to help him, unless its something that warrants traditional discipline. What we do with him works. It's proven to work. Why? Because he is getting better. Because we, as his parents, no what we are doing. And guess what? He isn't always going to succeed and he's going to make mistakes. He's a kid and he's not perfect, but he's learning.

My husband gives these explanations so much better than me. It's too bad he isn't in a position to do any deep discussions. Even still, even though he's a therapist who specializes in children and has tons of Aspie kids on his roster, there are many people who don't trust his assessment of his own kid. The neurologist does, you know, the guy who is the expert in the field? And the neurologist trusts me, the mom, as being an expert on my child's behavior. But what does he know? *sarcasm*

I found myself wanting to say this week that people need to develop a thicker skin. My boy wouldn't lash out at a person he doesn't feel comfortable and safe. It's a twisted compliment. He doesn't mean it, he just doesn't know how to express himself. What he's saying is "I need you to understand me instead of judge me or tell me I'm a bad kid". Or he's saying "If I yell at you than maybe you'll help me through what I'm experiencing because I am terribly uncomfortable". Instead, adults just get mad or upset with him. 

I'm left wondering how you explain to people close to you that its not because he's a spoiled brat, but because he's autistic? How you put in terms they can understand? What is the magic combination of words? How do you avoid the frustration and hurt feelings?

Dr. Rudi and the post op follow up

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Dr. Rudi isn't really a doctor, but a Physician's Assistant. I don't mind because in my experience, they have a better bedside manner. Dr. Rudi didn't make a great first impression on my when we went for the hubby's pre-operative appointment, except when I stumped him with my questions, he got the surgeon to talk to us.

The poor guy looks like he's a kid fresh out of the sandbox. I expected to see him with a sand shovel in his hand and juice box in the other. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration. He is tall, his facial features are kinda mature, too. He probably plays Call of Duty with his roommates at night.

We were definitely his first Chiari case and an exercise in learning for his young mind. At our first meeting, Dr. Rudi certainly lacked the confidence that experience brings. On our second meeting, he had a little more confidence in his skills. I told the hubby he must have been brushing up since we saw last him.

I still had to lend him a hand. The hubby complained of feeling "disjointed", like he was watching the movie that was his life. Dr. Rudi had a hard time with this one. He gave one reason for that that seemed very vague and we watched his confidence plummet. I felt bad for the poor guy, so I chimed in with a timely question: "Couldn't the pro-longed headache cause that sort of sensation?". 

I could have been a brat because I was in that mood (the hubby and I a tense debate over pantyhose, mysoginy and the workplace in the house we waited to be seen). But Dr. Rudi's demeanor was somewhat disarming. The fact that he remembered my husband's case and seemed to have devoted time to it made me empathetic to the whole experience. The fact that he apologized for our wait (They had to do emergency surgery, which we both understood and appreciated because it could have been my husband in that emergency situation) and for my husband having to go to the ER was extremely uncessary, but really nice. Brattiness wouldn't have done anyone any good.

Dr. Rudi said everything looked good and sounded normal. He explained that they used the pericardium because they found that the mesh leaked too often. While donor tissue may take longer to heal and may have issues, those issues are less severe than cerebral-spinal fluid leak. That was information I didn't know, so score one on patient education.

The hubby was prescribed some Prednisone to help relieve the inflammation which in turn will help to reduce the headaches. Dr. Rudi, unbeknownst to us, asked the ER to administer these to the hubby last week touting the steroids importance in reducing pressure on the brain. It was very disappointing to learn the ER failed us.

Hubby also got a new prescription for pain meds, but was asked to try to stretch out the dosage, which he is trying to do. The unfortunate part is now that he has less of a headache, he has more neck pain. No surprise between the way he slept last night and the fact that he had all his neck muscles sliced apart.

The recovery continues. I'm hoping we are in phase three now: Relief from headaches, larger appetite and more activity. Our next appointment is in month. Where we go from there I have no idea. He will see the actual surgeon at that appointment, but it would be nice if he sees him with Dr. Rudi. I've started to like this kid. He is going to be great at what he does someday.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Girls, get your breasticles!

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Breasticles. You know, like testicles... or bollocks or balls? Testicular fortitude? Only for women. Guts. Self-worth and respect. Grow a pair. Stop letting men define who are and walk all over you just because you are too impatient to a) wait for the right man or b) think a woman's worth is directly related to how much attention men give them. Neither is true and seeing a fellow femme behave like they are is very, very maddening.

I watched Dr. Phil today. I know, I shouldn't have because I knew it'd make uppity yet, here we are. Ride or die my arse. You are a coward. You are afraid to put in the effort it takes to find the person that will treat you with the utmost respect or you are afraid to demand respect from the current bozo in your life.

I get this from younger girls. There is a learning curve, especially if we haven't had good role models. If you keep finding yourself in relationships where you mistreated and disrespected, you need help from a professional unless you are willing to or smart enough to figure it out yourself. Do something to change it so you can have the kind of relationship you've always dreamed about.

It's not rocket science but it can be difficult. That's why we have dating: So you can practice being in a relationship, interview potential mates and basically set yourself up for the sort of happily ever after you want and deserve.

It took me three tries. Of course, no one thinks I had a hand in picking the last one. He treats me well, dotes on me, cares for me, provides for me as best he can and is an excellent father and relationship role model for my son. The first two were TERRIBLE. I admit it. I choose poorly, but even still I learned from those serious relationships. The second one was abusive, so I took three years off from dating to prepare myself for a solid relationship... but not just that, I made sure I was in good emotional health before I put myself out there. The more insight you have, the more you are able to reflect (and not rationalize, don't confuse the two) on your past and your behaviors, the better equipped you are to make a relationship work.

My husband didn't rescue me from anything. Luck didn't bring him into my life. It was a choice, my choice. I empowered myself to make healthy relationship choices. I didn't allow myself to be a doormat. I negotiated the terms of marriage. I work at my relationship every single day.

And I knew that through my actions and behavior, I was teaching my son how to be a mate. I am teaching him how to treat a woman. I am teaching him what women are. So, it was my goal to be a positive model for him. I am not going to allow him the message that women are sub-human, doormats, that wait on us hand and foot. Marriage is a partnership in every sense of the word and there are consequences for your actions in a relationship.

My son sees his parents in love. Real love. The kind where we leave little love notes for each other. The kind that is full of affection. The kind where you have fun together, hug, joke, and work together to solve problems. The kind where you communicate your feelings-- good, bad or indifferent -- in a healthy way.

To be in a relationship as a woman where you are the only one making sacrifices, where you mother a partner to death, where you are not respected... well, it's tantamount to child abuse. Unhealthy relationships DAMAGE CHILDREN. I repeat:  

Unhealthy relationships damage children.

My parents fought when I was child. They didn't get along. It was hard on my little self then. Eventually, they grew into their marriage in a healthy way. Somehow I learned to stand back and look at the big picture so I could get this whole crazy relationship/marriage thing down after a few tries. I knew where I wanted to go, it just took me awhile to get there. Let me tell you that it was worth it. I wouldn't trade my husband for the world...

I would love for every woman I know to experience THIS sorta of marriage. A happy one, despite our problems. We are a team. We have disagreements, but very rarely raise our voices. We communicate in a way that is effective every day, even when we are mad or upset. We apologize to each other when we get snappy. I'm married to my very best friend in the entire world.

My husband and I have never said anything terrible to each other. We never call each other names when we disagree. We never say things to hurt the other. There is no unfair fighting here, barely any raised voices even. (The whole surgery blow out was an exception because we did raise our voices, but we still didn't say anything that hurt the other and we did end up calming down to really talk it out, seeing each others point of view because that is how its done.)

But he also knows that there are certain things I will not tolerate: Abuse, cheating, being mean, taking his anger out on me, lying... you know, all that yucky stuff that some of you reading this put up with all the time because you want or hope if you do it means you are a loving partner. Or something, maybe its easier, maybe you read to many romance novels.

I know a girl who is so good at rationalizing bad relationship behavior (hers and/or his) that she could make it a side-show experience. (Step right up, folks! Only a quarter to see the amazing Rosie the Rationalizer) All she wants is a house to run, babies in her belly and a husband that goes off to work everyday while blowing her a kiss. But she will NEVER EVER get that dream. She'll get the guy who is looking to bag a wife he can mold, give him a sense of family when he wants while grabbing a piece of tail at the bar during happy hour.  The kind of wife who will take it because she is dumb enough to believe its worth it, that she's not worth a good relationship.

She doesn't have the breasticles to put in the effort she needs to get what she wants because she wants what she wants right now. This girl will perpetuate this behavior-- perpetuate this sort of relationship for her children and worse of all for her future daughters. She will teach her children that women are P.O.S's to trample on and are there only to serve men. She will teach her future kids that women are defined solely by men. Her daughters will not have breasticles, they will only have relationships, unhealthy relationships because mom didn't model healthy ones. 

Break the cycle, ladies. Break it now. Don't stay in a relationship where you are not treated well. Don't excuse a man's bad behavior or think you will change him or that he'll wake up one day to realize he's made mistakes, apologize and says he loves you enough to stop hurting you.

It won't happen. Dr. Phil is right: You teach people how to treat you. And you teach kids how people ought to be treated and how relationships work. If you are in a relationship where you are constantly getting hurt and you have kids, you are HURTING your children.

Don't say he's good man because he doesn't hit you. Phooey. Good relationships are not good because they aren't physically violent. Good relationships are happy AND healthy emotionally, physically and mentally. Hitting isn't even a thought... I can tell how good a woman's relationship by whether or not she says "Oh, he'd never lay a hand on me" or "He doesn't get physical with me". That means at some point you, dear woman, thought he might hit you. He scared the bejebus out of you. That statement makes us healthy people in happy relationships wary. Red flag. Huge red flag-- you aren't fooling us. 

Don't let a penis define your self-worth. END OF STORY. END OF RANT. 

Now, are ready to work on those breasticles or do you already have them?

Chiair Malfomation Info

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This is courtesy of the Brain and Spine Foundation Online out of the UK. It's good info, except we have to remember that every doctor seems to type Chiari differently. Type II doesn't necessarily mean Arnold Chiari in the states. I think. The doctors always confuse me with this one or at least the ones who even know what a Chiari Malformation is do.

Tomorrow we see the neurosurgeon or, at least, one of his cronies. If its the Nurse Practitioner who didn't know she couldn't write a valid narcotic prescription and signed the order to have my husband released after only 16 hours after surgery, someone will have to keep me from punching her in the nose. My husband is the one who threatens to punch the surgeon in the nose because he wasn't honest about the pain during recovery. But I'm going to have words with the NP... strong, effective words, like either reschedule our appointment or get me someone else as I am firing you. FIRED.

16 hours... I'm still pissed. Had I not had the wherewithall and not been well read, my husband would have died. Had I not helped a friend through nursing school by studying with her (and maybe doing her homework...maybe), I would have completely fallen short on aftercare. And it would have been nice if someone gave the care provider a clue about the intensity. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

This is why I put up a stink. Sixteen hours is not long enough. We went to ER because he was dehydrated and possibly had meningitis and not enough antibiotic. Thanks. Was it the insurance company? Maybe. Was it to free up a bed in the ICU without taking one up on the floor? Maybe.

I'm afraid good patient care is dead and we should have nursing skills like our great-great-ancestors. Someone needs to practice medicine, might as well be us. Who is up for self-stitching courses? Midwifery? Something.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

When an autistic person ages out

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This Article makes me sad and sickened. Here is a young adult with autism who happens to be a black male. He is 19 years old, but it does not sound like he is still in school. So what does he do? Hang out near a school in the middle of the day. Am I surprised? No.

Some areas have no services for young adults with autism. Some don't have stellar supports or any at all. In this case, it sounds like the mom just couldn't deal with or handle this kid at home. Maybe it would be different if mom had respite care and her son had adequate transitioning out of school. Being that this boy was only nineteen, his emotional and social ages are probably much younger.

Which makes me ask "Are you effing serious?". Sorry everyone, but you are going to face an explosion of cases just like this one as the autistic population, which is growing, starts to leave high school. Especially if these kids are minorities... especially if a child is from poverty... we are in trouble because we don't have enough help in place to handle this population when they become adults.

I read that article thinking that this could be my boy. Not freaking out because he's wantonly causing trouble and thinks "eff the police", but because he's freaked out by this stranger approaching him-- spraying pepper spray to subdue him (which is a dumb idea). Pepper spray versus a gun? Really? This is on top of already being agitated because he has nothing to do or misses school or his fish only takes is a small, even irrational trigger to put an autistic person over the edge if they are already under stress.

In my experience, the average person just doesn't understand Asperger's Syndrome or anyone with high functioning autism. Kids are labeled as "bad". There aren't a lot of trained specialists to work with this population. Parents often feel isolated and overwhelmed. Three words: Lack of support. Another three words: Lack of understanding.

As a society, we have blinders on when it comes to this population. This article is demonstration that we, as a society, refuse to take those blinders off. This boy reacted in a way that is typical of this population (albeit: we hope by age nineteen we've given them the skills to cope). He just happens to be an adult, black and a big, scary looking boy when he is reacting.

And a gun? C'mon. He was black... don't all black men carry guns? Really? The person who made the original 911 call was obviously biased, if not racist.

When this kid got that upset, he was not able to control himself. Pepper spray did not help. Trust me. Everyone who is an expert or parent of a child affected by autism will tell you. A child without the right supports, under the right conditions is as controllable under stress as a run-a-way freight train. You just have to ride it out until they hit a brick wall.

Let me be the first (or next) to say that this poor kid won't survive in jail. Not. at. all.

How can our justice system work appropriately if it does not understand autism? How can our society function appropriately if it doesn't understand autism. Get ready, America, because 1 in 100 children are autistic. That number is rising. If the trend continues (whatever that trend is), its going to be 1 in 50...then 1 in 25, then 1 in 10. Betcha when its one in 10, concessions will be made.

Or maybe when the first of the 1 in 100 population become adults and age out of public education based services, we are really in trouble. Without supports in place, cases like these will be an everyday event. High functioning autistic people are hard to pick out on first glance. Even on second glance, they can pass. Yet, make no mistake: Autism is real and this behavior is at its core.

But its okay, the budgets that fund services for people with disabilities have only been slashed considerably. We don't need services for this population anyway. All we need are prisons. Teach these incredibly bright population that have little social skills how to become criminals. We'll learn the hard way.