Sunday, July 31, 2011

The favorite wallet

I know I am supposed to finish up my stories about our last doctor’s appointment and the deck of cards, but today has been a tough day and it’s distracting me from remembering what happened on our trip.

Puppy is having one of those days, or rather one of those weekends. All weekend has had him on a roller coaster ride obsessing about either one wallet or another. And almost always it is about wanting the wallet he doesn’t have. He remembers every single feature about each wallet for instance how many pockets, in which direction the cards slide in, where the ID goes, if it has a zipper, or has a flip-it for extra cards, etc. Puppy has gone through so many wallets in the last three years that I find it hard to imagine he can even have a favorite. But he does every now and then. And that simply means that he has an uncontrollable urge to have his favorite wallet for the day. Sometimes this lasts for only a day. But I’ve even seen his urge only last for hours as he flips from one wallet to another. He’s explained to me that he closes his eyes and he can see the wallet so clearly that he can feel or smell the wallet. Yes, all senses become a part of this need.

When all else failed, Puppy went searching for his supplies and with paper, scotch tape and scissors he sat at the dinner table to make a paper wallet with the features he wanted. This usually satisfies him temporarily but I let him make them because it calms him and stops the tantrums. So he had his paper wallet for a few hours before he went back to the last wallet he was using. But it didn't last long and we were back to tantrums.

Anyhow, Puppy has been angry at me for most of the weekend because I have not assisted him in producing an older wallet that has been explained to him as “gone to the landfill” and never to be seen again. So what was his answer to this? On Saturday, he carefully searched our kitchen cabinets and found some trash bags and brought them back to me. Then he put into plain words, “We can put our hands in the bags and pick up the trash and find it.” “That’s how grandma picks up trash outside.” Yep, he said that, too. I struggled to change the subject. It is a struggle because I lack imagination, but I try. I remember that Ms. H (Puppy's awesome PCS assistant) was in our home and getting ready to leave on that cue, and together we managed to get him focused on heading out the door for a trip to the hair salon for a haircut. I was glad she is here to see some of the emotions Puppy goes through and to also help me by jumping in where I go speechless.

Sunday wasn’t too unusual. We went back and forth about why he couldn’t have “the” wallet he sought and he would get upset and throw his tantrums. I’d try my best to ignore it but when we are the only two people in the house alone, it becomes a challenge. Nonetheless, we made it through the morning and headed out the door by 1:00 P.M. We went over to my parents’ home even though they were out of town. Then Puppy and I were treated to lunch by my brother and a friend as we enjoyed a meal at one of our favorite restaurants.

I like going to my parents’ home because Puppy can wander around outdoors and is usually at peace when he isn’t closed in by four walls. So around 5:00 P.M. we made a trip to the grocery store before heading home. He was not his best and this store is one of the worst places to take Puppy to because it has a fair collection of wallets for sale. He did pretty well, but he was irritated that I didn’t allow him to look through the section and yet we made it home safely.

After unpacking the groceries and other items we purchased, he was still unsettled about not having his favorite wallet and we continued our (him) whining and (me) ignoring episodes until he finally gave up and got into the shower. He wrote a note asking God to help him and to find the wallet for him. I’ve tried to teach him about faith, but he’s gone a bit overboard on the asking. It is also fairly hard to explain to him how God or Jesus or angels can help us in our time of need. He just knew he needed his wallet and he was going to the top. The best part of the evening was that he was satisfied with his method of making his request that went over my head and didn’t have a problem falling asleep tonight. This is rare and so welcomed. I’ll wait and see what the morning has in store for me, us.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Deck of Cards (Part One)

We made it back home from our trip to the doctor's appointment safe and mostly sound. However, Puppy had a rough ride traveling to San Antonio. For some reason he had cards on his mind. I can only imagine that he saw someone smoking or the poster of the cigarette box outside a convenient store that may have triggered his obsession to be front and center on this morning.

So on our drive to the appointment; we have a habit of stopping at one of the newer convenient stores on our route. I’d say we were twenty miles before our stop when Puppy started to say he wanted to buy a box of playing cards. He mentioned even that he had money ($1.00) to buy it. He went on and on about needing to have these cards, and I quickly read between the lines to know that he would empty the box of the cards and modify the box to make it look like a cigarette box the very first chance he had.

I tried to deter the idea by giving him a list of rules he would need to follow if he was to purchase a deck of cards. He agreed to each one and promised to me that he was a big boy now and had every intention of following every rule I set out for him. I swear it was rather difficult to maintain my composure as I drove down the highway. I was laughing inside, where it counts. Puppy was lying through his teeth and giving himself an imaginary pat on the back for fooling me that he would keep his promises.

We made it to the store, got off the truck, walked inside, used the restrooms, grabbed a soda each, and made it to the cash register before he had enough time to look around for cards. We jumped inside the truck and I started it up. He buckled up and began to beg for more time to go back and look more carefully. I told him we had to hurry to make our appointment that was still some ways off, but that we would come back on our drive home.

He really had no choice, but he wasn’t a happy camper about it. Let’s just say that he made the next sixty plus miles unpleasant. He whined, cried, yelled, punched the armrest, punched the door and didn’t calm down until we were seeing buildings and started to look for a place to eat lunch. By this time, I wasn’t in the best of moods, so we opted for McDonald’s and made it to our appointment with 30 minutes to spare. I’ll have to get back to the story of our actual appointment next time. The story about this deck of cards is a long one I just noticed that Puppy can hear me typing at the computer and it is keeping him awake. So, this story will have to be continued.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Week Four

We finally got to Week 4 and actually half way through it already. Tomorrow is our one month follow-up appointment out of town (150 miles one way to San Antonio) to go over Puppy’s results while on the new medication and changes in his behaviors.

Overall, I’ve noticed he is more alert. He’s even picking up new words and phrases, in both languages (English and Spanish), so that’s a plus. Puppy has more periods of “happiness” over “grumpiness” expressed by laughter and some squeals and a little hand flapping.

Puppy is even losing weight! He’s no longer looking for food in the kitchen. Since he started at the new daycare in late May, they give him an early supper by 5:30 P.M. and he’s done for the evening. He would constantly search for something to eat while on the old medication, but not anymore.

Well, I’ll get back to this after our appointment.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Making a List for Puppy

I worry about Puppy all the time. I can’t grasp my mind around the thought of him growing up and not knowing all that is essential to function on a day to day basis. Oh how I try my best to have him do simple tasks on his own. I’ve forced myself to give him instructions instead of doing things for him. I need to remind myself that nothing is instinct to Puppy.

We are on our way, me teaching and Puppy learning. For example, I taught him how to make his own sandwich, prepare a glass of fruit punch from a powdered mix, brush his teeth, and almost dress himself completely. We are practicing how to cross a street and looking for cars backing up in parking lots. He’s learning to pay at the cash register but it’s a little hard since he still doesn’t know how to give change. He’s learning to tell time. This one helps to allow for different activities or his bedtime, etc.

There is just so much for him to learn in what seems like so little time. He’s already thirteen years old and counting. I understand that nothing has to be mastered, but certain things in life need to be habit for independent living. Although I don’t see Puppy living alone, it is important that he know how to care for his basic needs. We are trying and trying hard.

I would really like some feedback to create a list of things, needs, tasks, etc. that Puppy should be learning and practicing on a daily basis. We take so much for granted that still a list seems to be a hard thing to do for even me.


Yep, I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve said this before. By this I mean that Puppy is high-functioning with PDD-NOS; except he has his moments, his behaviors, his tantrums, etc.

Mornings are the toughest part of the day of it all. He’s great about waking up on time. It usually only takes one wake-up call, or turning on the light to get him moving.

Puppy has his routines and his morning ritual begins with him placing a call to his aunt Margie. However I bet even she wasn’t expecting the rude awakening she received this morning. Puppy grabs my cell phone, speed dials Margie, says “good morning” and then proceeds to tell her that he’s in a bad mood and hangs up on her. I’m certain she must have had a few choice words on her end as she also held the phone in her hand. I can’t blame her for that. But like most people, I can bet she didn’t even give it a second thought at how I had to deal with Puppy being in his bad mood, and continued with her day.

Yep, I’m fortunate that I get a first-hand experience to his bad temper. Every morning Puppy generally gets out of bed, calls his aunt, gets dressed, goes into the bathroom and does his thing plus brushes his teeth and hair, etc. It’s not until he has completed his tasks that he goes to take his medication. Yes, the pills…they’re like little miracles workers. It only takes about 10-15 minutes for Puppy to do a 180 and smile, and laugh, and say he’s happy, and apologize for his tantrums and says “love you”. But oh how I dread the mornings. No one ever warned me there would be days like these. How was your morning?