Saturday, October 20, 2012

Broken Bones

Our school system has a new calendar called Balanced Calendar. It means students had two weeks off for Fall Break instead of just two days, and will have two weeks off for Spring Break as well, but then a shorter summer (I think it's 8 weeks.)  Autism and balanced calendars don't really go together for single working moms.  I decided to send him to the YMCA program where I figured they would keep him busy all day playing.  He did amazingly well all week.  I was pretty shocked, as he knew no one going in the first day. All week I had my cell phone attached to me at work, expecting a call any minute saying, "This boy is out of control, come pick him up."  Nope, each day at pick up they said, "he had a good day!"

But when I picked him up Thursday the lady said, "he said he fell and hurt his arm this morning. He took a nap and laid on it and slept." To her credit, it didn't really look broken. No bruising. A slight bump. But very hot. And he was definitely holding it wrong, favoring it. 

After I knew it was broken, I came back the next day and spoke with the staff supervisor, who had the director call me.  I made sure to tell both of them that in future, if a child with Autism says anything hurts, you call their mom immediately. They often have very high pain tolerance and it's rare that you will hear them complain about pain. I feel bad that he had to spend his whole day in pain before I got there, but I'm not angry with the staff because they didn't know any better.

In the car I asked Hayden how much it hurt, a little, a lot, or zero.  "A lot."  Hmm. If 1 is a happy face and 10 is a very sad face and crying, how much does it hurt, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 or 10?  "10"  Are you sure it doesn't hurt maybe a 7 or 8? "No, it's a 10." So we picked up Rylie and I told Hayden we were going to the doctor to get an x-ray. "Oh, it's only a 4 now." A few minutes later:  "it's only a 2. I don't need any shots."  I told him, "you don't need shots. You'll get an x-ray. It's a picture. Pictures don't hurt. How much does it hurt now?"  "Only 2 or 3."  Hmm...

It's hard to tell in the picture above.  But when he fell the doctor said his bones crumpled, like when you step on a soda can and it crumples up.  The arrows point to where the bone broke. In the top picture on the left bone you can see how it should be straight but bunches out at the side.  

Rylie helped in the waiting room at MedCheck by stealing Hayden's noise-blocking headphones for herself. 

And coloring.  She was being super cute.

Once Rylie got into this room, however:

She decided to scream at the top of her lungs, destroy the paper on the exam table, try to pull over the trash can, bang on the door and shout "Close!," escape to the hall when the nurses came in, tried to push buttons on the equipment in the x-ray room, and essentially make herself out to be the most misbehaved child I've ever seen.  She didn't want to be held, she wanted to thrash around on the floor and destroy things. The nurses tried to bribe her with candy, toys, and Gatorade. The Gatorade would have worked but she couldn't figure out how to drink out of it. They brought her a straw, but it was too big and she couldn't make it work. At this point I remembered I had sippy cups in the car from the morning and dragged her, limp noodle screaming style, out to the car and back in with the sippy cup.  It looked kind of like this: 

Only louder. In the parking lot she threw herself to the ground right as another car came by to park, and the passenger was looking at me like I'd just thrown my child on the pavement. By the time we got back in the room the nurses and doctor had finished making Hayden a temporary cast and sling and we were able to leave a few minutes later. She was silent the whole ride home. Of course she was.

Hayden was so good with Rylie's screaming. It was as if they'd switched roles for the evening. Usually he would have started screaming, too, making me doubly stressed-out and embarrassed.

Therefore the next morning I took Rylie to daycare while Hayden and I went to Ortho Indy to get Hayden his real cast. He made sure to tell everyone we saw there that he needed "a red cast and no shots."

This day went well until his ibuprofen ran out. Then he had an almost-meltdown about getting in the car to get Rylie from daycare.  It took me 15 minutes to get him into the car. He said it hurt 'alot-alot'. : (  Once I got him in the car he had his full meltdown because, in his opinion, juice boxes can only be held with two hands. 

Here's how the conversation went: 

"I can't hold it! I can't do it!"
"Hayden, you only need one hand to hold a juice box." 
"But that's not the same!  I need two hands!" (started crying)
"Hayden, it's not a big deal. You can still do it."
"No!  I can't!" (kicking the back of my seat like a maniac.)
"Hayden, I don't like when you kick my seat. Please stop."
After a few more attempts at reason I give up and just was quiet. Sometimes this gives him time to reflect and he quiets down.  After several more minutes of kicking my seat and screaming, he got quiet. Then he said, "You're right. I'm going to try what you said... Hey, it works! You're right!"


He cheered up a bit when he saw Rylie. 

On the way home in the car he said:
"Rylie, I got a new guy today. His name is Two Face. Can you say Two Face?" 
She stared at him. 
H: "Can you say two?" 
Rylie: "Three four... five." 
H: No, say two. 
Say Face. 
"Face." She smiles and nods.
Say Two Face. 
"No." (Shaking her head and smiling.)
Say Two Face.
"Bob. Spider up. Wash and... Yay!!" (Clapping)
H: "Mom, she won't say it!"

Sorry little bud. Nonconformity is in her genes.

We have survived the first week of the broken arm and Hayden is doing pretty well.  He was already fairly ambidextrous before, so he has easily switched to eating, writing, and using the computer mouse with his left hand. Wiping after using the restroom is kind of an issue... And playing the Wii doesn't work very well, unless it's Mario Kart where he just has to push one button.  For the most part he doesn't complain.

He doesn't like the sling and won't wear it. He insists on his shirts and jackets being pushed up above the cast. He won't let us write on it to sign our names. He picks at the white undercover. I'm a bit frightened of him when he's having a tantrum, because he doesn't know how much damage he can do (to Rylie) swinging that big cast around. 

We go in a week for the doctor to check him and see how he's doing.  At that point he may be able to take off the top part of the cast so it's not over his elbow.

Let's end on a good note with our pre-incident Target photo shoot:

The second one is my favorite, because he asked if he could try the glasses on and that's how he was standing there for a second, just staring in the little mirror with his mouth open!

Little Indiana

My blog will be featured on a blog called Little Indiana.  Here are my answers to her questions, and I'll let you know when her post is up!  : )

How long have you been blogging?  Why did you want to blog?  What keeps you writing? 

I've been blogging since February of 2010. I have always enjoyed writing, and I thought that blogging would be a good way for me to really explore my feelings toward being a mom of a child with Autism.  So much stress, frustration, sadness, guilt.  But there are also moments of triumph and pure joy.  What kept me writing was that each time I got my thoughts down, I felt better about my situation.  It was a healing experience for me. The posts weren't really for anyone but me, as a way to talk through my struggles. 

Shortly after starting the blog, I came across the Autism group TACA, and was made aware that there are biomedical interventions and behavior therapies that can help children with Autism.  I began these interventions, and my son began to change. At that point, the blog became a journal of his journey out of Autism.  I kept writing because there was so much to say, so many changes happening with him so quickly.

Soon I realized how much I wanted to share my successes with other parents, not just to share my happiness, but in hopes that other parents would be able to help their children as I had helped mine. My blog has gotten over 14,000 hits in nearly three years, so am hoping that others have gotten some inspiration from reading. What keeps me writing now is the hope that just one parent this month will read my blog and consider trying some of these interventions with their child.

Why did you choose Hope and Lavender as your blog title? 

I chose Hope and Lavender as my blog title, so that each time I read it I get a small dose of peace. The word Lavender makes me think first of a warm summer day in my garden, and second of a nice calm, quiet!, bath. Hope is the concept that gets me through the rough days. As my blog has grown, I think the name is even more appropriate, as I've learned that Lavender oil is often used with children with Autism to help relax and calm them.  And my blog has grown into a page to inspire others and give them Hope that Autism doesn't have to be forever. 

What do you want others to know about parenting a child with Autism? 
I suppose that the biggest part is never getting to relax. Typical children have their share of fits and quirks.  But as an Autism Parent you spend most of your day dealing with problems as they come. You spend the rest of your day dealing with insurance and the schools, shopping at specialty stores, baking special foods, and doling out 30+ vitamins and medicines a day.  When you become a parent of a child with Autism, there is no longer any time for yourself.

As a parent of a child with Autism, it's like playing a chess game. You are always trying to stay two steps ahead of whatever situation may arise.  "If we go here, then this will happen, which means he'll do this, so I need to bring this."  It's all about planning two days ahead and prepping your child. It's all about making picture schedules, reminding your child to do things, and usually doing things for them or it will never get done. Things a child their age should be able to do, like putting on their socks, or remembering to wipe after using the restroom. Each day is stressful, since there are always occurrences that you don't plan for that bother your child and which you then have to deal with.  They are out of his favorite food at the grocery. The car gets a flat tire and you didn't pack any juice. His favorite toy broke at 8 pm and your other child is already asleep. You promise a trip to the park but there are no other kids there for him to play with.  

Life is about uncertainty and disappointment, and being willing to change your plans at the drop of a hat and find happiness no matter your situation. Most people can do this. Unfortunately children with Autism cannot.  And so you have to try to avoid disappointment and change and uncertainty as best you can, and help him deal with them when you can't. This means every moment of every day is about that child, which makes it difficult for everyone around him, and difficult for others not in the situation to understand that you're not spoiling your child, you're maintaining status quo so that everyone, including him, has a peaceful day.

What else would you like Indiana readers to know?  
Indiana is one of only a few states that has an Autism Insurance Mandate. This means that your health insurance is required to pay for Autism services. People move TO our state for this reason. We have several excellent centers for Autism Therapy and several great doctors who specialize in the biomedical treatment for Autism.  If you live in Indiana and know someone with Autism, please help educate their family that there are real things you can do to help a child with Autism improve. There's a person in there; we just have to work to bring them out.

What are your 3 favorite posts? 
I like these because they're inspirational and written from the heart. 

Thanks for reading!  

: )  Sheila

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Bonus pic:  Bowling!

Appleworks Orchard

Deep in thought 

The Slide 

This was about as close as either kid wanted to be to the "horses". They were "very big".

Hayden is telling the train to stop so he can get on.

Rylie really enjoyed seeing the animals. Both kids were afraid to feed them, but once Grandpa did they got courage and did it. Then they were excited and wanted more.  Hayden really enjoyed the giant slide. He said it was the best day ever. At the end of the afternoon I walked to get dad's car to drive it back and pick everyone up. Problem was I had no idea how to work the contraption. The new Prius doesn't require you to put a key in the ignition, and when you push the power button to turn it on, nothing happens (no noise as if a car is starting up.) You just put it in reverse (which means you have to push the brake then move the gear shift to reverse and it pops back in place, equally confusing) and start driving.  I was pretty proud that I finally figured it out on my own but I was really ready to jump on out of the driver's seat and give it back! :)