Sunday, June 29, 2014

I'd Like To Thank My Health Insurance...

Way back in October, the school recommended that Nicholas see an outside therapist.

Take a step back - not time-wise, people. I mean back from the blog content for a second. I've been wondering how to phrase this issue. I've been wondering if I should even speak about this issue. Nick isn't a baby. He is a now 10-year-old boy with his own thoughts and his own life and above all his own right to privacy. I can't be a good parent and be explicit or detailed with his issues here. 

Dealing with these issues, however, is a different matter. And that is where the focus of this post is.

What the heck is she talking about, you wonder?

Well... way back in October, the school recommended that Nicholas see an outside therapist. There were issues, and the teacher, the guidance counselor, and the principal all seemed to think this was a good idea.

After some calling around, some filling out of forms, many voicemails.... do you know how difficult this was? It's the golden triangle of Therapists. 1 - Willing to work with children, 2 - Will take my insurance, 3 - Had appointment times NOT during school hours.

We found someone. Nick started to see her.

She recommended something called neuropsychological testing be done. This is a test to find out how the brain is working. Look it up if you have questions, because I can't explain it now. This began phone calls to the insurance company to see if they'd cover the testing, and to another center who does the actual testing.

Meanwhile, issues at school got a little worse. There were more meetings. More issues. We assured them we were trying.

An appointment was made, weeks in advance. Not for a test, but for an intake. A week before the date I got a phone call saying the therapist had to cancel because she wasn't taking new patients. I explained we didn't want to be a long time patient, just needed this one test done. At which point I was told the therapist just didn't take our insurance. Something I feel should have been noticed when I MADE THE APPOINTMENT.

So I scheduled again. For a month later.

I brought Nick with me to the intake, which apparently is never done. But the nice Therapist #2 seemed OK with it, and recommended that we schedule testing - we scheduled 6 hours of it, over 2 days. Both scheduled weeks ahead.

Only THEN Therapist #2 called us and told us our insurance company wouldn't cover the testing. To pay out of pocket would mean a rate of $200/hr, for a possible 13 total hours. THANK YOU, INSURANCE COMPANY! 

Instead, our insurance company wanted him to have something called a "Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation."

When I called to make the appointment for this, the nice lady scheduling the appointment called it the "Medication Evaluation." I know there are those of you out there who think pills solve a lot of problems, but I honestly feel the damn test should be called something else. I don't want him on meds IF HE HASN'T BEEN TESTED FOR EVERYTHING ELSE!

Anyway, Steve and I sat down for yet ANOTHER intake - the get-to-know-your-kid appointment which is an hour of history, which you have to do with each new person they make you see. Therapist #3 seems really nice, is prepared to to this evaluation, and based on her assessment we'll know if we can have / should have the neuropsychological testing.

My feelings? Well, this is the first therapist who asked for a form to be filled out by his teacher. Of course, this meeting took place the FIRST MONDAY OF SUMMER VACATION.

I mean, the TIME it takes. And this is time sensitive, because this crap started back in October. I know no one wants to be rushed, but this is ALL of the third grade, here, that we've been trying to get something actually done, but we've been jumping through hoops. 

A task made more difficult because, oh yeah, we're in the middle of getting divorced and I am working for the first time in a billion years.

Also, I'm a little apprehensive because Therapist #3 - a lovely lady - seems a bit over-ready to slap an ADHD label onto my son. And while I know it's not off the table, I've MET kids with ADHD  - Nick isn't like them. I've also met kids with Asperger's, and Nick isn't like that. While everyone is different, I feel like Nick deserves to be looked at before diagnosed, and I'm not sure that's actually happening with this new round of testing.

I hate it. I hate it. I feel like it's made this difficult because they actually want you to drop out of the race and leave them alone. Then, of anything goes wrong, they can blame you for being a bad parent and not following through. But if you DO try to follow through, they just recommend you see a different therapist, and you have to start all over again, add another month or two to your sentence, fill out another round of paperwork.

Nick starts school in two months. We'll se how much has changed before then.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Like Sand Through The Hourglass...

Time slipped away from me.

I experienced genuine shock this morning when I checked this blog and realized it had been over a week since I'd written. A WEEK! OVER!

The thing is, I have stuff to say. And I've been saying it... just usually to whoever happens to be closest to me at the time. The poor lady in the cube next to me at work has heard all of it. So have some random strangers at the grocery store. Sorry, random people! Sorry, co-worker!

I mean to try harder, but I don't mean to stress myself out. I want to say things, but I don't want to over-share, over-state, or over-do it. Sometimes that means a bit of Time-Gap.

So keep eyes wide open: Posts With Content are on the horizon.

And also, if I can find some, photographs!

We do love photographs.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Monday was long, right?

How could Tuesday top Monday? I mean, sure it's crazy and we've got a schedule that includes Karate, then Piano Lessons, and dinner in the car as I drive from one to the other.

Unless, of course, I get a text from the Babysitter saying "CALL ME ASAP!!!"

Given yesterday's fiasco with the baby and the phone, I would lean toward not freaking out. Until I read the next text.

"Gunther. Had a seizure. There's blood and I don't know what to do."

Gunther is a dog, people. A pet. A pet who, at 4am, decided to pee in the hallway despite being let out at 10:30pm, a good 2 hours later than usual. And at that moment I seriously wondered if it was time to consider putting him down. It's not like it was my 7-year-old child passing out.

But I rushed him to the vet.

And the vet looked at him and said "He seems fine." And the dog? He was acting fine. I knew he's actually had a seizure because Nate described it to me in great detail, and there was blood in his cone-of-shame, which was coming off tonight anyway. The blood was probably from biting his tongue while he was shaking.

The vet said sometimes dogs will have one seizure and then never have another. Or sometimes they start having them every few days, or every 30 minutes. We'll have to see. Unless we want the expensive bloodwork to start now. I opted to wait.

There was no karate. There was no piano. Instead we had our sandwiches at the table. I let the kids listen / watch  the beginning of Amadeus (after the suicide attempt) while they took a bath.

After the boys were in bed I realized that Andy had a concert tomorrow at 10am and that there was also an after school trip that the boys had to be at by 3pm, which was awkward and involved picking all three kids up early. (Because they don't let you pick up after 2:20. If you have to be someplace at 3:15, you need to get picked up an hour earlier. Even if it's down the street.)

Then I ate cheese and had a bowl of cereal.

Tomorrow will be better, right? It has to be.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Longest Day

You know that feeling when you're in a rush to get somewhere, but traffic is inching along? And you're not even on the highway?

That's the traffic I was in after work this evening when my cell phone rang.

It was the babysitter. I immediately began apologizing for running late and saying I was on my way home. She asked if I had left yet, and I said yes.

And then she told me that the phone rang, and Nick tried to give her the phone, but she hadn't answered it and just put it down, and then her almost-year-old baby had somehow gotten hold of the phone, and you'll never guess who he called...

Did you know that when you dial 9112, it's the same as dialing 911? And that when you dial it and hang up, they will actually call you back? And once you call them, they are legally required to stop by your home to make sure you're OK? I did. Apparently our babysitter didn't.

So when I got home, there was a bit of craziness. She didn't want to leave until the police came by. Her baby was cranky with a tummy ache (I told him they were coming to take him away to baby jail!) and when the cops finally DID come by, she was busy changing his diaper. I was clearing out the boys' backpacks.

When I opened the door for the very cute and attractive police officer, I had my arms full of school folders, a thermos in one hand, and a pair of maracas in the other. I was holding a barking Gunther inside the house with one foot against his cone-of-shame. I asked if he wanted to come in (I thought he might want to yell at us and lecture us about faking 911 calls.) But he backed away pretty quickly and said he was just checking to make sure everyone was all right. One look at me, and he got the picture.

After that I started making dinner. I was interrupted by 2 girls - one with heavy eye make-up and a nose ring in her nostril - from the EPA to get me to sign a petition. I tried to get them to hurry the speech along so I could finish cooking dinner, but they were horrified by Gunther barking, and kept stopping to ask he he was all right. I finally got them to leave, but not before the guy who mows the lawn stopped by to talk about the job he did that weekend. Before I could chat with him, the phone rang - an automated message from the school letting us know about Step-Up Day, the day the kids visit classrooms of the next grade, just in case we didn't find out about it from the flyers, the emails, and the clearly noted "STEP UP DAY" on the calendar.

Dinner made, table cleared, dishes.... in the sink (I can't do everything!) I practiced piano with the boys (lesson tomorrow!) and finished reading the last chapter of House Of Hades.

Then I took a phone survey from some guy who asked a lot of questions about TV shows I watched (cable? Which channels? Where do I get my news?) and political candidates (On a scale of 1 - 100, how many points would I give the following candidates.)

Now I have to pay my bills, register my boys for summer programs, and re-do my budget so I'm not actually in the red (it's got to be possible, for crying out loud.)

It's Monday, folks. Gonna be a long week.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Crazy Long Week

It's been a long one.

In my heart I feel like so much has changed. Was that just last week I was sitting here, wondering why I had no plans for the weekend? I climbed into bed and sat there, drinking tea and writing until I feel asleep, completely ignoring all of the cleaning and shopping and general things that needed to be done.

And then the week happened. It was just full of things, emotional things. From meeting up with old friends to shopping for Steve's Birthday present. It's been like a trip down the Twilight Zone hallway, all spinning and blinking lights, but in black and white.

And that brings me to here. Another Friday night. No plans - well, for tonight. I am meeting up with Lillian tomorrow to see a play. I'm putting off cleaning my house. I'm putting off putting shopping for a car. I'm stalking more than one person online. I have no judgement. One minute I'm bugging a person so much via technology that I'm afraid he / she will block me and refuse to take my calls. The next moment I wonder how this person will know I'm serious about hanging out with her / him if I don't put myself out there and express my interest.

What I should do is laundry. What I should do is clean the house. I should go grocery shopping. But instead I want to sit in bed and watch bad TV while eating Honey Bunches of Oats out of the box.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Terrible Horrible No Good etc. Day

I had the worst day.

My kids say that all the time. "This is the worst day of my LIFE!" Usually this cry is in response to my taking away screen time. Or declaring that 3 hours is enough screen time. Or saying it's time to practice violin.

In any case, I laugh at the boy who says this because it's an over reaction.

I had the worst day.

Not the worst day of my life. But just, The Worst.

It involved an argument with Steve. In our driveway. In front of our children. Before work / school. So much fun, right? I don't often write about arguments with Steve, but you know, we are getting a divorce, and they do happen. I regret the fact that the argument took place, but not anything I said. Perhaps the timing. But not the substance. And I'm still angry.

The babysitter is ill and had to cancel for the 2nd day in a row. Actually, she asked me if we could play it by ear, but call me crazy, I'm not comfortable with that. I like to know who is going to pick up my child from school before I leave for work.

I showed up at work stressed and blotchy faced. My co-workers were in unusually high spirits. Not a good mesh.

Work was... work. I didn't bring my A game. At the end of the day my back had started hurting. I must have hurt something while working out, or those shoes I wore are not good for standing.

And there are other things. Stupid things. A guy I like basically let me know he wasn't interested. I was surprisingly let down for someone who didn't think she was all that interested. All this culminated in the realization that I simply liked the conversation because I've been lonely. Before Steve I had my friends. My friends are now far far away with their own families, and I find myself watching them all have mini-reunions through facebook photos and wondering how I'm no longer in touch. I don't even know how to make new friends.

Do I sound sorry enough for myself? What do you think? Could I whine a bit more? More of a nasal quality to the font?

By 9pm I was wiped. Exhausted. Sad. But oddly motivated to get back on my diet of healthy foods, to do yoga (for my back and flexibility) and to take life where I have it. It's like when the house gets messier and messier because you can't start the job of cleaning it, and then you finally snap. Only my life is the house. Which isn't to say that one of the things I'm motivated to do isn't fix up the house a bit. I'm all over it. I'm all over lots of things. I'm ready. Bring it.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Wakeful Nights

Even when I was a small child I sometimes had trouble sleeping.

Maybe everybody does. Maybe this makes me not special at all. I could just be like everybody else.

When I was a kid I would turn on the light and read until light began creeping in my window. I would do  my best not to look outside into the dark, because without leaves the trees shaped themselves into a creature with eyes that never failed to find my in the dark. Also, because I read Salem's Lot when I was really young and I was afraid I'd see a vampire floating out there who would charm me with its eyes and get me to let it in my home.

OK, sometimes I'd run and climb into bed with one of my sisters, but they didn't appreciate that.

This past year, my wakeful nights have become more frequent.

I used to think they were random, or caused by caffeine, sometimes a wine overdose. And I don't think I'd rule those two out as factors 100% of the time.

But these days there's a lot floating through my mind. Paperwork, finances, parental dilemmas, existential crises, all of these pinprick my brain at times it should be resting and sorting through the day's bucket of information. 

Also, there's Gunther. Gunther is my dog, and he has recently been returned to the Cone Of Shame, due to the fact that his leg hurts him. Well, his leg hurts him, so he licks it, and then he keeps licking it, and then it becomes a large bloody infected sore. So the vet made us put the cone back on. Gunther has lost most of his hearing, and now he's mostly blind, because of the cone. He's also still in pain, despite the pain meds I try to fool him into swallowing twice a day. This makes him extremely annoying to live with. 

I've also lost most of my compassion for Gunther as he has begun to spend his nights doing the crying-whining thing. He gets up, he turns in circles, he pant-cries a bit. He sits back down. He makes odd lapping-licking-slurping noises inside the cone. It's all very loud and unsettling at 1am. I'm never sure what the problem is - does he need to be? Should I let him out? I don't want to do that because if he doesn't have to go sometimes he just walks around out there, wandering and taking his time. He's deaf and mostly blind and it's dark. He can't see, he can't hear, I can't find him in the dark, and I'm tired and would rather be sleeping. Maybe he's just thirsty? Should I go downstairs and make sure he has water? What else can I do? What else is there?

Eventually I try to shut him out of the room, but Gunther then barks to be let back in, undaunted by the fact that it's the middle of the night and the house contains sleeping children.

I'm tired. I'm cranky. I'm sleep deprived. I blame the dog. It's like having an infant that won't sleep. I remember holding Nick and trying to find a way I could get some sleep, setting my eyes on the closet and thinking "You know, if I put him in there and shut the door, I might not even HEAR him cry, so I could sleep then!"

Sleep affects the thinking part of our brains. (I'd like to state here than I never put Nick in the closet. Even sleep deprived, I realized this was not actually a valid option.)

And I would be lying if I tried to pass this all off on the dog. There are nights I simply wake at 2am and can't get back to sleep. I read books. Sometimes I even write a little. Sometimes I just squeeze my eyes shut tight and try to not be awake until dawn creeps through my window and the clock says it's an acceptable time to get up and start working out.