Menopausal mom to 2 young adult sons (one with ASD, ADHD, tic/seizure disorders and the other with attitude).

Monday, 19 November 2012

Things I Thought about in 2012
#Monday Listicles

For some reason I really struggled with this week’s Monday Listicles topic. Why???  Good question. Kerstin, who blogs over at “Auer Life”, picked “10 Things I Learned in 2012 (Actual Skill or Enlightenment)”. My excuse...I am 52 years old, have had 2 rounds of placenta brain and 6 rounds of chemo brain leaving very few brain cells in which to retain anything new. Thankfully I know all there is to know. Tee hee.

So I am going to put a little spin on Kerstin’s topic and pose some thought-provoking questions/statements in hopes of enlightening us all. Here we go…

1.      When did they change Christmas?  There is no other explanation for seeing decorations before Halloween.

2.      If wine oxidation is a common wine fault…why are wine aerators so popular these days?

3.      Are limes unripe lemons and green peppers unripe red peppers? Think about it…same shape just different colours.

4.      Why when you get older do they call it your “Golden Years”? Wouldn’t “Silver” be better? Nobody I know has golden hair…lot more silver or blue haired seniors out there if you ask me.

5.      Back fat and muffin top is considered a “positive correlation???
I think NOT!

6.      If yuppies are considered to be so much smarter than we were growing up…why do they shop at places like Whole Foods and pay twice as much?

7.      I know this is going to make me sound older than I am *wink*…the terms Social Networking and Social Media. Have you looked up the definition of Social?  Seems to me that most Social Networking or Media is done via email, texting, Facebook or Twitter. What happened to meeting up face to face and NO…Skype does not count.

8.    Aaaaand I got nothing else. 

It has been one of those weeks. Not to worry...I am still shopping for green bananas.  :)

Don't forget to check out what everybody else learnt this year over at Stasha's place.  

Until next time...

Saturday, 17 November 2012

A Glass Half Empty...

My glass has been half empty this week. Every so often things seem to wear me down. The change in weather…could be; added stress of R’s EEG…maybe; lack of exercise…absolutely NOT! Whatever it was…sometimes things are just blah. I am sure I am not the only one out there that has these moments. Right???

I mean the weather has definitely changed. The rain has started and with DST it seems like it is dark most of our waking hours.

Stressed out more than usual? Well if wearing my mouth guard all day is a sign…OK…slight exaggeration but my teeth feel like they are going to crack from clenching so hard. Since I did spend an awful lot of time in the dentist’s chair earlier this year it would suck  be a total waste of money be a darn shame if anything happened so instead I chose to refill my half empty glass.    

G is of the opinion I should reduce my alcohol intake. Yea…like THAT’s gonna happen! I mean I would…only I have worked really, REALLY hard to get to where I am and I am NOT a quitter!  :)

Sure I could probably use more  some exercise to have more energy and of course for fitness. One of the things that I blame for my recent physical demise is this thing called menopause. It sucks! The other is the fact that I detest exercise more than my muffin top and back fat. *sigh*

So until my big girl panties get too small (at which point I will move on to “Granny undies”…you do remember how I feel about exercise right?) I will restock the fridge regroup over the weekend and repair my rose coloured glasses with some duct tape cuz that’s how we roll in Riley World. 

Be sure to come back on Monday and prepare yourself to be enlightened with this week's Monday Listicles.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The EEG Experience

Imagine my relief when out through the doors walked a familiar face…the same technician we had 3 years ago when Riley had the ambulatory EEG done. She was wonderful back then and even wonderfuller (yes I know that’s not a real word) now.

She remembered us. Now this could be taken as a good sign or…not?!? I am going to go with the positive. Humour me. She remembered that Riley liked Winnie the Pooh DVDs the last time we were there. (Yes I know it too was in R’s file…she is still wonderful in my books!)  She had 2 DVDs on the counter ready to go. Being well versed in social etiquette R responded with a “No thanks. I don’t like that.” At least he’s polite. *sigh*  Off she took him to pick out something else. Did I mention how wonderful she was? 

When we finally got settled the technician began to ask the usual routine questions. She started with Riley. “How old are you Riley?”  “I’m 18 years old Leanna.” Wait. What? Who is he talking about?  

She continues. “What grade are you in?” Meanwhile I am frantically looking at her to see how she reacts to being called Leanna. “I’m in grade 12 Leanna (again with emphasis on the name).” That’s when I notice the nametag.

I am not sure how long it had been at that point. Maybe 5 minutes. Possibly 10. Probably somewhere in between. Regardless of how long, for all that time I spent talking with her; looking at her; I was too stressed to notice she was wearing a nametag. Riley noticed. What I am able to “filter” out when I am stressed, Riley takes in. This part (sensory processing) of Riley World is a part that can make it difficult for him to be able to cope at times.

Here is an example of how I can only assume it might feel to be in sensory overload. I remember a memory game I used to play. A tray with a number of items would be brought out. You would look at the tray for a set amount of time then the tray would be taken away. You would then have to try and remember as many items as you could. I feel my shoulders reaching for my ears thinking about it. Now imagine playing that game in a dark, dingy basement with poor lighting; there may be a slightly unpleasant odour in the air; rap music (ugh) playing loudly in the background; oh and just for added need to remember at least 90% of the items. How are your shoulders feeling now???  A little stressed???  This feeling?  I can only imagine to some degree is how it is in Riley World every. single. moment of every. day. I digress. Back to the EEG.

Lovely Leanna. I heart professionals like Leanna. She started by making marks on Riley’s head.  

“Ouch! That hurts!” Lovely Leanna would apologize. R would immediately reply in his sweet voice “That’s OK Leanna.” followed by “Shut up you stupid pencil!”  Replace 'pencil' with other objects in the room. Rewind and repeat multiple times.

Next came attaching the wires.

“Hey! You’re hurting me!” Lovely Leanna would apologize. “Oh it’s OK Leanna.” “Shut up you stupid glue!”  Again…replace, rewind and repeat.

Once again we have come to a new fork in the road. At 18 when Riley is stressed he does not want to be comforted by me holding his hand any more.  He does not want me to cuddle with him any more.  He does not want me to lie down with him any more.  Yes this is a good thing in so many ways (he is, after all, 'physically' a young man) yet I am struggling with how to try and make him feel better? I tried to redirect his attention to the video store and McDonalds (his choice of incentives picked beforehand). When this stopped working I tried saying nothing. I sat beside the bed with my hand on top of the blanket over his hand. It is always a crap shoot with chances of hitting the "meltdown button" getting higher and higher as time goes on. Thankfully we were almost done.

“I’m tired.”  Lovely Leanna would say “I know you’re tired. You can go to sleep in a few minutes.” R came back with “NO! I’m NOT tired anymore.”  Oi-vay.

A few tests to make sure everything was working then it was time to dim the lights and hope that R would fall asleep.

“Shut up you stupid!  That’s stupid!  I don’t want to go to sleep anymore.  This is stupid!”  Again...rewind and repeat. 

In the end Riley did fall asleep. He was more than happy to have everything taken off and head to the video store and McDonald's for a job well done! A small price to pay for a stressful afternoon. I, on the other hand, had a nap and an adult beverage or two when we got home. Results due tomorrow. 

Monday, 12 November 2012

Going for an EEG (the Sequel)

Did you know about 1 in 4 autistic individuals may begin to have seizures during puberty? Riley was almost 15 when he was diagnosed as having Complex Partial seizures. He has been on medication since diagnosis and has been seizure free to date.

This Wednesday at 1:00pm Riley will be going in for another diagnostic EEG to see if he is still having seizures as we have noticed some behaviours lately that are similar to previous symptoms. An EEG is the only way to monitor seizure activity before making any adjustments to his medication. 

The first time Riley had a diagnostic EEG it was inconclusive so a 24 hour ambulatory EEG was required (an entire blog post in itself which I will save for another time). In preparation for the EEG, it is best if Riley is sleep deprived as they would prefer it if he falls asleep during the test (something that did NOT happen the last time). This means keeping him up until midnight on Tuesday night and waking him up at 5am. Since his appointment is not until after lunch that means he can go to school in the morning. Lucky them. I have my reasons. No need to judge too harshly here.

We are 2 days away from the test. Time to let Riley know this is going to happen. How do I go about preparing R you might be wondering? Well since this is not his first time; R is 3-1/2 years older and much more cooperative than when he was younger, I am going to start at the most logical point. I go to his visual schedule and add “Lunch at Home” on Wednesday. Yup you read that right. Seeing Lunch at Home on a school day is THE best thing EVER in Riley World. I later added doctor and hospital to his schedule and had a brief chat about it with R who, by the way, was more interested in adding McDonald’s after the hospital to his schedule.

So for tonight we are done talking. The hospital has a great on-line photo book explaining the procedure that I will go over with Riley tomorrow.

I will be sure to let you know how it all goes.  Wish us luck!  

Sunday, 11 November 2012

10 "Fictional" Facts
#Monday Listicles

Fictional = FAKE!!!

Yes…that is what I had at the top of my list this week as a reminder. I admit it. My book club will confirm it. Even after 14 years in a book club, I still have trouble remembering that fiction means NOT real. I get that fictional characters are not real but for some reason I have a mental block when it comes to non-fiction and fiction books. Let me explain. For some reason, in my mind, I relate the word fiction to “fact” and non-fiction would therefore be “not true”. Think about it. Normally anything with a prefix of “non” equates to something not-whatever. Right??? 

Oi-vay. I know...enough already! Let’s move on shall we?  This week Anja who blogs over at Cocalores picked this week’s Monday Listicles topic…actually 2 topics which Stasha is letting us pick between. “10 Things James Bond or any Secret Agent” OR “10 Fictional Facts About Me" (One must be true and you must guess which one)”.

So although I am still not sure if I got this quite right…here is my list of 10 - only one is TRUE.

1.      I prefer water to alcohol…especially wine.

2.      I prefer exercise to sitting around having coffee at Starbucks with friends.

3.      I prefer camping to five-star, concrete, lavish hotels with running water and flushies.

4.      I prefer cleaning the house myself as opposed to having someone else do it.

5.      I prefer to go to a nightclub over spending an evening in with friends.

6.      I prefer grocery shopping to clothes shopping.

7.      I prefer spam to filet mignon.

8.      I prefer 1 ply to higher ply paper products.

9.      I prefer a colonoscopy to a mammogram.

10.   I prefer hot flashes to a relaxing hot bath.

Can you guess which one is TRUE???

Let Us Remember...

Friday, 9 November 2012

Friday Feel Good...

Hmmmmmm...I do believe this may be the start of yet another series. Lucky for you I tire easily so my series are more like a mid-season replacement with no chance for renewal.  :)  

This little feel good tidbit happened at school yesterday. Riley was in class doing his work independently when the following exchange between his SEA (Special Education Assistant - who we will call Laura Smith) happened: 

Laura:   Where are you?  (referring to where on the page?)

Riley:    (in his Happy voice)  Here I am Laura Smith!  

Life is good in Riley World!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

"Who's on First in Riley World"
Episode 4: Shotty Shotgun

It has been quite a while since I have posted about Riley World and even longer since an episode of “Who’s on First in Riley World”. Did you just gasp with anticipation? I am pretty sure I heard something. OK. Twist my arm. Readers…wait no more.

This past Sunday J2 was quick to remind us (more than once) that it was his one year anniversary of becoming a full-time permanent employee. He has been working part-time for 3-4 years but a requirement (from us) of not going back to school this year was a full-time job.

Since I had not made it to the grocery store I thought a celebratory dinner was in order.  :)  Three out of the four of us were on board. I was more than happy to not cook; J2 loves to eat out and he even went with G’s restaurant suggestion; which leaves well…surprise, surprise.

Now lately R has taken to sitting in the front seat and will race out the door to get to the car first.  As we are getting ready to leave J2 decides to “shotty shotgun” since the occasion was, after all, all about him. Oish. Have you ever heard a 19 year old whine? It is not pretty. Not one bit. I will spare you the back and forth.

This meant having to work out the details with Riley before leaving the house. If you are joining us for the first time Riley has significant cognitive issues so the following is pretty typical of our conversations:

Me:       Riley, J2 wants to sit in the front seat.
R:         NO!  (Well that was very clear. No misunderstanding there.)
Me:       Do you want to sit in the front seat on the way to the restaurant or on the way home?
(I know…too many words. Blah, Blah, Blah. That is why I emphasized just a few key words.)
R:         J2 can sit in the back. (Slightly annoyed)
Me:       You can sit in the front seat now or on the way home?
R:         On the way home. (Remember R tends to repeat the last option when under duress.)

(Just to confirm we are all on the same page I repeat back as a statement, not a question.)
Me:       J2 will sit in the front seat now;  you can sit in the front seat on the way home.
R:         NO! I want to sit in the front seat NOW.  (See how clearly he understood the first time?!?)

(We were going in circles so on to Tactic 2: Giving a choice with one clearly undesirable option (yes you read that right) and one somewhat "acceptable" option. It works for us. Please don't judge. FYI...Tactic 2 worked extremely well with J2 when he was little too.)
Me:       OK. Do you want to sit in the back two times or one time?
R:         Thinking…thinking…finally grumbling… One time.
Me:       Going to the restaurant or coming home?
R:         Coming home. we went. What we have found to be quite effective over the years was if Riley was given the choice (albeit slightly sabotaged) and he made the decision, he was ever-so-slightly more willing to accept the ummm "inconvenience"Of course there was the usual muttering from R about having to “share” and being “grumpy”. 

I have a few more stories I could share with you. Not to worry...this post has gone on way too long. Maybe tomorrow. If you just can't possibly are "Who's on First in Riley World" Episode 1, Episode 2 and Episode 3 for you to reread. You're welcome.

Until next time, D

Sunday, 4 November 2012

10 Amazing Memories from a
Not-so-Distant Past...

“Ducky” who blogs over at Batcrap Crazy picked this week’s Monday Listicles topic and what perfect timing! Having just returned from a girls getaway to sunny Palm Springs, California last Sunday, I decided to start writing my list as soon as I got back. Too bad that meant missing out on Bridget’s topic "10 Firsts". Hey…the ol’ memory just ain’t what it used to be so had to get to it while things were still fresh in my mind. 

Of course a weekend away with girlfriends I have known forever (1 sister; 2 from elementary school and 1 from high school) would mean nothing but Amazing memories…good and uhhh some not-as-good. 

1.      Even though our first flight was delayed on the way down…with no spouses or spawns in the picture we were footloose and fancy-free.

2.      Even though we would have missed our connecting flight…thankfully it was delayed too! Unfortunately by
1-1/2 hours. Until 12 midnight. On a weeknight. Well past our bedtime. Yes we are getting old.

3.      Even though none of us are real beer drinkers…we could not resist buying the 24 pack of baby Coronitas. Ole! 

4.      Even though we still love to go shopping it is no longer about who buys the most…it is now all about who buys the most for the least amount of money. Call us thrifty but whoever wins is one step closer to auditioning for TLC’s Extreme Cheapskates.

5.      Even though my girlfriend likes her pool warmer rather than cooler…95°F was even too warm (ya think?!?) for her.

6.      Even though it was a girls only weekend…rushing back from dinner to watch Grey’s Anatomy at 10pm is considered an Amazing memory. Personally I could not stand the excitement and went to bed just after we got home. It had nothing to do with the Happy Hour portions of alcohol they served. Welllll……maybe. Just a little. OK. It was the wine.

7.      Even though my girlfriend just about poked her eye out on our first night out and could not open it for the rest of the weekend…she still had the use of both hands. I was not so lucky. Vegetable peelers can be nasty and my right thumb was in a bandaid dressing for the rest of the weekend AND more! Just sayin’...

8.      Even though we like to think we are as energetic as we were in our younger years…now at 11pm we are ready for bed rather than ready to go out. 

9.      Even though we have all celebrated our golden birthday…we were keen to have a go at a game of Bum Darts. NO not out in public. Paleez we still have some dignity. We thought Loonies would be a better idea as opposed to quarters for fear that we would never ever see those quarters again. HA! Luckily we never had to put those to the test. After 3 rousing games of pool we were too tired and decided to race each other to bed instead.

10.   Even though our lives have gone in different directions...when we get together, nothing has changed and THAT is pretty AMAZING!!!

Be sure to head on over to Stasha's and check out what everybody else came up with.  Enjoy your week!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Facebook Page

Ay carumba!  I know it's been a while since my last post. It always takes me a while to get back to reality after some fun in the sun. Thank you...I could hear the violins playing as I typed.

Just so you know I am still alive and kicking...thought I had better post something. So go look over on the right sidebar at the top. Can you see it? Under "Follow Me". Yup, yup, yup...I have set up a Facebook page for this blog. I am becoming a social media zealot. Unfortunately a very, VERY sloooooow moving social media zealot.

Besides my own posts, I plan on sharing other autism blog posts, events, and books/resources that I stumble upon discover as I navigate my way around the big 3W (aka World Wide Web). Now off you here or on the Facebook button in the right sidebar (you know you want to) and follow me or friend me or like me or whatever it is people do?!?

Thanks much!  Diane