Tag Archives: Commentary

Luke’s Life

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My autistic son Luke never ceases to amaze me.  This fun photo of him sitting in his favorite rocking chair creates a look as if he does not have a care in the world.

I often think about the impact autism has on our medical and governmental communities including, but not limited to social workers, physical therapists, special ed teachers, speciality physicians , behavior therapists, and social security experts.  As I focus on the twenty six years I have vested in my gorgeous son and his journey,  I vastly underestimated how much would go into all that we have aspired for Luke.  Looking back, it is hard to think about all those years, but know this it was an honor for me as Luke’s mom to give him my best and find all the resources I did.

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My Mind Is Parked, But The Chocolate Is Kicking In

6/2/1977…I read this in my junior high school yearbook and smiled.

6/2/2019….When he was put in a critical thinking scenario, the whistling began as a coping mechanism. The subject was unpleasant so he was attempting to birdcall it off.

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The Ferry

The leaves had turned and within six weeks Christmas would have come and gone. Rolling my suitcase off the bus toward the slippery Seattle street in good spirits, my eyes glistening with excitement, I focused on the ocean within my view. After all it was Thanksgiving and my friend promised a wonderful meal for the holidays. What she would do for me is what I had done for her over the years, as my memories conjured up my kitchen with savory smells that my taste buds couldn’t wait for again.

Manhandling my heavy luggage, staring at the lights dancing off the buildings near the Puget Sound’s emerald waters, I could see the Bremerton Ferry awaiting for me. I arrived a couple of hours early bought my fare and rested on a construction site zone bench, where waiting for my friend to arrive was my goal.

Time went by rapidly, but it had been some time before I heard from her and all to knowing work at the hospital was the culprit. Not a surprise and it did not bother me in the least.

The ferry dock information lady stared at me as I asked her a question.

“Where is the best clam chowder?”

Undeniably she said pointing to Ivars, “right there!”

Yes. Of course.

Suitcase in tow, I decided best to get a bite. It was a good thing as my two hour wait turned to four. What was so interesting besides being physically tired, I enjoyed every minute of that beautiful scenery as dark got darker and the afternoon turned to evening.

It was late, but she arrived and off we went from the ferry to her car parked on the other side of the sound. Driving those dark roads, we reminisced of days gone by and how we both loved the tall pine and fir trees in our view as we weaved the curved asphalt road. I was mesmerized by this part of earth I call home. Yet a part of me was lonely. It was my first Thanksgiving without my sons in 25 years.

When we arrived at my girlfriend’s home, she announced,

“Would you be OK if we have our Thanksgiving meal on Friday?”

Studying her tired face and all to knowing that feeling I made sure to remind her the most important part of hanging out was that we weren’t alone. She smiled and agreed.

Long before she and I would find ourselves together this night, I could not help to think long before in the heavenly it was decided how we would be a help to each other in the present. No Thanksgiving meal on the actual holiday, but my day would not be spent alone and the ferry made sure of that.

Inspired

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Remembrance lights illuminating my neighborhood has become a tradition.

Who am I?  I ask that question of myself.  I answer.  An inspired human being beyond belief.  That is who I am and how I feel.

The music softly plays in the background as I ponder my own humanness.  It grows in strength.  Hearing the crescendo of the musical instruments raises me up to a new high that surely I could not do by myself.

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Whose Approval Do You Desire? 

A kiss from my autistic son

A kiss from my autistic son

 
Do not ask my son for approval. People stare at him sniffing my hair and he could care less.  The acceptance of God in our lives is not dependent on humans.   

Sitting at church today,  it struck me how critical humanity can be towards each other. I watched an elderly man act out.  He disgreed about some dialogue. I sat quiet. How many times had I opened my mouth? How about thinking it, but not speaking it?  Words spoken or not can divide. 

I travel a lot.  Getting out of my comfort zone brings me to different cultures and diversity. I enjoy meeting new people. Communication is key.  I find a smile is most inviting.  It is the best kind of approval. Maybe. I am happy.

I think upon myself and wonder how hedonistic I may be. That deep seeded place thinking only about being happy as my greatest approval factor.   Can you relate?

Hiking the Issaquah Alps!

Hiking the Issaquah Alps!


Do I need to look to the skys for my answer? Yes, and I also know my approval rating needs to be more like how my son looks at being accepted. It is with no thought of what others might think. 

Let it go.  Close my eyes and sniff away like my Luke!  There will I find peace in God. 
  

A Mother’s Emotional Challenges Dealing With Her Autistic Son

Alesia and Luke in TAHOEHaving an adult son with autism has hard and complicating challenges.  My first time hearing Luke’s diagnosis in 1994 made me numb.  It did not seem real.

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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 if he was aggressive.  He said call 911. I believe this is a cop out by providers and lame.  I think providers need to see the patients how they can be and not all calm.  I worked for 30 years as a nurse. I understand the hazards. 

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.