Friday, January 05, 2007

Slowly & steadily...

... things creep back to "normal" chez nous. Yesterday morning, 2nd day back to school, Brendan didn't want to get out of bed (slept right up to the alarm) & nearly every available piece of clothing gave him a tic. He finally chose a full complement (legal/comfort-wise) & dressing sort-of commenced... We were downstairs for breakfast in twice the time it usually takes, but we made it. He had leftover holiday banana-nut bread for brekkie, which he really loves, in spite of needing to pick-out each & every nut :) & it put him in a much better mood. We got out the door reasonable on time, & on the way I took the bull by the horns & told him that we needed to find a way to de-tic things. His response was "huh?", so I went on to say that the tics are a kind of magical thinking- if he doesn't do or choose the right thing he has an overwhelming feeling that something bad will happen ("Isn't that right?" "Right mom."). So I suggested that he might be able to find some countering magic that would de-tic things, because mornings like this one, where the tics were making him so miserable that no-one could function, were just too stressful. He saw my point, but wondered if it could be done. My main hope was to help him to find an image, or something, to hook a solution to the problem on. In his Adventure Quest game he's not only been exposed to a great deal of mythology & imagery surrounding magic, but has "studied" to be a mage & wizard (& a necromancer, but we're not going there...), so it had occurred to me that he might be able to use some of what he's been learning to help him with the OCD/tics. I asked him if there was anything he could think to do about his clothes that give him a tic, to de-tic them... & he said that maybe he could fart on them. I said that that would be fine if he thought it'd work, & added that maybe Rufus could do the farting if he found he didn't have any gas at the moment, which made him giggle. At this point I let the conversation turn to other things & he regaled me with stories of his AQ game for the rest of the trip to school. He settled-in at school pretty quickly & I had a nice chat with his OT before leaving for my first solo grocery shopping in 2 weeks.

Still feeling run down from the holidays & decided to spend the rest of my time post-shopping on laundry & watching InuYasha while finishing an alpaca shawl that I've been working on for quite a while. I had promised Brendan that I would try to find some episodes that he can watch, too, & have been watching 2-3 every night after he & Charlie have gone to bed since Christmas, when Tomoko's housemate gave us the gift of episodes 82-130 from his collection (wow!!). This particular story arc has been particularly violent & unsettling so he'd only been able to watch the first few, funny ones on the dvd so far... Yesterday I made it to episodes 127-130 & finally there were some silly ones, suitable for Brendan. Mission accomplished- plus I finished the shawl & got it ready for blocking. Whoo hoo!

When I got to school to get him. Brendan was waiting at the window, watching for my arrival, upset. He came right over & pushed his head into my chest (a good alternative to banging it on a locker...). He didn't want Cherie to tell me right then why he'd been so upset, but said that "it" had been wandering around. Knowing that he was talking about another student on his floor who gives him a tic, I told him gently that I thought referring to her as "it" was disrespectful & he apologised. Cherie wanted to tell my about a good thing that had happened that day, but he got upset & said he wanted to do it, which she respected :) On the way home he calmed down & was very pleased that I'd found some InuYasha episodes he could watch. I had some stuff to do after snack, so he was happy to do his first session of AQ under the new rules (mentioned in Wednesday's post). Charlie & I had decided that, even though his sessions technically last 50 minutes, we'd ask him to set the timer for 45 minutes because he rarely disengages from the game in less than 5 minutes (he's usually in the middle of something when it's time to stop). Brendan saw the fairness of our request & didn't protest at all. He actually stopped his game about 10 minutes early, when I'd finished what I was doing, because he was eager to see InuYasha. A couple of the episodes were laugh-out-loud funny & it was a lot of fun to share them with him. He went back to his game while I made dinner & his next session ended just as we were getting ready to eat.

Over dinner the 3 of us discussed what we'd do that evening. Brendan had brought his play script home for a final revision check, so that was a high priority. Charlie mentioned a couple of things they could do together, like begin to set up the trains in the living room, as well as having a bath, & Brendan said that's what he wanted to do. Almost as an afterthought, he told us that he'd done something amazing that day at school- he'd de-ticced his water bottle. (He hasn't been able to use his water bottle at school due to OCD thoughts/tic for a few weeks, but also refused to use the replacement I'd sent. Since he also has a tic about the water fountain, he'd been stuck for a way to get water for quite some time...) He said he'd been able to use magic to take the tic off of it & now he could use his bottle again. We were really excited & pleased, & I could see why Cherie was so happy, too. I felt a deep contentment that he was able to take the seed I'd planted that morning & let it grow into something useful & productive :) He had a really calm & fun evening with bath & trains. It hit me after he'd gone to bed that I had forgotten the new, additional dose of klonapin at snack time that we'd been giving him since last Friday... I told Charlie that I thought he'd done better without it today. Klonapin is one of the medicines that does not have a half-life in the body, like SSRI's, so it's easier to tell whether or not it's working by observing behaviour & adjusting as we go. Though there a lot of factors involved in his coping/state of mind, we decided to see how things go without it for the next few days.

This morning Brendan woke up about half an hour before the alarm- a very good sign. He started reading one of the "Last of the Jedi" books I'd got for him & it was hard to redirect him to getting clothes out & dressing... until I mentioned that if he dressed really quickly he could read until I was ready to go down for breakfast, & that did the trick. I had done some laundry so his favourite shirts & boxers were available, so getting dressed wasn't a problem at all & he easily grabbed some more reading time. Things went very well until just before leaving, when he went to the bathroom & lost control of things & ended up peeing on his cargo pants... the only others available were his black pants, which sometimes give him a tic, but he took them with good grace. The next hurdle was his raincoat- another item of clothing that has been giving him tics. I had been hoping that not needing to wear it for a long time would help the tic wear off it it, which sometimes happens, but he brought it up as soon as I told him it was too warm to wear his winter coat today (57 degrees F. on January 5th!!). I matter-of-factly said that he'd just have to de-tic it... & he did. He held it & made a grrrr... sound with an explosion at the end, & then he just put it on. We were were actually out of the house nearly on time...

When I finished door-greeter duty this morning & went up to kiss him goodbye I found him in mini-crisis. His water bottle was ok now, but he didn't want any water from the 3rd floor sinks. For today, I went down to the second floor & refilled it for him. I know he & Cherie will sort this one out, too. He was grateful to get his full water bottle from me & told me, very dignified, that he would go back to his class then & that I could tell him "itterasshai" & kiss him. So I did & went home. :)


At 4:14 PM, Blogger mcewen said...

'tics' - that's good, I never knew what to call them, short of 'obstacles.'

Sounds like you're making major progress on that front. We have been trying cognitive psychology, but it's tough when they're really little as you have to attempt to adapt everything.

So will you post a piccie of your shawl when it's finished?


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