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Archive for January, 2010

 

Matthew has a pretty high threshold for pain.  So 6 days ago when he came up to me with with his hands over his belly and a look of pain in his eyes, I knew something was not right.  “My tummy is broken”, he said sadly.  Then he burped.  I figured it was just indigestion.  Regardless of his sour stomach, he still continued to have a big appetite.  It couldn’t have been anything too serious.  But later that night, the complaining increased and it turned into screaming.  Then suddenly he got up from the couch, ran over to the kitchen sink, and hurled.  After he finished, he ran over to the dish towel drawer, pulled it opened………. and hurled some more.  “Matthew, go use the sink.”  I said as I tried to guide him back over to sink.  Apparently, the toilet isn’t good enough for him.  “No, the sink is icky now”, he said. 

After he was done I gave him a glass of water and put him in the bathtub.  As he was taking his bath, I walked back into the kitchen and looked at the vomit filled sink and the vomit filled drawer.  Great, now I have to clean all of this up and I have no dish towels to clean it up with. Matt puked on them. 

So that was a week ago and he still feels like this today.  On a good note, he’s upgraded from puking in the dish towel drawer to puking in a bowl. Much easier to clean.

 I finally took him to the doctor’s office yesterday.  “I think it’s just a nasty stomach bug”, she said.  “You just need to let it run its course.”  Run its course? It’s been running for almost 6 days now.  I used to overreact when it came to illnesses and I promised myself not to do that anymore.  It’s just very difficult when it’s your own child.  Shouldn’t he be getting better by now?  Being out of school for 5 days straight has made Matt and I both stir crazy.

Today I decided it would be fine to take him to the store.  “Do you want to choose some popsicles?”  I asked.  Popsicles are all he can tolerate right now.  “Ok.” he said.  I picked him up to put him in the grocery cart. Wow, he’s lost weight.  As I was pushing his cart he started to look queezy. I heard him softly say, “I need a bowl”.  Uh-oh.  I didn’t bring a bowl.  The ceramic aisle is almost 100 yards away (hehe).  “Ok Matt, hang on.”  I said.  I began running while pushing the cart to make its way to the restrooms.  This must have been a hilarious sight because I was wearing running clothes and running shoes. I quickly scooped him out of the cart and ran him into one of the bathroom stalls.  Made it!  Just barely though. Poor kid.  He seemed to feel a little better after throwing up. As we walked out of the restrooms, he said,  “Mommy, can I tell store workers, I puked?”, “No”, I said, ” They will worry too much.”  He nodded in agreement. A few minutes later Matt spotted another shopper in the frozen food section. “I’m sick and I just frode up”, he said to the shopper.

Oh well. I guess I didn’t tell him he couldn’t share it with fellow shoppers, did I?

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If somebody told me 2 years ago that I would be writing a page about biking, I would have said they were nuts.  Back then, I didn’t have a clue when it came to the topic of road biking.  I now have my very own road bike and I ride it as much as I can during the spring and summer. I have even competed in a few triathlons with it.  The sad thing is that I am almost as clueless about road biking now as I was 2 years ago.  So if you are hoping for some expert advice on this subject, you will not find it here.

Almost 2 years ago, one of my closest friends was sharing her experience in a triathlon she did recently.  It sounded like so much fun but I figured this type of athletic event was way out of my league.  All I could do was run.  She mentioned an All-Women’s triathlon thats held once a year in August.  It is a very low key triathlon and women of all shapes, sizes, and ages do this event.  It didnt’ sound intimidating, so why not?

One of the reasons why not:  I needed a bike.  I considered using a mountain bike.  But I kept hearing over and over again how much more effort is put into pedaling a mountain bike vs. a road bike.  So, my husband and I went to the local cycling shop one day and I looked at the road bikes. There was only one in the whole store that was small enough for me. It was an entry level bike with 650c size wheels.  After trying it out, I wanted it! My wonderful husband plopped down $800 for the bike and another $85 for the helmet.  John is usually pretty frugal when it comes to making purchases but he wasn’t going to go cheap on the helmet. One of his biggest fears is becoming a single dad.  So we left the store with my new bike and my new helmet. There was no turning back. I would HAVE to do the triathlon. 

So, I trained for about 4 months.  It definitely wasn’t intense training.  it was too fun to be intense.  Going to the pool at noon to swim for 1/2 hour almost every day, and then riding in the evening with my friends. It was a blast!  After competing in my first triathlon, I learned very quickly that the biking portion of it was not my strong point.  In fact that is where most people would pass me.  I already knew that the running part would be my strong point.  As for swimming, I’d like to say I am about average.  Ironically, out of all 3 events I enjoy the biking part the most.  Just wish I was better at it.

About a month after I completed my second triathlon, it was brought to my attention that maybe I would perform better if I replaced my platform pedals with clipless ones.  “What?!”, I thought, “That’s nuts!”, “I don’t want to be attached to this bike by my shoes!”, “What if I suddenly need to stop?”  My friends convinced me that it’s a lot easier than it looks and that I would be just fine.  So early last spring, I bought some pedals and a pair of shoes. I was set.  I was a little worried about using them so I practiced clipping in and out of them while in my bike trainer.  This wasn’t so bad!  In fact, it’s pretty easy…….in a bike trainer. 

My first day on the road: I really don’t like talking about it.  My friend and I decided to do our very first bike ride of the year on a paved trail. I tipped over and fell 3 times before ever leaving the parking lot. I was struggling to clip out of my pedals.  After falling the 3rd time, we racked up our bikes and went for a walk instead.  I came to the realization that I had only 5 months to figure the pedals out before competing in anymore triathlons.  So, within those 5 months I think I have fell over 20 times.  My biker friends admitted to me that “falling that many times isn’t normal, maybe there’s something wrong with your pedals.”  I knew it wasn’t the pedals. It was me.  But what was I doing wrong?   Finally about 3 weeks before my triathlon, my friend stopped to watch me as I struggled to clip out yet again.  “Point your toe down and twist”, she said.  As I did that, my foot practically flew out.  “That’s it?!”, I wondered. “That’s what I’ve been doing wrong this whole time?!?!”  Since I had my pedals, I was always attempting to clip out by pointing my toe up and heal down. I never bothered to even learn how the pedals and shoes worked.  That’s pretty bad!  Even for a beginner like me.  But since then I haven’t had anymore falls. Well maybe just one.

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So one afternoon about two weeks ago I got this phone call from call from Matthew’s school:

Me:  “Hello?”

Secretary:  “Hi, this is the secretary from _ _ _ _ _ _ Elementary and our records show that he is past due for his Hep A vaccination.  He will not be able to return to school tomorrow until his shots are updated.”

Me:  “Um……huuuuuuuuu????” 

Panick slowly began to set in.  I had 2 major  reasons to panick. One of the reasons was not only did I have to subject him to getting poked in the arm by some stranger, I had to do it that very day! There’s no time for planning. No time for preparing.  No time to print out an illustrated social story.  Getting a shot is definitely not part of the Monday routine. 

A second reason I was panicking was because I knew that as soon  as Matt figured out he was going to get a shot, he would practically gnaw his own arm off to get away from us all.  Think of the anxiety a typical kid has when going to the doctor’s to get a shot. Now multiply that by 10. It’s an ugly picture and it’s the primary reason that we have put it off for so long. 

You might be waiting for me to give a 3rd reason of not wanting him to get his vaccine.  Many people have asked if I felt that vaccinations played a role in causing my son’s autism.  There is a great deal of controversy about a  possible MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rebella)shot and Autism link. A mercury based preservative called thimerisal was used in combination vaccine’s, such as the MMR vaccine. Over 10 years ago,  British  gastroenterologist Dr. Andrew Wakefield researched and published evidence about an autism /vaccination link. They conducted a study of twelve children with behavioral and/or intestinal disorders http://discovermagazine.com/2009/jun/06-why-does-vaccine-autism-controversy-live-on .  From this study, Wakefield and his colleagues concluded that 8 out of these 12 children developed autism within days of their MMR vaccine.  So in 2001, thimerisal was removed from all childhood vaccinations (except for influenza).  It was later discovered in 2004 that Dr. Wakefield had manipulated the 12 patient’s data that sparked this scare in the first place.  http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article5683671.ece

 So, do I believe that my son’s autism was caused by his childhood vaccines?  No.  But that’s not to say that it isn’t a trigger for others.  Truth is, we just don’t know. It hasn’t been proven.  Matthew was born in 2002 and I always asked the nurse to show me the ingredients label on his vaccines.  I never saw thimerisal.  Even with the removal of thimerisal in childhood vaccines, children are increasingly becoming diagnosed with autism. There is also speculation  that possibly other ingredients in vaccines besides thimerisal play a role. I am not yet convinced but at the same time, I do space the shots out as far apart as I possibly can.  

There are many people in the autism community who are 100% certain that vaccines are responsible for causing their child’s and many other children’s autism.  I respect the feelings and opinions of these parents.  It is such a sensitive and personal topic.  I just feel personally, that it is not what caused my son’s autism. I was actually condemned by one parent in the autism community for giving my child his vaccines. I was accused of not “caring about my son”.  Then I accused her of being a jerk. This was via internet. Because of that I decided never to join autism message boards.   

Back to Matt’s vaccination appt. There I was,  trying to create a game plan on how to get Matthew down to the doctor’s office to get him the  Hep A shot.  John would certainly be helping, but I knew that just he and I wouldn’t be enough.  How were we going manage to get him to the doctor’s office in one piece?  Aha!  I just remembered some leftover liquid Larazapam (a potent anti anxiety medication) in the cupboard.  Matt’s dr. prescribed it to him last summer when he had to go in and get an ingrown toe nail removed.  With her permission, I administered 1.5mil of the medicine one hour before his shot appt.  As soon as he began acting loopy, we put him in the car.  “Come on, Matt. We’re going to see a nurse.”  I said cheerfully.  The loopiness stopped. “Do I get a poke?”  he asked. “Ummm, well, lets talk to the nurse first.”

 That was all it took before he screamed, kicked,  and cried in the car. Mind you, he was holding it together. It would have been much worse and probably impossible without the Lorazapam.  After a torturous 1 hour wait in the lobby, they finally asked us to come on back where there was a nurse not much taller than I am waiting with a needle.  “Is there anybody else that can help restrain him?”, I asked. “He is stronger than you may think.”  The nurse responded, “Sorry, all the other nurses and staff are at a flu shot clinic.  I am the only one here.” 

John convinced me, that we could do this, so he put Matt in a strait-jacket type hold as I held his legs to keep him from kicking the tiny nurse.  “All done!”, she said. 

I’ve seen many kids freak out and then once the shot was over, they would kind of sigh and sometimes giggle.  Not Matt, he began screaming, “I GOT A SHOT! I GOT A SHOT!”  You would have thought he was shouting “I’VE BEEN SHOT!”.  So as we walked through the lobby to head out the door, one woman looked at him and smiled.  Clearly she was trying to make him feel better, but he perceived her as laughing at him.  “I GOT A SHOT AND IT’S NOT FUNNY!”, he shouted at her. 

Once we got him in the car, we promised to take him through McDonalds drive-through as a reward for his bravery. After shoveling 10 french fries in his mouth, he promptly threw up in the car.  Thank goodness for leather seats. Much easier to clean.

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It’s been over a month since my last post.  I still had the Christmas theme template activated.  It’s nice to finally change that. 

 The last month has been pretty much a blur.  Christmas has come and gone.  We survived 2 weeks of the kids being out of school. But just barely.  Just because Christmas break is over and school is back in session, doesn’t mean that Matthew is ready to immediately fall back into the original routine. His volatile behavior has hit a new peak. Over the past few weeks, it has become crystal clear to me that Matt’s first priority over everything else is to seek control.  Not necessarily in a dogmatic sort of way.  It’s more like he realises our world makes no sense to him so he wants to create his own world and we all better adapt to it….or esle!  Ok, I guess that’s a little dogmatic.  The screaming, throwing, hitting, kicking, and breaking was becoming a daily event.  Some days, it was an hourly event.  Anything and everything would trigger an outburst.  In these past few weeks I have felt anger, fear, desperation, and despair.   “What is going on with  him?”  “Why can’t we help him?”  “What are we doing wrong?” 

John and I have learned very quickly that most of our problem solving with Matthew is aquired through trial and error.  If one thing doesn’t work, try another.  If what worked before isn’t working now, try something new. Seek the advice on what is working for other parents of autistic children. But lately, things had become so intense and difficult with Matt over the past month that we ran out of ideas of what to try. Keep in mind, we were mentally and emotionally drained.  So I finally called his doctor. “How is Matt’s sleeping?”, she asked.  “Poor as usual”, I answered.  “He still wakes up in the middle of the night and he  still can’t sleep past 4am.” 

So, she agreed that the current medicine he has been taking for the past 3 years has lost its effectiveness.   As of 10 days ago, Matt began a new medicine that is an antidepressant. The primary reason for Matt taking it is so that he can sleep better.  It works, Praise God!  Sleeping in untill 6am is just blissful!  He has been less volatile as well. Could this be the answer?  Maybe for now.  But as we all know, life is a rollercoaster. To me it’s like being on a sailboat in the middle of an ocean.  The waters are calm and it’s peaceful.  But I know there will be a storm coming eventually.  I don’t fret about the storm.  It’s going to come whether I freak out or not.  I use that peaceful time to rest up, enjoy my family, and enjoy my life.  I thank God for giving me the calm days and I pray for more of them.  But when the storm hits, I brace myself and know that we are not  going to go through it alone.  Praise God for that!

 

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