Monday, July 28, 2014

Another Breakthrough

Post to Parent Support Group July 23

I just got a call at work from my middle-son. In a hushed voice he said "The deed is done!" He was able to speak to Colin about going to the all-boys high school that my older boys attend. The deal is "no extra-curricular activities" and that his 16 year-old brother will take him to Tim Horton's on Fridays.
I find the Tim Horton's part a bit suspect as my 16 year-old is always trying to find ways to go there. I do however owe him a pizza-movie night at our house for his friends this weekend for doing my bidding (we still can't talk to our son for any length of time). ( I'm totally glad to do this). My 17 year old has offered to give a tour of the school soon. 

I think we have a week to confirm everything with the high school as they were kind enough to hold a spot open due to our circumstances. Bit by bit things are coming together and slowly improving.
I will savor this small victory and try not to look too far into the future.

 One of the difficult choices that has to be made is to decide when to get my other boys involved in communicating with Colin. While our situation is soooo much better than expected, my husband and I are not able to have any type of real conversation with our son. When he needs help with his computer, Colin is able to sit with his Dad and have normal interactions as long as it is related to his interest or desire. Most times we are met with a shush or shut-up depending on the mood. There are times when I feel like we have no other option but to ask our other sons to intervene.

Wheelin' and Dealin' 

Time is flying by and before we know it school will be back in session. We needed a decision on where Colin is going to attend High School. He has two choices: the local public High School or the private all-boys school that his brothers attend. E-schooling is not a realistic option as Dad is strongly opposed and we have a child who is not willing to openly and respectfully communicate with his parents.

My middle-son wanted to have a few friends over for a movie night. I seized the opportunity and made a deal. I would throw in pizza and fresh-baked cookies if he would speak to his baby brother and convince him to go to their school. Due to Colin's situation, the private school would give him a fresh start and same-sex education is less distracting. We had been advised by a friend who is a high school teacher that due to the fact Colin skipped a grade and is physically and emotionally immature, the all-boys high school would be the best choice.The private school had been apprised of our situation and has been holding a spot open for Colin. The guidance counselor had even offered to allow our eldest son to give a private tour to his brother. 

After I received the mid-day phone call from my middle-son, I was so happy and relieved that I posted (see above post in blue) to my parent support group. I was able to find out more details of the negotiations later. Colin told his brothers that he does not want anyone to know he is related to them and will not do any extra-curricular activities until they are out of school. Eldest offered to give a tour which will hopefully happen this week.

The Burning Question is Answered

One of the many unanswered questions for me was  "Are my husband and I now triggers?". Colin's triggers were mostly machine-made noises not people-sounds. I had been wondering if the Shushes and Shut-Ups were triggered reactions to us. I now know that this is not likely.

During the negotiations with his brother, he let them know that we all have "ruined my life". His anger and refusal to converse with my husband and I is most-likely due to blaming us for the past year's events. Anger not a neurological issue is the culprit.

Hopefully with time, we will get to a point of reconciliation. 

Until then we have much to do before school starts...... As always, we are a work-in-progress!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Good Company

Yesterday felt more like a Friday than a Monday. My sister-in-law and niece flew in from Chicago for college orientation at Ohio State and stopped by for an evening visit. I volunteered to make dinner and invited my sister and her family (husband and two boys) as well.

I was running a bit later than expected and when I came home from the grocery store, I found that Colin had been busy at work. He had cleaned the kitchen table and already fed and took the dog out to potty. I just had to give Sumter his medication before starting the preparations.

Colin asked about a sponge to clean the outdoor tables. I suggested paper towels. He grabbed a roll and got to work. I was impressed at my son's enthusiasm. This was the boy I remembered from a year ago. I soaked in the scene before I went inside to coerce my middle-son to help. Eldest was at work and would not be home until after 9:00 p.m. and hubs would be home shortly. When my husband finally arrived he also was impressed with Colin cleaning without being told. It was as if this was Colin's dinner party.

A Memorable Evening

I believe a large part of Colin's positive attitude was that he was happy to have his former host family come visit. He also was comfortable with his Chicago Aunt and cousin as they had stayed with Aunt "P" several times over the past year.

We had dinner al fresco. The temperature was perfect for eating outdoors. Colin seemed to enjoy showing off his puppy. He also brought his camera out to show our visitors photos and videos he had taken, mostly of the dogs at Aunt "P"s.

My brother-in-law commented that we don't get the cousins together as often as we should and that this was nice. I heartily agree. We really had an enjoyable evening.

I have no idea what the rest of the week has in store. I am content to savor the memories of last night for as long as I am able.

We are a work-in-progress!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Time Flies

The last two weeks have quickly flown by. Let's file this under "No News is Good News".

The July 4th Holiday weekend was a busy one. Thursday night we left Colin at home to go to a party at a family friend's house. Saturday and Sunday was spent with family that was visiting from out-of-town. Colin had originally said " No Thanks." to a Saturday night family dinner at his paternal Aunt's house but to my surprise ended up going. We made a stop at my sister's house for a quick visit beforehand.

Colin seems a bit more relaxed around me. The only bad behavior in front of others was a "Sshush" directed at me, that was noticed by my sister. She also saw where he seemed to catch himself, perhaps realizing that there was an audience and stopped. This is a remarkable improvement since the month before.

Colin also did well at his other aunt's house. Other than being a bit standoffish at first, which if you did not know better could be considered normal teen behavior, Colin was able to interact normally with his cousins, adult relatives and his dog cousins. As per our agreement, I avoided conversation with my son. As a result, we had a successful family visit.

Settling Into a Routine

It seems like Colin and his puppy, Sumter, have been home for quite a while. It's hard to believe that it has just been one month. We have settled into a routine, albeit not an ideal one. Colin stays up late, and has reported going to bed as late as 5:00 a.m. He takes the night shift with puppy who sleeps in his room. While I am glad not to have to make any midnight - 3:00 a.m. potty-runs, I am concerned about what will happen during the school year.

Colin has been sleeping in as late as 3:00 p.m. My eldest at first would wake Colin up at 12:00 noon to feed the dog. Now eldest has stepped in to feed and help with potty breaks. Sumter is a great team-building tool. For now we are letting Colin sleep late as we know this is so important to his well-being.

Our son is also holding on to his "No Talking" rule for my husband and I, but will sometimes allow some small bits of conversation. I am finding humor on the frequent occasions where he will ask a question or make small talk and then shush me when I respond. I will sometimes respond in kind. I have noticed a smile breakout for a few brief seconds in the middle of s "Shut-Up" match. Neither the match or the grin last for long.

Just long enough to see that we have come a long way.

Mites, Surgery and the Cone of Shame


Sumter has had a couple of minor set-backs. After having to have his hematoma drained twice, we opted for surgery. This entails the vet stitching the ear from front to back to create scar tissue to prevent further pockets of fluid that will eventually harden and misshapen the ears. We also discovered patches of fur-loss around the eyes which was caused by mites called Demonex.

I now have to give four different medications, twice a day, and poor Sumter has to wear "The Cone of Shame". We also now have to wait a few more weeks until he can play with other dogs. I'm not sure how we will handle this.

I am taking things day by day. If I don't look too far ahead, I can breathe a little easier knowing we are doing better that expected a few short weeks ago. I am trying to live in the moment and not ask too many questions.We still don't know what will happen in the fall when it is time to go back to school. Where will Colin go to High School? Can we get on a better schedule? Will we continue to make progress? I am pushing these queries to the back of my mind. It is still Summer and ....

We are still a "work-in-progress"!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Psychology Today Interview

I was interviewed Tuesday afternoon by Wendy Aron, a columnist for Psychology Today. Wendy is a professional writer and humorist that has suffered from Misophonia since the age of 10. Her blog, Sounds Awful, gives a personal perspective of this illness. Wendy also interviews professionals and other "Misophones". I am her first "misophonia parent" dialog.

Wendy and I found much common ground in our views of "Misophonia" , especially aversion to the "Mental Illness" label.

This is a link to the piece that was published yesterday:

As always,

We are a work-in-progress!