Friday 25 August 2017

Hand Dryers (aka ear torture devices)

Have you ever noticed how loud public washrooms are? I remember when the super strength blower hand dryers first started popping up in public washrooms. They were so cool! The air was so strong it would move your skin! Your hands actually dried, unlike the older, slower, colder models.

Great right?

Well, I used to think so. Now? Not so much.

I have come to realize that these dryers are like weapons of torture for many. Little C hates public washrooms because of all the loud noises. When he was a baby, he would cry anytime that I would take him into a public washroom to use the change station. I always thought it was because washrooms are often very echoey and cold. Now I know that it was an early sign of his over-sensitivity to some sounds. One of the struggles many people with ASD have is sensory sensitivity. Something I hear as an annoying sound can be painfully loud to him. I find those hand dryers really loud, so I can't imagine what it sounds like and feels like for him.

I've gotten pretty good at avoiding the crazy hand dryers - holding hands over his ears, quickly washing hands and drying with paper and leaving, etc. Unfortunately, that's not the only ear torture. The auto-flush toilets are also horrible for anyone with sensory sensitivity. First, they are also really loud. Even worse, they auto-flush... whether you are ready for it to flush or not. Paired with how loud it is and a child's noise sensitivity, it's terrifying!

I can certainly appreciate the fact that businesses are trying to avoid using paper towel and probably trying to keep their washrooms clean by making sure there isn't paper on the floor and the toilets actually get flushed, but come on! Couldn't we think of little ears - whether they are sensitive to sounds or not, it must be a big harsh for many.

It has made toilet training a bit tricky. At home? No problem! When visiting friends and family? Piece of cake! Public washrooms? Challenging. Usually, I can avoid public washrooms with shorter trips or knowing where single stall washrooms are, so I can control the noise levels.  There have been a few instances when they couldn't be avoided and I would have to hold my hands over his ears during our "visit." Usually it ends up with him upset and me teary eyed, feeling horrible that I had to make him endure auditory torture.

I would love to know: how do your kids find those super strength hand dryers and super sucker toilets? If they are bothered, what tricks do you have to avoid them, or make it less traumatic for your child (and you!)?
When the air is strong enough to move
your skin maybe it's too strong!

Thursday 17 August 2017

Poor Mya

Almost two weeks ago, we had to say goodbye to our sweet, crazy puppy dog, Mya. It was a tough decision that my heart seems to be struggling with each day that passes, but my brain knows was the right one. She had been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease a month ago and was not responding to the treatment plan.

SLO (Symmetric Lupoid Onychodystrophy) affects dogs' nails. It is painful and causes their nails to to split, peel and fall off. We had brought her to the vet because she had cut one of her nails and we had noticed that she was licking her feet a lot. They decided to remove the affected nail, and had to put her under anesthesia. When they started to work on her, they realized that all of her nails were in the same or worse shape. They were splitting and were actually falling off in their hands. When I called to check in on her in the afternoon, I could tell the vet was worried. When a vet tells you she is researching to figure out how to treat your pet, you know that this was a big deal.  When my husband picked Mya up that night, the vet showed him a jar of her nails that had fallen off in her hands. I'm glad that I hadn't gone to pick her up, because I could tell that it was tough for my husband to see that. Mya also had a bad reaction to the anesthesia and had become snarly and aggressive, which is a side we have never seen in her. We knew that this was going to be a tough road for poor Mya.

We introduced a comprehensive treatment plan with the hope that we could remove some
components over time. She would need to take many pills each day - 6 antibiotics, omegas, vitamins, and probiotics.

Little C thought her new shoes were pretty cool, but kept saying, "Poor My-ee. My-ee is very sick."

He was right. Poor Mya was in rough shape. She never really grew out of her puppyness, so she was still very excitable. The problem was that every time she got excited and ran around, her nails would start to bleed. Every time she'd play outside, her nails would start to bleed. Walks became dangerous.

We were still optimistic, but were starting to wonder what type of life poor Mya would have. When she hurt her nail two weeks ago, we had to take her to the vet and have a tough discussion. SLO is pretty rare. Many dogs respond well to treatment. Some only need an Omega supplement and they're okay. Mya didn't seem to be that way. I didn't think that she was improving, but I it was still an unexpected to have to face the decision to let her go. With her quality of life was poor and it seemed like her level of pain was high. So, on August 5th, with her head in my hands, we said our final goodbye.

Mya was 7 years old.

She joined our family as a pup the year after my husband and I were married, two years after we purchased our house. I still go to the door to let her in, or look for her to come upstairs when I'm going to bed. I still try not to trip over her bowls in the kitchen and look for landmines in the backyard.

Mya made a huge impact on our lives and I miss her. Every few days, Little C asks, "Go pick up My-ee?" to which I have to say, "No buddy, remember, Mya got really sick and she's not coming home." He usually says something like, "Oh yeah, Poor My-ee was sick."  It's hard to explain to a 3 year old. Sadly, he has had quite a bit of loss in his short life, and seems to have a bit of an understanding of loss, even if death is.  I'm sure we'll have to keep working through it.

It's amazing how pets become such an intricate part of your lives. How lucky we are to have had her in our family.

Blueberry Pie and A Beautiful Drive!

Yesterday, I went for a drive all by myself. I feel like this shouldn't be news, but usually I have C in tow, and although he makes road...