Monday, June 16, 2014

Holiday Road

Father's Day was yesterday.

Was in the midst of writing a post all about Bennett and his aggressive episodes. A take I haven't gone over before, and one that I need to get out, but tabled it. Some things to process about it. I am really lost in some aspects of treatment plans for him. And some of it? I don't know how some people do it.

As for the Father's Day holiday, we didn't do a lot here, and that statement is not one of disappointment. Need to point that out. I have very low expectations of Father's Day and that is by design and personal choice. Gone over that before too. But I can't find the post or I would link to it.

As for the day itself...Carter, my older son, who is nearly ten, drew me a cool personalized card with a cake on it and gave me a hat. Bennett was prompted to say 'Happy Father's Day!' from Jen, my wife, and it came out like 'Habby FahRah's Stay!' Not too bad for a first try. I'll take it.

They went for a long bike-ride at a park (Bennett in a pull-along, which he slept in for half the ride). 9 miles or something. I didn't go with, not just because I have procrastinated on getting my bike tuned up (sorry Mom) but also because of this really difficult issue I am having with my back door.

I do not mean to my house. You may hate the TMI stuff, but I have a bleeder down there giving me a bit of a hassle. I've blogged about it before, and yes, it was a long time ago, and yes the issue has never been resolved. I'm nothing if not consistent.

At least I am sparing everyone the colonoscopy post I had planned. I had one of those about three weeks ago or so. Maybe I should write that post. NOBODY tells you what really happens, especially on the preparation day, and perhaps it is my duty (hee hee...DOODIE...) to all the people out there nearing 50 to tell them exactly what they are in for.

Bottom line (tee hee...BOTTOM) is that there is nothing down there that I need to be overly concerned about. Other than the massive unattractive shape, unsightly hair and general size. But I do have an internal roid that while not overly ginormous is in an awkward spot and it gets a lot of damage. The best analogy is that it is a like having a boxing speed bag hanging awkwardly in the frame of a turnstile door of a hotel. It just keeps getting hit over and over and over. Surgery is not an option, but we might need to band it off. That might be an option.

Lovely image? Sorry. This is Life. This is Stress. I didn't have this problem before Bennett started having all these major things go down. Bennett's issues started in 2009. My health issues started happening full force in 2010.

Speaking of own and my stress levels prompted me to take a fresh look at an old documentary. Not sure if I ever mentioned it, and if I did I apologize for the repetition, but I do that quite a bit. This blog is sort of the same story told differently over and over, ever notice that? No wonder this thing never takes off.

But the documentary is worth mentioning again, since Stress is such a key component of our daily lives. By 'our' I mean the collective world of Special Needs Parents. The butts I am talking about are the large, bulbous and colorful hind quarters of the baboon, and one particular group of baboons that Dr. Robert Sapolsky studied in his documentary Stress: Portrait of a Killer.

It is a fascinating documentary. I love it. And I think Dr. Sapolsky is a fucking genius. Not to mention he just looks like a great dude to chill and smoke some weed with, doesn't he?

In the documentary, and you can watch the entire thing for free on YouTube, which is evil, but you can, somewhere around the 38 minute mark it introduces you to a group of Special Needs Mom's (since Dad's like SD, both Erics, Ken L. (the other one) and many others never, ever, play a role in caring for Special Needs kids and it is usually the Moms who get the spotlight) and starts to discuss telomeres, which is a region of repetitive nucleotide sequences at each end of a whuzzat? It's some brain thingie we have in our heads that is directly related to stress regulation.

And here's the kicker. They start to wear down with repeated use.

Because they aren't supposed to be hit like this over and over and over and over. The jist of the documentary is essentially that stress was supposed to happen quickly for mammals. That's you, me, the baboons, we are all mammals, yeah? We are all designed biologically to experience stress fast, and like the good doctor says early in the film, stress was supposed to be over very fast, or you were.

But in today's world, we are bombarded with it over and over and over and over. And Special Needs Mom's...ahem PARENTS...according to the documentary and a study that was conducted by looking at the wear and tear of their telomeres and the relative time spent caring for a child with a disability came up with this rough equation.

For every one year the average parent ages, because of the stress we are living with day to day, we age around six years physically when it comes to wear and tear on our physical and mental health. That's an amazing stat, as it puts some people I know at an age nearing or exceeding triple digits.

But this isn't Star Trek. I have seen pictures of these people. They don't LOOK like they are that old, and they haven't dropped dead from any sudden stroke or heart attack. And while my own health is not great, I've been at this 5 years minimum. So that puts me around 76 years old. I may FEEL that old sometimes, and my physical health is certainly something that I have to watch like a hawk watching a hamster with a broken leg, but I also ain't dead...yet. 

Which tells me of the telomeres has had to take place somehow, just like the film suggests. But how? Humor, community, those are two things that the film suggest help to do it, and I have had heaping helpings of the first, some small servings of the second. But I want to know more about this enzyme the film talks about. Is it something that only the body can produce? If so, HOW does the body produce it exactly? If not, can it be produced artificially?

Time to hit yet another road of research. These roads get long, especially on holidays when I am sitting here by myself. The fact is, that documentary was produced in 2008 or so. Articles written that I was finding in 2013 and even this year don't back-up or refute the claims on telomeres 100%. Or at least, over the past five to six years nothing has substantially been done to quell the debate which is this, summed up in one of the articles "Either you're healthy, so you have longer telomeres, or you have longer telomeres and that's why you're healthy."

OK, so FUCK YOU telomeres.

Another research road that turns into a dead end. I'm sick of those. The funny thing is that it does support one basic principle though that doesn't seem to EVER change. Short telomeres, long telomeres or NO freakin' telomeres, if you exercise, eat a healthy diet and do some meditation or Yoda or something that keeps your stress levels from raging out of control, maybe laugh every once in a while, it stands to reason that it would make ANYBODY'S shit sandwich a bit more palatable, right?



  1. The only thing I can think of to say here is that I should be dead. Which is a scary thought, because I'm surprisingly healthy. Shhhhhhhhhhhh.

  2. Right now I am researching adrenal fatigue/adrenal burnout. Pretty sure that is what happened to my SO last week when he collapsed and ended up in the hospital. They ran millions of tests and "nothing's wrong." Yet he feels exactly the same (minus the passing out) a week later. He is under lots of stress and still wants to take on my four kiddos (one with Down syndrome and autism and one with Down syndrome and a g-tube, plus two typical kids) and I. Maybe I should warn him about the special needs parenting stress...

    1. Sounds like a keeper regardless. Make sure he doesn't read this blog! ;)

  3. Thank you for this. Your whole post helped me more then I can explain in words.

    1. since words are to limited, your right I should work with other mediums. I'm thinking a mime using mash potatoes and monkey poop should be expressive enough.
      By the way you get extra blogger points for your visual aide of the revolving door/punching bag and tying it in with baboon butts. Brilliant.

    2. Thanks, I try, and when people appreciate the extra mile I put in on creativity attempts, I am super grateful. Mucho Obligato.

  4. Very thoughtful analogy there with the roid situation. Love the visual aid picture. Just like you to just get it all out there. The word-smithing and narrative just provided me such a great stress reliever due to its entertainment value - thank you.

    Good f'ing luck with the bike rides! :)


    1. I'm all too happy to help. I'm currently looking at gel seats and stuff like that. And the alternative is not to just sit at all. EVER. I have a whole post about that in mind. We sit too much anyway...


You Are a Beautiful Blank Page...Do You Have a Great Pencil?

Christmas is over. That sound you hear is my sigh of relief. The tree is not actually down, as the opening image suggests. That was a t...