Monday, October 30, 2006


It's only the second day of Standard Time, and I'm already feeling S.A.D. You know, Seasonal Affective Disorder.

I'm not really feeling depressed. Well, just a little. Let's see, it's gray, the leaves are all falling off the trees and making a big wet mess of our driveway, (which is actually very pretty if you're not S.A.D.), and I want to eat chocolate chip cookies and drink coffee all day, since I can't go back to bed. Really, it's not that different from most other parts of the year, but as I look out the window at the coming darkness (it's only 4:30!) I don't get a second wind like I do in the summer, when I realize I have several hours of light left to do things. When it's dark out, I don't want to go run errands. I don't want to go to the grocery store to get that one forgotten ingredient for dinner tonight. No, I want to stay home, preferably on the couch, under a blanket, watching some good TV and knitting.

Fortunately, I'm signed up for indoor soccer for the winter season, which starts Wednesday, so that will force me to leave the house for exercise, at night no less.

Another thing that has nothing to do with the end of daylight savings time, but depresses me, is that my face has broken out like a pizza-faced 15-year-old boy. I didn't have skin this bad when I was a 15 year old (no, I was a girl then, too. Boys just look more pizza-faced as teens, because they don't wear makeup to cover the zits.) So, tomorrow when I wake up, it will still be dark out, I'll have zits all over my face (I've tried a zillion masks over the past two days; tomorrow I may resort to a Halloween mask, since it will be Halloween after all) and the parts that aren't zitty will be pale. I better go sit under some full spectrum lighting for a while to cheer myself up. Or just go sleep on the couch.

Oh, and even the "Famous sufferers of SAD" are SAD, meaning pathetic. From Wikipedia:

Famous sufferers of SAD include Miriam Taffel, renowned for her work in the fields of psychology and intelligent systems.

Jillian Barberie of Good Day L.A. has mentioned during the program that she suffered from SAD when she lived in Ontario, Canada.

Johnny Briggs, who played Mike Baldwin in Coronation Street, also suffers from SAD.

Musician Rick Strom has credited his most creative periods to SAD.

Norman E. Rosenthal, MD, first researcher into the effect of light upon mood.

Natalie Imbruglia, a famous Australian singer, suffered from SAD during a longer stay in London, England.

I only know the "famous" Natalie Imbruglia, though it's quite heartbreaking that the guy who played Mike on Coronation Street suffers as I do. Not that I've ever seen Coronation Street. It sounds delightfully British.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Weird Dreams

I've been having lots of weird dreams lately. Most I don't remember, but here are a couple for your entertainment:

A week or so ago, I dreamt that I was at a big party -- a wedding or a funeral, perhaps -- and got really drunk. I ended up getting hitched to an old woman. In my dream, this made sense, even though I'm already married, to a man who happens to be mid-thirties, but you know how dreams are. In the dream I was also joking with Hubby that he should have married the old woman. When I started to sober up in my dream, I regretted marrying an old woman. I really didn't think I'd be able to er, consummate the relationship, and I knew my old lady (literally, in this case. Wait, can you use "literally" when describing a dream? Fantastically?) would be disappointed. Then I wondered why my mother, who was also at the party, had let me marry an old woman. Aren't mothers supposed to stop their kids from doing really stupid things, even if they're drunk, too?

Last night I had a dream that I was hanging out with a group of friends, though they were dream friends, meaning they don't exist in real life. In real life, I don't have any friends. Sob. Anyway, back to the dream. My "friends" and I were walking along, talking about girl stuff, and the conversation turned to Botox. I said I wanted to have it done, and there was a special going on....

This is when my alarm clock woke me up. I realized I was about to mention a Botox special in my dream, that is actually going on in real life. I saw in ad for it yesterday in The Woodinville Weekly, a cutting edge, journalistic tour de force of the rocking world that is Woodinville, WA, population "estimated to be 9900." This ad was for a local spa offering a great special on Botox for Halloween. Halloween day, from 9 to 6, you can get 10% off your 31 units of Botox! Plus, invite a friend and get $25 off your treatment! Hmmm. Botox on Halloween. Sounds Frankensteinian. Plus, 31 units? How is it possible to get that much Botox in your face? Can you still eat, drink, breathe, or blink after that much Botox? Sorry, I'm Botox ignorant, but I don't think I'd be desperate enough to get a discount on Botox (10%, though! Wow!) that I'd be willing to buy 31 UNITS of it to do so. Then again, if you get that much Botox, you can probably incorporate it into your Halloween costume -- "Person Frozen by Medusa", perhaps, or "Startled Over-the-Hill Starlet"? Still, if you need 31 units of Botox, the "before" is probably much more scary, therefore better for your Halloween costume - "Good God, What is That"?

Monday, October 23, 2006

You'd Think Nearly Every Child Would Have Autism

There was a study released last week, led by an economics professor at Cornell University, that said the huge increase in Autism is the result of...that's right -- TV! Please, go kill your television, immediately! We must end Autism!

Oh wait, let's not get hasty. Let's think about this a moment. The study tries to link a very complicated disease that involves not only brain development, but the immune system and the gastro-intestinal system as well, with findings based on statistics. Hmm. An ECONOMICS professor using STATISTICS is telling us the cause of Autism. OK, I'm not going to jump on your bandwagon just yet, dude. And the researchers, "admit that their findings are not “definitive evidence” because they could find only indirect evidence of the amount of time that autistic children spend viewing television." [The Sunday Times, UK Oct. 22, 2006]

Yes, that's right. This seriously flawed study used statistics to link the high rates of Autism in California, Oregon, and Washington to the high incidence of cable TV and round the clock kids' programming starting in the 80s. But wait, they didn't use actual stats of TV watching in kids with Autism, but rainfall stats. Huh? I'm not following. Oh, I see, areas with high rainfall (CA, OR and WA) must have higher TV watching, because that's what you do with kids when it's raining, right? You couldn't possibly, say, play with your kids, inside, with -- what are those things called? Oh yes, toys -- when it's raining? No, no, you must be watching TV. Because it's raining. The higher rainfall causing more mold and mildew, and keeping kids indoors where there's poorer air quality wouldn't have anything to do with it. It's all TV's fault. Well, I could almost see part of the TV thing. After all, TV casings contain the toxic flame retardant deca-BDE (which was banned in the EU this summer), that, along with all the hundreds of other toxins floating around in our homes, could have something to do with Autism. But this study says, no, it's definitely "television watching" that's the problem.

So, we have the above "scientific study" released last week, as well as one from Vanderbilt University, done by *cough* real scientists. The Vanderbilt study, "of 743 families, in which 1,200 members were diagnosed with autism, has found evidence of a mutated gene [MET] that is involved in brain development, the immune system and the gastro-intestinal system..." [The Sunday Times] Hmm. So, do I think Autism could be from the above mentioned gene mutation, or do I think it's from TV? I wonder.

Oh, and a friend of mine has a 2 1/2 year old son with Autism who has NEVER WATCHED TV in his life. Yeah, I wonder.

No offense to any economists out there, but where Autism is concerned, I'm going with the developmental neurobiologist's research.

By the way, the picture above is not of one of my kids. It's probably some other child who, if the cockamamie Cornell study is right, is doomed to have Autism.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Flags of Our Fathers

Another serious post on the blog. Can't be all sweetness and light all the time, kids!

This is NOT a review of the movie that's currently out. Remember, I have kids and no babysitter, so I don't get to see R-rated movies in the theater. (Unlike the Gouda, I don't go to movies by myself. It's something I should try in the future, though!) Oh well, it will be on DVD in a year or so, right? The movie is based on a book written by James Bradley, the son of John Bradley, one of the men who raised the flag atop Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima. We are friends with one of John Bradley's grandsons, who got to attend this movie premiere.

Hubby sent me this link about our friend's grandfather, and I found it very interesting. The last section, "Post-war Life," is very sad, and I'm still upset by the part about Bradley's friend, Ralph "Iggy" Ignatowski.

Jeez, war sucks. I can imagine how f'ed up it makes you. I never heard any stories from my grandfathers, who both served in WWII, in the army and navy, but I'm sure they had some horrifying ones. Probably not something they'd share with a young granddaughter, which I was when they were still alive.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I Just Don't Get Some Things

Like this:

Why do you have an anchor in your front yard, chained off? Your yard is not ocean-front, or even lake-front. True, it was probably underwater many, many years ago, but it's not currently even near water (barring Lake Washington, which is about 2 miles away).

Are you waiting for a new flood, so when a modern day Noah swings by to pick up your family and pets, he can anchor himself down? Perhaps this is an ancient anchor you found while making a new garden bed, that you believe to be a relic of Noah's? Are you a retired sea captain, and just couldn't bear to part with your ship, so you kept the best part of it to put in your front yard to remind you of the sea? I don't know. I just know that as I was stopped at a red light for two or three traffic light cycles, your front yard decoration struck me as odd, like an anchor out of water.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Save Me Some Rolos

Lina had eaten all of the Rolos from the bowl of Halloween candy, and was ready for bed. As she was blowing out the jack-o-lantern on her porch, she heard someone call, “Trick or Treat!”

She turned and saw a ghoul approaching. Lina reached for the bowl of candy, now containing only Necco Wafers and the tell-tale Rolo wrappers. The ghoul looked into the bowl, met Lina’s gaze, then grabbed the bowl, quickly slitting Lina’s throat with its sharp metal edge. As the ghoul ripped Lina’s ear from her skull, it whispered, “You should have saved me some Rolos.”

The above "story" is for this contest:

Write your own 99 word story and enter here!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Now I'm Really Feeling Better

Thanks to all my loyal readers for your thoughtful comments on my last two "Autism Funk" posts. I am feeling a lot better today! Your comments are one reason. This is another:

Hutton's preschool teacher called me this morning. She taught him for two years at his special education preschool. She's a very straightforward but easy-going woman, and Hutton did wonderfully in her class. He wasn't perfect all the time, but his teacher knew how to deal with him and got him to behave in class. Apparently, Hutton's Kindergarten teacher has contacted his preschool teacher A LOT this year. It boils down to, Kindergarten teacher (KT) wants to give Hutton back to Preschool teacher (PT). PT says, "No thanks, lady, that's not how it works. He did fine in my class, now he's ready for Kindergarten. That's your territory. You need to figure out to get the boy to behave."

PT told me that she explicitly told KT how to handle Hutton. That Hutton would test her, and that KT needs to just "get in Hutton's face, and tell him how he is expected to behave." That may sound a bit crazy to you readers, but believe me, it's not. That's what works with Hutton -- getting in his face. PT also understood Hutton's sensory issues -- he loves to smell everything and is usually tempted to eat things he shouldn't that smell good, like glue or playdoh, and he just gets a little too "into" smelly handsoaps, etc. So far, KT has written 3 notes about Hutton eating glue or playdoh, smearing handsoap all over his hair and the bathroom, and smearing peanut butter on himself if I send that as a snack. So, you'd think a teacher who deals with special education kids would have dealt with a child with sensory issues before, but I guess Hutton is just that extra special special kid.

But, after talking to PT, I now feel better about his placement in Kindergarten. PT told me the Transition Kindergarten is exactly where Hutton needs to be. The local contained class is mostly non-verbal kids, and Hutton will not have nearly enough stimulation there. And that Hutton going back to preschool isn't the right choice, either. He's in Kindergarten because he's ready for it. He's more than prepared academically, and KT just needs to get Hutton to behave. PT and I both agreed that Hutton figured out pretty quickly that he could get away with horrible behavior in Kindergarten, because the KT didn't handle it right off the bat.

I feel much better now about Hutton, and about my choice to put him in Kindergarten. PT told me to call her whenever I need to vent, ask questions, or anything at all, which was great. It's always good to have someone who understands the system and who knows Hutton to have my back. Word.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Returning to Normal

As normal as things get around here, that is. After spending most of Thursday in a huge funk over the email bomb from Hutton's teacher, telling me he wasn't fit for her kindergarten class, I spent the evening swollen-eyed and achy-headed and went to bed at the unheard of time of 9:30. The next morning, the boys woke me up at 7:15, an hour earlier than they got up on Thursday, because they have a system: On the two days we have to leave the house by 8:30 a.m., they are both nestled cozily in bed at 8 a.m., and are quite difficult to wake up and get going. On the other 5 days of the week, they're up and at 'em by 7:30, making the noises mothers can't ignore -- slamming doors, opening the fridge (yes, I have very good ears for this sound, as it usually means they're getting into food they don't need to, or are attempting to pour themselves drinks, or that the fridge will still be open an hour later, defrosting and wet-handled, if I don't get my ass up NOW and go deal with them), etc.

So, Friday morning I got up and stumbled downstairs, and soon got into a bitchy mood because Hutton refused to take his supplements. Half of his supplements go into his juice/probiotic smoothie combo, and the chewable supplements (his multivitamin, enzymes, and zinc) I give him to eat, since they're chewable, and I think they taste just fine, so he should, too. He wasn't going for it, though, and of course, I was still in the deepest depths of the "I have a child with Autism and he's never going to get better" funk. In mere moments, Hutton's refusal to eat his chewable supplements had me sobbing and snotty, telling him he HAD to work with me on this, because if not, I'd end up in a loony bin, and he'd end up in a bad group home. Hutton could not have cared less. He did not want to eat his supplements, even if the yummy cod liver oil supplement could be his if he did. (No, really. The Coromega "orange with a hint of chocolate" cod liver oil supplement is REALLY GOOD!) Hubby came downstairs during my crazy tirade about the supplements, and told me to go upstairs. Looking crazed, my hair standing up from sleeping on it, no makeup, swollen, puffy eyes and snotty-nosed, I refused. "I have to eat breakfast, so I can go get a shower and take Hutton to his ABA!" "I'll take him to ABA." "No, I'm fine." "Well, go eat your breakfast upstairs in the bathroom. You're acting crazy, and Hutton doesn't need to hear this." "I don't want to eat breakfast in the bathroom! I want to eat it here!" "OK, then we'll go upstairs." And so Hubby went upstairs with Hutton, I slowly stopped sobbing, finished my cereal, then showered and put on make-up to make myself look less like a crazy woman.

We headed to the UW for ABA, and I managed to not sob all over myself when I told his ABA consultant what had happened with his teacher. I had called the teacher Thursday afternoon. She told me that Hutton wasn't doing well in the class, but a one-on-one aide for him wasn't an option, as the school wouldn't pay for it, and that the contained class wouldn't be challenging enough for him. OK, lady, you're not giving me much to work with here. She then said she'd never had a child sent back to preschool, but there's a first time for everything. I really don't think the preschool will accept a 5 year old, but if it's possible, I'll do it. We agreed that next week we'll try to give or take away certain benefits at home, based on Hutton's behavior at school. For instance, if he receives a 0 for behavior at school, meaning he was horrible, he'll get 0 computer or TV time at home. If he gets a 3, for super behavior, he can get 30 minutes of computer or TV time. Of course, computer and TV time is the only way I manage to unwind in the afternoon and get dinner made. "Curious George" on PBS saves me before dinner, and "Wallace and Gromit" on Xbox saves me after dinner. But, I'm willing to sacrifice if it makes a difference. His ABA consultant made the point that this may not work if Hutton isn't able to connect his behavior at school with having things taken away at home. We'll see. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Hutton showed us some of his bad behavior at ABA therapy Friday - throwing some wooden signs around, narrowly missing Harrison, me and his therapist. His consultant quickly stopped the behavior, by holding Hutton's arms and leading him through putting the signs back into the box where they belonged, while asking him what each sign was, then quickly moving on to another activity. It was really amazing how easily re-focused Hutton was, and it made me think his teacher just needs to learn some of the techniques his ABA consultant uses. I mean, Hutton is probably doing his best to get away with whatever he can at school, because he can. He doesn't act up at home, speech therapy, or ABA (well, he hadn't been until Friday...) because he knows he won't get away with it.

So, his ABA consultant told me she'd go sit in on a class to see how Hutton is at school, and to come up with solutions for our big problem. And his ABA therapist (the one who comes to our home) told me she'd be happy to help Hutton at school. Well, that's nice and all, and I guess an extra $100 a week isn't that much to spend if she helps Hutton behave in class. All the same, I think there should be some way to get this solved without me having to pay someone to sit with Hutton in school and make sure he doesn't throw blocks or clear off his desk when he doesn't want to do his work. Sigh.

After we ate lunch, we were driving home across the 520 bridge over Lake Washington, and I started singing along to R.E.M.'s "Shiny, Happy People" on the radio. I thought if I sang, Hutton might listen to the words and think it was a fun song. I kept looking at him in the rearview mirror, and soon he and Harrison were both asleep, and I started to cry as I was singing. You wouldn't think it possible to cry while singing the words, "Happy! Happy!" but it is.

Friday night Hubby and I watched lots of good, funny TV (caught up on "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" from earlier in the week) and I felt better.

Today was good. Hubby got up with the boys, I managed to go the gym, and we had just a few bad moments from Hutton, right before lunch, but after he ate he was fine. After lunch, we walked down to the creek at the end of our street to see if there were any salmon left. There were a few stragglers swimming upstream, but most of the fish had already spawned and died. There were about 20 fish in various states of decay, but it was actually very calming to see them, if a bit smelly. The whole "circle of life" feeling going on, though I didn't break into song. We walked up the trail for a while until Harrison got tired, then walked back home.
Looking for salmon "Cheese!"
Hutton chilling My boys

Then I went to the grocery store by myself, which is also very calming when done solo (though my almost-least-favorite chore, second only to cleaning up vomit or poop, when done with children) and made dinner using leftovers I remade into an Indian curry dish. We had grilled shish-kabobs last night, and I used the leftover meat and veggies, added some chickpeas, curry sauce and yogurt, and some Amy's frozen samosas and rice on the side. Hubby and I both liked it, so I felt very proud of myself for managing to make an easy dinner that actually tasted good. Hutton didn't eat much, and Harrison was falling asleep at the table, but two out of four ain't bad, right?

I'm now back in my previous state of calm. I think I have to have an Autism-fueled breakdown every once in a while. It's like a wake-up call/reality check-in, to make sure I know raising Hutton won't be all fun and games, easy-peasy. I was feeling pretty good for a while there! Thanks Reality, I know I was coasting. But I'm still staying positive, and looking forward to meeting Hutton's new doctor next week. I don't want to have to add "becoming more of a crazy bitch every day" as my sub heading just yet, but check in and see. Maybe it will be there for November.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Just When I'm Starting to Feel Good...

...Riding on an Elmo porn high, well-caffeinated, etc., I get knocked back down by the everyday crap.

Yesterday, we received a letter from the University of Washington, where Hutton goes for his ABA therapy. (The link includes a good overview of what ABA is. It's basically the treatment most widely accepted as being helpful for Autism. The fact that it is expensive and not covered by most insurance plans is just an added challenge for parents of kids with Autism.) However, our insurance plan does cover ABA therapy. Or 80% of it. Still, a lot better than paying everything out of pocket. That is, our insurance is supposed to cover it, but I keep having issues with our provider. The woman in charge of getting our ABA covered keeps finding problems. The letter we received from the UW told us that we'd be "private pay" for the rest of the year because we are over our allotment. Our allotment of 60 case management visits. That would be at least one visit a week for an entire year. We've averaged about 1 visit A MONTH with our old case manager, which is one of the reasons we switched to the UW. So, 1 visit a month from January to July, followed by weekly visits from mid-August till today, equals less than 60, when I add them. Of course, as you know math isn't my strong suit. But still. Even if I fudge the math a bit, it's still nowhere near 60. There's NO WAY IN HELL we've used 60 case manager visits for 2006. So, I've been trying to get in touch with someone at our insurance company for the past day, and have gotten nowhere. The main woman, who alerted the UW to our "red flag" status, is on vacation this week. Her assistant doesn't appear to be in her office in the afternoons. Oh, and did I mention we had the same exact thing happen in June, and they realized there was a mistake, and we all went on our merry way? Well, I guess they just lost the file, and rediscovered it, and forgot about the whole, "Oh, wait, that's wrong, you still have lots of case manager visits left for the year" discussion we had a few months ago.

OK, still, not that big of a problem. It will be resolved. I was fine with having that to tackle today. Until I got an email from Hutton's teacher. Hutton's behavior has become "increasingly inappropriate" for kindergarten and "he does not seem ready for the demands of kindergarten." Great. I cried. I stopped crying for a few minutes as I tried to contact the parent liason from Hutton's preschool to talk me down. She wasn't there, and the woman I spoke with at the local school with a contained learning program told me she'd try to find someone who knew something to call me back. I'm still crying. My child is being kicked out of Kindergarten. My life is not going so well today.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Elmo As You've Never Seen Him Before

This is frightening. And wrong. And really funny.

What is really scary is that someone had to find 3 TMX Elmos -- now that's hard!

Hubby wasn't sure what he liked most -- the music, the Elmo looking in the window who joins in, or the black satin sheets.

The Great, Fantastic, Amazing DAN! Conference

I attended the DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) Conference on Sunday. It was a three day conference, but I could only fit in one day, but that one day blew my mind. Really. I have no brain left, because after trying to understand all the biochemistry being thrown around by the speakers, my brain exploded. I miss it. It helped me do things. You know, thinking and all.

Well, I do have some brain left, but I told Hubby that he would have understood a lot more than I did, since he was the chemistry major/pre-med guy in college. (I was the pre-veterinary school until I took biology and calculus, scraped by with Cs, and decided to be an English major instead. I had dreamt of being a veterinarian or marine biologist for most of my young life, but the whole science thing ended up being a wee bit hard. Go figure. I was like the old talking Barbie doll that said, "Math is hard!" Yeah, Barbie, it is!) Anyway, when I got home from the conference I told Hubby what the big points were, and what the researchers were excited about, including Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment (HBOT). Hubby flipped through the conference book, looking at all the powerpoint slides of hard science compiled there, and asked, "How many atmospheres were they talking about for treatment?" Blank stare from me, followed by, "Er, I don't know." Hubby, "Hmm, I wonder if you could get similar results from a tent, or if you have to use a tank." More blank stares from me.

I did listen and take notes, though, so I'll put the important stuff below for anyone interested in the latest ideas in biomedical Autism treatment. For those of you who don't know much about Autism, let me say that there are two big groups most people fall into when it comes to Autism treatment. There's the Biomedical group, which believes that Autism is treatable, and that it is possible to recover children with Autism, so that they can heal their brains and bodies enough to help deal with the toxins and diseases and live somewhat "normal" lives. The other side is the, well, it's hard to sum them up with one word. How about the "Defeatists?" Not to be too down on them, but this is the group that believes the only treatment for Autism is ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis), that Autism is part of who their kids are, and they don't want to change them, and that those of us who believe in biomedical treatments are wasting our money and falling for the fake science of a bunch of quacks. Now, as far as Autism being part of who Hutton is...yes, I agree that it is part of him, but I liken it to saying, "You know, my child has cancer, but I don't want to treat him because it's a big part of who he is!" I don't think trying to remove toxic metals from my child, restore the delicate chemical balance of his body, or heal his injured gut is crazy, or that doing so will change his personality for the worse. I think he'll still be a quirky, funny, brilliant kid, but one who is healthy and happy. Why is that wrong to want that for my child?

Some interesting points to consider: Many of the scientists and doctors at the conference were discussing how ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) could be considered to be on the Autism Spectrum. Now, how many of the people drugging their ADHD kids would say they don't want to "cure" their children because they don't want to change their personalities? That their inability to function in school without drugs is "part of who they are." I don't think many would think that. Of course, there are people who DON'T drug their ADHD kids, because they don't like having that "drugged child" effect. And this is not what we're talking about with DAN biomedical treatments for Autism. DAN Biomed doesn't involve giving your kids Risperdal. As one of speakers at the conference, Dr. Sidney Baker, said, "If you are sitting on a tack, it takes a lot of Risperdal to make it feel good. The appropriate treatment for tack-sitting is tack removal." (So you know, Risperdal is a drug FDA-approved to treat psychosis, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. There is talk of it soon becoming approved to treat Autism, though if you look at the drug facts, it says in big letters that it is not for use by people under 18. Yeah, I'm sure they'll keep that in mind.) The DAN approach of "tack removal" involves clearing toxins from the body, restoring the immune system, and replacing depleted nutrients so they body and brain can function normally.

The final speaker summed up the conference by going over the latest possible "pathways to recovery." These were:

Behavioral Therapy Program (this would include ABA, and other early intervention, speech therapy, etc.)

Elimination/Rotation Diet - Many children with Autism (estimated at 70 - 80%) have gastro-intestinal problems -- overgrowth of bad bacteria and fungi, chronic T-cell inflammation, lesions, chronic Measles virus in the gut. We saw slides of these damaged intestines, and they didn't look good! The guts are very important to the immune system, and when they are full of lesions, don't absorb nutrients from food, are overrun with T-cells with no regulatory IL-10...well, the basic idea is you must restore the gut. There is a big auto-immunity aspect to Autism (the body attacking itself), which leads to food allergies and disbiosis, so if removing gluten and casein from the diet helps heals the gut, go for it. Probiotics and cultured foods are important, too, for helping restore healthy gut flora.

Restoration of Glutathione - Cysteine. Sorry, this went way over my head. There was a big chemical diagram that showed how "the methylation and transsulfuration pathways provide the reduced glutathione (GSH) to repair oxidative damage." Uh-huh. Yeah. How about, "microglia and astocytes depend on glutathione to defend neurons against glutamate toxicity and oxidative stress." No, I didn't quite get that either. The main point of that, that I sort of understood was, "oxidative stress = bad" and "glutathione = good."

Secretin and Oxytocin Nasal Sprays - Hmm. I know I didn't fall asleep. I must have been in a chemistry-induced coma. Sorry, have know idea what this point is about.

Methyl B12 (injections and/or nasal sprays) I don't have much on this, either. It involves more of that Methylation/Sulfation stuff I don't understand.

Antioxidants: Vitamin C, Reduced Glutathione, Others

Detoxification: clean diet, proper bowel function, probiotics, removal of heavy metals. Many of the speakers discussed chelation for removal of heavy metals. They all agreed that transdermal chelation wasn't as effective as they'd like. Dr. McCandless, Dr. Green, Dr. Usman and possibly others I didn't hear on Saturday all preferred IV chelation using DMSA, DMPS, or CaEDTA (IMPORTANT - NOT NaEDTA, as this was used incorrectly in a child last year and lead to the child's death!) or using oral DMSA and DMPS. Dr. Levinson and others prefer DMSA or DMPS suppositories. Yeah, I know, sounds fun, doesn't it? All of the doctors agreed that the individual child had to be taken into account. Will my child be calm enough to sit through IV treatment for an hour? (Having an expert IV inserter is key, too!) Will sticking something up my child's ass be very traumatic for him, or will it be something he can handle? A good joke one doctor made while reading a question from the audience: Q: "How do you put in suppositories comfortably?" A: "Leave them in the box. Or taking them out of the wrapper first helps." He then added, seriously, to make sure to tell your child about the process of placing the suppository, and do it at bedtime.

Nutritional Support:
vitamins, probiotics, minerals and essential fatty acids, enzymes, carnitine, carnosine, ribose, CoQ10 (or Ubiquinone), 5HTP or Tryptophan

Hyperbaric Oxygen
- emerging data on this were favorable. Showed a slide of the increase in oxygen in the blood after treatment - impressive stuff!

Immune Balance: Complex, IVIG, IBD drugs, Singulair, Oral Cromolyn, Low Dose Naltrexone, steroids, Actos and Sprionolactone. The last one really got Dr. Bradstreet excited.

Another line that got lots of laughs was when Dr. Wakefield said, "In a study by the CDC, God bless them..." Pause for audience laughter. Yeah, we're a jaded bunch, the Autism parents. However, all of the doctors made sure to cover their asses by all saying, "I'm not saying NOT to vaccinate your children, but..." All of the doctors I heard speak did not think giving newborn babies the Hepatitis B vaccine was a good idea. Or getting flu shots with mercury. Or having mercury-containing dental amalgams placed in one's teeth, where toxic mercury vapors would have easy access to the brain when the amalgams off-gassed, which is a pretty much never-ending process when mercury is present in one's teeth. Shocking stuff, there! However, LEAD is just as problematic, and possibly more overwhelmingly present in our kids, who don't have the ability to rid their bodies of toxic metals. As the scientists said, "The EPA 'safe levels' for lead keep going down every year, and they'll eventually have to tell us that there is no safe level of lead in the body." Another big "duh" moment. Oh, and just so you know, our environment is extremely toxic, and basically our bodies are all overrun with toxins. Oh, and Autism, ADHD, Asthma and Allergies are the new childhood epidemics. Comforting, isn't it?

Even so, I left the conference with a renewed enthusiasm for recovering Hutton. Now I just have to find the right doctor. I scheduled an appointment for next week with a doctor who attended the conference. Hope she understood more of it than I did!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Dental Adventals, er, Adventures in Dentures, Oh Nevermind

OK, I don't have dentures, but it rhymed. I do have porcelain veneers on my front teeth, though, so that's some partially fake teeth. Those go back to my preoccupation with my ugly gapped teeth when I was a preteen. In hindsight, I should have left them, but I didn't. Now I have fake front teeth. If one of my veneers breaks, a really ugly brown fang is left behind. This is an attractive look, especially when one has college interviews. Ask me how I know about this.

Anyway, Saturday I had a dentist appointment. Always such a fun time. Really, if you don't count the big chunks of plastic jammed into your mouth for x-rays, the painful tartar scraping (especially painful when the tartar is beneath the gum line between teeth), or the gag-inducing effects of tooth polishing grit landing in the back of your throat, it's a pretty good time. Relaxing with some nice shades on, enjoying one-sided small talk with the hygeniest: "Your gums look great on this side. You really have no recession at all!" Me: "Guhhhrgggh." Yeah, good times.

Then after the scraping, bleeding, rinsing, sucking, flossing, bleeding, rinsing, sucking, grinding, polishing, and final rising and sucking, the dentist came in to do the once over, while telling me about the blessings of having teeth in such good shape. His parents, he informed me, were from England, and had dentures by the time they were in their 20s. He told me they saw getting dentures as a rite of passage into adulthood. This was back in the 1920s, but still...And I thought that whole British=bad teeth was just a stereotype. Well, back in the day. Our British friends have fine teeth now. Really. Please no angry comments. This was my dentist who said this, and he's probably a tooth snob. Can you be a tooth racist if you're one generation removed?

After my torture appointment, I set up a time to take the boys in. Neither of them has ever been to a dentist. Yes, I'm a horrible mother, but you should have known that from the previous 130 posts. I've been using the Autism excuse for not bringing Hutton. Harrison is probably a little too young, but I'm going to take them both in, and hope Hutton's teeth aren't rotting out. They're only baby teeth, right? He's a very good tooth-brusher actually, so fingers crossed.

Don't read below if you don't like gross things about people's mouths.
Well, even more gross things about people's mouths.

Not really tooth related, but orally fixated is the next topic: TONSILOLITHS.
Sound monolithic, palaeolithic, or even xenolithic, but they just suck. I complained to the dental hygeniest about having what felt like a piece of food lodged in my tonsil, and she told me it was a plugged salivary duct that would go away on its own. I didn't buy that, but forgot to ask the dentist, and of course had to rule out some weird disease that would lead to my mouth rotting away, and the best way to rule out weird diseases is by finding stuff online, you know!

So, after my research, I now know I have a TONSILOLITH in my TONSIL CRYPT, or at least that's what I've discovered through the magic of the internet. All this time, I didn't realize I needed a tonsilar crypt keeper in there, but I guess I do.
Here's why: TONSILOLITHS, or Tonsil Stones (hence the lith part), "are tiny, white, foul smelling stones which lodge in the tonsilar crypts. Sometimes a tonsolith can be pried out of the surface of the tonsil with a pencil or other small pointed instrument leaving what appears to be a little 'hole' but is, in actuality, the tonsilar crypt in which it originally formed. Tonsiloliths sometimes give the feeling of something lodged in the throat. They can also contribute to bad breath. Some people have chronic problems with tonsiloliths. The only sure treatment for chronic tonsiloliths is removal of the tonsils."

One website said that tonsilolith are from post-nasal drip, but another said they are from little pieces of food that get caught in the tonsil, and then this hard, white stone coats it, like a pearl being formed by a grain of sand in an oyster. Except the pearl is quite beautiful and rare, not a disgusting, sulfurous glob that is hacked up from the back of one's throat.

So, now I know that I have a tonsilolith, but I don't really want to use a pencil in my mouth. I do have a random chopstick on my desk though....

Off to dig around in my tonsil crypts. My Saturday night is rocking!

Update: My tonsil stone is gone. I know you're all relieved.

This ends the TMI portion of this post. Oh, that's the end of the post all together. Oh well.

Bad Candy

I was doing some research this afternoon for something I'm writing [I'll post what I write in a few days, and you'll realize this isn't quite as impressive as it sounds], when I came across this site.

As Halloween is approaching, this is the time of year when candy is becoming more important to everyone. Please be sure to visit this site to make sure you're not responsible for giving away, or, God forbid, eating any bad candy this Halloween. Bad candy may sound like an oxymoron, but it is a horrifying reality you must do your best to avoid. Not everything sold labeled "candy" is made of delicious chocolate, you know.

Be sure to see this site for some gross candy to avoid, and Allie's posts on this topic, as well.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Yacht Rock Rocks My World

This is some of the funniest shit I've seen in a long time, and sooo smooth!
Be sure to look for the other 9(!) episodes on YouTube under "Yacht Rock."

And just so you know, I still love Steely Dan. Episode 10 is awesome for this reason.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Summer is Oming!

I saw a sign today, in front of a gas station/convenience store that read:


Hmm. Not sure what OMING means, but indeed, let's party!

Maybe OMING is what you put when you're too lazy to change a sign often enough. Come on, all they need to put up there is OVER instead of OMING - add three little letters - and it would work: Summer is OVER! Let's party!

Yes, it's a slow day around here. I really need a nap, but the two-year-old is sooo past that whole nap thing.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Combating Autism Act and Congressional Douchebags

Well, another reason for me to be disgusted with the Republican-run Congress.

Friday, Congressman Joe Barton from Texas killed the Combatting Autism Act, by not getting it in for a vote. You can read more about the CAA here.

Below is an interesting transcript from Don Imus' Monday morning radio show. It's long but worth reading! I have to say, I think I agree with everything below! There's some good stuff on equally vile Mark Foley, Dennis Hastert and Bill Frist as well.

Imus in the Morning
Discussion on the Combating Autism Act
October 2, 2006

6:07 am ET

Imus: Congressman Joe Barton from Texas refused to move the Combating Autism Act out of his committee after telling all these autism groups that if they supported him on this idiotic NIH reform egislation, which they did, he would then move their bill out of the committee and for a vote. It passed by unanimous consent in the Senate, you know. And, then, when they all did support him, he then lied to them and refused to budge on it and, of course, Dennis Hastert and old Boehner [`BO-ner'], the Majority Leader, they refused to get involved in it because they were so busy covering up the Foley thing. So, you know, somebody ought to check Boehner's [`BO-ner's'] email. That's the first guy I'd look at, wouldn't you? I'd check all of their emails. I'd check Barton's emails. I'd check everybody's.

Charles McCord: You'd start going through everybody's computer stuff.

I: Barton said, well, he could approve - said that he wanted to take all of the provisions in the bill that had to do - I'm not going to get into all the specifics, at this point, because, you know, you'll just kill yourself or watch and listen to something else - all of the provisions out of the bill that had to do with any sort of environment research. Vaccine research has already been taken out of it long ago, so -

M: So let's take all the environmental stuff too. That makes sense.

I: So, wanted to cut the bill from around 900 million to 200 million. It had already been what they call `scored' by the Congressional Budget Committee, I believe, or Office, in which they had determined what it was going to cost and what that would be. And this is the guy I - you have to wonder about - it's no wonder these parents of autistic children are hysterical. I don't blame them. I mean, because they get lied to - you wouldn't - it's inconceivable that somebody wouldn't want to provide relief to these people. I mean, it doesn't even make any sense.

M: No, oh no, no.

I: So, I could give you his phone number in Washington to call him and tell him what a creep he is - or ask him, you know, what he's covering up - or let's look at his email, but they're not in Washington now, so, but he must have a congressional office in Texas, so we'll get that phone number.

M: Okay.

I: And, just, you can call him up and chat with him. It is unclear why Speaker Hastert and the Majority Leader, old Boehner [`BO-ner'] from Ohio, wouldn't - I might have opted for a different name, wouldn't you?

M: I don't think he pronounces it that way.

I: How does he pronounce it?

M: BAY-ner.

I: You sure it's not BO-ner?

M: Maybe it is. [chuckling] Maybe for our purposes.

I: why they wouldn't lean on this guy or at least say, you know, "Why don't you be reasonable, here?" He's on somebody's payroll. We thought he was on ours, but apparently not, so.

M: No.

7:29 am ET

Imus: We have another congressional dirt-bag, Joe Barton, from Texas. Here's Joe Barton [R-Texas] - he's the Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce - they pass this Combating Autism Act in the Senate by acclamation. [It] unanimously passes in the Senate. They've sent it on over to the House. They have over 200 co-sponsors in the House for this bill to provide $920 million of, essentially, relief for the tens of thousands of people in this country - parents who're suffering with these kids with autism and this creep says to all of these various - Oh, God, he's an awful son of a bitch - he says to all of these various autism groups, "Well, if you'll help support my NIH reform bill" - which has NO chance of passing ANYTHING! It'll die quicker in the Senate than your wiener, Senator [motions to actor portraying Ted Kennedy].

So, they all sign on and support it and he lied to them. He, then, refuses to take it out of his committee and let the House vote on it. It would have passed unanimously. So late the other night - Friday night, this skunk, this lying weasel - they ought to check his email, too, by the way - he calls a couple of these people and he says, "Well, I'm supporting 90% of it." Well, he's lying about that. It's a $920 million bill - he takes $635 million out of it. [He] doesn't want to support any sort of environmental research of any kind. We're not talking about thimerosal and vaccine stuff. We're not going down that road. This bill has nothing to do with that. This has to do with creating these centers for excellence for these autistic kids and providing all kinds of services for these people and so on. There's not a lot of insurance for these folks.

Charles McCord: This is a relief bill.

I: Exactly, but because he's on somebody's payroll - who knows - I thought he was on ours - so he refuses to take it out of the committee and let the House vote on it. It would have passed in a heartbeat. Well, where was Dennis Hastert and that idiot Boehner [`Bo-ner'] from Ohio, the Majority Leader? Why wouldn't they put some pressure on him, because they're too busy trying to cover their ass on a Mark Foley deal. And the Mark Foley deal - here you've got the guy that's the co-chair of the committee on exploited children. What's the official name of that?

M: House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children. Who wrote sexual predator laws.

I: This pedophile is sending sexually explicit emails to pages thinking, I guess, that if he deletes them that nobody can ever find them. Hello! So, they're trying to cover their ass on that, and they refuse - Dennis Hastert who's also a hunchback little dirt-bag and that other skunk. And I'm a registered Republican and I would
be happy if not one of those son of a bitches was re-elected. Not one of them! Particularly Joe Barton. Why is he an arrogant little prick? Because he's down there in a seat in Texas that's safe - you know how they worked that deal - he's a buddy of Rick Perry. He's an awful human being. Here's his number in Texas, if you want to call his office and I really recommend you do that. 817-543-1000. So just spend - every time you think about it, call this bastard's office there in Texas - he's not in Washington - call Texas and tell him what a no-good son of a bitch he is and ask him whose payroll he's on. Say, "I thought we were paying you."

He's another buddy of Frist and Frist, by the way, is one of the most disgraceful people on the planet and gutless. Frist was the guy, remember, when my wife went down there with Suzanne Wright and some other people, to lobby for the Combating Autism Act before the Senate voted on it, spent 15 minutes whining, nearly bringing himself to tears complaining about what I had said about him - not having enough guts to call me. So, what did we do? We got on the phone and called him and invited him on the program. Senator Frist is a coward and wouldn't appear on the program. Then we called Joe Barton and invited him. I thought this was a tough guy from Texas. He's not a tough guy from Texas. He's a sissy boy - down there wearing a little pair of panties with Rick Perry. And you're telling me you're in Texas and you're going to vote for Rick Perry? What are you people - crazy?! I mean this is insanity! Praise Jesus we don't have an autistic child, but I know a lot of people who do. You might wonder what my interest is - my interest in it is that it's an outrage! And this stuff goes on all the time. And the problem with politics is people like Joe Barton. Believe me, I'd look into his email. You can just look at him - he just looks a little shaky, doesn't he, Chuck?...

You can give Joe Barton a call there in Texas a call at 817-543-1000. I mean, that's just an outrage -- and lied to these people. I mean, don't lie to them -- just say - they go down there, Deirdre went down there to see him and Suzanne - a whole bunch of these autism people. Just say to them, "Look, I'm not going to support this" and just tell them flat out. Don't jerk their chain. Don't try to get them to support your bill - which they did - then lie to them. What a rancid, viciously little skunk. Jesus, a dishonest, no-good, son of a bitch. I hate for this to get this vile this
morning, particularly on this Yom Kippur when I should be off atoning for my sins, because I love you people. You know I do. I don't, do I?

7:35 am ET

Andrea Mitchell: . When you talk about what Deirdre and Suzanne Wright and Suzanne's daughter, Katie, did when they came down - and the other autism families - and you look at the numbers of what's been happening here, you are so right about this bill and the lack of - I mean, .3% of the NIH budget is spent on autism when you have an epidemic of cases? It's exploding.

I: Well, here's what Joe Barton's defense is - he said, "Well, my NIH reform bill is going to cover most of this." Which: 1) is absurd and 2) his bill is never going to pass the Senate - EVER! Is it?

Mitchell: Exactly right. There's also some poison pills in there. That's the way these guys work. You know, I'm not taking a position on this legislation, I'm just saying, "Tell people the truth when they come down to visit you." Don't string them
along, because you can't imagine the pain these families are experiencing.

I: Particularly these - you're right - particularly these people. I mean, I mean it's heartbreaking.

8:01 am ET

Imus: Here's Joe Barton's number. This is the creep in the house who wouldn't move this autism bill out of his stupid committee and let the House vote on it - which they would have passed unanimously. His number in Texas - his buddy Rick Perry, that
creep - Barton's number is 817-543-1000. Why don't you call him and see if - why don't you ask him who's paying him.

Bo Dietl: Why couldn't they just put it in committee? It's a very important thing. It's a no-nonsense thing.

I: The last people that - like Joe Barton and those kinds of people or Dennis Hastert or that dick-head from Ohio - the last people they want to help are kids. The last people they want to help are kids. Leave no child behind - they leave them all

Monday, October 02, 2006

For Your Reading Pleasure, a Bad Mommy Story

Today started relatively well. I slept in until 9, the boys got up and entertained themselves without destroying anything for an hour or so, the cat only meowed loudly enough to wake me 2 or 3 times...Good morning.

Hutton ate his lunch with plenty of time for us to go catch the bus, and Harrison said he wanted to walk to the bus stop with us, so as I was getting him dressed, I thought Hutton was ready to go. We walked out of the front door, and were starting up the street when Hutton announced he needed to use the bathroom.

"Are you sure? We don't really have enough time."

Hutton, now screaming and crying, "Use the potty!"

OK. Number one, we're not going to be able to get him back inside, have him use the potty, and get back to the bus stop before the bus arrives.

Number two, in his newsletter from Kindergarten last Friday, the teacher announced that they no longer refer to it as "using the potty". Now that they're big Kindergartners, they say, "using the bathroom."

So, I quickly tell Hutton to say, "Use the bathroom," as I'm dragging him through the driveway. He falls down on the gravel and his screaming increases, as I try to herd him and his brother into the house and towards the potty bathroom. As Hutton pees and cries, I notice his dirty, scraped up palm from falling in the driveway, and feel bad, but continue to be the Bitchy Mom that I am, and tell him angrily that next time he needs to use the potty bathroom BEFORE we leave the house to catch the bus. I hurry him through pulling up his pants and washing his hands, still bitching about the fact that we're going to be late, and run up the street, carrying Harrison and half-dragging Hutton behind me. Hutton is crying that he wants me to hold him, because his hand probably hurts, but that isn't part of the Bitchy Mom's plan.

The bus arrives as we're still 50 yards away. When we finally reach the bus and I strap Hutton into his carseat, he is still upset about falling down, and probably about being dragged into the house, dragged down the street, etc. The bus driver cheerily tells me we don't need to run next time. Plenty of time. I give her my best fake smile and hustle Harrison off the bus, so we can walk home with me all sweaty and frazzled and Harrison happily pointing out the cars and horses we pass.

Did I mention I have a very short fuse?


So, after Harrison and I have eaten lunch and I have returned to Stable Mom mode, I call to get myself an appointment for a haircut. Hubby watches Harrison, or rather, lets "Curious George" babysit him, and I drive off to enjoy an hour's peace, and try to return to a look that doesn't say, "Cousin It with purple hair". As I'm enjoying my peace in the hair salon, I notice a little bag in the hairstylist's drawer with the words, "For Your Pleasure" written on it. It's in a drawer with a bunch of shavers and curling irons, but for some reason, I don't associate hand-held appliances and the words "For Your Pleasure" with getting my hair cut.

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