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A summer of meltdowns

This Facebook post perfectly sums up not just yesterday, but most days this summer:

Facebook status

Summer is always difficult for Ryan, due to the lack of structure and the unpredictability of many days, but this summer has been, without a doubt, the absolute worst. And it’s not as if we haven’t been doing things – there were two STEM camps, a day at Dutch Wonderland, several pool visits, plenty of sleepovers, and a couple of parties. And, we maintain structured meal and sleep schedules, though the latter could use a bit of work (Ryan has specifically told me — when summer was half over, mind you — that he is lonely when I’m not up when he gets up. BUT HE OFTEN WAKES UP BEFORE 6AM! Gah.).

Anyway, short of grinding up Ativan, turning it into an aerosol mist and adding it to our forced air system, I don’t know what else to do except to contact Ryan’s autistic support services and re-start community (school) AND home services. We tried to do it on our own, first last summer, and now this summer. We made it by the skin of our teeth last summer. But this summer? That’s a big, fat, definitive negative. Every day is filled with anxiety, tears, frustrated flounces, and full-on ear-shattering screaming meltdowns. We’re all anxiously counting down the days to the first day of school (August 31st) – Ryan included. He is just as miserable as the rest of us, and even told me he doesn’t know why he feels the way he does, and that he hates summer because there are too many hours and not enough things to do.

And on a related note, one of the triggers for Ryan has been Dash’s AWOL status. We still haven’t found him, and he has been missing for nearly a month now. Today we bit the bullet and took Ryan to a pet store to pick out a friend for Dash. We all went in with our minds made up on another tortoise, and instead came home with a bearded dragon Ryan has named Zeon. Fortunately bearded dragons and tortoises have nearly identical habitat setups, so the only change we’ve had to make was the purchase of canned crickets and meal worms (and we’ll pick up live crickets at least once a week). Everyone I’ve asked has assured me that bearded dragons are docile, easy to tame, non-jumpers, and can hold their own against cats in the event of a tank escape, so here’s to a long-lasting, happy relationship between Ryan and Zeon. ♥

Zeon, Ryan's bearded dragon

Filed under General
 

#LiveBrighter with Direct Energy

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Direct Energy but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Without a doubt it’s our electric bill that I worry about the most. While our mortgage and car insurance payments generally don’t change, electricity usage can change from day to day, resulting in monthly bills that could be several pennies apart or even several dollars apart. Conserving energy isn’t just good for the environment – it’s good for your wallet. And Direct Energy wants to help you save money on your electric bill, and they’ve created and published several online tools to help you do so.

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Filed under Commercial Break
 

Ryan’s ninth birthday

Now Ryan is nine, and until Alyssa’s birthday (October 27th) I can watch people do a bit of a double-take when I tell them my children are nine and ten. You can practically see them doing the math in their head. But it’s more fun to watch that unfold than to specify that the sprogs are 21 months apart in age, and so for three months every year their ages in years are only apart by one, rather than two.

Ryan's ninth birthday

Ryan has been having a pretty hard time this summer (broken iPad — which was replaced thanks to the kindness and generosity of online friends and acquaintances; lost tortoise; witnessing his uncle attack his father — which has resulted in Dan and I deciding to not allow Alyssa and Ryan to go to my mother’s apartment since my brother’s behavior is unpredictable at best; and the general lack of structure that comes along with summer vacation, which is difficult for any autistic child to cope with), so we kept his birthday party pretty low-key. It was held at home, family only, and he received two of his gifts (not counting the replacement iPad) in the days leading up to his actual birthday because the strain of containing his excitement was triggering a lot of anxiety. But, we had some last minute guests show up – a friend, N, slept over the night before; and on the day of Ryan’s small birthday party N’s two siblings came over, as well as three other kids who live a couple of houses down from us. I’ll do the math for you: that’s eight kids in one house for about five hours. This is me twitching at the memory. I may or may not have joked to the other adults (Dan, my mom, a neighbor who Ryan adores) that there was juice and soda for the kids, and wine for us!

Ryan’s actual birthday started out with rainbow-ish (I’m out of red food coloring) pancakes and a round of the Happy Birthday song at breakfast, then a cookout, presents, and cake and another round of Happy Birthday in the afternoon.

Ryan's ninth birthday

Ryan's ninth birthday

Ryan's ninth birthday

Ryan's ninth birthday

Ryan's ninth birthday

Ryan's ninth birthday


Filed under Parenthood
 

Happy Birthday Ryan!

Then:

100_4473

Now:

Ryan

Happy 9th Birthday, Ryan!


Filed under Parenthood
 

No gross ankle pictures this time.

In typical Jenn’s Monday Morning fashion, I hit the ground running limping – first to ortho doctor #3 to discuss my shoulder MRI results and next steps (injections from pain management specialist, then PT, then a follow-up), and then to my PCP’s office to INSIST on antibiotics, because since last Thursday the swelling, redness, and pain have increased – and despite several showers and soakings, the color of the burn and its occasional oozy discharge is still an icky yellow/green.

Maybe it was the goo. Maybe it was my newly formed cankle (seriously, the swelling is bad). Maybe it was the 99.6 fever. Or maybe it was just me sitting in the office crying, begging them to do something to stop the infection before it spread to my bloodstream (my mom is a type two diabetic and I’ve seen firsthand the hospitalizations and amputations that can result from a simple wound infection) and to reduce the constant lava-running-through-my-veins and my-ankle-is-on-fire feeling. In any case, I left with prescriptions for Clindamycin (300mg four times per day for 10 days), Tramadol, and strict instructions to stay off my feet, keep my leg elevated, and to go to the ER if the fever, redness, or swelling worsen.

So, here’s to Clindamycin giving my immune system a boost and kicking this infection out.


Filed under General