Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Monitoring Log

I’m not sure if it’s the teacher or the list maker in me, but I’m constantly making mental notes about changes in Alex and the progress he makes. Often, at the end of the day after Alex has gone to bed, Ed and I will compare notes about what we’ve observed in Alex’s behavior, and we nearly always come to the same conclusions in our interpretations. The past few days we’ve noticed that he has reverted to some old standbys and come up with some new material for us to monitor.

For months, he’s been telling us that he never wants to use his typewriter again, even though he hasn’t used it for several years. The typewriter is a frequent topic of his meltdown ramblings as he repeats over and over that he used the typewriter in 2002 and 2003, but he retired it because it was boring, so he doesn’t want to use it ever again. As he rants about this during his anxiety attacks, we calmly reassure him that he never has to type again. Over the weekend, I heard a vaguely familiar clicking and clacking coming from the basement. As I came down the stairs, Ed was sitting in the basement family room and pointed to our spare room, where Alex was typing away happily! For someone who never wanted to use the typewriter again, he seemed to be enjoying himself. Maybe facing his demons will help him get over the obsession he’s been driving us crazy with for the past several months. Another old pastime reappeared this weekend, as well. I found a stack of catalogs and magazines strewn across the couch where Alex usually sits, and Ed told me that Alex had been enjoying reading and looking at the various periodicals that had arrived in the mail over the past week. While Alex used to like reading magazines and looking at catalogs, he hasn’t shown much interest in them for quite a while. Similarly, he also started writing lists in his notebooks again, something he hasn’t done in months. After deciphering his barely legible handwriting, we discerned that he’s been recording oil prices over the years, an interest he had a couple of years ago. We always find it intriguing whenever he reverts to earlier interests that we thought he had abandoned. So long as he finds these new/old activities enjoyable, we’re pleased to see him entertaining himself.

Just to keep us on our toes, however, he came up with some new things this week, as well. The other evening during one of his verbal tirades, he began talking about not liking “dee-does.” We have no clue whatsoever as to what he means by “dee-does,” but apparently, they really make him mad. In trying to discover what they were and why he didn’t like them, I asked him some questions. All he would volunteer about them was that we had them at the old house. Since we moved from there more than nine years ago, I have no memory of “dee-does,” but Alex remembers them unfondly enough for all of us. While I’d like to get to the bottom of that mystery, I’d rather that he just forget them since they seem to upset him so much. Another new trend this week was that yesterday when Alex woke up, he informed Ed that he was sick. This occurrence was odd for two reasons. First, Alex is blessed with good health and rarely sick. Moreover, he rarely voices any physical complaints; he usually only complains about stupid obsessions, like typewriters. After Ed ran through the gamut of typical symptoms (headache, sore throat, tummy ache, etc.), none of which Alex seemed to have, he insisted that he had a fever of 130 degrees. From reading all of his medical books, I’m sure that Alex knows that a body temperature of 130 degrees is impossible, but I guess he thought that sounded dramatic. In fact, he had no fever at all, and once he was reassured that he was fine, he happily bounced down the stairs. We’re hoping hypochondria isn’t something Alex plans to add to his gamut of behaviors. Of course, as Ed reassured me the other day, the good thing about Alex and his phases is that they only last a little while. On the other hand, as I reminded Ed, every phase always seems to be replaced by another equally perplexing one. At least life around here is never dull.

“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. “ James 4:14


K. C. said...

I'm so curious to know what the dee-does are! If you ever figure it out, please share. :)

Pam Byrne said...

When we solve the mystery of the "dee-does," I'll happily share their identity! He won't tell us what they are when he's mad, and we're afraid to ask him what they are when he's not mad, for fear of making him mad. Ed thinks it has something to do with oil prices,but I think it sounds like nonsense song lyrics. ;)