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Dr-David-Banner

Maths

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Nesf
10 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

It's not a personal question. Degrees in Russian needed to be filled so the demand for A levels was exempted. They would take reasonable candidates. Whereas for French you needed an A Level pass. For Russian you could do Foundation Year and an overall 4 year course. I was a "mature student" with at least some promise so I was allowed in to study Russian. Yet Foundation Year for me was a bad idea. Too wide and varied. So, I just got into Russian and got top grades in that while flunking biology and the whole FYear to boot. After appeals and discussions they allowed me into year one only on the basis of my Russian language exam result. It took years for me to discover that I need to narrow down my focus and gravitate to theory. People like me make good physicists but not so great engineers.
I like Einstein a lot because the system didn't work for him. The idea Einstein was a slow, substandard student was never true. That was exaggerated as he spoke good French and was a talented violin student. Even so, he did flunk his electrical engineering entrance exam. After that his only option was to take the self-taught path.

I understand now, thanks for explaining. Did you gp to a mainstream school? You mention learning difficulties at a young age such as dyscalculia - were you diagnosed with a learning disability, or is this a self-diagnosis? Also, are you officially diagnosed with autism or Asperger's, or is this a self-diagnosis? If it's too personal, then don't answer, it's no problem, I'm just trying to clear up some confusion in my mind.

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Dr-David-Banner

For some reason at school I was just placed in the bottom ranks, with the assumed dunces. The only strong area was my reading as I read a lot of superhero comics. The school existed for struggling working class families. They didn't delve into why the dullards were slow but just assumed to shift the emphasis to woodwork or metalwork.
I had a major breakdown in the eighties and serious anxiety state. I was sent as an outpatient for consultations with a psychologist. At that time there was no actual diagnosis of Aspergers to apply. A serious rift developed between the psychology department and a GP but I won't go into that. I didn't forget "depersonalisation" was listed.
I pieced it together a few years ago. More recently I became interested in the area where I don't seem to correspond to AS. The principal factor was I concluded my very limited personal interaction had impacted on my learning processes. This includes difficulties with verbal explanations. I have major difficulties with performing tasks quickly. Areas where I do fit AS are motor clumsiness, noise sensitivity, prosopagnosia, rigid routine, special interests, non verbal language deficit, temper outbursts, OCD.
I'm not sure a formal diagnosis would help. Only perhaps by way of employment support. I never discuss any of it with people who know me so it's kept very quiet.

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Dr-David-Banner

At the moment I face a serious, destabilising crisis. I never mentioned that fundamental to my gradual successes in managing autism was a German Shepherd dog. I'm not his owner but I've been his carer since 2OO7. I discovered the GSD is a very special dog for autists. I became very bonded and the bond coming from him strengthened now he's old. The crisis is he's now not far off 13 and has hip dysplasia. There's a rift as his owner wants him put to sleep. I'm not in agreement as I think (despite his arthritis) he still plays with toys and is eating with appetite. Beyond that, when he looks at me his eyes still seem lively and he seems to want to fight ahead. I've offered to take him with me so he gets more care but this offer hasn't been accepted. I was asked to go with him to the vets to be there when he's put to sleep and I answered that to me would be like betrayal. I don't think he's ready and most dog owners shared their pets had had cancer or been off their food. I can only hope the vet suggests alternatives. I was talking to one lady who told me her vet persuaded her to postpone. Still when I lose my soul mate it will be a big blow. The evenings spent with him were part of my routine for years. He's gotten very clingy too. It's as if he feels all those around him lost the will and vision to see him as just the same dog as always (just slower and less able). I see human beings propped up with crutches or interventions and people say that's different. I also heard of dog owners who used acupuncture, massage and physio on their pets.
I guess I'm off topic here but much of the maths I picked up was in the serenity of being with my soul mate. He would chew a ball happily while I messed with a calculator.
Last night I took his old collar with me in case I will need it as a reminder. It's the one he wore most of his life. Without him my life may become hollow as if I lost part of my self.

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Nesf
2 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

'm not sure a formal diagnosis would help

It probably won't help with the symptoms, but it might give you peace of mind.

2 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

The crisis is he's now not far off 13 and has hip dysplasia. There's a rift as his owner wants him put to sleep.

13 is a very, very good age for this breed of dog - usually their lifespan doesn't last much beyond 10. I think you need to prepare yourself mentally for what is ineveitably going to happen. Don't think of it as betrayal, but as a kindness, not allowing him to suffer. Perhaps you could say goodbye to the him and then have the owner take him to the vet, when the time comes.

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Sanctuary

I'm sorry to hear David that the dog you care for has been unwell. He is clearly very special to you. Nesf is right that you need to prepare yourself for him passing on but hopefully he will be well enough to be around a little longer.

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Dr-David-Banner

He's with me now. He just wolfed down his food. One snag is when his owner feeds him, he won't eat till I arrive. That, in the past, led to ill-feeling as she thought I'd trained him to only take food off me. Yet, this is untrue. In many ways, it's a bit like how I will save my chocolate to eat over a dvd film. He's rigidly following his routine and also feeding time is shared as I eat too.
After wolfing down his food, he then started to play with a toy, eyes lit-up. He's playing now with the odd grunt thrown out to tell me to play.
This dog isn't ready to die yet. He's surprisingly healthy. His main issue is hip dysplasia so he may flop in a semicircle at the back legs. Then he will sort of walk ahead and take his time. He can't walk far but he can at least walk. I had him on glucosamine a while and had planned actual physio. Walking on carpet is one avenue.
His owner I think isn't seeing the positive side. I mean he's nearly 13 and so far no lumps or signs of heart trouble. So, that's a great age for him to reach. Added to that I know he's still happy. If he were miserable and suffering I'd want him to pass peacefully but he's still plodding on. I hope the vet sees what I can see now and persuades the owner to explore physio and treatment. He's given me so much stability and peace I figure I owe him all my support and faith.

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Dr-David-Banner

He goes to the vet tomorrow evening. I understand the owner's decision. She feels his condition is worsening and his quality of life deteriorated. I still can't be there at the vet's and allow him to die knowing I gave up. I spent time with him today and there are two aspects to the condition. The very bad news is he can barely walk as his legs tend to flop sideways in a turning motion. He can manage a few paces along the grass verge. Then he prefers to go back and end the walk. So, his owner has a point that it's looking hopeless. However, when I sat with him today he ate very well. I mean, he loved his meal. Then, he happily played a game of tug of war, almost laughing in the process, eyes very alert as we tugged a toy. All the time I acted very normal as if all was as usual. Then as I started to leave I was getting tearful and he seemed to pick up on it and sense I was not myself. He really seemed to just know I was upset.
I think it would have been a kinder ending for him to have come to stay with me. It's what I've been feeling over the weeks that he knows his time is short and wants his last weeks with his soul mate. I mean over the years I've groomed him, fed him, walked him every day and he's always come first.
My only hope is that the vet may remark how well the dog is if you take the lameness out of the equation. There are injections, for example (a bit like cortisone and steroid). However it does look as if my soul mate will be leaving my life tomorrow. I can't describe the extent to which such a dog can support someone who's autistic and how deep the bond is. Fact is some autists who can't connect to people or empathise that well are left with lots of open space inside. Dogs are often more than happy to move into that space. Remember dogs feel misunderstood because most people are too busy with their people-filled lives to share their lives with a dog. Many dogs will also know you're somehow different and a dog will love you unconditionally.
So, this is going to be tough. Thanks to all for the support - I got a bit off-topic.

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Nesf

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your dog :(

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Dr-David-Banner

The weird thing about my autism is I've never properly connected to another person. I always felt apart. Also I've always been ignored as if I wasn't good enough. It was always a case of being told I'm not good enough. Yet when I first met my German Shep, there was a total connection. I found he loved being with me. To others he was just a dog but he sensed with me we were both somehow not noticed by those around. So we found each other and it made a huge difference to me. Our bond was one where we came to love and accept each other just as we were. The days I'd been ignored or left out would be made much easier because I could just hang out with my canine soul mate. Plus we had our routine. Months ago I shared an experience on Asperclick where I'd been out walking with my dog. It was very hot and he sat down and didn't want to walk. I now know that was the gradual onset of his present condition. So, I sat down beside him. My ears are really super so I finally picked up a conversation by two women about me and the dog. The woman was saying she figured the dog wasn't too well and that his handler had seemed strange and unwell too. She then told her friend maybe she should go up and offer a glass of water. So, when she came up to us I was well aware of what she'd got on her mind. I tried to put her mind at rest.
Not too long ago I was able to walk him to my uncle's house but gradually he struggled to make the distance. He then rapidly decreased the distance he could walk. I don't think though that to date he gave up. I couldn't go to the vets today and be seen to be throwing in the towel. I couldn't risk his passing away with the final thought I'd given up and no longer wanted him. I'd rather he never lose sight of the reality I'd never give up hope unless he'd himself given up first. I ought to be there with him today but it just doesn't feel right. Neither do I know how his loss will affect me or if I'll accept it and pick up the pieces. Reason tells me I've a duty to be strong and to press ahead and emotions at the same time make me feel a part of me will die. Of course the way he came to me was through a tragedy that made the BBC head news in 2OO8. His former owner and 3 passengers died in a light aircraft accident. The dog had lost his owner so I was asked to take him walks while the family picked up the pieces. Till then my life felt empty but the arrival of a new special friend did wonders for me. I'd no idea dogs can be so therapeutic.

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Gone away

Sorry you lost your companion.
It will take time to adjust.
Maybe you could  find another dog for company?

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Dr-David-Banner

I appreciate the support. I am sorry to say this situation developed in the worst direction. My best friend was put to sleep today in the evening. As I understand it, he was left on his own with just the vets so nobody familiar with him. Clearly the situation was chaotic as he was evidently muzzled so must have been stressed and afraid. I had had no idea this is how it would turn out. I assumed his owner and her son would at least have been with him and the situation managed. Instead they just walked out and left him. All I can say is he deserved better.
Relations with the family I occasionaly contacted have been strained for a while but this has made me see things differently. They all encouraged this premature ending that turned out to be a far cry from how pets are normally put to rest.
There is now nothing I can do and he's gone but I want nothing more to do with that family. I think this incident just exposed the reality of it. The last 2 weeks they've gone on about my dad being ill and blaming me for not chasing after him. The reality is my dad was an abusive parent and I ceased contact with him years ago.
Sorry to sound so dramatic or maybe if it's coming over as a meltdown. It's not just the loss of a special friend but they way he was dumped and left alone. I wish he could have stayed with me to be cared for. He might even have started to walk better given better care.
My plan now is to try and pick up the pieces and somehow I have to keep my head above the water. It's not as if I can just cry and cry and not take care of myself.
Thanks to all for letting me vent. I spent much of the day crying but now it's more anger.

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Dr-David-Banner

"Maybe you could  find another dog for company?"
I don't think it was because he was a dog but just happened to be a dog but over time you learn there's a personality. People noticed I acted with him as if he was a person. I saw him as a soul mate. To answer your question though I grew up with dogs most of my life but this one was special. I don't know why. What complicated my life is the dog I loved most was not my dog -- I was his carer. So I was in a situation where I loved him to pieces but had limited control over his life. Maybe that was bound to have hurt me in the end. Despite the hurt we shared treaured moments together and he made it to 13 years. To get that far he must have felt he had a reason to live. I don't know if there will ever be another dog and for now I'd rather just reflect on the happy times we had.

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Dr-David-Banner

I recall ages ago I had posted a pic of my dog on this site so I had a look in the archives just in case. Here is his photo probably taken 4 years ago.

buddy.jpg

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Dr-David-Banner

Reading the following, it does look like he had DM and not hip-dysplasia. What the poster below states definitely ties in with his condition - that he definitely didn't seem to be in pain around his hips and had definitely been dragging his paw pads. "Swaying hips" - definitely!

"HD tends to be something quite painful. I feel like if this was just HD, the pain of it would be more obvious.
Where as DM has been know as a pain free condition in general. Tend to get scuff marks on their feet and their nails drag to the point of bleeding on occasions because they drag their feet around. Swaying hips. Hard time getting up, etc.
They do make wheelchairs for dogs with DM, gives them more freedom to run around and be mobile and have more life. So its not a death sentence in my mind, it just sucks for everyone, but i personally believe a dog can still be extremely happy and have great quality of life."

The latter comment I think shows some of us do try to see a ray of hope while generally most vets take a very dim view of DM. Then also, I always felt animals are just as important as humans and I know a fair few humans who would rather walk with crutches than be stone dead. Whereas, some of us may well prefer the opposite.

What upset me was when he was put to sleep he didn't seem to me to have given up. He was still wagging his tail and squeaking his toys when I was around. The point where the condition would have caused undue suffering was drawing closer, of course. I think when that point arrived, I'd have felt at ease with euthanasia and would have been with him.


 

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Dr-David-Banner

At the moment, I have to ask the question whether bonds with animals are much deeper than with people. To me it definitely feels the bond with an animal is pretty much permanent and based around the stuff that really matters - and not circumstances. I can't say I particularly envy the people I know who themselves feel their bond with another person is their world. Honestly I lose count of the number of times these relationships fragment. If it's a physical relationship, so often one or the other partner will find someone else. Or grow apart.
Neither do I envy my friends' relationships. Todays "best friends" I find become yesterdays news.
Even beyond that, I sense my own friends tended to like to phone me up to discuss their own problems. I don't mind that but have to wonder if it's more supportive thing than a real bond.
In short, I will choose animals any day of the week. They love unconditionally. They see you as you really are. They are always there for you. They yearn to be understood but most people don't leave sufficient space inside to let them in.

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Dr-David-Banner

One of the girls at the shop where I sometimes helped sent me a message through a mutual friend. She found out my dog has gone and, as she has her own special dog, she understands and asked me to stay in touch. When I get upset I tend to totally withdraw and handle it by myself so I guess they thought I'd died. The friend I have loves animals too and made the discovery herself how they can change your life around. Of course, hers is an ideal situation as her dog belongs to her whereas in my case i was a carer. Being a carer is extremely tough as often you have to walk a tight-rope.
I kept myself from getting too bogged down by doing maths and other stuff. People suggest getting another dog but this would be like trying to replace your perfect friend. For now I may start to potter with bonsai trees and do music again - just let time take its course.
I told my friend I will go and see her soon but need a week or so yet. One thing NTs do quite well is sort of identify with emotional trauma. Fortunately there are people just like me who bond strongly with dogs and cats.

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