Saturday, April 30, 2011

It’s dark out there

It is early and that's no surprise. I was in bed for about five and a half hours before I gave up and decided to make a pot of coffee. Now I've had a cup and browsed the internet as I usually do about this time. My feed reader told me that there was something new to read on a friends blog; Mature Landscaping. Nance has a great way with words. And her posts prove it. If you read carefully you might notice a small reference to pain. Her pain. From what I can tell, she is at odds with severe pain on a regular basis and still appears to be a winner. She handles pain with much grace. Enviable grace.

Speaking of pain as I was... in about a month, I will be talking to the surgeon who will do the Spinal Cord Stimulator implant. Surgery will follow within a week or two? A month or two? Whatever! Then, with any luck at all, I will be able to wirelessly dial up the necessary pain relief any time I wish. Electronic wizardry sending messages from the embedded controller and up my spine; these fool the brain by scrambling the pain message. What a wonderful time to be alive!

Of course I don't get off the hook of pain completely. I now count 'Trigger Finger' as something new to plague me. Luckily it is my left hand ring finger and so, being right handed, I'm not incapacitated by it. I was able to get my wedding ring off before the swelling became too bad and now the ring sits here in front of me, looking a little lonely, waiting to go back on someday.

On a different subject; I've been researching Asperger's Syndrome during the past half a dozen years. I had always thought that I had ADD/ADHD. (I'm seventy years old. It doesn't make a lot of difference now.) But as I read about that I began to see references to Asperger's and so I explored some more. I took the usual on-line tests and each time I did I came up with scores that indicated that Asperger's was definitely a part of me. And this (self) diagnosis explained so much about my childhood! And my adult life as well. Such as the fact that I have a problem looking anyone in the eye. I remember all of the meetings I had to attend and the silent commands to myself, "look him in the have to or he won't believe you!" It was one of those 'John Wayne' simply couldn't trust a 'cowboy' that wouldn't look you in the eye. I failed so many times. I can't do it for more than a second or two, so I've learned to look at eyebrows instead! And then there is my boring recitation of facts that only I would enjoy. I often see my unwilling audience's eyes glazing over as I interject with yet another useless fact from my never empty treasury of facts. I used to read the dictionary for fun; Aardvark to Zymurgy. And then I would read it again. And again.

There are plenty of other signs of Asperger's, enough so that during the time with my Tuesday morning painting group, I mentioned the fact that I was fairly certain that I had Asperger's. One of my friends there, nodded her head  and said, quite firmly, "I knew it! I knew it!" She works with developmentally challenged kids at the local high school and knows quite a bit about Asperger's. (I'm developmentally challenged in ways you would not notice at first glance.) Asperger's, or Aspie's, as some call themselves, usually have higher than normal intelligence. I have an IQ of 138 or 143, depending on who you want to believe. Those numbers did not make me a rocket scientist; I was a carpenter! Having a higher IQ and having Asperger's makes for a very uncomfortable life at times. I can't always make use of the intelligence in ways that society understands. And when I was younger I was constantly being flogged with those numbers by counselors who thought I needed more motivation.

Being a carpenter was really a blessing as I could usually work by myself if I needed to. Plus, I could work out construction problems in my head while I was alone and come up with better methods for building. That 'talent' soon promoted me to foreman and superintendent. I was still an apprentice when they made me foreman as well. (That didn't win me a lot friends) But, being deeply introverted, I had to come up with a different way of leadership as I simply couldn't yell and threaten to fire anyone. I did find a way and it worked for me for many years. I would give them the 'look'…without actually looking at them, of course. I would exude disapproval without ever saying a word. Devastating!

As I said earlier, I'm over seventy years of age and whether or not I have ADD or Asperger's…or a bit of both, makes no difference now. Except for the fact that I'm now aware of some of my more irritating 'habit's' and will try to moderate them for the sake of friendships. Just don't ask me to look them in the eye


  1. I have learned more about Asperger's since I have been reading blogs than I ever knew; and now can recognize it in some of the local people in our rural community and it explains so much. It helps to understand someone else's needs in communicating with them, and hopefully the increased knowledge in education will make it better for teachers to help those students succeed. We aren't all the same and we don't have to fit one cookie cutter.

  2. When I first read about it I was cautious as I didn't want to have the 'Affliction du Jour'. And as a former health pro, I know it's easy to fit your symptoms to just about anything you want. I'm fairly confident that I haven't done that in this case.

    I wish I felt more confident that teachers might make a difference but since you only get what you pay for, I see quality as one of the first standards to fall... why would anyone want to be a teacher?

  3. Thank you so much for the shout out!

    You know, I think blogging was invented by an introvert just like you and me. We could do a blogger-based bit of research: all who score Introverted on the Myers-Briggs, raise your hands.

    I'm so excited for you about the implant. Looking forward to reports of beloved activities resumed and quality of life restored.

    As for Aspergers, stick around for 2013, when the new DSM is published. Rumor has it that Aspergers disappears as a discreet diagnosis. Voila! It suddenly matters even less. It certainly never mattered to us, your fans.

  4. Several years ago I read an article about Asperger's and when it described people who were intelligent (I'm a member of Mensa), yet socially inept and physically uncoordinated, I immediately thought "So that explains why I never fit in!" My high school teachers saw a great future for me but I spent my career as a letter carrier. It was a perfect job for an Aspy. I spent about an hour in the post office each morning then for the rest of the day I was by myself with a minimum of interaction with other people. Although I never excelled in a career I've always been somewhat of a poet, artist, and musician. I don't know how many people I bored to death over the years by my long drawn out lectures on a variety of subjects. As I get older I'm learning to look people in the eye at least for a few seconds and to hold back with the verbose explanations. At least I am entertaining to the grand kids. Since I've been following your blog I've seen so many parellels between your life and mine; intellectually, politically, spiritually, and even geographically. It's uncanny.

  5. It IS uncanny. I've said many times that it's a shame that the two of us don't live just a little bit closer. I knew there some kind of connection the first time I read your blog...which I continue to do of course.

    Could it have been the salt air of the South Bay that caused it? Your story is so much like mine.

    Laughing...I had forgotten to include the comments on my physical abilities! (Please don't pick me, coach!)

    Have you read Look me in the Eye by John Elder Robinson?

    Take care...

  6. I'll order that book from Amazon. Another good one is "Freaks, Geeks, and Asperger's Syndrome". It's also encouraging to note as Nance said that it's being dropped from the DSM. I've read that Aspies are no longer thought of as developmentally disabled but as people whose brains simply operate differently than the average.

  7. I just looked at my Amazon shopping cart and it already contains The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome by Attwood, Atypical; Life with Asperger's in 20 1/3 Chapters by Saperstein and Pretending to be Normal by Willey. I'll add the book you noted.

    You wrote "I've read that Aspies are no longer thought of as developmentally disabled but as people whose brains simply operate differently than the average." We certainly know that to be true!

    My oldest daughter has all the requirements to be an Aspie and we have talked about it quite a bit. I also think my oldest and my youngest grandsons are blessed with it as well...