After having a bunch of questions on my facebook page about how our new journey into homeschooling is going, I had planned on writing about that. Then Autism reared its ugly head and got in the way of what was going fabulously. School started out (and for the most part continued) going very well.
(There is some back story here for new readers, sorry for the redundancy)
About the time we started our ‘school year’ we noticed the Brick getting more confrontational and combative. It started small and was not a big deal. We wrote it off to anxiety about homeschool. Even though it was what he wanted and what we wanted I am sure he was a bit anxious—I know I was. Then we thought he was missing his brother who attends public high school. The Teen decided to join rowing crew and now practices Tuesday –Friday after school and on Saturday mornings. So, the brick has gone from seeing his brother most of the summer to hardly at all. While they are not super close, the Brick does idolize the Teen and love doing things with him, in a love hate kind of way. The behaviors were slowing increasing in frequency and intensity.
Then we thought the attitude was his way of dealing with the news that his grandfather (my FIL) was going to discontinue the chemotherapy he was trying. He has a form of leukemia that is not curable, but, in some people, chemo can help slow the process. The chemo was not working for my FIL and was causing many unpleasant side effects, so he decided to stop it. The Brick saw his father cry for the first time when we told him.
Then Hubs says to me one night “When was the Brick’s last blood level done?” Wall-ah!! Every year or so we have to decrease the mood stabilizer because it builds up and the levels get too high. We did that about a year ago. I called the pediatrician and asked for labs to be done prior to our visit, which was yesterday.
Meanwhile the Brick is off the Melatonin because of the new research about how it impacts the pineal gland (and growth/puberty) so he is not sleeping, he lost enough weight that the endocrinologist ordered labs for growth hormone evaluation and he is more and more combative.
We get to the pediatrician’s office and it turns out the med levels are perfect—right smack in the middle of the range where they need to be. We discuss all the other concerns and come up with a plan. Leave med A alone since it is at a therapeutic level, increase med B (which has side effects of sleepiness and increased appetite—bonus!), remove the ADHD med (hoping it is at least part of the weight loss problem since it is an appetite suppressant) and refer to a gastroenterologist to rule out allergies, gut issues and gastritis. I remind the doc we already looked at allergies, Celiac and gut issues. Since the Brick is describing some Gastritis symptoms, we stick with the GI referral. She calls in all the med changes, I call to schedule the GI (actually got an appointment for next week with the doc we used to see) and move on.
This morning, when the Brick woke, I added the increased dose of med B and did not give the ADHD med. I made him breakfast and reviewed the day’s school work. I left the independent work with him with instructions to pick two items and do them while I was gone. I get home and the work is not done. But, he has eaten 800 calories!! I had another errand pop up and I ran to that with the thought that without the ADHD med, he may be having trouble focusing. Give him a second chance. I sternly remind him that we are going to LEGOLAND Friday and he needs to get the work done; please do two assignments while I am gone. I get home to one assignment barely started and not done correctly (out of carelessness). <sigh>
I move him to the classroom area and I start to explain his error—he blows up. <deep breath> Change the assignment a bit so he doesn’t have to redo it. Nope—he storms off. I give him a few minutes to calm down and go talk to him. He is almost asleep!! As I am typing he is fast asleep—this is my child who does not nap, and does not sleep before 11pm. I will give it until Thursday and then call the pediatrician and let her know how it’s going. With the increase in med B being one am pill and one pm pill, we thought this might happen. At least the solution is easy—both pills in the pm.
I started writing this after posting a comment on my facebook page that read “And now he is sleeping……I hate med changes, I hate the adjustment, I hate the guessing and balancing. Right now I hate Autism.” But as I have been typing my outlook has changed. I still hate the med changes, the adjustment, the waiting to see, the guessing, the balancing, the side effects and the Autism but I have realized that at least we have a good doc who works with us, at least I have a supportive husband who even when out of town can help out with a different perspective, at least I have a supportive family and network of friends, at least we have the ability to homeschool where he is safe while his body and brain adjust, at least we have the ability to homeschool so we can work with him during times like these.
The school work can wait; we will get it made up. The Brick is the most important piece in this whole puzzle and as long as he feels safe and protected the rest can wait. All of those “at leasts” add up to something pretty big.
PS—if anyone ever tells you writing is not therapeutic, don’t believe them!