April 27, 2011
Please God, forgive me for the forest of trees I just destroyed is the silent plea I’ve sent to the heavens, as I attempt to remove what must be the entire contents of a ketchup bottle from Justin’s face, hands and torso. He’s quick this one, and although we don’t even have our food yet, he’s managed to squeeze the upside-down receptacle into a huge puddle on his formerly pristine place mat while I wasn’t looking. I sigh, declare to my aunt that I really do feed him, whisk the offending disintegrating square to the other end of the diner’s table, then attempt triage. We’re only an hour away from another night at Someone Special Needs You, and although a tux is not required, I’d prefer it if my son didn’t look like he’d just stepped out of a scene from Grey’s Anatomy.
Nothing fazes my aunt as she pitches in with the wipes I couldn’t find, the ones I was searching for with the free hand keeping my son from plunging his fingers into that gelatinous red liquid fruit. Short of hosing him down there won’t be any miracles here, but we do a passable job as we three await our breakfast for dinner. After Justin rejects his DVD player and the accompanying flicks I was certain would engage him throughout the meal (so much for knowing my son), my aunt pushes her clean place mat towards his soon to be agitated hands. I quickly locate and serve up the crayons the lovely hostess provided to us when we entered.
Justin hasn’t enjoyed coloring, well, EVER, but perhaps tonight will be a first, and I won’t have to break out the super secret/nails-on-chalkboard/irritating toys I also have sequestered into our goody bag. Just for fun I say “write your name, Justin”, because both his school and his mommy have been practicing his letters with him frequently, an activity my son enjoys about as much as he adores waiting. I sit back in my seat to see what happens, one hand remaining on the zipper of toy mecca in case my suggestion is met with more than mere disdain. He looks at me quizzically, and I place a blue crayon (my personal favorite) into his hand and repeat, “write your name, hon.”
And, to the joy of the two women witnessing it, he does.
It’s not that he hasn’t written his name before, or printed the symbols of the alphabet once or twice without the guidance of the hand-over-hand method. I know that he’s done it independently a few times at school, and he’s come close at home as well. This, however, is the very first attempt that’s been solely of his own maneuvering with me present, one not requiring my hand’s gentle sway to perform the loops and swirls that signify who he is. He completes the “n”, immediately drops the crayon and smiles at me, then gestures toward the white bag with what I call the “give me juice or else” look. The moment itself, is over.
My little boy wrote his own name, and it’s even legible. I think his handwriting is better than mine, which isn’t doing him justice.
I look over at my aunt who’s as excited as I am, and we both exclaim “Justin, good job!” as I make an attempt to rescue his place mat for posterity before more ketchup can claim the proof. Our life with autism is comprised of these little moments, some good, some depressing as hell, many more simply profoundly irritating. Lately, however, we seem to be dwelling more frequently in the land of the former. There have been numerous instances of connection with his brother, offers of toys from big to little, my eldest permitting and even seeming to enjoy his sibling’s hugs. Word approximations are flowing more easily in private speech therapy, attempts that even his skeptical mother can decipher. Last night, for the first time in ages, he returned the squeeze of my fingers nestled with his as I sang his baby song to him. And tonight, my boy etched his own name into a Perkins place mat that I will subsequently laminate for all eternity. Admittedly, these are small triumphs.
But they are uniquely his. And believe me, I’ll be celebrating them too.
April 26, 2011
Today’s Gratitude Attitude goes to the numerous individuals helping me keep the kids alive during “double spring vacation”. I literally couldn’t have done it (or still be doing it) without you. Many thanks!
I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the Easter Bunny (the REAL one, of course) for making this past weekend so special for two little boys. The fact that she found Grandma’s house, as well as our own, is simply remarkable. Thanks EB!
April 24, 2011
If this pronouncement were true I’m certain it would not be met with a great deal of enthusiasm from my husband, but since it’s out of the mouth of our four-year-old, I’m betting we can transcend the problem. I was just informed of this deficit after I attempted to plant a noisy one on my youngest son’s forehead, and was met with such writhing and wriggling away from my puckered lips I figured I must have something in my teeth. As I step away to grimace at Jeff and confirm this isn’t true, Zach rears back up and yells, “You can’t kiss me ever again, you’re OUT of them!” He then happily resumes eating his ham and potatoes, oblivious to the amused looks his parents are trading between them.
Damn. Some days all I have left are chocolate, wine, and kisses. Sucks for me.
Never one to shy away from an issue, Jeff bravely decides to investigate. He leans over the kitchen counter with an authoritarian air, and says to our little imp, “Mommy, didn’t run out, see, she’s going to give me one right now.”
Hah. Jeff is a man never to miss an opportunity.
I stroll over to prove him right, and before I’ve completed two steps I hear “NO!!!! SHE RAN OUT!!! I HAVE TO GO TO THE KISSES STORE FIRST!”, and I turn back to see my second son straining forward from his seat at the table, arms outstretched as he tries to rein me in. “COME BACK MOMMY, COME BACK!”, he cries, and I am compelled to smile at my thwarted spouse and then obey my baby’s command. I return to him, sit down, and ask Zach when he’ll find time in his schedule to make a “kisses run”. He graces me with that benevolent stare that conveys something in between “I’ve got it Mommy” and “what a stupid question”,and replies, “I already go’ed there”.
Reconciling the past tense with the present remains a goal.
I share my delight with him that he’s made this purchase and angle in to deliver my smooch, but am instead met with “the hand” (how this of all things managed to survive the 80’s, I’ll never know). Zach looks at me, and in a calmly chastising tone of voice says, “No Mommy, I have to FEED them to you first”.
Of course you do.
I submit to his demands and bend toward him, and with great gusto he rips the kisses out of his pocket, and rather violently stuffs them into my yawning mouth. He is quite pleased with himself, my little man, and subsequently allows me to communicate my love to him, his brother, and his relieved father in our traditional manner. I deliver my last kiss to him with a flourish, then reach down to embrace him, for I’ve vowed never to take for granted his ventures into the land of imagination, and this trip has been particularly amusing. The little bugger shies away from me again however, regards me with great suspicion, and shouts “NO MOMMY, YOU ARE OUT OF HUGS TOO!”
And I have to admit, for a woman who never fully embraced the single digit crowd, I am entranced by my youngest’s immersion within the land of make-believe.
April 21, 2011
I’m out in the community a great deal with Justin these days, more often now that he is usually compliant in public, or if not, can be “redirected” in his distaste for whatever choice I’ve made that’s irritated him that day. Sometimes I strike up conversations with people about him, usually with individuals who’ve tried to engage him in conversation and been confused by the rebuff of silence, which of course leads me to explain that he can’t talk. If Justin is not vocally “stimming”, making his sounds of excitement or comfort, it would be easy to mistake him for just another kid, because except for (in his mother’s opinion) his devastatingly handsome face, he looks “normal”. I’d hate for people to think he’s being rude, thus I chat with them.
I will never forget wheeling him through the mall one day a few years ago and getting accosted by one of those ridiculous mall wenches, so “faux-enthralled” by his cuteness, and having to explain to her that while letting him earn his keep in commercials sounded fabulous, we instead were going to focus on trying to teach him to talk first. I actually thought she was going to cry when I told her he had autism, and her response of “but he’s so adorable!” was so beside the point I actually found it humorous. How he looks is the least of his issues, and I’ll be so bold as to say it’s probably helped him at times to be attractive, and he’s certainly not alone. Hell, from what I’ve seen over the last seven years that I’ve been on “autism alert”, I’ve noticed that so many of our kids are as well.
It was through one of these conversations years ago that I came to realize how much my perspective had changed on Justin, his type of autism, and the ramifications of his disorder on our family. I was chatting it up with the butcher at my favorite little Italian store (yes, on occasion, when forced, I do actually cook), and he was asking me how Justin was doing, both in school and at home. We’d formed one of those financial friendships that crop up when you shop somewhere frequently, and as such I’d come to know a little about his daughter and his grandkids, and he’d become familiar with my family as well. One day, after telling him we’d figured out Justin could read and sharing how the world just opened up for him and us with that discovery, he placed his hand on my son’s head, grew tearful and said, “He’s beautiful. This is a tragedy. I don’t know how you and your husband get through the day.”
I remember taking a deep breath and just smiling, telling him Justin was a good boy and a gift, making my carnivorous purchase, and leaving the store. As I shifted boy, diaper bag and groceries into my car I knew I’d have time to process what had happened as we drove, and I was grateful for the opportunity to do so. Eventually I clambered up behind the driver’s wheel, inserted Justin’s CD selection into the proper slot, and settled into both my seat and a search for how I felt about the conversation that had just transpired.
I realized this. That a few years ago I would have agreed with that sweet man unequivocally, but would also have bristled at the use of the word “tragedy” by a mere acquaintance. I would have thought to myself that Jeff and I were really just barely surviving sunrise to sunset, that we were unable to see the triumphs for a time, just the difficulties that autism imposed on our lives. I would perhaps have agreed that the use of the word “tragedy”, and the implication from it that our family was irrevocably ruined, was apt. I believe I would have fully supported him in his sympathy, and his sadness.
Instead, I accepted this sliver of truth from his sentence. Yes, my child is good-looking. Yes, there are aspects of autism that are tragic, like watching his frustration as he tries to communicate a need, or the reality that he will spend half of his lifetime outside the confines of my protection, completely vulnerable to his caretakers. These issues are real, and they are daunting, to say the least.
But if I could go back in time and respond today, I’d tell our compassionate butcher this. That Justin is not only fair of face, but lovely in soul as well. That most of the time he is a happy boy, one who takes great delight in the people who matter to him and the world around him. I’d tell him that he is loved, and loves us back with an unlimited fierceness.
And as for Jeff and me getting through the day, I’d share with him the anecdotes of our life together that so thoroughly soothe the pain. I’d tell him how last summer my son took his future aunt’s hand, gazed into her eyes, and lightly kissed her palm in a grand gesture of affection. I’d talk to him about the relationship that is developing between he and his brother, how Justin not only tolerates Zachary’s advances, but continually initiates his own toward him as well. I’d explain to this gentle man that my husband and I survive because our son’s laughter, though rare, literally lights up the world around us.
I’d reassure him that while I’ll never be at complete peace with this, that I do accept it. I’d share with him that we’ve worked autism as successfully as anyone can into the framework of our particular family. I’d comfort him with the thought that as with most families, things are not perfect.
And I’d remind him of one incontrovertible, universal truth- that nothing ever is.
April 19, 2011
Today’s Gratitude Attitude is extended to our local Elks and Special Education PTA for throwing two wonderful Easter egg hunts this weekend. I think Justin’s moved on from collecting plastic ovals, but Zach was incredibly excited to participate. Many thanks to everyone who made both events happen!
April 17, 2011
It’s 1:30 in the morning, my leg is throbbing, and I know I’ll never get back to sleep. Crap.
Generally, this is a wee bit early in the day for me to come to terms with what will now be a huge and necessary change in my life, but since I’m up, I may as well get the mourning over with, and put this time to use. You see, I’ve been a runner for twenty-odd years (okay, only nine miles a week, it still counts), but that ache below my knee, that recurring twinge that has periodically resurfaced over the last six months, is telling me my days of pounding pavement are kaput. There’s no mystery here as to the source of the pain, as I’ve already been to a good orthopedist, one I’m certain was in grade school while I was living in a dorm. He informed me during the appointment that I have severe tendonitis in one rogue and ungrateful leg, and then proceeded to lay out my choices for rectifying the situation. None of them made mommy happy.
My youngish specialist told me I’m lucky this is my first running injury in two decades, a fact of which I’m already well aware. He then informed me curtly that my options were as follows: come to him for therapy, which will only alleviate the symptoms for a time (which, given my lack of the latter, is not really an option); run through the pain, ice it down, and use the fancy and expensive cream he’ll prescribe for me, which is the idiotic solution I’ve since chosen; or, quit running and take up another form of cardio (blech!). Since waking up before Leno’s over every evening that I’ve put those Nikes to work earlier in the day is not really a mature solution, I know my Chariots of Fire days are done. At least, in all honesty (commence groaning now), I can report that me and my legs have had a good run.
And as an added bonus, I know what I’ll write about this morning.
I know this is not an horrific situation, as I have been up for good at 1:30 AM for far more grave matters. In the past, I have spent the wee hours of the morn contemplating the accuracy of Justin’s pediatricians stating his behaviors were simply reminiscent of his father’s own early development, and that he would be fine (sorry guys, play again). The twilight hours have also found me conscious during those dark days when I watched my youngest start to slip away, and I literally wondered if I’d ever hear one of my children say my name again. Clearly, those were far more desperate times to be awake, knowing my intolerance for fatigue would only make the next twenty hours even more difficult than they would be had slumber enveloped me. I am aware that in this particular instance I have (crappy) choices, can choose to walk rather than run, will still be able to exercise, and when I’ve rested my leg, will sleep once again. I know that I’m fortunate to be able to “fix this”, as there are a number of other issues within our family I have not a prayer at altering. I can tell myself with all honesty, that this one will be okay.
Yet, I’m still pissed. And on this occasion, I’m indulging in this emotion.
In the past I’ve spent a great deal of time playing “it’s all relative”, primarily so I could get through the day. I’ve partaken in such rationalizations as “well, a man (while talking on his cell phone) drove into my face today and totaled my car with my four-year-old in it, but at least we’re still alive.” I’ve selected the bright side with my youngest too, as in “yes, the autism diet seems to be working, he’s only had diarrhea six times today instead of twelve.” I know I’ve sounded ridiculous on occasion, but that is my way of processing pain and grief, and so far it has worked for me. At times I’ve had to trot out “okay, this does totally suck, but at least nobody died”, as even the detectives on CSI could not have discovered the bright spot shining through, but fortunately I haven’t had to implement that one too often.
It sounds pathetic even to me.
But tonight (or this morning, depending on how you look at things), I’m not going to search for the silver lining. Things, while not perfect chez McCafferty, have been looking up for quite a while now, and I no longer feel I’m clawing my way to the top for a fingerhold on happy. I don’t feel inclined to bribe myself through the darkness, am content to ride it out, as I know I will discover light on the other side. This evening (or morning) I’m going to let myself be irritated that I’m losing something I love, without feeling compelled to bring in the habitual gratitude chaser I’ve felt in the past was necessary to stave off something even worse. Here, cocooned in the darkness of the gentle strands of the afghan my granny crocheted me, the one that still makes me feel cosseted by love, I’m going to gift myself the indulgence of simply being mad over something not even close to tragic.
This morning, I just get to kvetch.
April 14, 2011
I recently subscribed to the official Autism Speaks Blog, which along with the Schafer Autism Report is where I usually turn to for any recent developments in the world of autism. I’m happy to say that the tide seems to be turning in the past year, with more and more positive articles being showcased by both publications, but I read one last week in the AS blog that stopped me cold. According to the article, a mother in Massachusetts apparently withheld cancer treatments from her severely autistic son, and he died. Now a jury of her peers has to ascertain her motivation for the purposes of sentencing severity, has to discern what was truly in her heart as she enacted this deprivation.
I agree with Margery Eagan, who wrote about the trial in her column in the BostonHerald.com. I’d hate to be in their place too.
Clearly, her son had the right to continued medication for the leukemia that reared its ugly head after a remission from his non-Hodgkins lymphoma, leukemia being a cancer with an 85-90% recovery rate, that according to the boy’s doctor was being successfully treated. His mother was not a medical professional after all, was legally charged with his care. This boy had a right to his life, however long or short it was meant to be. He was, literally, at his mother’s mercy.
I’ve never met Kristen LaBrie. I have no idea whether what she declared on the stand is true, that she was simply so afraid at how sick he was after taking the medications, terrified that if he fell further ill from the treatments she had to pry open his mouth to give him, that he would die. I will never know if the prosecutor’s spin is more apt, portraying a woman riddled by resentment at the small role her ex-husband played in raising their son, a boy reportedly consumed by allergies and severe autism years before cancer completed the ailment trifecta. I will never be certain, as with some cases that come before a court of law, if infused within the truth, in this circumstance, are varying shades of gray.
After I had read a few related articles to this story I tried to envision what the last few years had been like for this woman, regardless of her true motivations. The articles stated she was broke, and for the most part the sole care-giver in this child’s life. I tried to imagine my existence as hers, and I just couldn’t fathom it. I removed my educated, loving husband from the picture. I evaporated the security of salary, the knowledge we can provide for our sons’ needs on a daily basis. I destroyed the sanctity of sleep, because one of the side effects of the chemotherapy medications was her son’s insomnia, which of course, meant hers as well. I stripped away all pretense of any pleasure, and replaced it with the agony of watching her son suffer on every level possible, both physically, and with certitude, emotionally, for years. I literally cannot envision how one endures that much pain.
But her son couldn’t speak for himself. She was his mother. No matter what, she had a moral imperative to treat him.
There is one other absolute truth here that arises from this story of which I am certain, particularly during Autism Awareness Month. I am so grateful for the increase in articles regarding the housing situation for adults on the spectrum, and the coverage of the ever-growing number of states jumping on the insurance bandwagon to offer families some financial relief. I am thrilled that more and more school districts’ programs are being lauded in the press for their efforts, and that increased attention is being paid by pediatricians nationally to earlier diagnosis and treatment. Reading about documentaries highlighting the triumphs and challenges of two articulate adults on the spectrum makes me happy, as does an international campaign to “light it up blue”. To me, it all signifies progress, is a continued celebration of collective triumphs.
But I also believe it’s crucial to be aware of what’s happening to those around us, those individuals comprising our daily world who are struggling with the all-pervasive ramifications of this disorder, one that can often overtake our lives. It is crucial we are aware of how that neighbor is faring, how that nice mom in the special education PTA who looks so stressed is doing, why that father of the child in our son’s class looks so sad at the spring fling. We need to keep our ears, eyes and hearts open to what I consider our extended family, and offer a hand whenever possible. Mitigating the hardship of one family’s existence is just as important as lighting a talk show stage blue, writing a book that conveys comfort to thousands, or creating legislature that eases that backbreaking load families often carry for decades. And yes, we continue to require autism awareness on a worldwide scope.
But in order to prevent the recurrence of a tragedy like the death of Jeremy Fraser, I believe we require it just as much at home too.
April 13, 2011
My mom likes to send me online articles related to autism, and due to her diligence I recently read a piece entitled “iPad Not a Miracle for Children with Autism” (which, ironically, I perused after I had just posted a blog entry about my son’s use of the device, entitled “It’s a Miracle”). In it, the author claims that the device itself is not worthy of Vatican anointing, but rather, “the miracle there, as it always has been, is the parents and professionals who work with children with autism.”
Of course, he’s right.
I read through the entire article, then skimmed through the commentary (which with these kind of pieces, is often as interesting, if not more interesting, than the work itself), and reminded myself once again how imperative it is that we facilitate Justin’s acquisition of this device. He’s already employing it at home far more practically than he did his former augmentative machine, initially requiring only the slightest of physical prompts to make his requests with it, prompts that have now been downgraded to my voice only. Justin’s not debating scripture with me or telling me which American Idol contestant got robbed, but slowly, incrementally, he’s incorporating more dialogue into his daily routine. It’s still not a spontaneous event for him. It may never be.
And I have to accept this.
When I was sifting through the responses to the article however, I came upon one mother who described what the device had meant to her son, now almost seven, a child the same age as Justin is now. She described his severe apraxia and limited communication skills, and how over the course of the past year the technology had diminished some of those challenges for him. He was now manding for preferred activities, actions, and even specifying which rides he preferred at Disney World. Social questions were being spontaneously implemented, even down to requesting a particular restaurant within the confines of a mall they had recently frequented. In short, with the touch of a fingertip, the world had become a locale far more broad for her child.
And I still have no idea if this tool will widen Justin’s horizons to a similar degree, ever.
I will say however, that when I watch him use the iPad, I’m seeing my son captivated by something other than food, singing plush toys, or DVD players for the first time in almost eight years. Due to his intelligence and fairly tender age, I will continue to indulge in the hope that this device may be the vehicle through which we communicate better with one another, and far more importantly, the one through which he can get his needs met in an increasingly complex world. I’ve never given up on that dream, and I never will as long as he’s breathing. For years now his progress in this area (outside of academics) has remained fairly static, despite speech therapy, the diligence of his teachers, and his maniacal mother. I’ve learned to redirect my expectations of progress into other areas of development, and they’ve mostly been fulfilled. Despite my desire for him to converse, I consider us to be fortunate in this regard.
But this slender, chic, rectangle has at the very least returned hope to this practical and pragmatic woman, hope that my son, in his own way, might one day “talk”. And if nothing else, I consider that hope to be my miracle.
April 12, 2011
Today’s Gratitude Attitude goes out to my mom, for helping me keep the kids alive while my husband worked in Chicago this past weekend. It also goes to my sister-in-law, who assisted me through Justin’s stomach flu (what happens in Jersey, stays in Jersey). Thanks so much for your collective help, I literally couldn’t have done it without you both!
April 10, 2011
SLAM!!!!! Zach and I jump a bit as we’re sitting at his art table, and I quickly smile both to hide the fact my heart has briefly stopped, and that I am completely exasperated. It is, perhaps, the THOUSANDTH time Justin has slammed the closet door this afternoon (okay, slight exaggeration, but it FEELS like it), and my patience is frayed to its ragged, disintegrating ends. Zach asks “What is Justin doing, Mom?”, and I reply “organizing his toys, hon”, but secretly, I admit to myself I really have no idea. While the lion’s share of the playthings from the closet have been exiled to the garage recently due to Justin’s escalating OCD, he has still managed to find something in there to rearrange- namely, his plush toys. Although the positions we have discovered them in have been mildly amusing to me and his father, our overriding emotion upon witnessing this returning obsession has been dismay, and sadness.
For so long, he had been doing so well.
Over the years, as I’ve spoken to people about my eldest son and his neurological disorder, I’ve found most conversations end up centering around his lack of speech, and how difficult that must be both for him and our family. While I don’t want to minimize this deficit (believe me, there are many days I wish the child could just TELL me why he’s rivaling my PMS-state), it certainly has not been his greatest impediment to functioning in the “real world”. Even the aggressive moments that plagued us, his therapists, and his teachers over the years were scattered enough to be “livable”, until the end of his sixth year when the incidence increased so greatly we sought the assistance of medication for him.
Although the non-verbal aspect of his autism and the pinching have both been considerably daunting, the single greatest component of his disorder that affects his life the most is the OCD/ perseveration. It’s what clued me in at his six month birthday that something was amiss (when your infant chooses to spend his entire day spinning a faux fish bowl throughout the hardwood floors of your home, it’s time to contact that developmental pediatrician). His predilection for rotating objects, rearranging photos around our home, or hiding one shoe from a pair in absolute obscurity (his mother’s personal favorite) prevent him from engaging in more appropriate pursuits, effectively limiting his world to a minimum of activities.
There are mornings when I almost have to carry him out of the house to get him on the bus, and not because he doesn’t want to go to school, because he’d live there and marry his teacher if he could. It’s simply that the random pattern of paper slips, and oft-ignored Xeroxed reminders on our chaos of a kitchen table are not arranged to his liking, and he can’t leave until they are. Perhaps it is that I have erroneously placed a new photo of he and his brother in the family room, rather than mid-way upon our living room bookshelf at an angle that is just so. After all these years I still cannot discern the precise patterns he is striving for, and his penchant for order is enslaving him. There are many days his closet machinations would leave him in tears if we weren’t constantly redirecting him, in our own attempt at ritual.
There are as many days that little face, desperate in his desire to get it “right”, engenders tears in me as well.
The thing that brings me and his father most to despair, is that the OCD comes in cycles, is stealthy in its resurgence. It’s only been the last six months or so that it’s escalated to this level once more, and once again, it doesn’t seem to be precipitated by anything in particular. In the past, it seemed to be high fevers that heralded the return of the full body tics and desire for order that would consume him for a few months, then dissipate. Since he had those glorious ear tubes inserted last fall there have been no fevers, no antibiotics, no palliative measures taken to address the always-accompanying upset stomach that perhaps were the triggers to his obsessive state. Despite all the progress he’s made socially, academically, and emotionally, this bane to our existence, this barrier to his happiness, is simply back.
Of course, we’ll address it to the best of our abilities. We’ve found a new neurological pediatrician with whom we feel more comfortable (and yes, if you’re wondering, she has a waiting room). Jeff and I felt she really listened to us at our first visit, was open to the suggestion we’ve been hearing from several professionals in Justin’s life that he might have a dual diagnosis of both autism, and actual OCD. She’s willing to think out of the box a bit with medications, comprehends the limits of a therapeutic approach, and understands we have thoroughly explored the tenets of ABA to alleviate his suffering. There is even the possibility of enrolling Justin in a study someday, if we collectively feel it will be to his benefit. We’ll return to see her in a few weeks time, and I feel confident all options will be evaluated, that he is in good hands, that my boy is receiving the best care possible.
But I can’t help wondering, if despite all our attempts to quiet the sometime chaos of his beautiful mind, if this is as good as it gets.