Asperger’s

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I love being a ”shrink-lady.”  (okay, a “psychiatrist.”)

I did not pick it out of a hat.  I tried a couple of other medical specialties.  The “doctor” part — well, there was never any doubt about that part, really.  I mean the idea of taking care of other folks came into my head pretty early on, as did the idea that I was smarter than most other kids, ahead of where I was “supposed” to be.

My family had some health problems as I persevered in schooling.  It became evident that doctors had not only status but power over other people’s lives. Read more on Your life, Your Work – What’s The Difference?…

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I don’t think we plan what our real specialties are going to be.

I frequently tell patients I am an expert on getting through menopause now that I have been able to come through my own relatively unscathed.

I became somewhat of an expert on Asperger’s because I diagnosed many elements of it in my father and just about all criteria in my brother.

They both carried additional diagnoses of bipolar (a.k.a. ‘manic-depressive’) illness.  Neither one was in any way typical.

Both surely had their problems in life.  My father was assisted considerably by his domineering mother who gave him lots — I mean lots — of direction.  She even helped him choose a wife — my mother — who took care of the things in life that were difficult or even impossible for him. Read more on From Sandy Hook to Santa Barbara — Asperger’s Syndrome And Violence…

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When I was an undergrad at Boston University, I took a course in the department of sociology in “medical administration.”  I was compelled to understand the social context of medical practice, for whatever reason.  I remember little of the course itself.  There was a very attractive older woman sitting next to me who amused herself by “adopting” me, which she thought gave her a right to criticize my then overweight figure and poor clothes.

I remember more about her than I do about the professor, a wacky guy the university had seen fit to import from New Zealand.  He had published a couple of relevant papers down there, but was still pretty new to the American health care system.  He told us that New Zealand had lots of sheep and was a big wool producer.  He talked about this great wool magnate who had this neat wool mill — a big one — and how it was he actually became quite wealthy. This was someone who knew about the tremendously loud machines that were used to process the wool.  The wool mill owner decided to hire only deaf people.  They asked for little; generally, they had problems finding jobs.  They were really happy and thankful to be able to work, so they worked hard.  They did not have any kind of a problem with the very loud machines.

That struck me so much then that I remember the story now, 50 years later.  Even then, I already felt that I would be in some kind of a management position as a physician and could do something that clever, becoming as rich and powerful as that New Zealand guy.  The professor had said something about Americans not thinking that way. The opportunity has not really presented itself.

Probably the closest I ever came was when I was running the day treatment center at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Oklahoma.  I had a lot of schizophrenic gentlemen who were not rich in social skills, but many of whom liked computers better than people.  Certainly, they related to computers better than they related to people.  I tried to get them computers, maybe even a little training. Read more on How to Employ an Individual with Asperger’s…

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I Am A Doctor, But I Don’t Play One On TV

Personality-wise, the cranky and inconsiderate title character of the hit TV series House, MD are mirror opposites.  I actually LIKE people – especially people who need help (patients).

Obviously many people enjoy this series, since it is one of the highest rated. But for me, the challenge is to out-diagnose him.

In case you’ve never watched, the formula for each episode is a seemingly straight-forward illness, which (of course) is the wrong diagnosis.  The rest of the show is slapping another diagnosis on the patient, and testing the patient, which makes the patient worse.  Read more on Being Locked-In May Not Be So Bad For Everybody…

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I wanted to re-post this message now that we are starting a new round of articles. The reason is probably obvious — it’s a very personal statement. But also, it was only posted for a few days before we took the blog down to refurbish it. I hope you enjoy this.

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Brother Harry and Me

Brother Harry and Me

The opening sentence of Erich Segal’s novel Love Story asks the question, “What do you say about a girl who died?”

I think of that when I’m going to talk about Harry — my little brother.

Read more on Remembering Brother Harry — A Case of Asperger’s…

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