Monthly Archives: February 2012

Unseen Health Risks of Aspergers and Autism

In general, Aspergers and Autism do not cause higher risk for health problems. Spectrum disorders are mainly cognitive in nature and do not lead directly to issues such as heart disease, cancer, or things like that. However, I believe that people with Spectrum disorders can suffer from health problems that would be routine for neurotypical individuals. It all comes down to prevention.

Most NTs will not be able to understand this, but nevertheless it is true – going to the doctor can be an overwhelmingly social experience. Think of all the social interaction that occurs during a doctor visit:
– the receptionist greets you
– you are required to provide your name, info, health insurance, medical history, etc.
– the nurse/PA greet you and asks you to describe your condition as s/he enters your personal space to pre-examines you
– the doctor greets you and asks you to describe your condition (again), asking more probative questions as s/he enters your personal space to examine you
– the receptionist handles your billing on the way out

All of this may seem simple to an NT… and yes, it is. But to an Aspie, I can tell you that this is a LOT of work. It’s enough of a hassle to want to avoid the whole thing altogether.

Imagine being an Aspie for a moment, and it is absolute torture to even have to talk to people that you don’t know. Now you are talking to 3 people, revealing intimate details about yourself to them, you are being touched all over. It’s a pain. You HATE it. So you find yourself skipping your yearly physical. You have a little bit of pain in your chest? Shake it off. It’s easier to deal with the pain than to go through that ordeal again. Next thing you know, you haven’t been to the doctor in 10 years and the pain in your chest cannot be ignored. So you FINALLY get yourself checked out, only it’s too late. Now you need heart bypass surgery.

It’s like that. Aspergers didn’t cause the heart disease, but it caused actions that led to the heart disease.

I’ve been thinking about my elbow lately. I have tendonitis in my elbow from repetitive movement at my job. I’ve had it looked at and gotten prescriptions for physical therapy. I really feel like the PT could be helpful in relieving some of the pain, but I stopped going after four visits. Why? Because the physical therapy involves me doing exercises for my elbow for an hour while a physical therapist watches. An hour of me sitting with this guy. After 10 minutes, I have nothing to say. I feel stupid talking, but the silence is even more uncomfortable. So I don’t go anymore. The treatment is more painful mentally than the condition is physically.

I also think back to the post I made about going to the dentist. I’m lucky that I have strong teeth and gums and my gap in seeing the dentist was only about 2 or 3 years. There could be Spectrumites out there who haven’t been to their dentist or doctor in over a decade.

How many of us out there have been skipping cancer screenings because of the sensory issues associated with needles and drawing blood?
How many of us have not had a regular eye exam because of a sensitivity to light?
How many of us are suffering from conditions that can be easily remedied or prevented by easier access to health care?

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Failure to Launch

I tried to get a hashtag thing going on with Twitter, but it died on arrival. I figured it would be cool to retweet some of the tweets of my followers, and I called it #FollowerAppreciationWeek. I thought that maybe some people would pick up on it and follow suit, but so far nobody has. To avoid annoying people, I’m just going to drop the whole thing.

I think the boredom of being alone is starting to get to me a little.

A Quiet House

My wife and kids went on a road trip to help out a family member in another state, so I’ve been left at home alone. Some people may enjoy having this type of time to themselves, but I usually hate being lonely. It’s nice to be able to not have to worry about the kids or whatever, but it is still nice to have them around.

I usually don’t handle being alone very well. I get bored easily, and my Aspergers does not mix well with boredom. I have some plans for a few things to keep myself occupied, and my work schedule will keep me busy as well, but I will have an abundance of time sitting around the house with nothing to do.

My video games are going to get quite a workout over the next two weeks.

One pleasant thing to discover from this situation: I genuinely enjoy having my family around!

#AspieSuperBowlParty!!

I love the Super Bowl, but I hardly have anywhere to go – I can maybe think of 3 Super Bowl parties I have been to in my life. So, tomorrow, the autism/asperger community on Twitter is throwing our own party! In the spirit of the #AspieParty, this will be an #AspieSuperBowlParty!

I plan to get drunk.

For fun, I decided to come up with a drinking game to go along with watching the game, just in case the score gets out of hand and it gets boring (one of the years I went to an actual party was when the Giants got blown out by the Ravens). I’m inviting everyone to play along!!!

[Note: Playing along with the drinking game is not necessary for participation in the Aspie Super Bowl Party, but having fun is.]

Below are the OFFICIAL RULES for the Aspie Super Bowl Party Drinking Game:

1. Drinking alcohol is not restricted to the following events; feel free to consume as much as desired. However, drinking in accordance with the following events is mandatory.

2. A “sip” consists a gulp from an alcoholic drink (beer/wine/mixed drink/etc.)

3. A “chug/shot” includes one of the following (depending on your ability to handle alcohol):
          a) finishing your current drink
          b) pouring and consuming an entire drink at once
          c) a shot of hard liquor

4. Please drink responsibly. If you are not feeling well and wish to take a break, please do so. And by all means, NO DRINKING AND DRIVING or else you are not invited to the next #AspieParty

5. Consumation in the following amounts must occur when the following occurs:
          a) Opening kickoff – chug/shot (gotta start things off right, huh?)
          b) 2nd Half kickoff – chug/shot (after the halftime show, we might need it)
          c) Any points scored – sip
          d) First Down – sip
          e) Player runs out of bounds – sip
          f) Replay review challenge – chug/shot
          g) Replays of the David Tyree Helmet Catch – chug/shot
          h) Any mentions of Peyton Manning, Colts owner Jim Irsay, or Andrew Luck – chug/shot

I’ll be on Twitter during the game for as long as I can remember how to type (@mindofanaspie). Here’s to a great game, and a great #AspieParty!!!