Historically, for the past 7 years the month of May has sucked. And not just sucked in the terms of “Oh wow, this is kind of lame” sucked. It has sucked in terms of “Next year I am skipping the month of May”, sucked in terms of “deep space vacuum” sucked. (little nerd girl joke there – sorry) Every year I go into the month of May with the mindset that this year will be different. This year May will not suck. Every year since my Grandma M died on May 11, 2002; May has sucked. Positive mindset or not. Until this year.

This year things were shaping up a bit differently. This year May 1st through the 10th was great. We had our normal bumps and bruises but nothing major. May 11th was a little sad for me but nothing I couldn’t handle. We made it through May 12th through the 17th. The first 17 days of May were normal (for us), calm (for us) and completely unlike May for the past 7 years. Then I picked Gavin up from school on Monday, May 18th. Allow me to explain.

Monday, May 18th, 2009

The day started out normal and innocently enough. Gavin was feisty and angry, nothing new. However, he wasn’t hungry even though he went to bed without dinner the night before since he chose to pitch a massive meltdown during dinner rather than eat. This seemed slightly odd to us but we figured maybe he wasn’t really hungry the night before. Maybe it had all been a power struggle. So we went about our day and then I picked him up from school at 3:00pm. Gavin decided that he didn’t want to do his work, much like every other day. Only on this day he decided to try and physically intimidate one of his teachers. He tried to hit her. She stopped him. He also spent a lot of time physically assaulting himself, which led her to trying to prevent this behavior. While lecturing Gavin on our way home my sister called me. It would appear that the poo-cloud was raining on our family as a whole, not just us. That’s her story though. Just trust me when I say that it’s the nightmare of mothers with teenage daughters everywhere.

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

This morning I was helping Gavin get ready for school and a thought occurs to me. Here’s the conversation I had with Gavin. I’m serious.

Me: Gavin, you weren’t hungry when you woke up yesterday were you?
Gavin: Nope.
Me: Is that because you ate something that wasn’t food? (Gavin, like most Autistic kids, has PICA.)
Gavin: Yup.
Me: Was it the strings from your blanket? (He’s been known and seen Dr. H for pulling the threads out of his comforter (yes, he insists on sleeping with it even when it’s 70+ outside – that would be the sensory integration disorder) and eat them.)
Gavin: No.
Me: (having a light bulb moment) Did you eat your toothpaste? Is that why you went through it so quickly?
Gavin: Yes.
Me: What other things do you eat that aren’t food?
Gavin: Paper. Strings. Toothpaste. But not toe-jam. Well, not anymore. But I used to. (I kid you not.)
Me: What paper?
Gavin: The paper on my desk.
Me: Why would you do that?
Gavin: Well, I was hungry!
(Now Rob and I had checked out his desk Monday night – separately. Rob thought I had cleaned it off. I thought Rob had cleaned it off. And we both forgot to mention it to the other one. Rob and I would later figure out there were roughly 12-24+ sheets of paper (copies, construction paper, art paper, art projects, cardboard, paper scraps etc covered in copier ink, crayon, marker, color pencil, pencil, pen, glue etc) not to mention a bunch of little plastic “gumball machine toys”. All of these things are now gone.)

After this conversation I took Gavin to school. A.) Because Dr. H’s office didn’t open until 8:00am and I didn’t know what he was going to want me to do. and B.) Because at the time I didn’t realize just what was on the desk. So a little while later I called Dr. H’s office and spoke with a nurse. She said she would speak with Dr. H and call back but I should call Poison Control in the meantime just to be safe. So I called Poison Control and they said that given Gavin’s age and size the crayon etc wasn’t a concern. Their bigger concern was the amount of paper and whether or not it was going to cause a bowel obstruction. (Oy.) They told me to follow whatever Dr. H said to do.

Well as if all of this wasn’t more fun than a barrel of monkeys (it wasn’t) I also woke up with a very sore throat Tuesday morning. So while waiting to hear back from Dr. H I called my Dr. N and made an appointment for that morning. So Trisha, Emmett John, Elliott Richard and I left. We dropped Elliott Richard off at Grandma G’s fully intending to pick him up on the way home. Then Trish and I went to my appointment while Rob waited to hear from Dr. H. I had a sinus infection, strep throat, and upper respiratory infection. I suppose anything worth doing (or having) is worth doing well.

While I was sitting at Dr. N’s office, Dr. H called Rob…personally. Dr. H had already called the head of gastroenterology at the local children’s hospital who said to keep an eye on Gavin. As long as he was asymptomatic there was no need to bring him in. That was before we realized everything that had been on his desk and was now missing. Once Rob explained the desk contents et al Dr. H said he wanted us to pick Gavin up from school and take him straight to the children’s hospital emergency room. He said they would be the best equipped to handle Gavin and his situation. So Rob, Trish, Gavin, Emmett John and I made our way to the Emergency Room.

All told we spent 2-3 hours there. They “probed” him to be sure he wasn’t blocked. Gavin loved that, let me tell you. They did x-rays to be sure that he hadn’t swallowed anything made of metal, which turned out clear. Thank God. Then the Attending had to check his nose to make sure he hadn’t shoved anything up there. He thought he saw a marble up there so that led to another procedure, which led to Gavin being wrapped like a burrito – something we’ll be using for blood draws in the future. In the end, all was clear. The paper will pass. If there were toys, they were made of plastic, didn’t appear to be causing any poisoning, and seemed to be passing with the paper. If he became sick, started vomiting, complaining of stomach pain or still hadn’t pooped in 3-5 days we were to call Dr. H for a follow-up. Luckily none of those things happened. And the paper seems to be leaving the building.

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009
You know, I don’t remember what happened on Wednesday. Oh wait! Yes, I slept as much as humanly possible to try and feel somewhat human again. It didn’t work. And when Rob picked Gavin up from school we learned that Gavin had cussed in school. However, when asked about it, he lied. This led to a giant meltdown. As Gavin was melting down, Rob and I gutted his bedroom. We stripped it of every piece of paper we could find. Every tiny toy. Every big toy. Every everything that could fit in his mouth.

While we were doing this, Jenn was watching Elliott Richard and Emmett John. And the phone rang. It was Grandpa G calling from the local hospital. Apparently, Grandma G had been outside gardening. When she stood up, she heard a *snap*. All she did was get up and she broke her ankle. Dad sounded pretty freaked out on the phone. She’s okay. But she’s pretty shaken up because she truly didn’t do anything except stand up and her ankle snapped.

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

We woke up. Things were moving along fine. The morning was calm and quiet. Gavin went off to school without incident. Mr. Emmett John and I laid down at about 9:00 am for our usual morning nap. (Yes, my fibro is that bad that I have to take naps – usually more than one – everyday.) The house phone rang but no one answered it. Then my cell phone rang. It was the school. When the school calls, it’s never good news. I answered and spoke with the school guidance counselor. Now it’s important to keep in mind that I drop Gavin off at school at 8:00am. The school was calling at about 9:00am. During that hour Gavin did little else besides meltdown. All because his teachers had the nerve to ask him to write his name and do his work. He refused. You’re surprised, I know. He melted down for 45 minutes. Finally, the guidance counselor decided to try and help him by holding his hand with her hand and physically helping him to do his work, not force him to do it but actually help him. This led to Gavin throwing his pencil across the room. Before holding his classmates “hostage” by blocking them from leaving the room. Then when they did get the class evacuated the guidance counselor was getting ready to give Gavin the chance to get himself under control or she was calling me. She was about to offer his that chance, when he threw the pencil at her head and missed her by about an inch. At that point, she’d had enough and she told him that she was calling Mom. She left the room expecting him to continue with his meltdown. He didn’t. He followed her and cornered her in the office, ordering her not to call me. By the time Rob and I arrived at the school Gavin, the Principal, and Mr. B (the IEP Coordinator) were locked in the office with another teacher Ms. J sitting outside as a watchman. In the end, we took him home early. He spent the day in his room without toys or anything fun to do. We had plans to do his work he was missing by coming home early but the day took a very different turn once we arrived home.

While we were at the school, Rob’s little sister, Jenn, babysat Elliott Richard and Emmett John. Now as I was leaving that morning to take Gavin to school, I saw a red female pitbull she was either currently nursing or had recently stopped nursing pups without a collar or tags limping through the neighborhood so I called the county dog warden. I made it very clear that she did not appear aggressive just scared and possibly injured. I just wanted her reunited with her pups and I didn’t want her hit by a car. So while we were gone the dog warden showed up at our house where he is greeted at the door by Maggie Sue, our tan female Boxer/American Bulldog non-nursing with collar and tags non-limping secured dog. Jenn answered the door and Elliott Richard takes Maggie by the collar saying “bad dog…stop barking”. The dog warden told her that Maggie was a pitbull and she was going to “bite that baby”. So when we got home from dealing with Gavin and the school we now had to deal with the county dog warden or risk losing our beloved Maggie. Rob called them and was on the phone for what seemed like forever. In the end we had to produce copies of the paperwork from the vet stating that she isn’t a pitbull and that our vet had done a temperament test on her. We also had to present her to the head dog warden for an examination to prove that she isn’t a pitbull. In the end, he sided with us and ruled that she is in fact a Boxer/American Bulldog mix. Thank God for small favors!

If he had ruled against us, we would have had two choices. In our county, if you own a pitbull mix you have to have a $100,000 insurance policy, a 6 foot fence surrounding your yard and if we ever took her for a walk she would have to be on a 6 foot chain leash with a muzzle. So if he had ruled against us, we either had to find a way to afford the new fence and insurance policy. Or we were going to have to return Maggie to the humane society. Luckily, we don’t have to think about that…ever again. 🙂 When Rob left to take her to see the dog warden though. I was devastated. I am not a dog person. Period. But I am absolutely a Maggie person and the idea of having to give her back broke my heart.

Of course, what week of chaos is complete without a visit to Dr. H for Mr. Emmett John? (Have I mentioned this is his third appointment in as many weeks? We’ve been busy, Mr. Emmett John and I, but that’s another post.) I had to take Emmett John to see Dr. H at 2:00pm because he’s had diarrhea for almost 3 weeks. He isn’t sick. He isn’t on any medications. At first we thought it was a side effect of the Zyrtec he was taking for his allergies so we expected it to clear up once it was out of his system. It hasn’t. Now it’s also gotten to a point where he’s loosing weight because of it. So now we find ourselves back in the familiar land of Emmett John being sick and us not knowing why. I dropped off a stool sample at the local hospital so they could run a half dozen different tests to try and find the cause. We won’t have the results back until Tuesday though since Monday is a holiday.

And so Thursday comes to an emotional close. All of the up-and-down up-and-down this week so far has made me nauseous. And I usually love roller coasters.

Friday, May 22nd, 2009
We finished out the week with a fairly calm day, by the rest of week’s standards anyway. Gavin went to school where the Head of the local MST program sat in his classroom and observed him for an hour or so. He was in the office for 3-4 times in that hour, so Gavin did not disappoint. Which believe it or not, for once we were actually worried that he would hold it together and keep all of his bananas, thereby having a pretty good day. It would figure, wouldn’t it? A woman comes to the classroom just to see his behavior and he has a wonderfully well-behaved day? lol That didn’t happen though. Thank God again.

Then at 2:00pm Rob and I met Patty at Dr. R’s office for an appointment with him to discuss what to do with Gavin.

They would like him to have some pretty heavy duty, in depth psychological testing done. The problem is that this particular testing is an art when given to adults but to give it to children and interpret it correctly is even more of an art. So it’s even more difficult to find someone who not only performs the test but is good at it. Dr. R is going to find the people who perform the test. And Patty will review them and pick out just the right one.

Then we discussed medications. Dr. R said he doesn’t like to pick a medication and work his way through the doses. Then if it doesn’t work, move on to the next medication. However, in Gavin’s case he said he doesn’t see any other choice. So we left his Depakote alone, although he needs more blood work done. (Thankfully Rob and Grandpa G are taking him this time.) We also left his Klonopin alone. Dr. R did make the decision to increase Gavin’s Zyprexa in the hopes that it would calm him down. Right now, all it’s doing is doping him up, which I suppose is better than nothing. Although truthfully I don’t want him to go through life doped up. At the same time, I can’t have him lashing out at people and trying to assault others.

We also discussed if Rob and I should consider a different school for Gavin. I love his school. I think the world of everyone there. However, Rob and I are wondering how long Gavin is going to be able to stay there. Also most of the staff is young and looking to start their own families very soon. Gavin is violent enough when it’s just him against himself or a staff member. The last thing we need is for it to come down to Gavin against a pregnant educator. Then there’s the fact that he’s constantly influencing the behavior of his classmates with his outbursts and meltdowns. There are a few options that Dr. R wants us to look into. So Rob and I will probably spent the summer researching them. Then we will tour them in the middle to the end of August and make our final decision then.

Overall, I guess it was an okay appointment. Rob left feeling better about it than I did. But it is what it is, I suppose.

That was our lovely week. I’m glad it’s over. Although truth be told I don’t expect the next week to be much different. Nor the one after that. Or the one after that. After all, it is the last 4 days of school this week. None of them are “education days”. They are all fun days. And then it’s summer vacation. I hate summer vacation, for a multitude of reasons really. But basically, I reached my saturation point for stress, drama and needless shenanigans a long time ago so I just don’t have the patience for any of it anymore.