This Trip to Michigan

The last time I visited Michigan, it was unpleasant. J was off his meds and that had the entire family in chaos. I set clear boundaries with J that he would not see GB until he was in treatment. As out of control as he was, GB had no interest in interacting with him and  told him so.

About six weeks ago, Joel applied to a new program, that was based on DBT. The psychiatrist and therapist work closely together and there is also group work involved. J likes the program.

In the four days we have been here, my son has been stable, responsible, and enjoyable. My grandchildren are happy and relaxed. J and GB have spent time together having real conversations. GB and X have a connection that is enjoyable to watch.

Hope is still having major struggles and difficulty with daily life,  even with her world very small.  We leave tomorrow morning, early enough to meet a friend 20 minutes north of Detroit. I am happy I came to visit.

A Success For GB!

GB has enjoyed gymnastics at The Little Gym since she was two. The Little Gym has been good with her. They always put her in a small class. All their classes are held one at a time, so there is nothing to distract her and the parents viewing area is completely glassed off from the room the kids learn in. They waited patiently for GB to be able to stand in line. In the beginning, GB could only manage 5 minutes doing what the class was doing. By kindergarten, she was on target more than half the time.  During these years, GB learned a lot of gymnastics. She had several NT friends that enjoyed the same classes she did. Last spring, GB started getting bored. Her instructors suggested she move up to the pre-team  class. It was the highest level of gymnastics they taught and it was by invitation only. It was a 90 minute class instead of a sixty minute class and none of GB’s friends were invited.

GB and I were both apprehensive. GB didn’t like not knowing anybody in the class. I was worried about the length of the class and how seriously the girls in the class took gymnastics. Ultimately, with some encouragement from a friend, I decided to go for it. GB still wasn’t sure. I bought her a new biketard and assured her the class would be fun. She agreed to try it.

The first class was yesterday. GB beamed through all 90 minutes of it and made a new friend. Most of the girls were on the same level as her and when the instructors started them on new skills, GB gave them her best shot and didn’t worry when she didn’t instantly master them. I think it is going to be a good experience for her.

Coming Into Her Own

GB lost it late this afternoon, while transitioning from the pool to dried and dressed. We made it through, but while getting changed ourselves, The Dad and I considered not going out to dinner as planned. I went downstairs and discovered GB had put on her weighted vest and gotten her Ernie out and was cuddling him. She was completely regulated and had little difficulty handling dinner. When I complimented her on pulling herself back from her meltdown, she said, with great dignity, “Ernie and my vest ALWAYS help”. I love stability! It makes the FASD and Autism SO much easier to live with.

Cautiously Optimistic

GB has been on 5 mg of Zyprexa, along with Lithium, for about a week now. She has definitely had the best week she has had since last June. The school noticed the difference before they learned of the addition of the Zyprexa. Her moods still swing, but if you can catch them before she has lost control, it is possible to help her relax/center and avoid the meltdown completely.

The dynamic with Hope is interesting. As the week went on, the more stable GB got, the more buttons Hope tried to push with everybody. She went to bed pushing buttons last night (an hour early) and woke up and immediately started pushing buttons again. I wish her language wasn’t so delayed- it is very difficult for Hope to express what’s bothering her and when you can’t understand what she is trying to tell you, frustration boils over. Her language has improved so much in just 4 months that I am very hopeful that this is a temporary problem. 

Another Day Gone…

Yesterday is gone.

I had to be at a hospital two hours away for a procedure that was scheduled to start at 7 am. GB has been so dysregulated, I decided to bring her with us. MK agreed to get Hope up and on the bus. After 3 1/2 hours of being stabbed very, very, very slowly with a four inch needle in my left hip, more times than I cared to count, and three full MRIs (i am claustrophobic), they decided their procedure wasn’t going to work. GB had no patience left for the ride home.

When we got home, the painkillers I took before we left finally kicked in. I laid down and let the hazy people around me do their own thing. MK put an end to that. Her baby was running a fever. A real fever. He needed to see a doctor. I pulled myself out of my haze and told MK she would have to drive. She agreed, but said I had to come in case he had a problem. I went to make sure GB was ready so we could leave as soon as Hope got off the bus. GB was by herself, in front of the TV, drinking Pepsi. Pepsi as caffeine in it. Even when GB is stable, she can’t tolerate caffeine. When she is already manic, it is not a pretty picture.

We got through the doctor visit. We made it home. Hope is still trying hard to be a reflection of GB. GB was bouncing off walls and Hope thought it ways great fun to bounce, too. I kept them contained in the living room, with me, and tried to pull them in and center them but it didn’t work.

Dinner is always difficult for Hope and last night was harder than most. She laughed, fell off the chair, spit her food out, complained constantly (yep, even while she was laughing), and managed to eat almost nothing. The Dad usually handles her during dinner since he doesn’t think I have enough tolerance with Hope. Every couple of minutes, for no reason that I can find, Hope starts a loud, high pitched screeching. My reaction is to remove her from the table. The Dad is working with her, trying to eliminate the behavior without removing Hope from the table. Last night, I had no tolerance for even the idea of a family dinner, much less actually sitting through one. As soon as GB was done eating, I took her upstairs to get ready for bed, take medication, and cuddle in a calm atmosphere. Thankfully, we have a big house, so Hope screaming downstairs didn’t really ruin our calmness. I had emailed GB’s shrink and emailed back, raising her lithium again. I gave her the extra capsule and a prn. She went off quickly. Hope didn’t. She threw her blankets off and screeched that someone had to cover her for almost thirty minutes before she finally gave up.

Yesterday is gone. I have hope for today. The girls have a half day at school today. We are going to stay in this afternoon and be calm and mellow. At least, that is the plan.

A Visit to the Shrink

Yesterday was our visit to the psychiatrist in Manhattan. GB likes these days because we spend them together, she misses school, and we have Mickey D’s after our appointment. Hope got very excited, because GB did. We spent an hour and a half with the shrink. He was impressed with how resilient Hope is. Since we have had her less than a month, he recommended we not  change medication (she is on risperidone) and not do any evals until January.

We spent a lot of time talking about GB’s instability. He increased both the lithium and the Namenda and said that would help, but she will still experience psychotic breaks. Since she had to be taken off the risperidone because of serious side effects, he won’t but her on any atypical anti-pyschotics for at least a couple of years. We need to avoid stressful (for GB) situations until we get her stable again. So for right now, soccer, dance and gymnastics are gone. She seemed to understand that they were too hard for her right now and gymnastics is the only one she expressed disappointment with missing.

Hope held up well through the appointment, but lost it on the way home. She finally tantrumed herself to sleep and the last hour of the car ride was peaceful. The nap reset her and the girls did well the rest of the day.  We kept things quiet and they played in their kitchen. watched a little of a Care Bear movie while snuggling, ate dinner, took a bath, and read a book. They were both asleep before 8 pm.

We are still waiting for a call back from the therapist.