Better Mourning Through Chemistry

It is a rough period of time I am in. Paperwork, and in a few hours, I will be in Wisconsin to bury Preggie. I am glad to have a supply of crazy meds that work to carry me through these days. I wished I had these medicines earlier in my wilderness years. But that is a hypothetical that cannot be answered.

Since late January 2016, I am taking Rexulti, bupropion, and since Travers Day 2016, generic Prozac. It makes the batch of brain chemicals balanced and I am able to face challenges more easily. I had a few crying jags recently, the latest when I read a story of the late Holy Bull, who I met earlier this year. Thankfully, it was brief. I am happy to say that I got my long-term insurance and I will be back to getting my regular supply at a low cost in September.

My coworkers at United Tote have been very good, and they gave me some time off for funeral arrangements. I am also ramping up the self care. I follow the Weight Watchers plan and eat on a regular schedule. I made sure I sleep plenty. And I am filling my free time with activities that help me cope. A day after Preggie’s death, I went to Old Friends in Georgetown so I can see Silver Charm. I think he sensed my pain and sadness, for he gave me a huge sloppy kiss on my face and nuzzled me. I needed that affection. I figured that a kind and gentle horse would gladden my heart. Last week, I went to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Kentucky Theatre in Lexington and stayed at the 21c Museum Hotel downtown. They have Malin + Goetz bath products, one of which was this rum-scented shower gel. The scent was very clean and soothing. I had dinner at the Lockbox and the steak hit the spot. After I bury my Preggie, I am planning to visit WinStar Farms and I promised to Exaggerator that I would have a mint for him when I visit.

Now, I must sleep as I have a busy day. I will dress comfortably and will sleep more when I arrive in Milwaukee.

+The Reverend Wayne E Rutz, 1941-2017+

15 years later after we met at Symposia, you went Home.

It was a long goodbye, ever since our GP detected vascular dementia three years ago, and you denied it. Vehemently. I was helpless as you disintegrated into a weak shell.

I was prepared for this. But it’s cold comfort.

You have given me so many years of joy and happiness. You were my support during the wilderness years. Thank you.

Be assured, my Preggie, that you died loved by so many people and knowing that I now have a career established.

Memory Eternal!

Crazy Meds. You do need them if you live in Kentucky.

After I quit my job at Winner’s Circle, I received a packet of COBRA information so I could be covered between jobs. I called the provider and they wanted $675 per month. Damn. So I got short term insurance.

It’s okay…if you do NOT have bipolar disorder.

I ran out of Rexulti, a damn fine medicine that makes a difference between living a decent life and living a really sucky life. And by sucky I mean, crying jags, endless Two Minute Hate sessions, and drafting suicide notes. I thought: maybe my insurance would cover it.

Nope.

“That would be $825 dollars after discount,” said the pharmacy tech. So I called my shrink in Indiana, hoping she can replace it with a cheaper medicine. “You need to see her at her office. Can you come by this week?” Yeah, like I want to waste my paid time off just to get my medicine.

Maybe I can do a Hail Mary play and see if the HR team would let me sign on early. It was the middle of the month, so no dice. So I called some random psych group. “We are closing down,” said the nurse. “But if you do not mind paying for urgent care, you can try The Couch.”

Found out that The Couch is Louisville’s mental health urgent care clinic. Called them, got an appointment, and visited the office. A hour and $235 dollars later, I walked out with samples to tide me over til I get covered next month.

And now, I got my other meds and I do feel blah without bupropion. Without that, I would feel BUH WTF AM I HERE LET ME STAY IN THIS COCOON. Not the usual KENTUCKY EFF YEAH!!!1!! Crap sleep. But tomorrow, I will wake up better.

The Graveyard of Champions… and Claimers as well.

The Paulick Report reported the unusual number of fatalities at Saratoga Race Course. The loss of two horses on Thursday during the Mrs Ogden Phipps and Birdstone stakes brings the total number of fatalities to NINE since the Spa meet opened. Not only that, Paid Up Subscriber, a stakes winning filly, broke her ankle after her 30+ length win in the Shuvee Stakes. The surgery went great, but her connections are deciding whether to retire her for broodmare duty.

NOT GOOD.

What is going on with the Spa? Did the track get prepared differently in its prep prior to the opening? I know the NYRA stringently tests for illegal drugs or devices, plus vets who would scratch unsound horses. Saratoga is not like the racetracks of Pennsylvania. I do think that there is improper track composition. I also think that the genetic makeup of today’s thoroughbred is unstable. You can only can cross two descendants of Native Dancer so many times. I am for the diversity of the genetic pool. I even asked Winstar about how they can improve the diversity of overall gene pool. They have a Man O War descendant.

I would suggest not only an appropriate mix of track surface (not necessarily polytrack or Tapeta– the purists would scream bloody murder if any of our major US racetracks had artificial dirt…and double if the Kentucky Derby features synthetic for the first time in its 144-year history), but also methodical breeding of horses without Native Dancer bloodlines. The Jockey Club would not open the stud books to introduce hybrids, so all we need are non-Native Dancer linked horses.

Unless breeders are game to breed for durability over speed, this sport will suffer very much.

A letter to my friend whose child is newly diagnosed

I have so much to say, do not know where to start. I think the first thing to say is that now you know that your child’s brain is differently wired, you can help him manoeuver through living. He is still himself, it’s just you now have a clue how to work with him.

Visit resources that are developed by Autistics themselves. They know how we tick, what tools that work for them, what does not work. Avoid any websites or resources that describe us in demeaning or less than human pathology. (Look up Autism Speaks Sucks for a better description.) He is not defective, he is only disabled because society disables people like him.

If you want to the key to his success, look at his interest and work with it. Note I did not say “fixation”. I do not pathologise interests of anyone. People see fixation; I see an opportunity for Autistics to excel. I had a few main foci (Horse Racing, Narnia, Ham Radio and Winston Churchill). I managed to use what I loved and made my career choices based on them. I had a history degree because I loved Churchill. I was a theologian because of CS Lewis. And when I was denied my theological dream because of who I was, it was the thoroughbred horses that landed me my dream jobs and by the grace of God, restored me. I am now working with the Tote network inside the Churchill Downs corporate office! I wished the ghosts of Kentucky Derby winners past would have visited me earlier as a child, in middle school, and in May 2005 and tell me that my life work will be working in the horse racing industry and I must NOT give up on life.

My bosses throughout the years helped me succeed. Most of the work were on a printed checklist. I told them I preferred explicit instructions. When I was at Winners’ Circle, the bosses noticed I was very good at handicapping races, that I could understand complex concepts, that I wanted more challenges than just guiding people to their tables. I would tell my bosses about my methods to handicapping. In return, I became a programme seller and a mutuels clerk. They saw potential. They took me seriously. I even had my own contest, complete with posters printed by Hoosier Park.

Your child will need mentors during his life. I thank God for Gilbert Lefebvre and Martin Schramm. They took me in when I was a teenager and then an adult. Find a Godly person, for (s)he will be his closest person in his life.

Your child will internalise the messages of the world. He will know he is different. He will feel the pressures of trying to Act Normal and would do anything to earn your love and the acceptance of society. I resented my Special Ed classmates for acting inappropriately and making me look defective. But I was wrong to do that. It was the retard language and slurs and how the humor of today made us look less than human.

Your job (and the job of the mentor) is for your child to REJECT the bullshit messages and for him to ACCEPT himself. Fight and teach him to stand up for his right to exist.

Your child will learn on his own timeframe. Throw away the guidelines, autism means both advanced and limited development at the same time. And screw anyone who puts your child down because he goes at his own pace.

You will experience ups and downs. It will be worth it with each step of the way. Your child is made in the image of God. Accept him as the child God have given you. May you all find peace in joy in the One who have made us fearfully wonderful!