For the Record

September 16, 2018

The last week, Robert had three short 3-5 minutes episodes of screaming.  They happened suddenly without any noticeable cause during the days which, otherwise have been rather calm and pleasant.

On Tuesday, Robert screamed during bath.  Usually, that is the most relaxing time for him.  I first heard soft whining then the loud screams followed.  Robert was clearly in distress. His eyes emanated pain and confusion. I tried to massage his neck and face afraid he might have a muscle spasm.  Then I gave him inhalers Flovent and Pro-air  for asthma. I don’t know if that addressed the causes, but Robert calmed down and behaved as if nothing bothered him.

On Wednesday, according to Tim, Robert screamed during their ride to the mall.  Sudden and  very loud shouts lasted 2-3 minutes. Again, Robert never screamed in the car with Tim before. Nothing in Robert previous behavior alerted Tim to possibility that something was clearly bothering him.  During the visit to the mall, Robert behaved as if nothing happened.

On Saturday, we had a long drive to New York City and back home. Everything went smoothly.  We stopped at the diner for branch. We stopped at Robert’s grandmother apartment. We drove back. GPS directed us to different roads than we usually take. Robert fell asleep.  We stopped for gas at small service area.  Robert started screaming in the restroom. Very loud.  He left it and was marching back and forth through the small building.  He put back a bag of chips, I just bought him.  He wanted different bag, but put it away too. He kept marching, hitting his cheeks and screaming.  The manager of Dunkin Donut tried to help by offering  him a free donut, but Robert didn’t even notice. He didn’t want to leave the building. He didn’t know what he wanted! Finally he said, “Coke” .  I replied that I would buy it after he returns to the car.  Robert took the same bag of chips which he previously put away and went to the car…. calmly. I have to add that when he marched and screamed his eyes radiated confusion and pain.  But when he went to retrieve the bag of chips, he returned to his “normal” state.  For the reminder of the day, Robert  didn’t have any other problems.  Still, I don’t know the causes of his distress. Was he confused by finding himself in the service area different from all those we stopped before?  Was he in pain? Why did he scream? Why did he calm down?

I need to record those episodes as they might give me some clue as to the causes of Robert’s distress. However, for a more accurate description of Robert days I have to document the moments that bring balance to his life.

As we were solving Sudoku today, the moment came when Robert without any additional prompting entered into the puzzle five numbers one after another. Then, he waited for a cue, and after getting it he went forward with three other numbers.  The amused expression on his face tainted by satisfaction was priceless.

During our afternoon walk around the Pleasure Bay in Boston, Robert as always went ahead.  Still,  from time to time, without being called to slow down and wait, he did stop and either waited or walked toward me.

On Wednesday, I couldn’t understand what Robert was saying, so he wrote down, “Costco”.  “What do you want to buy in Costco?” He answered, but noticing the blank expression on my face, he followed with writing, “Pesto”.

On Monday, Robert fetched a few items from the shopping list. When he couldn’t find his Arizona Ice Tea in a regular place he quickly ventured to another aisle in the store and retrieved the bottle from there. Then he reminded me that we needed one item which was not on the list, and quickly grab that too.



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