Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

There is a discussion in the car this afternoon about Memorial Day Vs. Veterans Day.  "Aren't they basically the same thing?" asks Blue.  "So is Memorial Day more important?"  My husband was busy giving this matter of fact explanation that just sounded wrong to me...even though he is a Veteran of Operation Desert Storm.  Of course, I couldn't accuse him of being inaccurate without having the facts.

I pull out my handy dandy Android phone and look it up so that I can give the official, correct answer.  And so it goes...Veterans Day is the day we remember and pay tribute to all who have served our country in the armed forces.  Memorial is the day we remember those who have actually fallen in service to our country in the armed forces.   My husband served, and my eldest son is serving now.  We thank them and the rest of the members of our family for their service.  They are honored on Veterans Day.  Today, we  give thanks, remembrance and honor to those who have lost their lives in this service.

The moral of this story...Mommy is always right! :-D


This morning, Blue and Dad decide they want to go to the movies --an activity that they usually reserve to do alone together, which is just fine with me.  This time...they invite me and Red to join them.  I seriously wanted to decline,  and spend he day reading my book, or doing a little art project.  I felt the family obligation to go with them.  Red, hemmed and hawed and tried to find excuses not to go.  We usually just go with that, because ultimately, he ruins the outing for everyone.  Today, Blue decides not to take no for an answer.

"I don't want you to stay at home and be bored all by yourself."  This is huge for brothers who just came to blows the night before.  I tell you that Blue should be considered for sainthood.

Off we go...the whole clan on our way to see "Kung Fu Panda" Woo hoo!  NOT!  Somehow, I end up sitting next to Red.  He just can't help pouncing on me with a barrage of questions and menial complaints.  Dad rescues me...we switch seats.  The first five-minutes of the movie Red, wants to walk out.  This is not his kind of movie.  He's more of a Transformers, or Iron Man, kind of guy.  Hell, I'm more of a Water  for Elephants kind of girl, but I'm there with my family.

Red finally settles down and so do I, into a nice afternoon snooze!  That's right...I sleep right through the entire movie.  At least I wasn't complaining! I wake up just in time for the ending where two characters are embracing and saying, "You're my dad."  Red breaks out in tears...real crocodiles.  Dad has to comfort him for several minutes.  He says, he feels bad because he doesn't always appreciate his dad.  I think ultimately, he really enjoyed the movie.

We all go afterward to 31 Flavors.  Ice cream makes everything better.  Except, Mommy can no longer do ice cream, because it tears her stomach apart.  Oh well...I guess I have to have a margarita instead.  Cheers!

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Waiting for the Shoe to Drop

It's been so peaceful around here it's kind of eerie.  I know that I should just be grateful for the peace.  I should put out positive energy and thoughts that it will continue.  However, history has put a little cloud over my PollyAnna outlook on life.  We usually get about 5 good days and then all hell breaks loose.

Things haven't been shall we say --perfect.  That would really be weird.  We took a trip to Walmart the other day.  Red walks out pouting like a toddler because we didn't buy him anything other than food.  At this point, that's all I think I owe him  -the basic necessities of life.

"My life is terrible!  I'm so bored!  I never get anything that I want," he says as we walk to the car.
 To which I respond, "You're life would be terrible if you were living under a bridge, with no food to eat."
"Well...that's probably where I'll end up," he says.
"I guess you should prepare yourself for it now, " I say.  "Get used to not having anything, because if you are not willing to work for what you want, that's what you'll have --nothing."

The pouting ends shortly after we get home and his younger brother continues the reality check. Blue,  the bossy, teacher that he is says,  "You can't yell and scream at Mom to get what you want.  You're not making any sense.  That's not the way things work!" Red actually listens for a change.

It's hard to say what it is.  Are the new meds working their magic?  Or is it the lack of stress for him? School is essentially over and he's been spending a lot of time here at home.  I pulled him from the program he was in.  They were not communicating with me.  They essentially pulled a bate and switch, not providing all of the services that they sold me on.   I found myself more stressed than ever trying to get him there on time and get Blue to school on time as well.

We've had little to no screaming for several days now.  He seems to be grasping the fact that we are not going to buy him anything.  He has to earn whatever he wants.  No...he doesn't have a job per se -but he has to do chores to earn money.  He now realizes that he has to pay for the doors that he damaged.  To make that task seem less overwhelming and defeating, in a therapy session a few days ago, we agree that he can keep half of his chore money and half will go towards his debt for the doors.

Yesterday,  he puts away and washes dishes, and helps me with some work outside in the yard.  He also barters a deal where he sells me his old video camera for $50.00.  He gets to keep 25 and 25 goes towards his debt.  This morning the first words out of his mouth are, "Can I do any chores today?"

Blue and Red have actually been getting along for two days now --knock wood! I have been just exhausted for some strange reason.  I think my body is depressed.  While I nap the other day, the two of boys hang out together in Red's room.  This hasn't happened I think, this entire year! Like I said, eerie!

Now...he is still talking incessantly.  He really has to work on listening during a conversation and not talking over people.  Watching a movie with him is a nightmare.  The questions come flying out of his mouth, loudly, non-stop.  I can't do it.  I have to leave the room or drink heavily.  At least he's trying to make an effort to hang out with his family.  I think he is figuring out...we are the one's who love him.  We are the best friends he has.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Funny Friday -May 27, 2011

We've had a fairly peaceful few days around here.  I am grateful for that.  I'm still feeling overwhelmed by life in general.  Let's face it -I have a really big job that doesn't pay worth a damn and doesn't get much respect.  My mom says my rewards will be in heaven.  At this rate, I may get there sooner than I think.

Every mom knows there are so many details to take care of.  I spent this entire week running in circles, taking care of everyone else's little details.   Doctors appointments, a dental appointment, hair salon (for mom, while I put my own hair on hold for a week) endless grocery shopping, dog groomer, cleaners, the bank, the nail salon --helping Mom prepare for her trip.  I make endless phone calls and research programs and camps for the boys.  Then I try to figure out how we can afford to make it all happen.

Don't tell me men don't have periods...cuz hubby was certainly on his this week.  It's really hard to be the loving wife when my Gemini husband is in full fledged alternate personality.  We are both stressed.  He has a lot of responsibility with his job and the finances of taking care of this family.  I guess it can't always be a honeymoon.  I find myself pining over a young couple at Starbucks.  I think...Wow! Wouldn't it be nice to be young and in love, having fun with no responsibilities?!" I guess I have to get my fix of that by going to the movies.  Real life is no romantic comedy! At least not these days.

Instead of writing about the depressing subject I call my life, I thought we would lighten things up a bit.  On my Facebook Community Page friends, Aspergers moms, dads and a few Aspies  stop by, hang out, chime in on discussions and even share funny stories.  I thought I would share one of them here.

Elena who has 3 children (one with Aspergers) writes:
 Please tell me if this is a normal conversation... cuz I feel like I'm losing it:

"how was your day cutie?"
"great, my teacher said I behaved beautifully... I deserve a slurpee... but I think McDonald's is better."
"well, maybe later.."
"you want me to die of starvation"  
"no, I said, maybe later" 
"if I don't have it now, I will die" 
"I'll miss you if you die"
"I'm sitting in the car until you take me, but know that I might be dead when you decide to"
"I would like you to come in and if you must die, I want it to be in my bed while I lie next to you" 
"you don't care if I die" 

"yes, I do, but come on, I'll give you a piggy-back ride" .... (we go inside)

"G, would you like some movie theater butter popcorn?"

 "sure mama, I'll die another day" 

I don't know about you but I thought this was hilarious.  Probably because I have had similar dramatic conversations with my boys...especially Red.  It's so good to know that I'm not alone.  I wish we could all get together and have a few good Aspergers laughs.  This community Facebook Page is the next best thing.  Please come join us and feel free to comment or post  your questions for discussion or feedback or just share your own funny stories.

Here's one more from Elena for the road.  Her stories are so funny she should have her own blog.  She say's she would rather share here:

g3 calls me from school whenever he wants... this morning's call..
"hello mama, just calling to tell you I colored my tongue with a pink marker.." 
"well cutie, why would you do that?" 
"to make my tongue more colorful, of course... don't worry though, I used a washable marker... asalaam alaikum.." *click* ...

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Don't F- With Me!

I am lollygaging around the grocery store when my cell phone rings.  It's the middle school.  It's only 9:30 a.m.  What did he forget?  I think to myself.  It's Blue's voice on the other end of the phone, but he doesn't sound like himself.  He pauses before he says anything.  When he finally does I hear that he is very upset.

"Mom I had an incident this morning," he says hesitantly.  I'm starting to freak, it sounds like he's crying.
"What kind of incident Sweetie?"
"I'll let Ms. K tell you.  Hold on," he says.
Ms. K puts me on speaker phone so that I can talk to both of them.

Apparently, there was an altercation in the cafeteria this morning.  Today he decided to have breakfast at school.  Lucky me! Or so I thought. I was all too happy not to have to prepare anything for him.

After gets his food, he is looking for a  place to sit.  Some kid says something rude to Blue.  "No one likes you.  You can't sit here," and I don't know what else.  Then he attempted to put a dirty napkin on Blue's breakfast tray.

OMG!  No you didn't! Don't mess with his food with your germs! His food is sacred.  He doesn't want it touched by anything or anyone.  He's been bullied a few times by boys this year.  In P.E. they say he's too slow and that he sucks at basketball.  Some have called him weird, etc.  Well not today buddy!  He looses it.  He rips this kid a new one --cursed him out,  probably called him a "bastard" among other choice words.   For some reason bastard is his "go to" word when he is really angry.  I don't think he even knows what it means.  Not only did he curse at him, he punched him in the arm for good measure.  Don't f- with me kid! 

Is it bad to say, "Way to go Blue?!! Don't let that boy mess with you!  I'm sick of these kids trying to push you around!"  Of course I didn't say that, but I sure did think it!

He felt so bad for what he had done.  He felt bad for loosing control and getting so angry  I said the right motherly words over the speaker phone,  "What do you think you could have done differently?"

"So this incident will teach you to take a deep breath and make a better choice the next time right?  Try not to worry about it.  Don't let it ruin your day.  It's over.  Let's move on."

After the incident happened, he actually went and told on himself! He was so upset, he had to talk to someone.  He told his special ed. teacher everything.  Then they went to talk to Mr. D. the 6th Grade Principal. He did get lunch detention for 2 days.   I think he should get leniency for telling on himself...but whatever!  I suppose he needs to learn to try to keep his cool and just get the other guy in trouble.

At the same time, these kids need to learn that he is the wrong one to mess with.  Yes...he may be a little geeky, smart, and not very athletic -but that doesn't give you the right to be mean and ugly to him.

Blue actually thought he was being the bully because he hit the kid and the kid had not hit him.  When he comes home from school he's really beating himself up about it.  I tell him, "A bully messes with people for no reason at all.  Because he's having a bad day, or just because he's mean and he thinks he can get away with it.  You hit him for a reason.  You didn't just arbitrarily pick him out and go hit him.  He was being mean to you and you reacted.  That is human.  That's not bullying."   I had to tell him to take it easy on himself.  "No one is upset about this anymore.   We have all moved on. You need to give yourself a break."

The good news or should I say the sensational news is that we found out today that he received commended scores on all of his state testing!  Here in Texas we call it the TAKS.   Don't mess with my boy!  Watch out world!  Here he comes!


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Monday, May 23, 2011

Thelma and Louise

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

One day I would like my home to be the haven that it is supposed to be.  I know that's a bit much to ask when you have two teenagers with Aspergers.  I'm reaching for the stars and I will never stop reaching.

So my insurance company reaches out to me to find out what Red needs post hospitalization.  When I tell them we are still having some meltdowns and that our household is still being disrupted on a fairly regular basis, they offer a day program where he would be monitored by nurses, doctors and receive therapy on a daily basis.  There is also a charter school attached to the program where he can finish his school year. Great! I'm excited at the prospect of this.

I start making phone calls.  I am given the run around by the program I am most interested in.  "We don't have any space right now, but you are next on our list.  We will call you tomorrow." blah blah blah! I finally get an appointment with another one of the referrals.  We go for an evaluation.  They show me around, I'm not super impressed with their so-called evaluation process.  They basically have me sign a few papers, ask him some general questions and then ask me for my portion of the payment.

He is super anxious about this.  He's telling me all the reasons why he doesn't need to do this.  "I can just go back to my school.  Everything was fine at my school.  I'm not going to like this!"  Everything was fine at my school!? You've got to be kidding me.  I have two holes in my doors from a meltdown that began with, "I hate that school!  You don't understand!  I can't go back there!" He has been complaining about his school for the entire year!

He is so nervous and full of anxiety that it's actually pretty hard to get through the evaluation process.  He's constantly interrupting, saying the same things over and over again.  This is another change for him.  He doesn't know quite what to expect -new peers, new counselors, new program, new rules.  Change is a very scary thing for Aspies.

After our evaluation appointment, we stop by his high school to take care of some paperwork.  Moments earlier he is telling me that all he wants is to go back to his school.  When we get there,  he doesn't even want to get out of the car.  Anxiety has encapsulated him.  He's fine to go back to school, yet he doesn't want to get out of the car because people may be staring at him and asking him questions about where he has been.  How exactly was he going to handle this if he returned to school?"

After I have signed him up for the program, I find out that the van service  wants him to be at the pick-up location at 6:30 a.m.  The pick-up location is about 20 minutes from our house.  How in the hell am I supposed to make that happen?  I haven't been able to get him outside of our front door by 8 a.m. to catch the school bus.  That has been a struggle everyday for the entire school year.  Not to mention, I have another child that I have to get up and ready for school and hubby is out of town.

I decide I will have to drive him all the way down to South Austin and he may not get there exactly on time.  This is a good 45 minute drive without traffic.  I would be a complete nervous wreck fighting to get him up at 5:30 a.m. to be somewhere on a deadline by 6:30.  Not to mention I would have to figure out how I'm going to get Blue to school by 8:30 a.m.

Of course, I am still a complete nervous wreck listening to him bitch and moan in the car about how he doesn't want to to this and all of the idiotic reasons why. To top it all off, it's a PMS week.  My nerves are seriously fried. I finagle getting Blue to school by the skin of my teeth.  I get on the highway with Red.  He's driving me completely batty with the complaining.

"Why are you doing this mom?"
"Why can't I just go back to my school?  There was nothing wrong with my school?"
"Why is there so much traffic.  It's ridiculous for us to drive down here in all of this traffic!"
"You will just do anything to get me out of the house won't you?  You just hate me don't you?"

I try to tune him out.  I have gone back and forth with him long enough.  I stop answering.  I'm trying to focus on the traffic, trying to listen to the navigation system, and he's freaking screeching in my ear! He goes from screeching to a loud piercing scream...while I'm driving!  I loose it!  Screaming while I'm driving + PMS = recipe for getting cursed out.

"Have you lost your f-ing mind?  Do you want me to crash this damn car? I am trying to help you!  I'm the only one who is constantly trying to help you and I am sick and tired of you treating me like shit!  I do everything for you! I am the person who just 2 weeks ago took your ass out of town for a weekend so that you could go to Six Flags!  Your father NEVER would have done that! I do EVERYTHING! would be easier to send you back to your high school to put your ass on the bus and just let you go crazy there so you can end up back at the hospital!  Maybe I should just get off the highway right now and drive you straight to the hospital myself!!!"

I swear I wanted to just drive the freakin' car right into the median -drive off a cliff if I could find one "Thelma and Louise" style!

He looks at me as if I am from Mars.  He calmly says, "Well you don't have to get so mad?  See mom, I'm not the only one who looses it."  He gets quiet.  Five minutes later he says, "I'm sorry." Ya think!  You should be sorry! I think but do not say.

On my way back home I call hubby.  "I can't do this!  I'm loosing it."  My hormones and emotions are all over the place.  I feel like I'm at the end of my rope.  Hubby says, "Do you want me to cancel my trip for next week?"  What do you think? 

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Red at Twilight

"Red is the first color you lose sight of at twilight."
"Red stimulates energy and can increase the blood pressure, respiration, heartbeat, and pulse rate."

He comes home like the angelic person that he can be.  He is the most calm we've seen in him in quite some time.  Happy to see the sun, happy to eat a fast food cheeseburger, happy to see his room and all of it's comforts.  He sits down and writes in the journal that he started keeping while he was away.  My son -sitting down to write something, by hand, unrequested --absolutely unheard of.  Next, he thoroughly cleans and rearranges his room.

It's over.  This is the best thing we could have ever done.  It was totally worth it.

That's the night I wrote Happy Ending.  Well...I spoke way too soon.

The following day we add a medication that was prescribed by the attending doctor, but they had not given it to him because they didn't have any in the hospital.   He has been is all-over the place with his conversations.  He is clearly unfocused.  ADHD was alive and kickin'!  He is talking fast and incessantly because he isn't on a regular dose of medication for focus.  The conversations are fairly positive in nature other than the occasional request for his summer vacation plans.

Hubby and I go out to celebrate our new found celebrate I mean drink margaritas.  We can actually leave the house, leave him with Nana and his brother without having to worry.  This is great!

We come home at midnight to find him on the phone with his friend.  He is involved in a very negative conversation with this friend who also has his own issues.  The friend is trying to diagnose him and tell him all of the things the doctors and his parents have done wrong.  What's going to happen next, etc.

In Red's mind, this is his only real friend, but the relationship has become toxic for him.  They can't get along.  Red takes everything this kid says as "golden".  It must be true if he said it.   The friend gets him all wound up and there is usually a fall out that we have to deal with.  Here he is upset again.  The last thing we need!  This night was the end of that friendship as far as I am concerned.  The cell phone is confiscated and the friend's number is blocked on our house phone.

Cut to Saturday afternoon after the second dose of this Dexadrine -he starts in on the manic, looping, nonsensical dialogue.  This goes on for hours!  My husband is with him this whole time.  I am out with my mom.  I am in bed when the boys come in from a movie.  Hubby has this glazed look in his eyes.  He is done! Cooked!

"I've been through 8 hours of complete torture!" Welcome to my life!

It doesn't get any better that night.  In fact we go into full blown meltdown, much like the one he had the week before.  Apparently, this kid can not take any medication in the Adderall, amphetamine family.  I told these freakin' doctors this.  They swore with the other medications on board, he should be fine.  Not!

On Monday we see his regular doctor.  He still has not come down out of this manic state.  She got to see it, live and in living color.  She had never seen him like this in her office.  This was the real deal.  He is screaming, telling me that he hates me --the whole nine-yards.  Now maybe she will believe the mother when she tells you that he can't take anything related to Adderall.  The doctor has to give him something right then and there in her office to calm him down, so that I can get him home.  Within 15 minutes he is in my car apologizing to me.

I know at this point, the kid was not ready to go back to school --too unstable.  Since we got all of the Dexadrine out of his system he is doing much better,  but we still have a lot of work to do.

The next episode of "As The Red Turns" will be brought to you soon.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

It's Not the Hilton

Editorial Note: Red is already back home and doing better. I couldn't write about this when I was actually going through it last week.  I am now telling the story as I have a little perspective on the situation. 

As we sit in the waiting room through this grueling evaluation process, Red has grown weary and tired.  He put on his good-boy hat when he we walked through the door.  As he his exhaustion becomes more profound, he starts in on me --at first quietly, but with each repetition, the volume and intensity rise.  He is sitting in the waiting room talking to me about his summer vacation plans, of all things. Where are we going to take him?  He has to get on an airplane this summer and visit his family.  We still have doors to replace that have been thrashed.  Vacation my ass!

"I didn't buy that Six Flags Season pass for nothing!  I have to go to another Six Flags this summer," he says.
"What do you think I'm going to sit around all summer and be bored!?"
"You don't understand!"

This is said in a loop with slight variation over and over and over again.

Summer vacation plans are so far on the back burner, they can not be seen with the naked eye.  They have evaporated!  Poof! Up in smoke.

One of the gay male nurses sees him beginning to rant.  He calls me over to go over some imaginary paperwork, just to get me away from him.  I fall in love with this guy with his pink t-shirt and pink sparkly wrist watch --his prance across the room so much sexier than my own.  Five minutes later Red comes over and interrupts us to get back in to his frivolous, manic conversation.  My new nurse-friend tells him, "Sweetie, I've been watching you riding your mom for the past 30 minutes.  This conversation isn't going anywhere, so you may as well sit down."  My hero!

Finally, someone gets to see a little taste of what I deal with day after day.  This time,  Red is just so out of it, that he does not care that we are in public and that he has an entire waiting-room audience.  Notice, his father is also in attendance.  He is not directing his conversation to his father.  In fact, Dad is falling asleep.  He has been actually trying to work all day in-between the craziness.  

Meanwhile, I'm sitting there going crazy.  Electronic devices are not allowed in this secured area.  (You've got to be freakin' kidding me!  No cell phone, no Kindle, no laptop! How will I survive??!!) See where Red gets being spoiled?

One thing about having Aspergers, is that you really don't lie, at least not very well if you try.  When I try to get my kids to take our own candy or drinks into the movie theater.  They call it smuggling and they are really uncomfortable with not following the rules.   I have to corrupt my own children into being sneaky in order to save a few bucks.

Red is completely honest throughout this evaluation process about what he has done.  He does throw in the fact that he really loves his family and would never do anything to hurt us.  "I'm just feeling out of control," he says.  He also expresses sincere remorse for his actions.  The kid does have a good heart.  He just needs to work on controlling his behavior, these things don't come naturally to him.

We visit the floor where he will be staying.  All of the kids seem perfectly normal (whatever that is).  No one looks particularly sad, unhappy or mistreated.  They look like a typical bunch of teenagers hanging out walking around in socks, no shoes with laces.  Red complains that his bed looks uncomfortable.  "The blankets are rough and there aren't enough pillows.  I sleep with 3 pillows on my bed.  These sheets feel like they're going to tear."  He is use to high thread count sheets.  (So spoiled).

"Well, it's not the Hilton baby.  This is a hospital.  If you want the comforts of home, you have to treat us like you want to be there," I say in the nicest tone I can muster.

It isn't as bad as I had envisioned.  There are no "crazy" people running around talking to themselves  in straight jackets.  The are just who have issues.  The youngest child there is 9 years-old.  They would be kept separately on the floor.  But still, there are kids there!  (Poor babies.)  I knew that he would be alive when I returned the next day.  He wouldn't be mistreated.  He would be getting help and he would be o.k.  And so we say our good-byes.   Talk about gut-wrenching.  I am too exhausted to fall apart.  We go home and I crash...hard.

The following day I come for a meeting with the Social Worker and a visit.  I pull into the parking lot, still  in disbelief of where I am and what I'm doing.  Whoever would have thought?  Certainly not me...not in my wildest dreams.   I guess a lot of crap happens in life that wasn't apart of our happily-ever-after fantasy.

The therapist asks how I am holding up.  "What choice to I have?  I have to keep moving through it.  I have another child to take care of.  The stress is showing up in the form of fatigue."  My body hasn't been so tired since I was pregnant.  I have too many details to take care to slow down.

Each day Red gets better.  Meds are slowly taken away and new ones replace them.  He becomes more and more engaged in conversation and introspection each time I see him.  He admits to having a "little" fun watching the old P.G. and G movies from childhood with the other teens.   He is a little bored, but he isn't miserable.  He lets me know that he is ready to get back home to his bed and his computer every chance he gets.

I became hopeful that he would start to appreciate his blessings when he came home.  Every child doesn't have their own queen-sized bed, their own computer, a Blu-Ray movie collection, a video camera and software to make videos with.  Every kid doesn't have two parents who build their world around them, who will do anything to love and support them, to help them become all they can be.  Maybe there is hope.

Still to be continued...

Thank you all for your support and prayers during this difficult time.  We are getting through it.  

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Had a Dream & This Wasn't It

It's been building since February...this extreme agitation and depression.  Maybe it's been building his entire life.  It all came to a head one night a couple of weeks ago.  Between a bad mix of medications and an extreme level of frustration and sadness --he lost it! He hit a wall....literally, and a couple of doors.

His eyes were glazed, he was not himself.  He was not the boy that I know and love.  Things didn't get any better in the days that followed this massive meltdown.  Everyone in this entire house was on egg shells for days. We all took turns leaving the house to get some relief from the incessant talking, arguing and complaining and screaming.  I wish I could play a tape of this huge 200 pound boy screaming like a rock star -only there was no musicality. We all prayed that he wouldn't get wound up each evening as we were all winding down with extreme fatigue.

For months I've been frustrated with the medication process.  The trial and error.  Adding this, taking away that.  Nothing making things better, some making things worse.  The last medication change seemed to make him more agitated than ever.  I wanted a clean slate.  A clean canvas to paint on, to add each color one layer at time until we had just the right mix --the work of art that I know he can be.  I wanted a clear picture of what is really going on inside that body and that mind of his.  Is this Aspergers?  Is there something more?  I wanted answers.  I wanted something to help him, to help all of us.  I wanted a miracle.  To find it we would have to do something drastic.

I didn't want to make these changes in a hospital setting, yet I was too worn out to fight the inevitable.  When the aggression became physically dangerous, when there was damage to our home, threats to my younger son and physical posturing towards me...I knew I had no choice.   When the raging late at night put all so on edge that we could not sleep a wink all night.  I realized...something had to give.  We all have the right have peace in our home.  We could not allow one person's mental issues to hold us all hostage.

Who ever thought I would have to make such a torturous decision?  It certainly is not a part of any dream I have for my children.  Of course I never dreamed that high school would be a place of pain and anguish for my child.  I just assumed I would have a "Cosby" family full of happy children, whom I would love, nurture and push to their highest potential.  None of that dream included therapy and medications during their adolescent years.

He couldn't talk his way out of this one.  This time, the doctor and an evaluation team made the decision to put him in a safe environment so that we could make the necessary changes to his medication to help him.

I kept my head held high as we walked through this process but my body and my brain were a scrambled mess.  I had to keep moving through it and keep moving through the day's details.  Soon the emotions and fatigue would catch up with me.

A few weeks ago...I dreamed of a white padded room.  I think then I knew, if something didn't change soon, that is where I would end up.

To be continued...

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Prodigal Son

My friend pulled my coat recently to tell me that my blog makes it look like I only have 2 children.  "What happened to Slim Shady?" (let's call him or shall I call him Purple?  A combination of Blue and Red?)  Nah...I like Slim Shady, because he thinks he's cool but his actions are definitely Shady!

Shady is 23 years old.  Isn't he handsome? I didn't give birth to him, so I can't take credit for his great looks.  However,  I did raise him from the time he was 5 years old.  He is my son.  I chose him.  I chose to marry a man who had a five-year-old active little boy, when I had no such baggage.  Yes, I say baggage, because of course, the 5 year-old son came along with an ex-wife, which almost always adds a little drama to a relationship.  Actually, I admired the fact that my then boyfriend, had risen to the challenge of being the custodial parent.  How many men do you know who fight for and win custody of their children?  He must be a good guy right?

I was there for every important moment of his childhood.  I was there to nurse him through asthma, the flu,  scraped knees, a broken arm and a dislocated shoulder.  I was there for homework, last minute projects, talent shows, basketball and football practices and games.  I was there for the first broken heart in 5th grade when he couldn't stop crying for hours.  I was there for the second broken heart in high school when the older girl totally dissed him after her first semester in college.  I saw it coming a mile away, but it was still painful to watch.

I was there when he crashed my brand new car into the side of the house when he was trying to hide his girlfriend's car in our garage, so that her crazy mother wouldn't know she was at our house.  I was there when he got arrested for pure stupidity.  I  was there when we payed the lawyer to prove that he hadn't done anything illegal...just stupid.  This was at expense of the new kitchen floor that I was about to get, until we spent the money on his freedom.

I was there at graduation from high school and for the first year at the University that we paid dearly for, only to find out later that our money had been waisted.  After football season was over, he barely went to class.  Instead he stayed up all night playing video games and chasing skirts (very short, skanky, skirts).

We were there to buy the first car that was hit and damaged beyond repair.  We were there to help buy the second car, so that he could get to work and to the community college, to make up for the classes he failed at the university.  

I was there to say good-bye as he went off to boot camp when he joined the Army National Guard, after his dad had walked him through the process of  joining the Air Force.  I was very proud as he finished boot camp and started over again as an ROTC student at another local university.  

I was always there to listen, to give advice, to discipline, to get his father to day "yes", to support him and love him as though my blood runs through his veins.

I did all of this only to be slapped in the face and disappointed over and over and over again.   This is an open letter to my son Slim Shady:

Dear Son,

You suck! You suck because you hurt your father over and over again when you lie to him  --when you ask for his advice and then refuse to take it. 
You suck because you fail to call, bring a flower or a card for my birthday.   You don't show your face on Mother's Day.  I mean come on -you live 10 minutes from here. 
You suck because you don't  follow the stellar example of the man who raised you.  The man who is responsible and treats women with the utmost respect.  You don't stand on your own two feet.  Instead, you use women for what they can do for you.  Then you turn around and disrespect them by using offensive language to communicate with them.  You do this in front of your 15 year-old, impressionable brother.

You suck because you know that both of your brothers have disabilities and could use the love,  support and example of a big brother, yet you're too busy to take any time for them.  You can't take them out to shoot hoops, go to the gym to work out or toss a ball at the park.  These things are free!

You really suck because when your brother was in the hospital last week, you didn't show up for a 15 minute visit or make a 5 minute phone call.  This tops everything!

This isn't to say you haven't accomplished anything.  I was always proud of your grades throughout your school years.  
I was always proud of how well-mannered you were with your teachers and other adults. 
I was always proud of your discipline on the football field.
I am proud that you are back in college working on your education.

At the same time you disappoint me on so many levels, I've actually lost count.

Congratulations, you are finally featured on my blog.

I love you always.  I  can't wait for the day that you rise to the occasion and become the independent, strong,  family-oriented man,  that we raised you to be.

Love Mom,

p.s. Where's my cake plate that I sent home with you for your birthday in March?  Oh yeah that's right, I don't think I've seen you since then!

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Happy Ending

This tumultuous week has a happy ending.  I find that when I'm going through something deep and emotional, I can't write about it until I get a little distance from it.  It's like swimming up stream, against the tide.  You're just trying to survive...trying to get through it.  Once you reach the shore, catch your breath and let the sun bless you with it's energy, you can find the strength to write.

I have the energy tonight, but instead of writing a long post, I am going to go out and celebrate the week's happy ending with a margarita.  I may even have two!  I am craving one right about now.  So cheers yall!  I'll be back soon with this weeks story.

P.S. Thank you my loyal readers who always take a moment to comment and click the Top Mommy Link! When you means more readers get to read my stories and I get these cool notes from them, telling me how they feel less alone in their journey.

Thanks for clicking!

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Guest Post Today

I am guest posting today over @ Autism Sucks Blog "It Definitely Sucks"

That's right:

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Please stop by to show me some love, read, comment, you know the drill!

Thank you!

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fresh Strawberries

Darkness has this annoying habit of blocking out the light.  I've got news for you Mr. Darkness (yes -darkness is a male figure) --I'm going to focus on the light in my life right now, instead of allowing you to completely take over.

This morning my very own piece of sunshine -let's call him Blue, made me smile in the darkness.  He gets up peacefully, and cooperatively.  I am hoping he wants cold-cereal for breakfast.  He doesn't.  He wants oatmeal.  Guess I have to get my ass up and off of my laptop to prepare it.

As I am pouring it into the bowl he asks, "Can I have a few strawberries with my oatmeal?"  Oh My God!  Did my child just ask for fresh fruit with his oatmeal? This is a first!  For me it is huge!  He is eating healthier by the day --experimenting and trying new things.  I just get so freakin' excited about it!

Of course, I gladly sliced those strawberries, dusted them with a pinch of sugar and spread them on a plate.  This gave him a little thrill!

"I get sugar on them!?"

"Just a pinch," I say.

He says his grace before he eats --giving thanks for the meal and throwing in a prayer for his brother to get better.  (His brother's darkness has been profound lately.)

I carpool Blue and his friends to school -listening to them all sing "The Happy Song," which is not really all that happy.  It's actually kind of inappropriate and disgusting.  But hey, they are happy when they're singing it.

This is the sunshine in my otherwise dark, cloudy day.  Yes -sooner or later I will have to pay attention to the darkness but today, I choose to focus on the light.  It is burning so bright, I need sunglasses!

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day?

I ask Red what  he is going to do for me for Mother's Day.  "I don't have any money he says."

"Well, I have a fabulous idea. You can make me a video with a message from you and your brother and you can throw in some pictures from this past year."  A free gift that takes a little time and thought.  That's all I ask for as the woman who just spent the entire last weekend devoted to him and Six Flags.  Hot steamy, crowded Six Flags, certainly not my favorite place on earth.  

In a dark state of depression,  and self-loathing he decides that he no longer has any video making skills.  "Everything I do is crap!" 

I get no video.  In fact, he also decides that his handwriting is so awful that he can't even sign my card. 

Blue spends the day with me on Saturday.  We take art lessons together, I play with oil paint.  He is drawing a tree in charcoal.  We take my mom to lunch together.  It is really funny trying to come to an agreement on the restaurant.  We settle on Mexican food, a place the two of them have never been before.   He works really hard at not getting an attitude because he's not totally in-charge. 
Playing with paint is great therapy...
Afterward, "Blue and I go on a date the movies to see "African Cats." It is a tribute to the love of a mother.  Those wild cats will do anything to protect and to teach their babies.  The only difference is, if the cubs don't listen to their mothers, they can easily be killed by predators.   Their relationships are just chucked full of love and affection.  Everything is relative.  Those cats have their own problems from day to day,  just trying to survive just like the rest of us.

This morning I get cards and gifts from my husband and Blue.  Red did not sign the card, my husband signed for him.  I let him know that I am extremely disappointed.  My mom gives him a good "talking to."  He says he will send me an e-mail since he despises his own handwriting.  His handwriting by the way, has been described by teachers as "like a font -perfect." 

It will be nice if we can get through this day without a meltdown or any screaming.  So far -so good.

I love your comments and clicks...

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Desperate Times...

Editorial Note: 
Let me preface this post by saying...this is difficult to share but hey, these are my "Confessions."  This is my reality, my naked truth.  I won't apologize for it.  It's therapeutic for me and hopefully helpful and/or educational for someone else. 

The storm blew in so was like a tornado, without warning.  It was ugly.  It was out of nowhere.  It was the worst I've seen him yet, and that's saying something.  Just the other day,  I wrote how I'm growing immune to his meltdowns.  Guess what?  I spoke to soon.  There are now holes in two different doors in my house.  Did he knock wood for luck?  I don't think so.

I don't know where to lay the blame.  Is it the medicine???  Is he just exhausted from the pressures of the school year?  That is his complaint.  "I hate that school!"  "I hate Ms. Whoever?"  "I can't go to school tomorrow!"

Hubby not in attendance for this tirade --I feel desperate.  He is acting like he is totally possessed.  I warned, "If you hit anything else I'm going to call the hospital or someone and you're going to have to leave."  He looks almost stunned at the hole in the first door.  He looks down at his hand, which is now throbbing, like I can't believe I did this.  A few minutes later...he is banging fretfully on another door.  I call for assistance.

He is shocked and pissed all at the same time.  He has not harmed anyone.  The only carnage is my bedroom door and the utility closet door.  When I tell him the Crisis Team will be coming out to assess him.  I tell him, I'm not exactly sure what they will do, if they will take him to the hospital or not.   Scared to death, he calms his ass right down.

He is as cool as a cucumber when they come in.  Of course by then, his meds have probably kicked in fully.  I wish I could say for sure what is going on in his head at this point.  The truth is, it would be a guessing game.  This whole psychiatric medication scenario is a guessing game.  An expensive, challenging, daring game of guessing what will work.  What will make things better for this kid?  Will this make things worse? Lately, we are seeing more of the latter.

I'm sure my neighbors all got a thrill from gossiping, wondering what the hell is going on in my house.  My mother peers out of the window as a few neighbors gather to talk.  She assumes it's about the yelling that's been coming from my house and  the two unmarked cars that pull up.   I don't really give a shit what they think at this point.  I have to do what I have to do.  I have to deal with my reality --not with what the neighbors think about my reality.

The Mental Health deputy is great with him.  Thankfully, Red is not the belligerent out of control person who tore threw my house moments earlier.  I can't believe this is happening, but it's been brewing for months.  The boy is growing more and more out of control.  He has good days, but we're all so exhausted from the bad days.  We're all on eggshells.  In our fragile box of chocolates, we never know what we're going to get.  I hate that the little one has to live with the rage and explosions.  The poor little anxious guy.  He has his own battles and challenges to get through on a daily basis.   Luckily, these days he has friends to play with and go hang out with.  He can occasionally escape the madness.

I am pretty cool throughout this process.   I call Hubby away from his mental health break (an evening of basketball playoffs and beer) to come home to the craziness.

I have the urge to poor a glass of wine while they interview Red.  I decide it would be inappropriate.  Ya think??  It wasn't until they left that I felt a knot in my stomach and found myself shaking uncontrollably.  I didn't feel like eating anything.  I finally poured myself that glass of calm...I mean wine.

Before leaving the Crisis Deputy hands Red his business card, and tells him if he needs anything to give him a call.  This kid pulls out his own business card and hands it to the guy.  He's networking for his video business. You just gotta love that!  We're all on the edge of insanity and he's drumming up business.

They didn't cart his ass away to the junior looney bin.  He presented as totally lucid.  Maybe he should be an actor.  He sure can pull it together when he needs to. Don't think for a minute that he was all roses and sunshine,  sorry for what he put us through the next morning.  He's still hating life at school --saying he just can't take it anymore!

His doctor offered for me to have him go half-days until school is over.  I feel like I'd be rewarding this acting out.  He'd think...all I have to do is have a major meltdown to get out of school.  So that would be a no thank-you.  At the same time, I feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I'm really not sure what to do.  I just know...there has to be a better way.

I look forward to hearing your comments, thoughts and your Confessions:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Last Month of School Blues

It's that time of the year when we are reaching for any excuse to be angry and not have to go to school.  Red's World Geography teacher was gracious enough to allow him to show the Six Flags video that he made over the weekend.  He didn't get the response he wanted or expected.

There were a couple of students who asked, "Why are we watching this? I hate Roller Coasters!" At least that is Red's interpretation of events.  This may or may not be what actually happened.  According to him,  there were other students who were on their phones texting, and not paying attention.  This is typical behavior for a group of teenagers. In fact not all that long ago we went to a film event after he completed a film camp last summer.  They were playing all of the short movies the students made in camp.  Red complained the whole time.  "This is boring!  When can we leave?"  He asked over and over again, only wanting to stay long enough to see the film that HE made.  I remind him of this.  "That was different.  I was tired," he says.  "Well, maybe the students in that class were tired."

I wasn't there, so I couldn't tell you from his report whether or not anyone had anything positive to say.  He chose to focus on the negative.  He comes home upset, yelling, with the angry face.  I am able to redirect him pretty quickly.  I tell him that all my readers on the blog loved his video!  (Yes...I stretched the truth.) But that was enough to get him off the negative trip...that is until this morning, when it was time to get on that bus to go to school.

He attempts flipping over the coffee table and bangs on a few doors and walls.  We have the run-of-the-mill screaming to the top of his lungs.  He throws a fit like that of your average toddler...only he's 15 years old and nearly 200 pounds.  He refuses to brush his teeth and get on the bus when it arrives.   Once his meds kicked in fully, he calms down, cleans up the mess, brushes his teeth and I take him to school.

Suddenly, he can't handle his classes.  "People in my classes are out of control,"  he says.  "They are loud. I can't handle it."  All of his teachers are mean ...they're not supportive.  It's so hard to figure out what is Live and what is Memorex.  What is real vs. what is imagined, magnified, exaggerated and plain old untrue.

His teachers paint a different picture.  He is passing all classes.  He is doing his work.  He is talking to peers in his classes.  He has a group to eat with at lunch.  Peers are talking to him.  He gets lots of high-fives and hellos in the hallways.  I witnessed a few "What's up man?" greetings this morning when I took him to school and walked him to his BASE class.

He's tired of school!???  Well guess what??  So am I!

My Facebook status today:

"I dreamed of a white padded room last night."

Show me some love! 

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Just the Two of US

"I can't do it! There's no way.  I'm gonna loose it, " I say to my husband.
"I can't drink my way out of this one!" I say to my mom.
My doubt is palpable.  The talking, perseverating was non-stop at top speed.  The subject? Our impending trip to Six Flags -just me and my 15 year-old Aspergers teen for the entire day!

"I'm going to set my clock for 8 a.m.
"We have to leave early."
"We have to get there on time."
"I want to stay there for at least 8 hours!"
"You don't understand!!!"
"Can I set my clock for 8 a.m.?"
"Do you have enough gas?"
"Did you print out your ticket?"
"You can't wait until the morning to print out your ticket!"
"This is really important to me.  We have to go!!  I have to shoot this video footage for my project at school.  Ms. R- is depending on me to do this project."
"What time are we going to leave?"
"I have to know the exact plan ahead of time."
"I'm not going to eat any breakfast so we can just get out of here."
"We're not going to go are we?  You're going to find some excuse."

This endless loop of questions and statements goes on for hours at max volume.  I am beginning to tremble and shake.  I have a glass of wine to calm my nerves.  I close my door and turn up the volume of my television.  My husband stands guard outside my door, not allowing anyone in or out.  He knows --I'm done!

I update my Facebook status. "Would anyone like to go to Six Flags tomorrow in my place?  I'd do anything not to have to walk around that park tomorrow!"  In the ninety degree steamy, San Antonio heat with this boy who's on overload!  Just me and him All Freaking Day!  I'm thinking -I swear I would pay someone to go in my place.  Can't I hire a big brother since the one he has isn't worth a damn?!!

I even barter sexual favors with my husband if he would trade places with me.  Of course he was glad to oblige!  But I knew that he wouldn't have the patience that I would.  His fuse is even shorter than mine -not to mention his infamous bad knee.  It would be so hard for him to walk all over that park.  Between the knee and the lack of patience, Red wouldn't be able to have much fun at all.

Cut to the park.  A friend of mine tells me that you can get a pass from Hospitality so that your child with autism doesn't have to stand in line. It's a very simple process.  They give us this little blue pass that allows him to go through the exit and give this pass to the operator, who will let them on the ride.  I go through this process with him for several rides, walking across the sauna like park .  He gets the swing of things.  I then find a comfortable cool seat where I play word games on my Kindle as I sit in the shade.  We are in touch with each other via cell phone.  He checks in with me periodically.

He finishes up his day of riding and video taping.  We have dinner at his favorite restaurant BJ's and then we hightail it to our hotel.  It's a 90 minute drive back home.  However, I knew after a day at the park, I wouldn't feel up to driving back home.  We used points to book a hotel suite so that I could drive 10 minutes to go pass out afterward.

One may wonder...why are you going by yourself?  What about your husband, your other kids? Yes...I have three children and a husband.  My eldest atypical son (age 23) I don't talk about much here. He is off living his life without much regard to the family who raised him, including his teenage brother who could really use a big brother.   Well, we are not your typical family who can go off for a day of family fun and actually enjoy it.

Blue got to spend the day with his dad -alone!  Breakfast at I-Hop followed by going to the movies to see "Fast Five."  They went to the mall and then bowling.  They had a fun-filled day together.

Just the 2 of Us! 
This option kept the day simple.  I didn't have to be pulled in 2 directions as one child wants to go one way and the other child wants to go another.  I didn't have to deal with my husband's complaining about his bad knee. We could listen to Linken Park in the car without anyone complaining.
I had the flexibility to march to Red's beat for the day -to only have one high maintenance being to deal with.

I am proud to say...I survived without incident.  He was cooperative.  He didn't complain (much) about anything.  For the day, he was able to have things HIS WAY.

The following morning I listen as Red is singing in the shower.  Blue hates when his brother sings.  He would have been having a fit if he were there.  I smile as I hear him singing.  The boy who usually talks about how horrible his life singing.  Singing ='s least for the moment!.

Here is the video that he made:

Please help keep my self-esteem in place...Click below! "You like me! You really like me!"

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

SiX Flags -More Fun?

I didn't think I could make it through the day at Six Flags with just me and Red...but I did it!  Just wanted to share these pics.  I will share the story of the day once we make it home.  

In the station about to ride Goliath!

Just the two of us!

Me faking it outside of Goliath! No Coasters for me!

Story to follow...stay tuned!

Just a click a day! A small price to pay...
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