Adversity and Adventure (Camping) Produces Family History

The camping season has officially ended for 2016.  The temperatures are dropping and snow is predicted for Saturday.  Usually, the start of school ends most camping trips.

There have been a few families that I know, who have continued to camp on the weekends even after school started.  This year, the weather here in Michigan has been warm and no one was ready to wave summer goodbye.

This particular post by Bruce made me laugh and brought back memories of camping trips with my family, one in particular that I will describe below.

Go camping, they said. It will be fun, they said.

Go camping, they said. It will be fun, they said.

Camping is a great exercise for families.  It builds confidence and independence in children, problem solving, team building and a number of skills one does not necessarily develop at home and results in family closeness and shared memories.

That brings me to “The Camping Trip.”  Our Last Family Camping Trip.  My sister and I were lucky.  Our Grandparents were campers.  They would also go to Florida for the winter and stay in their camper in RV parks.  We sometimes got to go visit, both sets of grandparents were snowbirds.  Naturally, our parents took us on many trips, including camping, canoeing, youth group stuff and family camping.  The only difference was we tented.

On our last camping trip as a family, the weather forecast was perfect and beautiful. We arrived at the campground and picked out the spot to put our tent on the lot.  It was a smooth dirt spot where many before us had placed their temporary abodes.  Our site was also right next to the water.  It was beautiful.  Typically, my father and I were tasked with setting up the complicated tent (we are both mechanically inclined).  I was also the oldest and enjoyed working in our basement workshop with my dad, building stuff out of scrap wood and other materials.  I learned how to use tools early in life and usually help my father fix things at home.  My sister was three years younger and preferred to be mamas girl.  I was a bit of a tom girl (see post: My Mother Invented the Side Pony-Tail).

My father and I set up the tent, arranged our equipment, coleman stove, camp gear, sleeping bags, clothesline (do not forget the clothesline!), etc.  After a camp-cooked dinner and a nice campfire, including s’mores we all crawled into our sleeping bags and drifted off to sleep.  It did not last long.

A sudden storm popped up, dumping loads of water all over the campground.  Our nice smooth spot was on slightly lower ground than the grass, so the floor of our tent started to slosh.  We had to do something or we’d be in trouble.  My father and I went out into the storm, he produced an ax from our gear, and we took turns digging a channel from our tent to the edge of the water to drain off the quickly forming pool.  It worked!  I loved it!  We crawled back into the tent, tried to get dry, and drifted back to sleep.

The next day, we had to dry everything out (CLOTHESLINE!! Pack one!), and we probably camped for a weekend or even a week.  But I do not remember any other part of the trip.  These types of things teach families they can get through unexpected adversity, bond together and solve problems.   Kids gain confidence, learn problem solving skills, and have a great story tell tell afterwards.  It might not be fun while it is happening, but it sure is fun to reminisce and laugh about later.

This was our last camping trip, we were teenagers and got busy with sports and music and extracurricular activities.  Also, this trip produced such a massive amount of dirty, wet laundry, my mother decided she was done.   We never went camping as a family again.  We did take trips after that, but they were more civilized and expensive (hotel).

I did continue the tradition by taking my girls camping several times after I was divorced.  It was something we could do together, affordable, fun, and relaxing (most of the time).  My current spouse and our children went camping together once too.  I’ve never heard so much complaining!  But, a strange thing happened afterwards (sand in their crevices forgotten) someone commented on how “that was fun!”  We’ve never gone as a family again.  Everyone has grown and moved out and my spouse works long hours during the summer, but I still go by myself.  I enjoy the peace and quiet and solitude, as well as, keeping up on my problem solving, fire building, and survival skills.  Go camping!

But wait until the weather is better.

What is gaslighting?

According to, gaslighting is “to cause (a person) to doubt his or her sanity through the use of psychological manipulation” ( retrieved 8/19/2016 from

If you do a google search for “gaslighting” you get a number of search results such as: “10 Signs You Are A Victim Of Gaslighting”, “Stop Calling Women Crazy – Gaslighting, Hysteria…”, “Are You Being Gaslighted? Psychology Today”, “10 Things I’ve learned About Gaslighting As An Abuse Tactic…”, and the list continues…

Believe it or not the first documentation or official recognition of gaslighting occurred in the form of a play in 1938 titled, “Gas Light“.  A movie followed in 1944 starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer and highlighted the spousal abuse by the husband’s manipulations to make his wife think she is crazy.

Gaslighting is a thing, or a verb to be literal.  It is an action or manipulation by one person of another, or even several.  Gaslighting is not just a characteristic of abusive relationships, but is a tactic used in organizations by individuals also!  The specific culture of an organization and its leaders can also add fuel to the fire.  More specifically it is a tool used in discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation towards employees.

How do I know?  It happened to me.  It not only happened to me, it happened to many other women that worked in Law Enforcement at the same police department.  It continues to be a tool used across the country by police departments who have negative organizational cultures towards women and minorities and any other individuals that tend to be abused and devalued.  It is used to negate or reduce their own responsibility (legally and financially) for how they treat their employees.  If legal remedies are sought by the victims of discrimination or sexual harassment it can be even worse.

Here’s how it works.  It is based upon the continuance of inequality to maintain the status quo of privilege.  When an employee complains, let’s say a female police officer complains about a coworker sexually assaulting her (true story, but not my experience).  This could look like CSC 1, 2, 3, or 4.  For more details look at Michigan Compiled Laws or MCL 750.520a, b, c, d…what this means is there are levels of seriousness.  Sexual contact or touching (grabs bottom or breasts over clothing), sexual assault (sticking hands  inside clothing), using force, coercion from a person in a position of power such as a supervisor or boss or someone in some sort of authority position…(“If you want to keep your job…, pass your probation…, if you want to ever get a job again…).

If she decides to pursue a complaint and goes to a supervisor or management and they tell her if she values her job, she will keep her mouth shut (again, true story).  If she doesn’t keep her mouth shut and stands up for herself that is when the fun starts.  If women do this they are called crazy, crazy ex-girlfriend, crazy ex-wife, disgruntled employee, bitch, witch, money grubber and there are more…

In Law Enforcement it is easy to get rid of an employee complains, especially if you have the department psychologist in your hip pocket.  In my department women who were sent for Fitness For Duty Evaluations, had typically complained about something that was criminal, unfair, discriminatory etc.  There was not usually a “precipitating event”.  All the women in my department that were sent to the police department’s psychologist after complaining or sticking up for themselves, LOST THEIR JOBS.

Male officers who had criminal, domestic, or very serious issues, were sent to the Police Psychologist, given a suspension sometimes, and allowed to go back to work after their “punishment.”  The majority of them DID NOT LOSE THEIR JOBS!

So back to gaslighting…what does it look like?  Shea Emma Fett said “I believe that gaslighting is happening culturally and interpersonally on an unprecedented scale, and that is the result of a societal framework where we pretend everyone is equal while trying simultaneously to preserve inequality.” (

Nathan Bernardo describes a gaslighter as a workplace bully:

Gaslighting occurs at the workplace in the form of bullies unscheduling things you scheduled, misplacing files and other items that you are working on and co-workers micro-managing you and being particularly critical of what you do and keeping it under their surveillance.  They are watching you too much, implying or blatantly saying that you are doing things wrong when, in fact you are not.  As you can see, this is a competitive maneuver, a way of making you look bad so that they look good; and it is a way of controlling you.  It is coercion through manipulation, so it is violent and meant to make you be overly careful and worried about what you do instead of seeing what they are doing.  In the end they will push you out of the job entirely.  they will get allies to do this in a technique known as mobbing. Mobbing is harassment and abuse committed on one person by a group.

There have also been a large number of books written about gaslighting.  The reason I am writing about this, is because we all want to be successful in work, in relationships, etc.  Gaslighters are abusive and you can stop them.  But you have to realize that you are being gaslighted in the first place.  This takes recognition of your self worth, that you are not crazy, and that you are being targeted and manipulated.

Altheia Luna lists some tactics used by gaslighters, and she is right on!  She says, “Gaslighters use a variety of subtle techniques to undermine your reality and portray you as the messed up one.  These include, for example:

(I don’t have the entire list just the highlights here).

*Discrediting you by making other people think that you’re crazy, irrational or unstable…..

*Twisting and reframing.  When a gaslighter confidently and subtly twists and reframes what was said or done in their favour, they cause you to second-guess yourself–especially when paired with fake compassion, making you feel as though you are “unstable,” “irrational,” and so forth.

Amber Madison in her article “Stop Telling Women They’re Crazy,” actually gets to the point I’m trying to make here…

Back in the day, when people didn’t want to pay attention to a woman–or were generally disturbed by her behavior–she was taken to a doctor and diagnosed with hysteria.  Hysteria was a catchall diagnosis for women who were feeling nervous, irritable, too horney, not horney enough, “causing trouble,” or were suffering from a wide variety of other ailments thought to be caused by female biology.  The word actually came from the Greek “Hystera,” which literally means uterus.  So, in short the problem of having hysteria really meant the problem of being a woman.


I read a book that kind of encompassed what many women went through in Victorian times.  Now there are laws against this type of behavior, but it is still happening in more subtle ways…I highly recommend it. The Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace.

More next time…


Gourmet International Food Review

So, I’ve never reviewed restaurants or food  on any kind of formal basis, but I was asked if I would.  I thought, “Why not?”

I agreed to do it.  A box showed up at my door a short time later with a bunch of interesting things in it!


Luehders  Vegan Bags/ Exotic Fruits, Red Berries and Fruity Flowers.  These were the first things I broke into.  There were three different pouches/flavors.  They were vegan and do not contain gelatin (which is an animal by product by the way).  I am not vegan, although I like vegetables (but not all of them).  I was really surprised  at the taste and texture!  They were soft, but not too soft (I’ve run across some hard  unpleasant gummy bears, etc), and the flavor was DELICIOUS!  Needless to say these disappeared quickly!  I do tend to have a bit of a sweet tooth, so it was not a surprise I liked these.

Lorenz/Sour Cream Pomsticks: These were the next thing opened. They also disappeared quickly!  My husband and I smacked on these over a few days time.  The reminded me of sour cream and onion chips flavor wise and crunchy, but were straws/sticks.  I’m not a big salty snack person, but I liked these and the flavor was just right, not overwhelming.

Jos Poell Tasty Toasts/Tomato and Chili:  These were little bitty toasts, but they were awesome!  They were crunchy like croutons, but better!!  They should come in a huge bag (and I would eat them all!!).  Even though you could call them savory the taste was light and crunchy and delicate.  These were my favorite thing in the box!

Lorenz/Nic Nocs:  These were peanuts coated with a flavoring.  Very savory, maybe a little  chili-like.  Reminded me a little of Barbecue Potato chips…I was not fond of them (or barbecue potato chips) but my husband (who likes this type of thing ) liked them.

Bechtle Garden Herbs Pasta:  This was a pretty big bag of egg noodle type pasta.  It contains durum wheat semolina, eggs, dried herb mixture (basil, wild garlic, nettle, cornflower blossoms, watercress, dandelion, rocket (aka arugula)).  I loved it!  I made it according to the directions and added butter and parmesan cheese.  It would be great with creamy garlic, or cheese sauce or tomato sauce.  You could taste the herbs but it was not overwhelming and I didn’t realize there was wild garlic in it because it did not taste garlicky (although I wouldn’t mind that).

Larsen Pure Fish Filets:  Theses were salmon filets packed in Olive Oil and are Gluten free, Lactose free, no artificial colors or flavors, no flavor enhancers, no nuts.  I am not a fish person, but I try to eat some once in a while.  I liked these.  They reminded me of tuna a bit.  The filets were about right for a serving (about palm of your hand size) and flaky.  These would be great to pack for a camping or hiking trip too if you needed compact protein (and you are avoiding nuts).

If any of these products (they have so much more also) interest you, you can find them at Gourmet International.

Gaslighting, and more to come

Today got away from me while researching some fascinating topics for upcoming blogs.

They are:

Gaslighting and Mirroring.  You find these topics mostly discussed in Psychological forums and there have been a number of books.

In regards to Gaslighting, I found so much material that I was unable to publish today’s blog post on it, because its not finished!  I also find out that I have been a victim of gaslighting in the workplace!  Very interesting indeed!  If you are interested in learning more about the topic before I publish next time, there is a movie made in 1944 called “Gaslight”.  Take a look at it, I’m going to…

Next time…”Gaslighting”

In two weeks…”Mirroring”

My Mother Invented the Side Ponytail

This blog is ideally about my life of adventures, mostly related to Public Safety, but it all started at an early age.  I have to give some background, it’s all relevant.

I was a tomboy, or tomgirl, but mostly my mom called me Tom’s girl (my father’s name is Tom).  I was the oldest, my sister, 3 years younger, was mommy’s girl.  I liked to fix and build and do stuff in the yard. I learned about cars, and tools, and how duct tape can just about fix anything, at least temporarily.  Guy stuff, AND I was a climber.

I climbed out of my crib, up the cupboards, on the fridge, on the garage, over fences and into trees.  This started early.  Mom caught me by one leg one day, as I was exiting my crib head first, before I hit the floor (lucky for me)!  I was never afraid of heights, although I have developed a healthy respect for gravity (it’s the sudden stop at the bottom that’s the problem).  Anyway, back to my Mother of Invention.

My mom could sew. It’s a lost art.  She made many of my clothes, learning to sew from her mother (french seams and all).  I only remember disliking one thing she made me.  A pair of green plaid pants.  I have no doubt that they were made after the many dresses I came home wearing with dirt caked on them, rips in the arms and skirts, as well as the dirt under my fingernails.  She gave up on me being a “proper” girl.

Especially after that day in first grade.  The day I climbed into a pine tree before walking home from the school bus stop.  I loved trees.  I loved the ease of climbing the conveniently placed and spaced branches.  I loved the view, above everything, and the sound of the breezes rustling the leaves.  This particular tree was pretty sappy and I got a wad of pine sap caught in my hair.  Thinking I would again be a non-dainty disappointment to my mom when I got home.  I decided to fix it myself.  I yanked out the whole blob at once, and I was successful!!

OH BOY, a thick hank of hair came with it.  I had successfully given myself a nice round bald spot to the right of my center part. Uh oh, I was still going to be in trouble.  My poor mother had her hands full with me.  I do not remember being in a lot of trouble, but I did really feel badly for putting her through these things.  It was probably pretty embarrassing for her at times.  The next day, I was a little worried about going to school with a big bald spot (about the size of a half-dollar).  My mother ( I must get a little of my macgyvering from her!), surveying the damage gave me a comb-over ponytail, or side ponytail.  I wore my hair every day that way until my hair grew back.  Thank you MOM!!

Here’s the proof (and I was wearing a dress for picture day).

Renee First grade



Big Trouble with Rachael at the Mall

(Meds and behavior) Big Trouble with Rachael at the Mall

Recently Rachael had another medication change.  Her new-ish Neurologist had been prodding me to try a different benzodiazapine medication (there are many different forms of this type of medication) called Onfi instead of clonozepam.  I put the neurologist off for two years (I remember past medication problems!), telling her that she has been absolutely great on the two meds she has been taking.  The /neurologist seemed to think she knew better so I finally said, “Fine, let’s see what happens.” Sometimes they have to learn the hard way, but I hate for Me, Rachael or any innocent bystanders to have to go through this.

So we tried the Onfi.  The Dr. started her on a small dose, increasing it gradually, as she decreased the clonozepam.  No problems at first…until we went to the zoo.  I first thought she was tired or just in a bad mood.  When she started mis-behaving and I corrected her, she started screaming “SHUT-UP!!” at me while we were in the Aquarium (just so you know it echoes in there).  Her big sister, Sarah was meeting us at the Zoo.  When she couldn’t find us, I texted Sarah to listen for Rachael screaming “Shut-Up”.  Sarah texted back, “LOL, UH-OH!” Sarah has grown up with this so we can afford a little humor between us.  Sometimes it’s all we’ve got!

I decided to catch her on video with my phone because we had a follow-up appointment with her Dr.  I was able to calm her down, and the rest of the day went better.  Until a few weeks later, when we took a trip to the mall on a Sunday afternoon.

I thought Rachael might like to go see the new minions movie.  I purchased our tickets and we headed into the theatre.  She had a noisy toy with her so I tried to get it from her before we went in.  She started throwing a fit.  Hmmm, what to do…I removed the batteries from the toy and gave it back to her.  She’s no dummy!  When she realized it wasn’t working she was mad! I realized there would be no movie with her behavior so we got refund and left.  This also made her upset.  I explained to her that in the movie theatre we have to be quiet, no noisy toys.  If she couldn’t be quiet we couldn’t go to the movie.  The combination of no noisy toy and me taking her out of the movie was too much for her.

As we were walking through the food court full of people, she pitched her toy like a professional baseball player!  This is not an exaggeration! We’ve long thought she would have been a great ball player.  I watched, my hand over my mouth, and in shock as it whizzed right by a lady eating lunch, narrowly missing her head (and scaring her) and landing on the floor.  I mouthed “I’m sorry” and hustled through the food court.  A young girl retrieved the toy, handed it to me helpfully and I hid it in my purse.  Rachael started putting her feet down and pushing her wheelchair backwards as I tried to propel her forwards.

I parked us at a table, put the brakes on and ignored her as I waited for her to calm down (sometimes you just have to wait her out until she comes around to your way of thinking).  Well, things didn’t get better.  She started hitting herself in the face! What?! I grabbed her wrist and encircled it with my fingers with just enough pressure to keep her from hurting herself.  She started screaming “OUCH!!” even though I wasn’t hurting her.  Yikes!  The mall was full of busy shoppers so we were the center of attention.  I said to her quietly (trying to be soothing), “Rachael, no hitting.”  When she relaxed I let go of her hand.  She then began hitting herself on the leg, yelling “Naughty!”  I grabbed her hand again, to keep her from hurting herself and again said “Rachael, no hitting!”

Nothing was working.  But like I have said in other posts, MOM MUST ALWAYS WIN.  In our relationship, I am the boss, and I have to be, or she will get hurt.  She has no safety skills whatsoever. I can’t let her run the show because if I do, the next time will be worse.  I sat quietly, keeping her wheelchair stable while she raged.  This was extremely embarrassing and I wanted to cry (but must not show weakness)!  Who could I call to help me?  My husband was working and too far away so that was out.  Sarah and her husband lived nearby, but they had their hands full with a new baby…No that wouldn’t work.

Well I hated to do it (I hate asking for help in the first place) but I had to resort to asking for help from strangers.  A short slight man was cleaning the tables near us while watching us sideways.  He had a radio in his belt.  I motioned for him to come closer. He came over cautiously, keeping a safe distance.  When I realized he didn’t speak very much English, I resorted to pointing at the radio and asking “Security?”  He understood and nodded his head, summoning help.  At that same moment a tall muscular guy wearing an Under Armor baseball cap (this was a good sign) came over and knelt down next to us.  He said “I have a sister (nodding toward Rachael), can I help you?”   “YES PLEASE!  THANK YOU!”  I told him that it looked like it might take more than us, that I needed to get her out of the mall and into my car and that security was coming.  Two security guards from the mall showed up.  They were great!

Picture this…Security Officer in front clearing the way, helpful stranger holding the front of Rachael’s wheelchair off the floor which helped me, holding on to the back of the chair, to keep her feet up off the floor, Rachael screaming her head off, followed by the other Security Officer.  We got to my car, and she was fine.  She got in, no fight at all.  I thanked them all profusely.  Under Armor man told me, “My wife and I were watching you for a bit.  I have a sister.  I know what it’s like.  My wife told me, “YOU BETTER GO HELP HER!””  This made me laugh.  I asked him to thank his wife for me and that I was very grateful.

I am shocked no one took a YouTube video of it (sorry folks, I was busy or I would have).  So, Rachael lost, momma maintained authority with no one getting hurt (barely).  The Zoo video (it was pretty mild compared to the mall thing) was shown to the neurologist, who said, Ahhhh, we need to take her off the ONFI!  For the next 3 months, I did not dare take Rachael to the mall again, or church, or anywhere else until the Onfi was out of her system. I am happy to report that once it was gone, we successfully went places without any harrowing or embarrassing incidents!

Parents in general and parents of special needs or autistic kids have it really tough sometimes.  I have never spoiled my kids,  they didn’t get things by throwing temper tantrums, in fact they learned early not to do that.  I did not reward bad behavior.  You have to treat your special needs kids like your other kids (well mostly, considering their limitations).  There need to be expectations, they have to behave for parents and babysitters.  I have seen parents let their special needs kids get away with a lot, because they feel sorry for them.  They may be “handicapped” but they are not stupid!  If you let them win they will run the show, and that can’t happen, no matter how little (you can pick them up and carry them out!) or how big they get!  Rachael responds to kind quiet words very quickly. Scolding and yelling only escalates her behavior.  She is usually pretty good and only mildly stubborn for very short periods of time.  telling her how it is,and what is expected, along with giving her time to adjust to a change usually works.

But in our experience, some medications cause nasty side-effects like hallucinations (Scopolamine), fatigue, vomiting, seizures, weight loss, extreme hunger, no appetite, depression, anger and more.  Rachael can’t tell me what’s wrong, so as a parent I have to pay attention. Why is this happening?  Is it simply bad behavior? If the unusual (and shocking!) happens, always look for what has changed, what’s different?  It might be a medical problem, or medication change.

It’s a good thing, we as a family have a sense of humor.  Rachael brings us challenges, some pretty good stories, AND MUCH JOY! 




Rachael’s morning after the Steak-N-Shake incident

After the Steak-n-Shake incident (see previous post!)….we went to bed hoping for a better day.  It didn’t happen.

Mom’s always seem to have a sixth sense, eyes in the back of their head, or a kind of super hearing…

I woke, hearing Rachael get up out of bed, head into the kitchen and open the fridge (her bedroom was on the main floor).  Uh oh…I was up, out of bed and heading down the stairs, but I was too late.  She had already grabbed and opened a glass jar of mayonnaise and was spreading it all over herself…WHAT!?  Rachael, what are you doing?  As I tried to remove the glass jar from her grasp, the fight was on.  She would not let go, and she was slippery…it was like an episode of WWF wrestling but with mayonnaise.

I was mostly concerned she was going to break the jar and get cut by the glass.  I finally was able to get it from her and had to sit on her holding both her flailing arms and avoiding being kicked and hit, while she was screaming at the top of her lungs.  Why was this happening?  First yesterday, then today?  I racked my brain to figure out what was happening and why.  What was different?  Well, her behavior that was for sure…as I looked down at my flailing screaming child, I noticed the scopolamine patch affixed Behind her ear…could it be?  I peeled the patch off and called for my other daughter Sarah to come help me.  Where was I going to get an able-bodied adult to help me that was close by?  I had Sarah call my friend Helen, who lived the closest and was familiar with Rachael.  We were both single parents and traded babysitting sometimes.  Although, I think she was more help to me than I ever was to her.

Helen readily and quickly responded.  Her mouth dropped open at the sight of us when she walked in the door.  I told her I had to take Rachael to the hospital but I needed to get us cleaned up first.  She helped me get Rachael cleaned up and then stayed with her while I quickly took a shower and got me and Sarah ready to go.

I took Rachael to the hospital, and wouldn’t you know it…by the time we got there she was fine.  I got the feeling the medical staff thought I was exaggerating, but I have witnesses!  You just can’t make this stuff up!

Needless to say no more Scopolamine patch (Click her for more info about Scopolamine) . Even though this incident happened in 2000, years ago, we had a more recent med change that resulted in another incident…We will call it “Trouble with Rachael at the Mall”…next time…



Does anyone tell the truth?

I am sharing a post by a wrongfully convicted man.  Freedom for 50 is a blog about his experiences in Prison for something he did not do.  He keeps trying to be the same honest upright person on the inside (prison) as he was on the outside. But not doing what the other inmates want can be dangerous.


Hi everyone, It’s been awhile. I’ve been dealing with some rough times. This is going to be as hard as Ionia where they put me in the hole. At least it will feel almost the same. Except…

Source: Does anyone tell the truth?

Medication Interactions and Violent Behavior – you can’t make this stuff up! Or The Steak-n-Shake Incident

The Steak-n-Shake incident.

In prior posts I have described my experiences being a mom of Rachael, my Special Needs Child with Epilepsy.  Epilepsy has not been the only challenge.

Medications!  Some have worked, some haven’t.  Some have resulted in strange, bizarre, and violent behavior.  Early on, a medication Rachael was on stunted all development.  She wasn’t learning, or progressing and this was a big concern for me.  All parents want their children to reach all their developmental milestones.

I asked her Neurologist for help.   I really liked this Neurologist, but his comment was, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  But it was broke!  I convinced him we needed to look at it and to try to improve things for her.

An MRI was done.  The results came in.  I received a written report.  I could understand the majority of the radiological terms, but I had questions.   I was very self-educated (this can be frustrating for Doctor’s when a patient or patient’s relative questions results, wants to know more and doesn’t just take Dr.’s orders at face value).  I wanted to be the best advocate for my daughter I could.  I wanted to help her to be HER best self.  I had no mis-conceptions that she would be normal.  I wanted her best normal for her sake.

I called and requested an informational appointment to go over the results of the MRI with the Dr.  I was told the Dr. is very busy.  I again reiterated that I wanted to discuss the results of Rachael’s  MRI with the Dr.  The individual I spoke to on the phone replied, “It means your daughter is MENTALLY RETARDED.”  I was absolutely speechless for several seconds.  I knew this.  I did not need them to tell me this.  I responded by telling her to cancel any future appointments that we would not be returning…ever.

I found her a new Neurologist.  We tried different medications.  Some caused other problems, complications, depression, behavior problems, extreme weight loss, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, food-seeking.   At least one was taken off the market for deaths due to loss of kidney function.  We moved, had to switch to a new Neurologist, tried more meds.


Now to my point…Rachael was also pretty drooly.  It was hard to find childcare because no one wants a kid drooling all over.  I had to find care in my own home, and Rachael wore bandannas (in every color to match her outfits) instead of bibs (she’s not a baby).  They would be soaked and replaced with a new dry one every few hours and we could easily wash them.  Some days were better than others.  One Dr. proposed we try a Scopolamine Patch.  These patches are typically used for motion sickness, but tend to dry up oral secretions (dry mouth).  We decide to give it a try.  It had been maybe a week when Mike (the guy I was newly dating) and I decided to take our kids out to eat.

We met at Steak-n-Shake, me with my two kids, and he with his two kids.  As soon as we were seated, Rachael grabbed her silverware and started pounding on the table, yelling…. “I WANT EAT!”  [These were the days of food-seeking for her.  She could eat the food off her plate and steal the food off yours too, if you weren’t watching.  She was not allowed to do this, she simply couldn’t help it.  She was always hungry.]  At the restaurant, I told her that we had to wait our turn and then we would be able to eat.  I also took the silverware away.  This only made things worse.  She started screaming louder…“I WANT EAT!!!”

This had not happened before in public (aside from a grocery store incident).  I told her that if she did not quiet down and behave that we would be leaving (not an empty threat).  She screamed louder!!  The other children were sinking in their seats (I wanted to hide too!).  I asked Mike if he would bring Sarah home after they ate and told him I would be taking Rachael home.  He agreed.  I stood up, picked up Rachael and she started flailing her arms and legs and trying to squirm out of my grasp.  She was still a small child, but I was finding it difficult to hang onto her.  Mike had to help me take her to the car, get her in the car, and put her seat-belt on.  I had to engage the child lock on the door so she wouldn’t fall out of the car as we were driving.

Mike went back in and I drove away.  The entire drive home, Rachael screamed “GO BACK!” while pointing out the back car window and hitting me in the back of the head and kicking my seat.  I couldn’t believe it!  If any of the other challenges in my life hadn’t scared Mike off, this surely would!!  I cried all the way home.  And so embarrassing!

We pulled into the driveway and she stopped.  I took her in the house and sat her at the table.  I explained to her that we would be having sandwiches at home.  I also explained that she has to mind momma, she can’t behave like that ANYWHERE, and that there would be no more going out to eat if that ever happened again.  We ate, Mike brought Sarah home, and Rachael was back to normal.  I was unprepared for what happened the next morning…