Thursday, March 25, 2010

Girl, Interrupted- My version

Life gave me a not-so-subtle bitch slap last year. I deserved it. It was coming for a long time.

Life has a knack for that, doesn't it? You think you know yourself pretty well. I got busy in my life. My complicated life. The assault came in the form of a severe injury that put me in the OR twice and in house arrest for 4 months. Imprisoned by my wheelchair, I had plenty of time to dwell on things. I couldn't do much else.
Suddenly, my career might be over or drastically changed. Physically, I may never be the same. I worried and stewed and cried and cried some more. I took mental inventory of my life.
Marriage. Check!
Kids. Check!
Career. Check!
House. Check!
The over-achiever that I am accomplished marriage/2 kids/house in 3 years. I even got married and had a baby in one year- isn't that efficient?
These are all admirable and IMPORTANT things. But still there's something missing............... (if you have the answer, please insert here- I am open to suggestions).

My therapist, YES, my therapist, gives me homework assignments. He knows I am extremely Type A and will do almost anything if it resembles a school project.
Long story short- I am an anxious/mildly depressed product of a dysfunctional household with Daddy issues. (How's that for a clinical diagnosis?)
My homework assignments usually involve me getting out more and investing in my hobbies.

Anyways, with my homework assignment on my brain and plenty of time to dwell on things, I dreamed of plenty of things I would do when I was back on my feet. Literally and figuratively. The near-death of my mother at the end of 2009 only solidified these thoughts.

It felt like someone had slapped me so hard all the marbles went a'rollin' and when my eyes came back into focus, someone had changed the picture. I was seeing something entirely new. Early midlife crisis? Probably. Hey, the earlier the better. I'm glad that life gave me the beating of the century in order for me to see what I wanted for my future before it was too late to do anything about it.

A few weeks before my injury last summer, I spent a few hours helping to build a universally accessible playground in my community. I tried to recruit my family but the only one who came through was my Mom. (Shout out to you Mom- you rock!) I performed 3 hours of back-breaking asphalt-laying labor. I sweated and stank to high heaven, but I never felt closer to God (to be PC, insert preferred diety/lack of diety here). I'd been bitten by the humanitarian vampire! Glamoured, intoxicated, and now addicted.
2010 began with many resolutions for me. Some I had inclinations for in the past, some are new. But 2009 lit a fire under my arse. I am wasting no time making them happen.

Check out Crowdrise to see what I am up to. There's a link over there (on the right) I also have some other ideas up my sleeve...... more on that later.

Me reinvented. Refreshing.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

An idle mind....

Last Friday I had the pleasure of hanging out at the Toyota dealership for 3 hours. What started as a $220 routine maintenance turned in to a $1200 headache. The car has to last another 100K miles so...... there ya go. I brought plenty for the kids to do. DVD and my laptop, two small toys each, coupla books, snacks, and drinks. I saved the DVD for very last. We toured the showroom and picked out our favorites. M picked red, C picked blue. Big surprise. We stood in the service galley and watched through the glass as a dozen or so cars go up and down, tires go off and on, grease monkeys go under and out. All in all, the boys were entertained for at least two hours. I finally put the DVD in for them and tried to read a book but I couldn't get into it. Instead I stared down at the service galley and watched some more. My mind started to wander.

Oh, my favorite place! My recently idle mind took me into the world of Human Maintenance. I thought about how inefficient we all are when it comes to our own maintenance. We skip the dentist, the eye doctor, etcetera, because of the inconvenience of it all. Constantly missing work, sitting in offices, and filling out paper work. As a result, health problems go unchecked or undiagnosed until a major catastrophe is upon us, much like our cars. Human Maintenance is so inefficient! A type-A person as myself longs for the day when we can have one-stop health maintenance. My guess is that Aurora and Wal-mart will pair up for this endeavor- LOL.

My vivd imagination came up with this solution.........
2 day Mandatory Human Maintenance Regime . Mandatory as in paid time off and must be completed annually to keep your job. For those not working, still mandatory in order to obtain welfare checks, food stamps, disability, or social security earnings. Registration is done online or by phone. Upon arrival to the clinic, you will be given a spa robe and slippers (in which you keep as a reward), a schedule, and a clipboard. The exams go head to toe. There is a team and doctor for every type of exam. Eyes, dental, routine physical, mammogram (f needed), and pelvic (if needed). Each doctor will prescribe and send a list of lab tests they desire with you on the clipboard and sign off their exam. You keep moving throughout the clinic. At the end of the first day, all your exams will be done, blood drawn, and you will start your prep for any tests that remain in the AM, like a colonoscopy.
The first evening you just chill and relax in your fancy hotel-like room. In the AM you have a 5-star buffet breakfast and head to discuss your blood tests with the doctor. At this time you will discuss any referrals or follow up that needs to be made. You then meet with a dietician and psychologist to tie up any loose ends with diet or mental health issues.
You spend the rest of the day getting a facial, mani, pedi, and waxing. You end your maintenance with a well-deserved, hour long, deep tissue massage.
You emerge from your 2 day Human Maintenance Regime bright and shiny, ready to take on the world just like my car. And with a plush new bathrobe.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Kreativ Blogger!

My wonderful sister Katie, who is way more talented than me in every sense of the word, just nominated me for this Kreativ Blogger Award. I couldn't be more thrilled! Just like her own confession, I am hyper-critical of myself and am never really sure anyone cares what I have to say! I'm just glad that she does! Thanks sister!!!!! I would send this right back at ya!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Never Say Never

So tomorrow, we have an appointment with a Pediatric Psychiatrist. Two words you never want to put in the same sentence for anyone, let alone your own child. It's been a long, twisted road to get to "this place". I'll start at the beginning.
I've learned never to say never.
In the beginning, when M first got diagnosed, I read about six books regarding autism in the first week. I was an obsessed freakshow trying to make sense of this mountain in front of me. I wanted to be armed with knowledge as I made this journey uphill.
In one book, written by a mom (not Jenny McCarthy BTW), about their personal journey to recovery (me cringing at this word here), I threw the book across the room, hyperventilated a bit and flatly told my husband, "I can't do this. This woman is a freak! She's got a journal where she meticulously documents her sons behaviors, activities, food intake, sleep, words spoken, and bowel movements! I can't do this! M is not a science project and I do not have it in me to do it if that's what it takes!" Every second of every day was written in this book and every night she evaluated the data and tried to see patterns and triggers. What's more is that this child also received up to 20 different vitamins and supplements at varying times of day. In the book, though, Mom's constant note-taking and modifications in her "program" ended with this child being "recovered" (again cringing at the word). So this was my destiny and I just threw it across the room.
My husband, always a man of few words and never anxiety-ridden, just says, "You do what you can." Oh, he also said, "No more books."
6 months later, I unknowingly evolved into that woman. I had a three-ring binder filled with daily notes of behaviors, food intake, bowel movements, and our ever-changing list of supplements looking for the perfect cocktail. I expected my husband to fill it out while I was away. Document color and consistency of the poo and how many of the supplements he managed to get M to choke down. He never did quite the same job as his Type A control freak wife did, but he made an honest effort. I can say that I maintained this chart for a year before I retired it and the supplements. It still sits on the counter and has become my research and contact info for M's entourage of doctors and providers. Never thought I'd give up the chart.
Never say never.
Which brings me to the pediatric psychiatrist. I said M would never be on medication. We would do what we could naturally with supplements (failed) and behavior training (failed). M has high anxiety and rigid behavior. Remember the scene where Rainman insists that you can ONLY buy underwear at the KMart on _____ Street? And Tom Cruise is unsuccessfully trying to get across that underwear is underwear no matter where you buy it? Yeah. That's what I mean about rigid. That's it to the nth degree in our house some days, but it can be about everything. M's high anxiety and rigidity are the usual culprit of his tantrums. There are many times when I tell my husband that I feel like this household walks on eggshells for M. The whole household revolves around him. M is supposed to fit into our lives, not rule them.
M also has zero impulse control. He will go into tantrum if the stoplight stays red too long. He cannot regulate his emotions and becomes aggressive easily. On the worst days M's tantrums have lasted 3 hours. He will hit, kick, bite, spit, pull hair, and throw objects. He will try to knock over the fish tank, punch holes in the window screens, and pull over the bookcase.
With his psychologists and the angels of Wisconsin Early Autism Project, we worked through four different behavior plans to help M learn self-regulating and calming behaviors. These plans also included ways of discipline.
On the worst day, when M didn't get a reaction from me by doing all of the above things I mentioned, he took a book, held it high over his head, taunted me with an expression of "whaddya gonna do?" and slammed my foot with it. This would not have been a big deal unless I didn't have two 10 inch knitting needle- like skewers protruding from my foot as part of an injury repair. The pain was excruciating not to mention that he could have easily crippled me permanently. My carnal reaction was self defense. Thankfully, M bailed at the sound of my outcry and I was in too much pain to get up. In my head, I envisioned all the ways my parents would have disciplined me had I just done that to them- and worse. I said I would never threaten or spank my child.
Never say never.
I wanted to and I did. I was not proud of myself. That day drew the line in the sand for me. I told, rather than asked, my husband, that we'd be taking him to get meds. We were divided. Not the first time and surely not the last.
Our third annual consultation with M's Pediatric Neuropsychologist helped clear the divide. We've gone all the way we can go behaviorally. There is some chemical wall that we will never be able to penetrate. M's brain is wired much differently than ours. The medication will help bring M down a level so that our careful behavior plans have a chance to work.
I dream of it. I think of all the places to go. The things to see and do. All the things M will have the opportunity to try when he is not limited by his extreme anxiety and rigidity. I dream of the new peace in our household. Of not walking on eggshells.
I dream of M. All that he is now but not consumed by it.
I dream of lots of things now because I've learned to never say never.