Tag Archives: autism

Mental Health

Luke and mom on a very good day snowshoeing

 

If you read this, it will change your life…

Luke has a rather severe case of autism. It is coupled with Bipolar. He can rage at a moments notice.  If you are in his way, the chances of you getting physically hurt are high. 


I had just returned home from a trip to Hawaii ( yes I have a life) when I had my son over for a few nights.  While finishing supper with  Luke, he was his usual hyper self. What happened next was 5 hours of pure nightmare. 

Luke ran upstairs to his room and began hitting the back of his head into the wall. He has made several holes in the drywall, but it had been 5 years.  I caught only one bang of his head visually by the time I got to him.

While physically injuring himself, Luke was crying loudly and a hematoma was developing on his cranium.  I was able to ice his head, give him meds, and get him in a bath tub to calm down.  The pills kicked in, but the crying and other bad behaviors were persistent. Five hours later he was asleep from pure exhaustion. I did not sleep at all that night. 

You may wonder why I did not call 911. I want to tell you why. Here is what conversations took place from this incident. It was almost exact to what I had heard a few years ago when I reached out for help. One day I fear I will be unconscious and can not even make these calls. Luke did make me bleed. I am fine though:

1. I called the crisis hotline and left a message. That’s right I got a voicemail. 

2. I received a call in 30 minutes from a man who called himself a social worker who triaged the hotline. He said my son would be restrained if anyone came to my home. He put a referral in for me, although I said my son doesn’t need restraining.

3. The referral call came an hour later and she was a social worker too. She stated to me almost verbatim what the first man said. She added one bit of information by saying we have nothing good for adults with autism and our community is 20 years behind . 

4. I talked with Luke’s medicine management provider. He stated Luke was more than he could handle and refused to see him in his office the next day.  He said call 911. I believe this is a cop out by providers and lame. I wondered if his own child was like Luke- would that be his response ?

5. I spoke with a RN friend who works as a mental health nurse on the largest psych unit in Seattle . She knows Luke personally and said again to me: “Luke would be restrained. Please try not to bring him or call 911.”  She knew my pain and our predicament.  

6. I called Luke’s case manager and met with him. Luke is being placed back on a list for a special home. Will there ever be one found ? We have been down this road before and three homes refused to take him. 

Rewind :  Will society ever do what’s right  for folks as Luke? 

Luke is better right now, but I wanted all my readers to know we have a crisis in mental health. Again, will we ever get this right?  I will not call 911 for my son to be handcuffed. 

Can We Talk?

Can we talk about autism? Or better yet the impact of autism on an individual? My son Luke is now an adult. His disability affects him in many ways.

 

While on a fun trip downtown to Seattle, Luke always enjoys the sights and sounds surrounding him.  As his mom, I can notice when he feels overwhelmed. It is in those times we have to slow him down.


At home he will lay around, but it is not his usual. Luke likes pacing. I am sure this is genetic! His dad and brother do the same!  If we do not put the pause button on Luke, however, his brain will go into overdrive.  This causes him extreme stress. As family we notice this. Others will not recognize the symptoms as easily.


Luke’s care providers know this about him too, but it took a lot of training. Being a provider for Luke can hold special circumstances due to Luke’s strength. 


Can we talk about that strength of Luke’s?  I swear you would think he was the Incredible Hulk. He has broken so many things when he is upset. I decided long ago pretty things in my home weren’t important any longer ! 

Can you talk now and tell me – are you able to let go and not get upset if you lose every material possession you find precious to you ? I learned long ago I could. 

Differences

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Beautiful day and evening in Washington State

 

Nestled in the majestic low hills of the mountainous region of Seattle, my true devotion can be felt in the most purest sense of the word.  While we all process through life’s many experiences, my personal belief system has matured in my hometown.

Continue reading

Friday Recovery

The sun is shining. It is back to nature for me. My backyard is stunning with birds this morning! 

My son made me smile looking at things a little different! The little mermaid float came by at Seattle’s Macy Parade. Got to love that smile!! 


Happy Weekend everyone! I am literally recovering more ways than one!! 

New Steps

My son Luke is preparing for his first day of work on his new job.  Last week , I was asked by a new site devoted to stories about how the disability autism impacts a family. Feel free to go to this link and read my work published on another site. Elizabeth also has a disabled son living in the Seattle area:

http://elizabethgriffin.com/category/your-stories/


Thankful to Chuck for the job for Luke! 

Closer to the Truth

Seattle ‘s first buildings are noted in the pioneer square area. it is common to see folks sleeping on the streets.


Is——
walking away the best answer to life’swoes? Sometimes it would seem to be. Yesterday while strolling in downtown Seattle taking my son out for his birthday, I saw homeless people. 

This building’s name sake Schwabacher would be shocked by the sad poor that house themselves near their building. The family was known for their benevolence.

 

Who walked away from them? Or did they walk away themselves?  We may be closer to the truth than you think. 

The streets of Seattle are fun, but do have reminders of where mercy and grace are fervently needed. I think of my very dear son who could be on the streets because he can not take care of himself. 


Many folks are only a paycheck away from being out on their luck. We also tend to walk away or shut out what we do not want to see or hear. Friends and even   family- have you done this? Have you forgotten mercy? Have you been only wrapped up in your own causes?  To turn a blind eye is folly. 

The Smith Tower was once the tallest. It is now a point of reference for those who wake up on the streets near it.


The illusion of knowledge or what we think to be right is just our arrogance playing tricks on our brain.I believe arrogance is no excuse and is evil. 

 
 

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After walking through Pioneer Square and where the underground tour takes place, we  headed to the Seattle Aquarium. The environmental causes tackled by this place is incredible.  I spent time with a volunteer in the aquarium who challenged my thinking of the underwater creatures we were enjoying on display.

Sea creatures give us insights wr never thought possible. studies have found that some have florescent ability.The scientific potential in the study of cancer can be enormous.

the deeper in the water these creatures go, they lose their brilliant colors.


Next we headed off to see the Seattle Mariners play the Los Angeles Angels.  It was quite a day of excitement for Luke. His face was all smiles .

Actually my eyes were enjoying these views too!well for other reasons.



Luke is a member of King Felix and his court. Felix is a great pitcher we love here in Seattle.


As I close on this post, may we be reminded about our most vulnerable citizens. They need you. They need all of us. Be a part of the answer. Not a part of the problem. 

Finding Luke


It was 1999 and we lost track of our six year old autistic son Luke.  Prior to this, our church service had just ended.  Luke just began walking and our youngest son was two years old.

The church we attended at the time was meeting in an old building.  My husband got Luke from Sunday School and I went to get our baby.

At some point, Luke wandered off and we went on a wild goose chase looking for him. I was panicked to say the least.

Everyone was leaving the church , except for a few concerned parishioners. It was the craziest feeling not knowing where our son disappeared to.

The church had an old attic that was used for sound checks. It was accessed by a pull out ladder. At some point it was shut, but we kept running around yelling, “Luke! Where are you?”It just did not make sense. 

All of a sudden, I could hear a distant whimper. To say the least a mother knows her child’s sounds. I scurried to have someone open the drop down ladder and low and behold there was our sweet Luke sitting in the dark.

I had not thought of this event for quite some time until I was told recently of the little autistic boy who lost his life after wandering off from his family in PA. These stories are hard to fathom, and even more to swallow.  Yet, we have to.  We have to remember how vulnerable our cognitively challenged society can be especially our children.    Searching for someone missing is a feeling I would not wish on anyone.  Anytime a person vanishes-tragedy can be right around the corner.

I hope this story shows how easy life can change in a heartbeat. In this case, it was a quiet sound of a whimper from my precious son.  It was just enough to help this mom find her beautiful little boy stuck in a dark, damp attic.  My heart still pounds pondering this event.  

Luke was held by me for many years until he learned to walk.