Saturday, January 08, 2011

Severe Autism Parenting: Tetanus Shot One, Two

Conor is a tremendous joy in my life.  When I say he is a joy I mean HE is  a joy not his Autistic Disorder.

My blog sidebar, and many of my blog comments feature the tremendous joy and pleasure we find in Conor. But his Autistic Disorder is exactly that. It is a severe disorder which restricts and limits his life and, sometimes, poses serious challenges for his mother and me as his parents.  Last night between 2 and 4:30 am was one of those times.

Conor has been a bit out of sorts with the long school Christmas vacation. (Here in New Brunswick the students don't return until next Tuesday with the teachers taking a professional development day next Monday  at the end of the vacation which they often do at the end of vacation periods).  Last night around 2 am Conor woke up agitated and turning on televisions, computers and running around the house.  He got worked up at one point and began hitting himself in the face and head and biting his hands.  I tried to talk him down but he was too wound up last night.  At a solid 6 feet Conor is strong and too much for Mom during some difficult times even though they are few and far between. Last night when I tried to grab his arms to keep him from hitting himself he lunged forward ... quickly ... and put a serious bite in my arm.  You can see the result in the picture above, taken this afternoon.

Today I attended at outpatients at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton and received a tetanus shot and an anti-biotic prescription for infection.  That last tetanus shot I received was 10 years ago after an incident coming out of a local grocery store when Conor bit the back of my hand causing blood to shoot up like an oil well causing a woman nearby to look very faint.

Conor does not mean to cause harm. He is a great joy. He is our buddy forever and he is worth every challenge we face from his Autistic Disorder and then some but there are times when it is tough, very tough, to be the parent of a severely autistic child.

Last night was one of those times.  


Anonymous said...

How is Conor doing today? And How is your arm?


Autism Reality NB said...

Funny enough Conor has had a good day. My arm is fine, sore but nothing serious. I felt it last night though.

Emma said...

I am so sorry to hear that. My son is also severely autistic. He is only 5 right now but there are times that, even at 5, he is difficult for me to manage physically. He is very tall for his age and he will likely be well over 6 foot when he is a teenager. I lov ehim madly but I get anxious when I think about sealing with those times of aggitation when he is older. My thoughts are with you.

KWombles said...

The bruise looks awful. I hope it heals quickly. I'm glad Conor's had a good day, but I'm sorry he and you had such a difficult night. Best wishes.

Anonymous said...


I have never written but read your posts always and can feel your joy and your pain. I just wanted you Connor's mom to know my thoughts are with you!!!

Deborah Campbell

the mon of Johnahtan who is 13 aqnd already stonger, taller and sometimes aggressive but mostly just very lovely and loving:)

Bullet said...

I hope Connor's feeling better today and I hope you are as well.
Tom finds the first couple of weeks of a new term difficult rather than the end of the holidays and this manifests itself with him with increased echolalia, increased repetitive behaviours, increased hyperactivity and an increase in his obsessions, along with him focusing only on those things he feels most comfortable with.

Apples and Autobots said...

Hi! I just found you through the Autism Blogs Directory. My son is 8, and a little on the small side, but he seems to triple in strength during a meltdown. He has left lots of bruises and bleeding bite marks, but what hurts the most is when he calms down and realizes what he's done. You see, my son is on the milder end of the spectrum. When he sees the bruises and bite marks he's left on me, he cries his broken heart out. I don't know much about Conner, but I wanted you to know that my boy is saddened by the pain he inflicts, and I'll bet Conner is too--even if he can't say it.

K Fuller said...

So sorry. I am having a prayer for all of you.

Claire said...

Sorry to hear this, Harold. The teen years can bring about so many strange episodes of agitation. Best wishes to both of you.

Autism Mom Rising said...

I'm so sorry to hear that Harold. I can relate to these things. Strange thing. When Alex was put on steroids by a Neurologist, at high doses all Autistic stereopathy completely goes flapping, running back and forth, sound making, no aggression, no up in the middle of the covering his ears - at all. It was the strangest temporary recovery I've ever seen. This leads me to wonder if massive brain imflammation is at the root for some of these kids.

Has Connor ever had an EEG?

Brain inflammation can trigger abnormal electrical activity, which will show up on an EEG.

Here is what Boston Children's Hospital has to say on the matter:

dickster1961 said...

I can relate to your situation. My son is 16 and autistic and most of the time he is an absolute joy to have around. Other times it is a struggle. He is much bigger than his mother and she can't handle him by herself when he is upset. He is a little better with me, but there are times when even I can't handle him. Best wishes to your family

Barbara said...

I think I've come across your blog before, I agree with you on a couple debates that you have brought up. I can't remember if I ever posted, but I have two on the autism spectrum myself, both on the severe end. My daughter is going to be 23, in diapers and can be on the extreme side of the self injury aspect, not as much on the aggressive side. My sons name is Connor too! Although he will be 9, and is my aggressive MMA fighter in disquise ;). Both are nonverbal, except Connor will repeat some phrases, and can answer simple yes/no questions.

The bites are the worse! The first bite I ever got, was almost 21 years ago, she was flapping around in the sink as I was attempting for the 6th time that day to actually get her to sit still to bathe her, and sprinkled some water over her head, next thing I knew, felt like a piranha got me. She held on like some sort of pitbull, locked her jaw, and blood squirted everywhere as her eyes were dead on locked to the blood flowing in the sink like it was mesmorizing her. I needed 3 stitches, and after that maybe 2 other times I can recall her latching on to me, Connor on the other hand, became the worst. Between me and my husband, bites are something we try desperately to stop, we always keep peroxide near just in case, human bites are the worst when it comes to infections! He will wake up one day in the mist of a rage and bite anything or anybody, then start swinging like its a boxing match. We try as best as possible to redirect, and lots of reinforcement helps the best. Our pediatrician said our Connor will be one day taller then 6 foot, we are dreading that day. He is already very tall for his age, can't imagine in a couple years when puberty hits, ah!

My thoughts are with you and your family. My daughter has had a couple rages, and it is like a bull coming at you, you have no idea what will happen, how they will react, who will get hurt, when it will end, just have to be prepared for anything. My best advice to give to any parent is somehow redirect into a sensory activity that might calm their nerves. My daughter loves pressure, sometimes we can grab her in the middle of it all, and wrap her tightly in a blanket, with calming music, and lots of soft tones, she can calm her nerves better. With my son, one thing can work one day, next day can be a completely different situation. Don't give up trying new ideas, new ways, new activities! Hope your better now!

Anonymous said...

Autism Mom Rising,

Thanks for your post on steriod use. I am a nurse and steriod use is typically a rapid relief of symptoms, in many inflammatory situations.
Caution...caution...long-term steriod use leads to weight gain, osteoporosis, and dependent immune systems. Which all have another realm of problems.
Granted some conditions require long-term low dose steriod use. Ideally steriod use is meant to be short-term, with a 'weaning off' dosing over a period of time.

I plead caution, as I would not want 'steriod use' to be seen as the next wagon parents jump onto.


Mark said...

That bite mark looks very familiar. My autistic son, Cameron, who is now 21, has resorted to biting us at his worst moments. Both my wife and I have scars. Make sure to put frozen peas or corn on the bite as soon as possible to keep the swelling down (if there's a next time)!

It's great that you're blogging about severe autism. There's far more attention to the milder varieties, and so many parents (and definitely the media) get a biased sense of what it's like. Kudos to you.

I've written a book about our life with Cam. If you feel like it, please see my website at, and post a comment on "Share Your Story."

Mark O

Anonymous said...

Isn't this side affect of autistic disorder so beautiful?

I'm sure you won't find this little slice of life on the Autism Hub or if you do, it'll be blamed on something else.

Autism Mom Rising said...

At Anonymous: my son's "steroid use", as you put it, was prescribed by his Neurologist for a seizure disorder that robs him of basic functioning and makes it impossible for him to function is society. Could. Not. Function. In. Society. At all. Did you think I am unaware of the risks? Do you think I made this decision in the dark? It was a choice between the lesser of two evils. Nobody wants to make those choices.

"I plead caution, as I would not want 'steriod use' to be seen as the next wagon parents jump onto."

--What does that even mean?...This was prescribed by a Neurologist, not obtained through some back alley drug dealer. If you had any clue the abject hell my son's life was you'd think twice about such judgments.

I'm sorry Harold. I've been putting up with these kind of judgements from people and they are unwarranted and annoying.

Florida DUI Penalties said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences with children who has autism disorder. Actually I'm a kindergarten teacher, and through this blog I remembered one of my student 5 years ago. He is suffering this, disorder. Sometimes my patient is not enough to understand him but I keep so. When I begin to ask him not to do that, he will just sit and will keep quiet but just for a while after 15 minutes he will run again, going around the classroom. But we are thankful we have him because sometimes he is the life of our group. We learn to love him and we are like a family in our school.

Anonymous said...

Yes what a beautiful side effect of autism. Oh that lovely "natural variation." I can just imagine some of the nuts over on the hub either not being this honest (thank you Harold for being so honest) or saying something like, Oh, my son fell into my arm and his teeth accidentally hit my arm. The stories get crazier from those parents on a daily basis.