Therapy Session No. 2

I took Doodicus to his second therapy session this morning. Dr. Rita (that was his nickname the last time, right?) had called and spoken to Doodicus’ teacher before we arrived to ask for himself how Dood was doing in school. After he told us that the teacher confirmed the concerns from our first appointment, Dr told us quite bluntly that the medication – 20mg Daytrana patch – isn’t working, and that we would need to schedule an appointment with the psychologist, Dr Herring. In a way, I was glad to hear this because it meant that things can be better for Doodicus, but I’m very worried about the adjustments we’ll have to face.

We spent 90 minutes with Dr Rita discussing how the pervasive feelings of how Dood thinks he does nothing right. We talked about a 504 plan and an IEP, details of what’s involved forthcoming. I just can’t get into it now because honestly, I don’t have enough information. But it’s finally happening. Dr Rita also thinks his teachers are woefully-prepared to deal with his ADHD, and told us that Doodicus’ failure to thrive this year is directly AND indirectly related to the personnel at his school. Sure Dood is responsible for staying organized and completing work and paying attention, but he’s also responsible for making sure the teachers DO THEIR JOB AND HELP HIM stay organized, complete his work and pay attention! His teacher’s suggestion this past fall that included assigning a “buddy” to help him get his assignments written in his assignment book was just another confirmation that his teachers are clueless: it’s the teacher’s job to make sure his assignments are written down, not a classmates; and there’s the added concern of how negatively this could affect Doodicus by creating a situation for additional stigma.

As for the teacher’s repeated admonishment that fourth graders should no longer require everyday review of their assignment book by the teacher, Dr Rita said children with ADHD work at approximately 75% maturity and responsibility level of “normal” children. Another indication that his teachers don’t get it because they want to treat all the kids the same, and obviously they are not.

In case you weren’t sure before, we like Dr Rita very much. He seems genuinely concerned and also confident that we will make things much better for all considered. Let me share this last little tidbit that made me a believer in Dr Rita: The clinic’s policy only allows appointments to be scheduled two out at a time. This was a concern because it would mean it would be almost impossible to get the slots we needed, which were late evenings, if we wanted to eliminate our need to take a whole day off from both work and school since four hours alone are devoted to travel. He personally came up to the front desk with us and had the limitation lifted from our account and I was able to schedule appointments approximately every three weeks up through this summer.

The other extra step he took was even more remarkable. The psychiatrist’s FIRST available appointment happened to be in three weeks on a Friday, and only because someone had just cancelled. The initial problem with that was we wouldn’t be able to see Dr Rita the same day as he sees patients at a satellite clinic on Fridays. Trying to coordinate both appointments on the same day was proving to be a statistical nightmare as Dr Herring’s next available time wasn’t until June and we really need to get Doodicus switched to medication that actually HELPS. Dr Rita said it was important enough that he would make this one-time arrangement and come into his office that same Friday. We now wouldn’t have to make two trips in one week!

On a related note: The reason for the opening with Dr Herring was because the clinic had just brought in a N.P. (Nurse Practitioner). The scheduler said she couldn’t schedule us with the NP because our insurance wouldn’t cover it. When she said that, I replied, “I’m not going to limit our care to what my insurance will or will not cover. If we have to pay out-of-pocket, we will.”

I overheard a woman the other day talking about how her daughter’s insurance “kicked her out of the hospital.” I’m not going to get all preachy about this, but her insurance did NOT kick her out of the hospital. The discharge planning department didn’t have enough medical necessity from the doctor to report to her insurance the need for her continued stay unless she wish to stay and pay out of pocket for the bed. Just FYI.

OK, need to get this published before my internet crashes again. Plus I need to research 504 Plans and IEPs. Why do I always feel that the more information I have, the more time I feel I have wasted on being ignorant?

It’s Just One

With most of us experiencing early spring-almost-summer, it’s tempting to head back outside and soak in the sun without care. A coworker said she was outside this past weekend for about 20 minutes and sunburned her back. It was hazy that day, which is especially deceiving.

I had my third mole-check after I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma and while the last time I went scott free, today I am sporting a simple bandaid on my left forearm. I wait two weeks for the results of the biopsy.

I’ve had friends and family explain how they’re afraid to get their moles checked out. They have so many! They’d be covered with bandages from all the biopsies!

It doesn’t work that way. Sure, if you have lots of moles covering your body, then yes, you ARE at higher risk because your body is funkifying the pigment in your skin. But it’s not the one-hundred moles on your right shoulder you need to worry about. It’s the ONE that doesn’t look like the others that you need to have looked at by your dermatologist right now.

Me? I don’t have a lot of moles. I have ‘sun-spots" on my hands and I have a very faint pregnancy mask. My dermatologist loves me because it takes him just a couple minutes to examine my skin. That ONE he took yesterday stood apart. No bigger than a mark made by a Sharpie pen-tip and dark. He may have decided to take it just because I asked about it. Why wonder later, he said, so it’s gone.

After having had seven biopsies, I do have two major scars. However, they are both direct results of surgery, not biopsies. Scars are ugly, I’ll give you that. But radiation therapy and chemotherapy is uglier. Dressed up in your Sunday best lying on a bed of white satin and air-brushed to look semi-human even though you’re dead is Ugliest, even if you haven’t a scratch on you.

I Remember Fake IDs

When I was a freshman in college, I would forge documents for students so they could get a fake ID from the state that showed them to be legal drinking age. All I needed was a photocopy of a birth certificate. I would white-out the year and type over it and then photo-copy it again. Since the students weren’t attempting to get driver’s licenses, it was all the state required. I of course made one for myself. I walked by a bar and they were looking for part-time employment. I completed the application and then headed over to where they sold carry-out liquor. I headed up to the counter with my purchase and dug out my fake ID. As I was standing there, the guy who I had turned over my app to came up and put it down next to me on the counter in front of the clerk selling me booze. He tapped meaningfully on the birthdate of my application. The clerk, who had been examining my ID, looked at me with a smirk. I left utterly humiliated by my stupidity and without my fake ID. I didn’t make another.

I Remember Grape Flavoring

I entered my freshman year of college at the ripe old age of barely 18. A couple of my dorm-friends and I went to the local liquor store and illegally bought booze. My choice was grape Mad Dog 20/20. I don’t think I was mixing it with anything. We drove around town and drank and giggled and drank some more. Our driver had just parked the car on campus and I stumbled out and promptly threw up. My first buzz-ending-in-puking-adventure. It’s taken many years, but once in a while I’m able to take a couple of sips of grape soda. Remember the kool-aid flavored, wax bottles? The ones with grape tastes just like that Mad Dog.

I Remember the Dart

My little sister and I got into a fight. We were in what we called The Playroom (a concrete floor addition to our old farmhouse that housed a pool table, the “fancy” record player cabinet, the sewing machine, a bar made of barrels, and the only closets for my parents’ clothes. We thought it was HUGE.) She grabbed the darts that were in the dartboard above the pool table and started chasing me. Suddenly I had this terrible pain in the heel. I stopped and looked down to see a red dart stuck in my foot. Probably realizing she wouldn’t be able to catch up with me, she had thrown a dart but never thinking it would hit me. We looked agog at each other like, “Oh shit! Now what?!”

I Remember How to Whip It, Whip it Good

My dad had a black and white bullwhip that he used when working cattle. He would leave it hanging in the milking barn. We milked about 25 to 40 cows twice a day, but only had four machines. That would give us a few minutes of down time so I would go outside with the whip and try to make it crack. I eventually learned how, but not before either snapping myself or one of my sisters who carelessly stepped within the circle of pain.

I Remember Nipple Envy

You know the game pieces in the game of Sorry? I would put them under my shirt and pretend they were my boobs. No, I was not doing that after I turned 16, but I must have traumatized my developing breasts because I’m pretty sure my Sorry Boobs were bigger than my real ones.