I’m pretty sure I have mentioned how Dude isn’t the world’s biggest eater. He eats an extremely limited variety of food; and what he does eat, he eats in small quantities.
It’s a fairly common characteristic of individuals on the autism spectrum. Some people have extreme sensitivities to the texture of foods, while others simply demand sameness in their every day routines (i.e., if they don’t get a bowl of Fruit Loops at 8am, they’re going to have a fit).
Dude doesn’t have tantrums when we deviate from his normal eating pattern, but he pretty much refuses to put any food in his mouth that doesn’t look familiar. (Remind me to tell the hot roast beef sandwich story at some point.)
For many years now, an interesting phenomena takes place in the winter months. Dude’s already small appetite greatly diminishes. It takes him longer and longer to eat simple meals. The kid made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich last almost two hours once. (Sometimes I am prone to exaggeration, but my parents can attest to the truth of that statement.)
Now normally, the slow eating would be a nuisance and nothing else, however, Dude started dropping weight. Several years ago, he lost over 12lbs over the course of maybe two months. And let me tell you, this kid does not have 12lbs to lose.
Our family frantically tried to figure out what was causing him to be so disinterested in food. A gastroenterologist finally diagnosed Dude with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD). Gross sounding, right?
Anyways, to make a long story short, Dude got put on Prilosec and that seemed to help the problem.
However, this year he dropped 7lbs over the course of a few months and the Prilosec seemed to do nothing to help him. He was burping and gagging every time he sat down for a meal. The gastroenterologist ordered an endoscopy to see what was going on.
And the endoscopy revealed…. NOTHING.
No inflammation of the esophagus, no evidence of a gluten intolerance or Celiac disease (which we had suspected), etc.
We were simultaneously relieved and annoyed. There HAS to be a reason Dude goes through this ordeal with eating every year when the weather turns cold!
The doctor didn’t have any additional hypotheses for us.
However, he did suggest a daily teaspoon of an appetite stimulant. Which brings me to my Dude-ism of the day.
The first day that Mom gave Dude the appetite stimulant was on a Friday several weeks ago. Fridays are his “date” nights, as we like to call them. He generally goes out to dinner and a movie with a respite person. Sometimes they go to some of his favorite stores, and sometimes they go bowling.
At the end of the night, Mom and Dad like to talk to whoever takes Dude out and ask about what they did, how he ate, how did he like the movie, etc.
According to the young lady, Dude scarfed down his dinner at Wendy’s (chicken nuggets and french fries, as always) and then tried to eat some of hers.
Next, he ate an entire “small” bag of popcorn while walking around Home Depot.
When they got home, Mom had a bag of cookies and other goodies prepared for the young lady since it was the Friday just after Valentine’s Day. She gave the bag to Dude and asked him to pass it along to his buddy. Instead of doing that, he tried to open the bag to get at the cookies for himself!
When Mom made it clear that those cookies were not for him, his eyes fell on the container that she always keeps fresh baked chocolate chip cookies in. He picked it up and handed it to her.
“Cookies in a cup, please,” Dude asked.
So Dude got 3 cookies in a cup.
Which he finished before he even got upstairs.
So he circled back and asked for pretzels in a cup.
He finished the pretzels within 5 minutes of going upstairs and came back down again for more.
So in conclusion, in case anyone was wondering, appetite stimulants work!