August 2008


I found this website that has lots of information about hysterectomy.

Hysterectomy Support Discussions, Before Hysterectomy, After Hysterectomy, Recovery – HysterSisters

It’s the end of week four, actually. This was my first week back to school, and I came home after the first day and slept 3 hours. The next evening I was determined not to sleep, but I rested on the couch for an hour, doing nothing but zoning out, before I could get up the energy to start studying. Wednesday was about the same. Thursday I didn’t have to go in to school, which was nice; I stayed home and rested. Yesterday (Friday)  I was done by 2 PM and could go home and cool out until it was time to go to a friend’s 50th birthday party. We didn’t get home last night until about 10:30. Today I really felt it. I had to get up and drive Rob to work. Then I came home and went back to bed. I have been dragging all day.  I have a worship team rehearsal to go to later today, and then church stuff tomorrow. Fortunately Monday is a holiday; but my family wants to go hiking in the mountains. I don’t think I’m up for that. Maybe they can drop me at a little mountainside cafe and I’ll read on the patio….

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I still have not been sleeping very well. I can’t seem to get comfortable – I’m too hot, and I find myself wanting a pillow between my knees, which makes me hotter. I finally got a special knee pillow, which helps a little. I don’t know if I have what they call “restless leg syndrome.” I’ll need to research that some more. But what it feels like to me is that I am constantly searching for a cool spot on the sheets. I just read about a special pillow you can get with a cooling pad inside. That made me try to make my own. I got a cool pack from the freezer and wrapped it in a towel and put it in my pillowcase. That was too cold (even with 2 towels). But it did seem to help a little to make me cooler. So tonight I’m going to try a cool pack that is just refrigerated instead of frozen and see if that helps.

So, to sum up: I’m not in pain, but I still am a little bloated. I get tired easily. I have to rest more than I want to. And I’m having trouble sleeping. But I don’t leak anymore when I sneeze or cough – yay! That is a huge plus. I’m looking forward to being able to do aerobics again after my recovery.

So I’ll keep you posted.

Rob was about seven years old when he finally “got” pointing.  Before that, he seemed to miss the point….

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We had noticed a conspicuous lack of pointing when Rob was young. But it took a while for me to realize that he didn’t get it when we pointed at things for him to see. This first became really apparent when we would be in the car, playing spelling games.  We played a game where we looked for letters of the alphabet  on street signs. I spy an A. I spy a B.… By then, Rob knew all the letters. But when we would say, there’s an A, he would say I see it but he would be looking in a different direction than the rest of us.

The technical term for this is lack of joint attention or referencing. Joint attention is the ability to follow someone else’s  finger point or eye gaze, and look at an object, and be aware that the other person is looking at it also, and be aware of the shared experience. Part of pointing out objects is the joy of that shared experience, but appreciation of shared experiences requires the ability to imagine what the other person is seeing, thinking, and feeling.  This is of course a problem for persons lacking theory of mind skills.

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In Rob’s case, it was clear when he finally got it, because he suddenly started pointing and saying “Look!” When we would look where he was pointing, he would laugh and say, “made ya look!”  He obviously learned this from a younger child at school – but when he realized he could make people look, that seemed to spark an understanding that he lacked. Now we noticed that when we played car games, he looked where we looked, and pointed when he “saw” the letter. It is important to remember that autism is a developmental disorder, which means these abilities are delayed, but they eventually do develop. Although Rob is very smart, he seemed to be about four years behind in developing these sorts of skills, but there are exercises and games you can do to help your child develop these skills. For example, RDI therapy begins with exercises designed to encourage the development of joint attention and referencing, because joint attention is a primary foundation for other, more advanced social skills. I think Rob might have gotten it earlier if we had given him specific instruction about pointing earlier. But it didn’t occur to us – we didn’t have to teach Joy to point, or to follow our gaze; she came by it naturally. We practiced, of course, by playing games; but the point of the game was to recognize letters; it already depended upon joint attention skills learned in infancy. Once Rob “got it” his social skills improved, and so did his school work.

The Rosetta stone story reminds me of a cute story about Rob when he was 6 years old. Like most parents, we had taken to spelling certain words in front of him, so that he wouldn’t know what we were talking about (as in, “maybe we should go out for I-C-E-C-R-E-A-M after dinner?”).   We had done this once too often, and Rob said, in an exasperated voice, “You don’t have to spell in front of me. I have a B-R-A-N-E!” We realized at that point that we had underestimated him.

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As a funny side note, I had told this story for years without my husband noticing that BRAIN was mis-spelled. He finally realized that a few years ago, and said, “I never understood why that story was so funny until now”!

My daughter sent me this link from Kevin Kelley’s Lifestream blog – about a modern “Rosetta Stone” – a 3-inch nickel disk micro-engraved with one thousand of the world’s languages. The creators chose the first chapter of the Book of Genesis in the Bible as their comparison text.  This is a really fascinating project.  I want one – but the $25K price tag is a little steep, lol.  Not to mention the high-tech microscope required to read the disk. The assumption seems to be that future generations who might find this disk will be at least as technologically advanced as our own – an assumption that leaves out any doomsday scenrios. Maybe this also needs to be etched on a huge marble slab someplace, in script visible to the naked eye?

This article on MSNBC describes the extra services some colleges make available for students on the spectrum. That is good news – but notice the price tag. Isn’t college expensive enough without paying an extra $5K a semester?

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At the university where I teach, I see two issues related to this. We have a center that helps kids with learning disabilities and other issues (like AS). But it is as expensive as the programs described in the above article. So I see many students that could benefit from these services, who go without, because they can’t afford them. Invariably these students are not doing well in my classes (usually failing).

The other group I see are students that are enrolled in the program, but who don’t self-identify or ask for the accommodations they need. Every semester I have one or two who are on my list, but who don’t ask for accommodations.  I am not supposed to approach them about it if they don’t “self-identify” – so I contact their advisor (or sometimes the advisor contacts me).  I think there is a stigma about being in the program; I think students fear that I will be prejudiced against them if they ask for accommodations. I try to slip into my comments early every semester that I have a child with disabilities, so I’m very sympathetic with the situation. That seems to encourage some students to approach me who might not otherwise do so.

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The community college where Rob is attending does not have a program like this. But the advisors are pretty knowledgable, so I hope that will suffice. Today classes start, so here we go….

Is Jane Eyre best understood as the fictional autobiography of a person on the autistic spectrum?  That is the thesis of this article in the latest issue of Nineteenth Century Gender Studies.

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This is an intriguing theory; but it seems to me that many of Jane’s idiosyncrasies  could also be explained by attachment/bonding theory.  Since she came to the Reeds as an infant, and Mrs. Reed took an immediate dislike to her as an infant, it is possible that Jane could have grown up unable to attach to anyone intimately.  This seems (to me) to be more in line with Brontë’s intentions: the Reeds are portrayed very unsympathetically (albeit through Jane’s eyes).  So is Mr. Brocklehurst. It seems to me that Jane Eyre is the story of a remarkable woman struggling to make a place for herself in an environment hostile to poor orphans, especially female. But maybe that is because I have always understood Jane Eyre to be social critique.  At any rate, it is an intriguing theory: one I’ll have to give more thought to.

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