I have been known to totally change my plans to allow Jacob to stay home with me on a rainy day. If it is simply spotty showers, that is one thing and I don’t let that stop us. But, if it is a deluge and going to be stormy, that’s another story all together. Apparently weather can have a negative (or positive) affect on our days. It is believed that joint pain, head aches, depressed mood are all on the increase on gloomy, rainy days.
I’ve never been positive if Jacob is bothered by the weather but some indications are he is. I think barometric pressure is a real thing and seems it can influence his mood. Once, I was on my way to meet a friend for lunch on a particularly stormy day, I got a call from the director of the day program Jacob attends. He was having an unusually bad day and they had not been able to figure it out or do anything to calm his mood and shift his focus. That day, I really felt like the weather did a number on him. And is part of the reason I like to let him chill with me during threatening weather.
Jacob has some odd aversions when it comes to rain. He will not wear a hat. He will not wear the hood on a rain jacket. Nor does he want someone to hold an umbrella over his head. Go figure. Now obviously, I can just let him get soaking wet. But NO. I really can’t! However, the positive side of that is, he will walk faster than normal to get out of the rain. Jacob doesn’t really run, but his pace from the van to the building on a rainy day, almost puts him in a sprint. Staff at his day program get tickled at the speed he exhibits to get out of the rain.
Another reason I try to keep him home when we are facing a high alert weather day is I don’t want him away from me if a tornado warning is issued. I know, I know. Moms just want their chicks nearby. I love a rainy day, IF my loved ones are home with me. Weather warnings or fire drills with dozens of special needs people can be tricky. Some are compliant and will follow orders. And some won’t. You guessed it. Jacob is in the ‘won’t’ category. I don’t want to put his life or a staff member’s life in jeopardy because he refuses to comply in an emergency situation.
I am so thankful that weather forecasters these days can help us better prepare for serious outbreaks. To be able to hear where a storm is headed down to the streets in a neighborhood, is super helpful. Only God knows the weather pattern, but through technology they have more at their fingertips to help keep us safe.
Recently, I kept Jacob home because the forecast looked really threatening. Our weather radio went off NUMEROUS times that day, tornado watch, flash flood warning, severe thunderstorm, etc. At one point, our county went under a tornado warning. According to the news, it looked like it was headed toward towards us. Our neighborhood siren went off. I knew I had to get Jacob into our safe place. I grabbed his shoes, his iPad, a favorite toy, and DVD player. I secured our two dogs near us then Jacob and I went into a large closet. I grabbed a folding chair and sat in front of the closed closet door. Praying the tornado would pass without touching down and we wouldn’t be ‘imprisoned’ long.
For a few minutes, Jacob sat on the floor playing with the musical toy. Then he decided he’d been there long enough. He kept reaching for the doorknob behind me trying to open the door. Seeing he wasn’t making much progress, he sat back down on the floor and grabbed his Ipad. It has a program on it called, GoTalk. Jacob uses it randomly for communication. It has numerous pages of buttons he can push to ask for an item, express how he is feeling, see pictures of family and friends and more. The buttons are programmed with a male voice to match the picture, word, or phrase.
He hurriedly found a page and pushed a button, “I don’t like that.” “I don’t like that.” “I don’t like that.” “I’m sad.” “I’m sad.” “I don’t like that.” Over and over again. Bless his sweet heart. I told him I didn’t like it either and was sad we had to wait out the storm. Overall, he was a good sport, only trying occasionally to see if he could get pass me. Unfortunately for him, “I don’t like that” and “I’m sad” were not the passwords needed for freedom. Thankfully, the warning was lifted without incident and his sadness turned to joy that he wasn’t imprisoned in a closet with me any longer.
It certainly isn’t the first time we’ve been under a warning and had to get in the closet. It is the first time he’s been able to ‘say’ what he thought about it!