Thursday, September 04, 2014


By mid-July, Conor had not had a full-blown tantrum for seven and a half months, the longest amount of time since he began tantruming that day in February 2010. This remarkable feat was made possible by two short-term stints in Sheppard Pratt (a local psychiatric facility), a 5 1/2 month inpatient hospitalization at the Kennedy Krieger Institute's NeuroBehavioral Unit, two psychiatrists (one on-unit, one off) and their multiple meds, one neurologist, two behaviorists (simultaneously), six behavioral protocols, and 20 hours+ of in-home behavioral aids for the last 2 1/2 years, and a Level 5 school (that's a step below residential school here in Maryland) with a 6' 4" tall, 250lb 1:1 aid that I like to call The Big Man.

You know, easy-peasy. 

Aint' nothin' but a thing.

Good times never last, they say, and on July 23rd, Conor gave my husband a big 'ol tantrum for his 56th birthday (usually I get these on my birthday so I'm a little jealous), then gave his school aid a tantrum on July 31st, the last day of summer school (helping The Big Man truly appreciate his Toronto vacation, I'm sure), and then had an almost-tantrum on August 18th in which we panicked and called his in-home aid to come back to the house for a few hours to help us manage the behaviors.

Needless to say, we found ourselves with an emergency appointment on August 1st with his psychiatrist so that we could increase his happy medicine. (Prozac.) We declined to increase the antipsychotic (Abilify) since we're struggling with his overweightness but thought it was a good strategy to increase the SSRI. Despite the horrific hiccup on the 18th with the near-tantrum, we struggled through the rest of the summer break, and seamlessly started school on August 25th.

You know, I really don't know what to say here. Things were going great, until they weren't. 

In June, we were in Conor's psychiatrist's office for a routine visit, saying just how great, how awesome he was doing. Smiles all around. 

Balloons, confetti, the works. I'm dreaming of long weekends away with my husband on some tropical island. Conor's doing great, hooray!

In August, I'm calling her scheduler in a panic, hoping to get some grip on his mood and behavior.  And I'm back to feeling like I can barely leave our house.

Sure, in July our primary behaviorist went on maternity leave, but she nicely found us a qualified substitute who came with her to be trained prior to the leave. And of course, in June, our secondary behaviorist had left that company (and therefore us), but hey, she was the 4th behaviorist with that group in less than 3 years. (Shrug.) So we were used to that. 

Yes, it was the summer, and summer always sucks, but, thanks to lots of snow days, the school calendar ran into sleep-away camp, which ran into day camp, which then ran into summer school. Bam, bam, bam. Busy is good, structure is golden.

Sure, sure, our in-home aid who had been with us the longest said she'd have to cut her hours in half since she's going back to school (the nerve, really, for her to have a life), so we had to find and train yet another in-home aid. Who then said he could only do half of half of her hours so we have to find and train still another one.

Sweet baby Jesus, it's like I'm running a freakin' Applebees over here, what with the turnover, and the training, the messes, and the emergencies but without the teriyaki-sauce smothered chicken breasts. 

Seriously, I am not qualified to do all this, I was a freakin' ENGLISH MAJOR, for God's sake. Everyone knows that English majors are useless for anything but reading, writing, and drinking coffee. Who doesn't know that?

Ok, ok, so I went on to get an MBA at a qualified institution of higher education, I should know what I'm doing, managing all these people and things. But everyone knows that MBAs are useless for anything but filling out forms, needlessly networking, googling, and drinking coffee. Everyone.

Let's face it, all I'm really good at is filing. I file like a beast. Which helps with the paperwork, but not much else.

Half the time, trying to manage all this for my son, I feel like I've totally been caught with my pants down, but I can't really figure out why since some of the time I'm wearing a skirt. (Especially in the summer, you know, for the air flow.)

I'm really trying, that's the sad part. Trying hard.

It's all just a bit too much to handle, is all I'm saying. The meds, the moods, the constant obsessions, the aids, school, camp, his protocols, doctors, social stories ... his challenging behavior.

For once, just once, just for a little while, I want things with Conor to be easy.

Or at least, easier. I'll settle for easier.