Tag Archives: mental-health

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. 

Shopping In Hawaii

Where in the World has Alesiablogs gone now?

My girlfriend caught me telling her, "No more pictures please!"  She laughted at this photo so I thought I better share.

My girlfriend caught me telling her, “No more pictures please!” She laughted at this photo so I thought I better share.

So I guess you know where I am at..right???????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Now to my blog post…..

Continue reading

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. 

Ask What They Can Do. Not What They Can Not

This is Luke after walking 3 miles on a trail on the beach with his care provider.  Yes. Luke you can do it!!! You walked the whole way!

This is Luke after walking 3 miles on a trail on the beach with his care provider. Yes. Luke you can do it!!! You walked the whole way!

“Luke, are you there?”
Sitting down next to my son, I gathered the rocks he was moving from one pile to another. Luke has always loved putting things in order. If it was not the rocks in one place all together, he was busily in the home putting all the chairs around the dining room table in perfect order. Pushing as hard as he could at times, he was bound and determined those chairs had to be just right.
“Luke, are you there?”
Moving to the computer room, Luke noticed the closet doors were not shut completely. From the corner of my eye, I watched Luke push the door shut until it was closed to his satisfaction. He pushed his body on the door and felt it to make sure it was exactly how his mind thought it needed to be. He was happy then.
“Luke, are you there?”
Luke looked up this time and he started coming rather rapidly toward my direction. He pressed his face and especially his nose into my hair. He took a deep sniff and inhales my aromas. These sniffs were not one or two times, but rather several until I said, “Luke, I know you are there and you can stop smelling my hair now.” He did.
“Thank you Luke.”
Luke does not seem to remember, but I remind him every time when he pushes too hard on my face or head that he is hurting mama. It takes a lot of reminders. I mean A LOT!!
In bringing these examples of some of Luke’s unusual autistic behaviors, I fail to describe too much of the damage that some of these strange motor movements can do to inanimate objects until he starting hurting me. It is because I want to make it clear that I want to see Luke showing me something HE CAN DO. It may not look pretty. In fact, a chair or table may get scratched up, and a closet door may get broken over and over as Luke believes he can fix it. That does not matter to me. As his mom, I am interested in seeing Luke just do. It is not being afraid to let go and bring a CAN DO spirit in my son. Autism does a lot to our children afflicted with this devastating neurological calamity, but we CAN DO a lot to show how proud we are of them even in the midst of quite possibly not understanding for ourselves what the behavior really means for the autistic mind.
“Thank you Luke for fixing my door and putting the chairs so nicely under the table. Mama is so proud of you. I love what you can do Luke. You are my best guy ever! You gorgeous boy.”

“Mama, Luke is your best guy ever and gorgeous.”

Yes. You are Luke and you can do….luke and cap

Autism And Its Challenges

luke at ATPLuke’s autism is a story I have chronicled so you could see the challenges we face. This disorder comes with a big price and it takes much determination to succeed. Along with Luke’s disability, he has significant cognitive delay. His mental age in my opinion (his mom) is about four years old. The question by some may be, “How does one live like this?” The answer is, “It depends.” For example, many people have their own commentary of quality of life. We all have “our truths” about that subject. So do we impose our idea of quality of life on the one that is actually suffering, yet he does not even know it? My perspective is pretty simple. Life matters. No matter at what stage or age you are in. Life matters. Why are others quick to pull away from their responsibilities? See what you think of my example below as I describe a week in the life of a mom and her son trying to find medical help. Sorry medical professionals–you seem to get picked on by me a lot.
We have had quite a week dealing with Luke’s need for dental surgery. I spent undo precious time trying to find a doctor willing to do the surgery for Luke without giving him General Anesthesia. Finally I found an oral surgeon willing to take the chance to do the procedure in his surgical suite under IV sedation. I am very grateful that Luke was taken care of there and the surgery was a success ( no general needed!).
The post op journey has not been easy though, but I believe we may have made it through the worst of it. We make a third trip to the dental surgeon this week, and I hope that will be it except for routine cleanings! I think Luke would agree. I wonder how many people could go through the agony of hearing from one doctor’s office after another not willing to care for Luke.
I say Luke will endure and maybe Mom will too! I am glad sometimes he does not understand the discrimination he gets. So many are still ignorant that Luke is human and made physically just like them. Anyway, this is just one example of how autism impacts families and brings undo burdens that should not be there.
There are dentists who actually say: ” I don’t take care of that kind of medical issue (even though they do) because there are “others” who will. I wonder which dentists are the “others?” For now our other was Dr. Sorenson. He was great as well as his competent staff and front office. In the photo –you will see Luke is still smiling!!! He always will.

Adult Transition Programs

I spent this afternoon visiting my autistic son’s adult transition program. Any parent with a special needs student know the enormous assistance the school district does to assist families in the special needs arena. Some of us may be more fortunate than others to have a program that goes the extra mile to assist our special kids. I believe our district is one of those here in the greater Seattle area. Thank you North shore School District~! It is with fondness, I share with you the end of an era for Luke. One more month and Luke graduates from this school.
Today I brought cupcakes and ice cream for everyone to enjoy Luke’s extended birthday celebrations~! He wanted to have several birthday parties for his 21st! Luke loves to PARTY!!!