Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Report from Petunia

Petunia is my friend who is keeping her brother Bob, who has Asperger's, for a week.

Well, the stories are not going to be as odd as I expected, because Bob is doing surprisingly well!

Bob has adhered to the rules well. He stays up late and sleeps until noon, so no need to stay home from work to monitor him. He's only up a few hours when I get home. I had to put a few notes around to remind him of things: no dogs on the sofa, etc. He LOVES animals and has expressed a preference to sleep on the living room floor with our dogs rather in the guest room, but so far has not done it. Surprisingly.

More photos from Janet and Marty.

I cleared out the pantry (no cake frosting but we did have marshmallows in case I need to make fondant), brownie mix (playdate activities), and some other items I was unsure about. Bob has high blood pressure and I noticed that he used salt to excess on his food, and when I cautioned him his response was always, "oh yeah, I forgot", so I put that away, too, and replaced it with Mrs. Dash.

Bob also has OCD, so it's hard for me to know what is due to the Aspergers and what is attributed to the OCD. My husband Joe understands what drives each behavior better than me. I believe Bob's need to always have background noise is the OCD. To not allow any food to be thrown away is the OCD. * Running out of the room when a certain sound is heard is the OCD, I think.

Bob is easily distracted. This week in my home, he has prepared a bowl of food, heated it in the microwave, sat down to eat, gotten distracted, heated the food again 20 minutes later, and repeated these actions multiple times over a two to three hour period. At home with our parents he takes food to his bedroom and repeats these actions over a six hour period. I have told him no food in the bedroom in my house, so this is a vast improvement. Last night I told him the kitchen closes at 9:00pm since I had to clean it before going to bed. He prepared food at 7:30, and when I went back downstairs at 9:00, he had finished eating and rinsed and put away his dishes in the dishwasher - whoa.

He spends hours in the bathroom. HOURS. After 40 minutes in the shower I knocked on the door, and he assured me he was fine. After the shower, when I told him that we usually take 10 to 15 minute showers, he accused us of living under extreme self-deprivation in a lifestyle of puritanical asceticism. (It was a much longer response but that's all I remember.) I told him no - we usually just have to get to work on time, and also there's the water bill.

I found a support group for adults with Aspergers here in town and we went on Saturday afternoon. Bob tends to monopolize conversation, not recognizing when it is time to allow another person to talk. So it was amusing to see how others in the group exaggerated their behavioral cues to get it across. Sitting in a room of twelve adults with Aspergers kinda reminded me of the Mensa Christmas party that Joe and I went to one year.

We went to a few places this weekend where there were loads of characters and I did my best not to intervene and just allow Bob to talk and talk and talk. Flea markets, junk shops. He was going on and on and on talking to one woman telling her about his collections, and she said, "oh, you must have some good money", and his immediate response was, "Oh no ma'am. I only made $1,100 last year and I still live with my parents. The most I've ever made in one year is $3,000." Then he launched into a very long explanation of his "mental illness" as he called it. Just no self-editing. None. Bless his heart, as we say. The folks with whom he was talking were so nice - just delightful - we stayed and talked another hour! Maybe he needs to get out of that small town more often.

Lily got out of the mental hospital today and wants to get Bob tomorrow. I decided that since she also stays up all night and sleeps all morning and has no job to go to therefore Bob would not have to be alone all day, this might be more enjoyable for Bob. I told him that it is totally up to him. He has opted for going, so he might leave here tomorrow. IF Lily will follow through on her commitment to pick him up tomorrow. We will see.

* I have to say that I think it is just normal not to want to see food wasted. CF

1 comment:

Jan said...

There are degrees of everything, and this makes me SO glad that The Young One's Asperger's is not as severe.